Discussion Day 2

From yesterdays discussion we know that it is important to consider the ways in which ICTs are integrated into student’s learning to ensure their social capabilities are engaged.

Please share your thoughts and/or experiences which demonstrates a pedagogy which transforms how ICTs are being used to promote collaboration and communication between students. If you have not had previous experiences to refer to, please share what you think effective pedagogy looks like to support these social interactions.

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23 responses to “Discussion Day 2

  1. As ICT Magic is currently in China I am forwarding questions and copies of our forum to him directly. Yesterday I asked him the question – If I were to go to your site with a specific learning outcome in mind how can I filter and refine my search to meet the individual needs of my class? ICT Magic’s Reply – When selecting a learning program to enhance interaction and communication what should I be looking for?

    This is an interesting question. Firstly, a teacher should carefully assess whether an IT element will bring additional value to the activity/lesson. Often a ‘low tech’ solution can be easier to prepare and just as useful to progress learning. But as an advocate for digital learning, I must say that the multimedia options provided by modern computing power is breathtaking and the scope of activities, both passive, such as watching educational videos, or active creating, designing or curating is hard to match with traditional tools.

    If the teacher has opted for the digital option the way he or she searches my site will depend largely on the learning outcome itself. There are many resources listed on my wiki that are subject or topic specific. These have been arranged in subjects and categories with hashtags which can been search for using the search bar. However, there are a great many more resources which can be used for a multitude of topics and lessons outcomes, such as drawing applications, website creators and 3D design sites to name just a few. If the teacher has a idea of the type of activities he or she wishes to do within a class or whether they are looking for ideas and using my site as a starting point, browsing around in a promising area and trying something new is a great way to find hidden treasures which will keep your teaching fresh and you and your class motivated and enthusistic. I am always keen to improve my site and I would be interested to hear feedback about the ‘searching experience’ of my site.
    So any questions for ICT Magic please direct them to him and I will ensure he is notified, thanks Karen

  2. Thank you Martin (ICT Magic) for your professional insight into how best to choose the many resources there are available. What I picked up from the first part of your response is the enthusiasm you have for the digital technologies which obviously has a significant positive effect on how you implement these ICTs into your classroom. Ertmer (cited in Ma, Lai, Williams, Prejan, 2008) notes that the effective integration of ICTs in learning comes down to how educators perceive technology and its usefulness for learning. Similarly, I think this comes down to the individual’s view on the relevance of technology and their confidence in using it. Bodur, Brinberg, & Coupey (cited in Hew & Brush, 2006) suggest that these pedagogical beliefs significantly impact educator’s teaching and learning attitudes for ICT integration.

    As you have explained Martin, ensuring that ICTs have a purpose or value to the learning is important, which means educators need to make clear the objectives of their lesson/activity. With the vast amount of resources available on your website (http://ictmagic.wikispaces.com/), educators are spoilt for choice. When choosing appropriate resources it is a case of browsing and trying each one out to assess and judge its value in the specific learning objectives. As our teaching experience grows, so will our portfolio of useful and effective ICT resources.

    Martin, please could you share with us your most predominant pedagogical views on how ICTs encourage successful social interactions in your classroom. Do you think it comes down to the particular ICT resources used, encouragement of discussion and collaboration in small groups/whole class, the scaffolding by the educator or a more holistic range of all these? Thank you.

    References:
    Ma, Y., Lai, G., Williams, D., and Prejean, L. (2008). Teachers’ belief changes in a technology-enhanced pedagogical laboratory. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.sicet.org/journals/jetde/jetde08/paper02.pdf

    Hew, K., and Brush, T. (2006). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching
    and learning: current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research. [Research Article]. Retrieved from http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i290-pm4e/f10/files/Hew-Brush.pdf.

  3. Hello,

    As I am an early years educator I am going to respond based on my experiences within the Kindergarten sector. My personal pedagogical approach is one that facilitates inquiry based learning. How this is done is dependant on the child and their abilities. That being said, children are generally naturally inquisitive which then leads on to opportunities to extend their learning just a little bit further than what we “thought” they were capable of. It when children have taken their inquiry, transferred it and adapted it that the real fun begins.

