Discussion Day 4

So far we have discussed the numerous benefits that ICTs have in developing social capabilities with young students. It has been made clear that for this to occur, it is important the pedagogy used by educators is conducive with an interactional learning environment which encourages meaningful communication and collaboration of learning. The value that ICTs have in promoting skills for the 21st century is undeniable which brings us to today’s topic of discussion. Our expert Jean  states ‘that predictions in the use of technology to communicate is going to increase dramatically i.e people working from home, online shopping, leisure activities such as online gaming and movies, social media and so on’.

Is the focus of education to prepare for this kind of world? More importantly, can educators determine the world of the future by their current practices? Can you make a difference? (Thank you Jean for these thought provoking questions).

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9 responses to “Discussion Day 4

  1. katereidedc3100

    A comment by Shelly yesterday really links well here, I believe we can learn a lot from her example:
    “What a thoughtful question! I truly believe in the power of planting seeds and our influence. I write about it more here, http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2012/06/26/goal-11-feel-the-weight-of-your-impact-30goalsedu

    Now I’m about to go on a tirade of my belief in the importance of our roles as educators. I feel very passionate about this because statistics are alarming. Millions of students drop out of school, millions are incarcerated, millions do drugs, millions are in the welfare system, cyberbullying is a huge problem, sexting is a problem, etc. Most schools don’t allow social media or technology in schools so students are learning from their peers how to use these various technologies. I also am impacted by the actions of those in leadership positions in our society. I take it personally as an educator when I hear that those running companies are cheating people out of pensions or take vacations on yachts while there are oil leaks. I attribute part of this to schools focusing on standardized tests and not teaching kids how to be humanitarian, ethical, or good citizens with and without technology. Many schools worldwide no longer or never did have citizenship or ethics classes. I have trained teachers in 100s of countries virtually and face-to-face. Teachers are stressed because they feel the impact of a curriculum that focuses on outcomes assessed by numbers versus what a student actually does with the knowledge they are taught. I think the curriculum needs to change to focus on teaching kids to be good citizens and problem solve with and without technology. Once this is in the curriculum then it will be a focus and we can alleviate many of the problems that are occurring in society due to it not being taught in schools.
    I also look at the time educators spend with students. Students will spend their developmental years in schools. They will spend 8 hours a day about 5 days a week either in schools or participating in school sports/activities. Imagine a child is told by a teacher for a year that he/she believes in him/her for an entire year. Imagine that the teacher guides this student in how to use Facebook, mobile devices, the computer, social media, and online collaboration tools to engage with others, learn about other countries and cultures, collaborate, create a positive digital footprint, and problem solve collaboratively to solve a local or world problem. Imagine the teacher makes that student aware of having a balance with that technology and teaches them to also participate in active or outdoor activities. This is what I imagine every time I train teachers or walk into a classroom full of students. I have that entire hour, day, week, month, semester or year to make an impact and I know that I plant seeds. One day I woke up and realize that I’ve been teaching for over 10 years and that means I have planted over 1000 seeds and whenever these individuals make a decision I know they will remember some of the lessons learnt and it will influence their decisions. These decisions will impact others they encounter. If every educator counted the number of individuals they taught and the seeds they planted, they would realize that is a lot of influence and impact. So not only do I believe educators make a difference. I can tell you that I know educators do make a difference and that our seeds planted today and how we water them will make an impact in 10, 20, 30 years and more. We might only see the impact years later when one of our students comes back to remind us. We may never see or hear the impact but definitely we leave an impact. We teach 100s and even 1000s in our lifetime. We plant continuous seeds daily with a child for long periods of time when they are learning by our actions and how we guide them.

    According to Bandura, we often learn through modeling the adults in our lives, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Bandura
    Here’s a post I wrote about kids using social media to impact the world, http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2012/07/30/10-kids-transforming-their-world-through-social-media/

    So from Shelly’s example, we can see that there is a real opportunity for us to teach the curriculum in a way that facilitates a sense of social responsibility and ethics in our students- we know that technology is becoming more and more important in our lives, according to Home Computer Access and Internet Use (2012), In 2010, almost six out of ten children ages three to 17 used the Internet at home (57 percent), nearly three times as many as in 1997 (22 percent). Eighty-five percent had access to a computer at home, up from 15 percent in 1984.

