Posts tagged ‘mathletics’

May 24, 2011

ICT and current trends

I remember the time when my son entered Kindergarten. He was spending time playing in the sand pit with Lego bricks, climbing trees and playing handball with his friends. His teacher was close to retirement but we called this “experience”.

Two or three years after the school has installed IWBs in every classroom and hired a younger teacher. She was younger, probably a “digital native” and she decided to create a blog. If we wanted to know what was going on during the day, we just had to log on the Brainy Bunch Year 3 blog and everything was there.

Now, every evening, for about 1 to 2 hours, both of my kids (7 yo and 10 yo) are using the computer. Playing video games? Not only ! They are “working”. One is checking his blog to see if his teacher has set up some homework for the week, the other is browsing the net to research “population facts” for his next public speaking contest. Both will have their maths homework set up on the Australian-born-now-world-famous mathletics website  (www.mathletics.com). They will spend at least 20 minutes doing maths online. Our school, the public school around the corner, is providing every student with a registration number to log on to this website, as well as an email address. I am thinking of buying a third laptop: being a teacher, I have to work on a computer. What is shown in this video is a typical example of evening number crunching experienced by more and more Australian families.

That was real life, sorry… Well, what are the trends in the business?

Interactive white boards (IWBs) are without doubt the most significant current trend in ICT. In the powerpoint presentation (Campbell and Kent) the authors talk about how ICTs can promote higher order thinking by allowing content that can be easily created/manipulated. The four main types of activities available are sorting, ordering, labelling and puzzle/game/simulation games.

In various ways (via wireless keyboards and specific response devices), students are also able to make responses that are immediately recorded graphically on the white board. By doing this, student motivation is largely enhanced and they are able to physically interact with learning tasks.

Another important development in terms of ICT is what can be produced by students as a result of their learning. From the perspective of my teaching area French/Languages, students can script and produce films, create their own interactive video presentations, they can work together on Wikispace to produce collaborative short stories.

IWB’s in the classroom is the big thing around. But as important is the importance of mobile phones, internet and educational websites.  But tell me, how was teaching before this?

Educational games are taking more and more importance as teaching tools. I remember when I first started working as a Videogame Producer in Paris, I was part of the Ubisoft team working on the blockbuster Rayman. The game was so successful worldwide and we wanted to grab some share of the Edutainment business – so we produced a Rayman Education version, aiming to draw the attention of students, parents and teachers.

Have a look at the demo.

http://www.classicdosgames.com/game/Amazing_Learning_Games_With_Rayman.html

Back to the boards. Kent (2007) is detailing the current trends in IWB’s and the implications for education.

“Currently e-Teaching is made up o fa number of general elements.  Briefly, and in no particular order, these elements are:

  • Digital Convergence – Every application and device that can operate in conjunction with the operating computer can operate with the IWB.  These applications and devices can be thought as converging through the IWB.  This convergence provides a new and wider range of resources and activities that can be used within the classroom.
  • Interactive Content – As opposed to a ‘traditional’ whiteboard, interactive whiteboards allow for content that can easily be interacted with.  Through this interaction teachers and students can more effectively explore ideas, facilitating discussion about the underlying concept being taught, rather than a shallow focus on the content. Knowledge can be presented as problematic
  • Interactive Contexts – Without an IWB the sources of information available to a teacher within a teaching context is often limited to text books and personal knowledge. This lack of variety in sources of information often places restrictions on teachers’ ability to modify lessons to ensure that they are appropriate, relevant and engaging to students. Interactive whiteboards allow teachers to source information and content from a wide variety of sources that they can change the context of the content of their lessons adding relevance and engagement for students.  Students  have the ability to have a say in the contexts of the lessons.
  • Complex Connections – Taking advantage of the fact that all lessons and resources used in conjunction with an IWB can be saved and easily retrieved, teachers have the extra ability to scaffold new learning onto pre-existing knowledge.  Students can also be encouraged to create links within their learning via exploring the student question “is this like when…..?”
  • Building Community – Often the quality of relationships within a community can be enhanced if individuals gain a greater understanding of each other. IWBs provide an expanded range of ways that students within a class can share their learning and express themselves. This concept can also apply to an entire school should the school have IWBs distributed throughout classrooms.
  • Metacognition / Reflection – IWBs and ICTs have the ability to quickly ‘capture’ thoughts and reflections using audio-visual recording. These ‘captured’ thoughts can then form the basis of both in class and later reflection. Students can revisit their thoughts in order to better understand the learning process. They can learn to learn.”

I really like the’ learn to learn’ motto. It works for me as I try to empower my students to teach themselves. I set up the goal, the end-result, the outcome that I want. I give them the tools they will need, the time frame. I make myself available and I … wait. They are learning to teach themselves.

After all, this is what my role is all about.

ICTs can help here by allowing a rich flow of content. A good example of some of the neat things we can use on IWBs: I have found this audio-game in the main French resource website. There are plenty of that kind of things…Trouver un emploi

References

Kent,P (2007) “Evolving E-Teaching; Integrating ICT’s and IWBs Strategically” Teacher Professional Development Work Book. Practical Interactivity.

(Picture of Rayman Edu -Copyright Ubisoft, Paris)