    Recently within my classroom it was noted that the children were becoming bored with their literacy lessons. As part of our program we teach Letterland; a phonics program for teaching children to read, write and spell. Whilst we have within our classroom access to a laptop that can be linked to the whiteboard (it is not an IWB), unfortunately the phonics program we use does not allow for child interaction. Hence, children became bored. Based on these observations it became apparent that things needed to change. This is where we introduced Skype to the children. Imagine the children’s delight as the screen all of a sudden came to life with a real person, who they could talk to, who answered their questions and taught them all about the wonders in the world of Letterland! The communication between these children as they actively engaged in this experience was amazing. Even the most timid of child was bursting at the seems to join in.

    This is only one small example of just how the use of ICTs can be used to promote collaboration and communication between students. Exploring the use, benefits and pleasures of a range of media can spark the ignition of a child’s inquisitive nature and in turn open up the doors of many new and exciting adventures. It is in these early years that we really can set the foundation for life long learning and opportunities.

    On a final note, if you have used a phonics program in your setting I would love to hear how you have included the use of ICTs to spice up the learning. Was it successful? If not, why?

    I look forward to learning more!

    Regards,

    Wendy Boman.

    • katereidedc3100

      Hi Wendy, I think you have hit on something here, that it is the social interaction that makes an activity exciting for learners, particularly in this younger age group. Looking to the questionnaire we asked our ‘Young Experts’ to fill in, overwhelmingly they answered that they preferred face to face communication, which fits with what you have said about the excitement when you Skyped with the person from letterland-this ‘real’ communication acted to reinvigorate the children’s enthusiasm for the activity, and highlights how our own pedagogical model of Social Constructivism, where a learner constructs new knowledge and understanding through social interaction, works.
      This is supported anecdotally by parents, such as Kylie Kite who commented yesterday, that, “Children in this age group are at their most imaginative, physically active and emotionally aware,” so as educators, we need to make sure that the technology we use in educational settings is firstly appropriate for the learning goals, and secondly works with children’s interests so they remain engaged with their learning.

    • Well done Wendy for being willing to trial a particular ICT, seeing where it did not meet the need, and modifying what you did next. This is exactly the kind of problem solving approach that makes best use of ICTs. Technology should always be chosen to fit the situation, not be used because policy dictates. As Martin from ICTMagic commented, the low tech approach is sometimes the best in a given situation, so teachers need to be flexible.

    • Wendy,

      You have provided an excellent example of using ICTs to engage students. I think Skype is one of those technologies that breaks down walls, teaches children social skills, and often about culture. Skype can also be used to introduce authors to children and get them excited about reading as well as have them active and moving. I have used Skype to teach my 4 to 6 year-olds in Germany about other cultures. We had one Macbook and a LCD projector. We Skyped a 6 year-old boy, Thomas, in the UK who taught the students via Skype how to create an origami box. Thomas was accompanied by his mother. The children were so excited to hear Thomas’ accent and had to listen carefully to his instructions as well as look at what he was doing to complete their boxes. They then asked Thomas silly questions because they were so interested in him since he was different from them. He lived in another country and that excited them. Before the lesson, I had shown them on a map where Thomas lived. For me, this was such an enlightening experience. My students were using English they already knew and learning new words at the same time. I am a big fan of Vygotsky and believe in social learning where we connect previous knowledge with new knowledge to make more sense of it and store it in long time memory. Additionally, Vygotsky talks about scaffolding and learning from our peers who may have more knowledge in an area and help us get to our next stage of learning. In this case, Thomas was a native English speaker and was there to help my German speakers how to understand instructions in English.

      The alternative is the kids could have learned this vocabulary on a computer game or in a book which would have not got them active in using their English. I was fortunate to come up with a great lesson plan to teach these skills but often as teachers we won’t always have those spurts of a genius lesson 🙂 I think we can get ideas, though, if we also participate in social learning. I get many of my ideas from viewing ways teachers online, in my social networks, use ICTs. In this case, I had observed this Skype video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px_bW3_rFDg Kids in America were singing and dancing and reading letters with students from Korea. When I saw this I was inspired to create the lesson described above. I have listed many Skype resources here, http://technology4kids.pbworks.com/Skype and also in my blog here, http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2010/08/22/learning-beyond-walls-21-skype-resources/