    So I believe that yes, as educators we can help to shape the world of the future, as Shelly has stated so eloquently, through our beliefs about ourselves, and our students. How though can we keep this ideal in mind every day, as teaching children to be ‘good citizens’ as Shelly mentions is not in the curriculum, and as such is not necessarily viewed as important?
    In light of our overarching question: ‘How are social capabilities influenced by the use of ICTs?’ if we know that the use of digital technologies is increasing, yet because it is changing so fast, it is difficult to teach very specific skills. However we do know that being able to relate to others is important in every walk of life, and for almost every task, is it fair to instead focus on general skill development, some of which are related to being able to use new ICTs as they become available as well as general capabilities in other areas?

  2. Wow, thank you Jean for asking these questions which require us to look into our own perspectives of education and evaluate the importance of ICT in learning for the futures of our students. It is no surprise to me that technology is fast evolving and communication between people near and far is becoming more efficient. As it has been mentioned, ICTs are essentially just another tool for use, to be able to participate in a society which relies on quick access to information and ability to share this information with other people. Utilising ICTs provide the means to do this in the most efficient way possible. That said, we understand that using ICTs in the classroom should only be used if it provides an enhanced understanding of new concepts and benefits the holistic nature of student’s learning.

    Shelly – I just love your analogy of planting seeds as you describe your perspective of education. I certainly agree that the teacher’s role is vitally important to ensure that children have the best possible start. Furthermore, teaching young students how to be a good citizen so that they can participate harmoniously with others in modernist society is also important. Both John Dewey and Paulo Friere emphasise the importance of morality in students which is an integral component for growth and social development (Johnson, T & Reed, R.,2008). Along with refining our personal perspectives of education and improving our teaching pedagogies, we must also consider the role of ICTs in our future student’s learning thus they can achieve all the educational outcomes required to instil the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs to become the leaders of tomorrow. I will end on this; in a world which is based on societal processes and community affairs it is critical that we as future educators ensure that the social capabilities of students are developed and when using ICTs, guarantees it has ‘real’ purpose and ultimately transforms the learning.

    References: Johnson, T & Reed, R. (2008). John Dewey. In Philosophical Documents in Education (pp98-124). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc

    • katereidedc3100

      Hi Cecilia, when you said “in a world which is based on societal processes and community affairs it is critical that we as future educators ensure that the social capabilities of students are developed and when using ICTs, guarantees it has ‘real’ purpose and ultimately transforms the learning” it really struck a chord with me; like our experts have said, ICTs are tools to be used-where appropriate to enhance learning in a whole range of areas, and should be carefully selected. The educators must also remember that while using ICTs, they have the opportunity to either increase or decrease students social capabilities, so the way in which they are used is important. I do feel that the effect educators have on students is long lasting, and what we do today does make a difference to the future.

    • Thank you for bringing up Dewey and Friere as I believe both are very important to great instructional practice. I also enjoyed your thought, “in a world which is based on societal processes and community affairs it is critical that we as future educators ensure that the social capabilities of students are developed and when using ICTs, guarantees it has ‘real’ purpose and ultimately transforms the learning.”

      To add to your thoughts, I think that there is powerful potential for students to use ICTs to connect, communication, and collaborate with their peers worldwide. As adults they will need to know how to use ICTs to problem solve either at work or for themselves. Already we notice how when we need to accomplish something and we call we are connected with English speakers from other countries. We have to communicate with them effectively to sometimes pay bills or get help with accounts. Many companies outsource to other countries and most are globalized. Many workers worldwide are part of global teams and they must video conference, attend/conduct webinars, or even create and maintain company profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, GooglePlus and Twitter. If our students learn how to use ICTs to problem solve, communicate effectively, and collaborate then they will be better prepared to meet many challenges they will face in their careers and as adults. We are becoming more of a “flat world” and finding that what happens in other countries impacts us. However, many of our students live in a microcosm and they rarely get to learn how to communicate/collaborate/problem with ICTs. They then encounter problems in life because they didn’t learn how to do this. Communicating online is very different from communicating face-to-face. Even for this forum, there were netiquette rules posted so we could have a healthy and productive discussion. Without the nonverbal communication which researchers say comprises 65% to 85% of communication, there is a lot of room for misunderstandings. Our students already face these challenges and some misunderstandings, cyberbullying, or sexting has caused some of our students to commit suicide. And many of us also face challenges. Just this week my father’s server went down because he clicked on a spam email. How many of us have had identities stolen, malware, caught viruses, lost important information, or encountered other problems because we just didn’t know what we were doing with the technology? These problems are due to not ever being taught in schools how to use ICTs and there is an opportunity for us to be there as our students make mistakes online and guide them in the right direction so they can use these tools effectively that are already embedded in our society.