  4. In response to a post from yesterday by Jodi Carstens: Jodie, I too know lots of people like your friend. I wonder if they can tell the difference between real social interaction and the virtual relationships of social media. I rarely use facebook now, because I don’t really need to know who is “feeling tired and getting a coffee.” I have been thinking about how we can make technology a safer and more positive experience. I think that there are a number of “social skills” which are not usually included in teaching on this subject, but are more necessary than ever in the 21st century.
    Firstly, we need to learn appropriate self-disclosure. I am not just referring to safety in chat rooms, which is being taught to children now. What I mean is that self-disclosure needs to be appropriate for the level of intimacy of a particular relationship – high with family and close friends, low with casual acquaintances. Telling everyone you are getting a coffee is like running around the neighbourhood in your pyjamas.
    Secondly, in face-to-face relationships, we learn how to read non-verbal communication- the small nuances of facial expression etc. Research has shown that babies of depressed mothers responded to “something” that was not observable to others until the video of the interaction was examined frame by frame, and micro expressions of emotions of sadness, and even rejection, could be observed. We grow and develop our abilities to read these cues when we are exposed to them. In contrast, many ICT resources use cartoon figures which do not give a very good representation of facial expression beyond the most basic level. We need to make sure that there is enough exposure to real social situations, and practice in understanding the non-verbal expression involved.
    Thirdly, we need to teach children to discern the truthfulness or validity of what is presented. There is a huge power to change attitudes and opinions by what is presented, especially by people who are believed to be experts. If the general population had more of this discernment, the whole advertising industry would probably collapse, as it depends on presenting certain information by a person who will be judged as trustworthy and knowledgeable by the viewing audience.
    Whose job is the teaching of social skills such as these? Good parents and good teachers probably do this, but in a world of decreasing time and increasing demands upon it, these skills are being lost. In our child mental health services, the teaching of social skills was a significant part, as the lack of appropriate social skills was a precurser to many emotional and behavioural problems. As education changes from the imparting of information, to the learning of how to obtain information and use it to think with, skills such as these are crucial. There was an assumption that the classroom teacher was a trustworthy source. That assumption cannot necessarily be made with sources such as the internet.

  5. Thank you Kate for your response. Following on from this I would also like to mention that the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) points out that “children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media” and educators promote this learning when they “teach children skills and techniques that will enhance their capacity for self-expression and communication”. When an educator is engaged with children’s emotions and thinking, they play a crucial role in discovering how the child operates. Using the Social Constructivism model certainly supports this guide from the EYLF.

    References: Early Years Learning Framework retrieved from http://www.deewr.gov.au/EarlyChildhood/Policy_Agenda/Quality/Pages/EarlyYearsLearningFramework.aspx

    • katereidedc3100

      Hi Wendy, as you have highlighted, we do have a responsibility to follow the curriculum, and as we can see from your example, you saw that there was some disengagement from learning, you provided an opportunity to reengage the students’ interest. This fits with what Jean has said regarding the importance of facial expressions to interaction, while the letterland program is well known as a quality literacy program, the students still responded better to a ‘real’ person.
      Perhaps the ‘set-and-forget’ approach to ICTs that participants Jodi Carstens, Katie Write, Rebecca and Kylie Kite have argued against is easy to implement, and may indeed be how ICTs are used in some contexts but I believe it is important to remember the social side when considering the pedagogical approach; I can see how particularly for the younger age groups it is vital to maintain that personal connection, and would like to learn more about how much ‘real life’ social interaction is necessary when using ICTs in the classroom.
      I will direct this question to our experts: What should we be looking for when selecting a learning program to enhance interaction and communication? Can we define a pedagogical approach for best practice?

  6. Hi everyone,
    Wendy I really like your idea of including social media into your early childhood literacy program. One of my queries has always been regarding whether children have enough social contact in the present day, with all the social media applications around. I know my teenage daughter prefers to send a text message rather than participate in verbal communication with others. This does concern me as a mother and an early childhood student. Although with the introduction of a service such as Skype into the early childhood classroom opens extra doors for means of communication with other members of the community. As you mentioned, even the most timid child participated! This is a wonderful way to connect with others.
    I feel another asset to the early childhood classroom would be the introduction of a video camera or even the cassette recorder, also ICT resources. The children could make use of these items that both require the means of visual and verbal communication. “The children need a variety of applications which encourage a range of development including creativity, self- expression and language”. (Airaj-Blatchford & Airaj-Blatchford, 2000).

    References: Airaj-Blatchford, I., & Airaj-Blatchford, J. (2000). children using ICT – The 7 principles of good practice. London.

  7. No one can deny that the world is changing at a fast pace and the new Australian Curriculum recognises this and therefore calls for teachers to embrace technology and so it should be done. But is it being done in all classrooms across Australia? Probably not. I am sure that many are doing what Kate describe as ‘set and forget’ ICT’s, I don’t think teachers are intentionally providing their students with less than ideal ICT learning experiences. So many teachers are struggling to grasp how to integrate ICT’s just as we are. Teachers need to be up to speed and constantly questioning their approach to teaching. This is an ongoing necessity for the teaching profession as we strive to produce students who will be active members of our ever changing society. I almost think there is no middle ground, as I think bad use of ICT’s is worse than no use at all. So if we could all just fast forward and embrace the changes to the curriculum and reflect these changes in teaching practices then we will have truly transformed the schooling experience. But this is where I come unstuck, how do I fast forward and simply have all the knowledge and understanding to be the best I can be? Anne, Shelley and Martin you are all constantly working with teachers, providing professional development relating to technology. What do you say? Where do teachers start? How best can teachers support their student’s social learning through the use of ICT’s? I think Jean has raised some very relevant concerns for example, many online learning experiences do utilise cartoon figures, should teachers avoid such programs if social development is being considered?

    Anne in your previous post you outlined that the school you’re linked with utilises PETE – Primary Education Through E-learning – You said ‘It is essential that teachers are equipped to upload their programs within the learning management system. At our school weekly in-house teacher PD has been essential to the embedding of ICT. PETE is a critical element of the teaching and learning.’ Anne can I ask you to extend on this post / comment. So can teachers upload any resource they think is suitable or is there a ‘management system / body’ which oversees new resources to ensure they are suitable? Weekly PD – Have teachers ever discussed possible issues or concerns regarding ICT use and social development? Does the school have a policy on how much screen time is allowed or how set programs are to be used?

    Karen

  8. Hello there, How has your day been so far. I’ve just read through the dialogue.

    “What should we be looking for when selecting a learning program to enhance interaction and communication? Can we define a pedagogical approach for best practice?”

    Interesting question. As I read through the transcript this statement leapt out at me…”unfortunately the phonics program we use does not allow for child interaction”

    As we consider learning, I think we need to think about the pedagogy, whether there is ICT or not. All learning needs to be social, engaging, relational, authentic (among other things) and then make sure that the ICT fits the values and priorities you are seeking. No ICT for ICT sake. The world is very different, an effective learning environment must have interaction and engagement.

    I started my teaching career as a Kindergarten/Year 1 teacher (NSW terminology), with a child-driven, interactive, play-based discovery approach. It breaks my heart to see the pressure placed on educators to drill and introduce formal learning too early and too frequently in the day.

    We all know that at a young age children can repeat and rote ‘learn’ – but is it really deep learning. Do you find there is pressure to formalise learning too early and then ICT becomes a drill activity rather than an exploration tool?

    • katereidedc3100

      Hi Anne, I agree with you that when planning for learning, we need to ensure that it is social, engaging, relational, and authentic-with this in mind, we utilise ICTs that will facilitate higher order thinking, making sure that the ICT is used because it is the best way in each situation, rather than using ICT for its own sake.
      Its interesting that you mention formalized learning too early; I have had several conversations with my (Early Childhood Specialization) university lecturers, who would love to see a play-based approach taken with the first years of ‘big school’ continuing from the philosophy of the EYLF in Prep and then only slowly moving away from this type of pedagogy over the course of the next few years, which is quite different to how I have experienced the Early Years of schooling through Practical experience and with my own children.

      I would love to see systems in place that ensured learning is exciting and authentic for children; I believe that it is particularly important that children ‘switch on’ to learning in the early years of schooling, as the first experiences with education help to form a child’s sense of self efficacy, and we know from research that self efficacy is linked to a child’s educational and social outcome, with a child’s ability to stay on task and build social relationships with peers is linked with this vital disposition (Gambinab & Święcickaa, 2012), so in light of our Group’s overarching question of how ICTs influence social development, we need to take extra care and consideration of our pedagogical approach to ICT use.
      Kate

      Gambinab, M. & Święcickaa, M. (2012). Construction and validation of Self-Efficacy Scale for early school-aged children. European Journal of Developmental Psychology. Retrieved on 17/08/2012 from http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1080/17405629.2012.688100

  9. Hi Anne,
    We must have been commenting at the same time. I do not believe rote learning is at all linked with deep learning. Yes I think children are feeling the pressures of society earlier and earlier and it breaks my heart. When I first began in the field of early childhood about 20 years ago, it was all about the process not the product. But I sometimes feel that society and therefore parents are placing children and therefore teachers under pressure to produce.