      • katereidedc3100

        Hi Shelly, I really appreciate your thoughts on teaching students to use ICT to “problem solve, communicate effectively, and collaborate;” this might seem obvious, but one of the things I will take away with me from this learning journey is to use ICT in classrooms when, and only when it is authentic to the learning process, rather than using ICT for ICTs sake.
        Like you say, learning to communicate is a vital skill, and we can use the ideas of constructivist theorists such as Bruner, Piaget and Vygotsky to create learning environments with an understanding of the active, social nature of learning, where students interact with others, building understanding together that wouldn’t be possible alone (Greeno, Collins & Resnick, 1996).
        I feel the pedagogical approach should be as Anne Knock said on day 2: ICT is a tool which should be used when needed- that we don’t keep our own computers for special times, we use them when we know they will be useful. If we keep these ideas in mind, we can create learning environments where the right tools can be used in order to facilitate higher order thinking and the social capabilities necessary to work with, communicate and collaborate with others.

        Greeno, J. G., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, L. B. (1996). Cognition and learning. In Handbook of Educational Psychology, D. C. Berliner and R. C. Calfee Eds. New York: Macmillan

  3. Shelly,
    I only just had the time to look over these 2 links provided and I have shared them via Diigo with our EDC3100 group. I think that these two documents support exactly what our lecturer David Jones has been saying all along. The first checklist matches perfectly with what David has told us to consider when planning our curriculum suggestion for this piece of assessment. I actually commented on what I believe he meant earlier on in our blog. This checklist supports my interpretation and therefore will be a very handy tool now and into the future.
    http://www.edtech-hub.com/resources/techteachchecklist.html

    The second link I love is about ‘Integrating Technology: 8 Key Questions’. This blog made me feel more at ease. As you say you use this document to support current teachers who are undertaking professional development in relation to ICT integration. Student teachers often feel so lost and unsure regarding ICT’s and to know some current teachers also feel this way is reassuring, that everything is achievable overtime.
    http://www.theconsultants-e.com/ourblog/blog/2012/Integrating_Technology_8_Key_Questions.aspx

    I have revisited the above two links as I believe they are relevant to Jeans question. I do believe that educators who are constantly reflecting, revisiting and evaluating their own practices and beliefs will be the best they can be and therefore influence each and every one of their students in a positive way.

    By always having such documents as tools for reflection, educators will be reminded of best practices and hopefully not slip into complacency.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these resources with your teachers! It sounds like David is doing an excellent job in supporting the educators in this program to be excellent educators. I hope there are many more programs like this in degree programs worldwide so that we prepare educators adequately to meet the needs of our learners today. Two of my favorite quotes that I think reflect the amazing amount of learning that is taking place here are:

    “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” ~ Bill Gates
    “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” ~ John Dewey

  5. Hello, happy Monday.

    As I read through the discussion today one thought came to me… These kids are growing up with technology, with its integration into life like never before seen. Do they really need much taught in terms of ICT? Of course they need guidance, but the wisdom is that there are a range of soft-sills that actually need to be taught for success in the technology age.

    From my reading these are the kinds of skills we need to ensure children acquire:

    1. Sense Making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
    (simply stated, sense making is critical thinking)

    2. Social Intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions

    3. Novel and Adaptive Thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.

    4. Cross-Cultural Competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings

    5. Computational Thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning

    6. New-Media Literacy: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.

    7. Transdisciplinarity: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines

    8. Design Mindset: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes

    9. Cognitive Load Management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques

    10. Virtual Collaboration: The ability to work proactively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team

    Link here: http://www.phoenix.edu/education-in-the-21st-century/21st-century-skills/10-skills-for-the-future-workforce-part-1-of-5.html

    • katereidedc3100

      Hi Anne, and thank you for sharing this list with us, it helps to bring together many different threads that we have learnt about over our course of study; I am sure we will all look back and reflect on this list as we embark on our education journey.
      I would like to thank you and our panel, Martin Burrett, Jean Dakin, Shelly Sanchez Terrell and Katie Younger whose insights, experience and understanding of both ICT and creating optimal environments for children to learn in has made this event amazing. Thank you.

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