    I took my daughter to a Prep interview a few months ago and one Dad asked ‘When will my son have to hand in his first project?’ My jaw almost hit the ground and the poor teacher went white and didn’t know how to respond. Pressure to produce may result in teachers using ICT’s for drill purposes, yes. I can see rows of desk with student’s heads buried in screens, complete silence and the teacher sitting up front. ICT’s are almost like a new weapon which we can choose to use for good or evil. Of course I prefer good.

    Karen

  10. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for your comment, it really hit home for me. As I mentioned, I work within the Kindergarten setting and the pressure on us is enormous in regards to results from the children. Far to often I am asked “When will you teach my child to read”, “Where are the worksheets for my child to take home” and “When will assessments take place”. Let us also include at this point that the pressure put on teachers from higher grades filters down to us as well. We are far to often told these days what we MUST teach the children in order for them to reach the desired outcome.

    As you are aware, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) of which I use in my setting, is one based on a child Belonging, Being & Becoming. With all of the pressure put on teachers it makes it extremely hard for us to follow these guidelines and plan a program that is richly child based.

    Unfortunately, I have seen teachers use ICT for ICT sake. When I once asked a mentor teacher to explain the reasoning of why the child was sat alone in front of a computer screen the response was “I need to get an observation on this child that covers Outcome 5 of the curriculum”. Ironically, Outcome 5 of the EYLF is clearly titled “Children are effective communicators” yet there was no communication happening in this particular “lesson”. Just a lonely child pressing a few buttons on a computer screen.

    A case of to much pressure put on the teacher to provide activities that reach a desired outcome or a case of a teacher with no pedagogical direction?

    Wendy.

  11. “I need to get an observation on this child that covers Outcome 5 of the curriculum” = heartbreaking!

    At the school where I am located we seek to do both/and – meet regulated curriculum requirements, yet present learning in an engaging, meaningful and relational context. We have a learning space for upper primary that is 180 students with 6 teachers. There is a strong literacy and numeracy focus, the personalised approach also enables “Belonging, Being & Becoming” – most important. It is essential that the teachers work in a teams.

    See a video here: http://vimeo.com/28425187

    • katereidedc3100

      How exciting, Anne, to have such a collaborative and social work space for your students! I would like to ask if there was initial opposition from the community, parents, governing bodies etc because your schools way of teaching and learning were different to traditional methods; do you have advice for pre-service teachers regarding pushing for quality systems, even if it means doing things a different way to the ‘norm’?

  12. Absolutely it was heartbreaking Anne and a “lesson” I will never forget.

    Thankyou for sharing the above link. What an amazing school you have! What strikes me instantly is the way I see the children interacting with one another in small groups. The use of technology within these small groups, the collaborative learning taking place as they share their individual learning styles with one another; thus creating higher order thinking amongst the group.

    I note the mention of students “weaving their own path through the level of Blooms Taxonomy and across Gardner’s multiple intelligences”. Focusing on just one area of Howard Gardner’s intelligences, linguistic, I was able to connect with what one of your students was referring to in terms of using Storybird. A wonderful example of how linguistic intelligence is catered for as you are satisfying the learning needs of your students.

    Again, absolutely awe inspiring to watch, thankyou!

  13. Hi Everyone,

    What a wonderful discussion taking place! I’ve just caught up on reading and it is amazing to see and hear what everyone is doing. I have also seen teachers using ICT for ICT sake and not providing engaging learning experiences. I believe ICT provides an opportunity to engage students on a different level. I am lucky enough to have an IWB in my classroom and use it multiple times a day. It takes time and effort to prepare these lessons but the learning outcomes of the students is worth every moment! I use it in whole class and small group lessons and find it much more valuable than sitting the children on computers as they are able to work together and discuss as they go.

    Thank you to everyone for your insipration and comments! Wonderful thoughts for a Friday afternoon.

    • katereidedc3100

      Hi Katie, and thank you for taking the time to comment, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to interact with those who are actually using these technologies- as a teacher using an IWB in your classroom, how do you decide which approach is best, traditional or ICT for a lesson, and have you ever felt pressure to use it ‘just because it’s there’? Do you find that all students enjoy learning this way, or are there some who seem to respond better than others?

  14. Wow, wow, wow what more can I say. No wonder Northern Beaches Christian School is one of the most innovative in the world. What an exciting learning space not only for the children but also for the staff, what a motivating environment to work in. I agree with the whole flow of conversation Wendy I agree with Anne ‘heartbreaking’ but I must say I have observed similar in my working career. Anne I would also like to know if there was initial opposition to your new learning environment. Anne why is it important for teachers to work in groups? How did you come to this decision? Who decided that? And is this just for short periods throughout the day or week? I suppose I have never really observed a truly effective ICT lesson, so it was hard for me to picture how ICT’s could ever benefit children in a social way. But that video just proved to be such a wonderful eye opener. As you say Wendy the children were utilising their strengths and the amount of discussion, open communication and problem solving was inspiring. True child centred learning. Karen

  15. “was initial opposition to your new learning environment”
    The development of the spaces has been a collaborative journey, keeping the parents informed. However, the most significant ‘evidence’ is the engagement of the children, their excitement of Lear ing and the significant reduction in behaviour issues.l

    “why is it important for teachers to work in groups?”
    a few reasons…
    1. In a vibrant cross-disciplinary environment it shares the planning load and frees us time for the teachers to work with the students
    2. Builds collegiality amongst the teachers
    3. Models to the children that collaboration is an essential 21stC skills
    4. So much more enjoyable!

    How often? The children and teachers spend the week in the 6:180 open space, it’s like home. Our visitors are amazed, the children are the drivers of their own learning. They can relate to any one of the teachers.

    Effective ICT is not just discreet ‘lessons’, it’s impact is most effective when it is a tool for learning, and another learning (virtual) environment – rather than something special it’s just another tool.

    Think about how you use devices? You and I don’t have ‘computer sessions’ we pick it up and use it as needed.

    Now think about what that means for kids.

  16. Hi everyone!

    Still catching up with the thoughtful discussion taking place. I think it is wonderful that many of us are heartbroken by what is taking place with mandated curriculums worldwide. This shows a deep passion and concern for your profession and I can tell you are educators who really care about engaging your students in learning they can be excited about. Anne brought up many great points about designing and integrating technology effectively. I love that she brought up to work in teams to design lessons. I participate in various educator networks online and I often collaborate with teachers online to design lessons. This was mainly due to the fact I was working in a small school in Germany and our staff of teachers rarely met to collaborate. Planning a lesson with a teacher in another country on Skype or through a Google chat was much easier for me and I could work with teachers excited to work with me. When I was teaching in Texas I had a much larger staff to work with and was able to collaborate with teachers in the school to design lessons. Whichever type of environment you work in, I think it is important to work with your colleagues. I found I was more energized, enthused and creative when designing lessons collaboratively. It sure beats spending the hours alone doing it!

    Another great point was how we balance both- meeting the needs of the curriculum, yet ensuring our students aren’t drilled to the point they hate learning. Personally, I believe in very little rote learning in the classroom. I like to encourage that more for self-study and think we can teach it as a study skill. Rote learning is one of the most difficult ways to store new knowledge in long-term memory. Hands-on, student-centered learning, and play often result in learning that is more engaging and also supportive of cognitive development. For example, a student learning about animal habitats will remember that information for years to come if they create their own habitats or take pictures of them and post them online in a blog and write what they observe versus reading the information on a book and memorizing the vocabulary.

    When designing lessons with ICT I try to think of what my students already do with technology. I survey them at the beginning of the year and find out their home habits with technology. I like to incorporate that into the design of a lesson and also ensure it is hands-on and active. For example, my high school students liked making videos and watching Youtube. One of the lessons in the book was on writing argumentative essays and evaluating stereotypes. We read a short essay then we were supposed to write an essay based on the reading. I prefer project-based and problem-based learning. Instead, I had my high school students evaluate various commercials on Youtube. I told them I was the head of an advertising agency and that the companies in these commercials came to us because they lost clients over the commercials since these commercials perpetuated stereotypes. The students acted as creative directors who wrote an essay explaining to me the problems with the commercial they had chosen and how they would go about fixing them. The students then had to recreate the exact commercial with their proposed fixes. They were allowed to involve anyone, including other students outside the classroom, parents, etc. They used their own digital cameras and if they didn’t have one I allowed them to use mine. Now there are free programs like Animoto, GoAnimate, etc. and also mobile devices make this an easier task. The students love this project, their commercials were fantastic, and it still met the outcomes of the original lesson. I just tweaked it to make it more motivating, hands-on, and incorporate the skills they’d need in their workforce. I graded with a rubric. You can find many ICT rubrics here, http://www.schrockguide.net/assessment-and-rubrics.html

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