I love the information, links and ideas I get my Twitter network. The thoughts of other educators are often provoking and make me think about my teaching. This morning I was checking my TweetDeck and checked out the Curriculum 21 ning site. ‘Langwitches’ had posted a new quote.

Curriculum 21 Quotes

Curriculum 21 is a new ning site for me but I liked the tag line on their site “Mapping the Global Classroom of the Future.” I’ll have to look around the site more but I may have to join this new network and make some connections.

nichcy.org

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Curriculum, pedagogies and practice with ICT in the information age

Nicola Yelland, Chapter 14: page 225

Critical Issues in Early Childhood Education
Edited by Nicola Yelland

This is an reflection that I wrote for a previous class that has relevance to the discussions that I’ve been having with colleagues and supervisors in my school division.

I connected with the challenges that educators are having integrating technology into their classrooms. Yelland comments on the concerns being raised about the amount of time young children spend on computers and whether that time is time well spent. The concerns are not support by research or data. In fact, research is showing that home use of computers support learning. In Jackie Marsh’s article Digikids: Young children, popular culture and media she finds that research supports computer use. On page 189 Marsh quotes “The relationship between literacy learning and computer-game playing is complex, but nevertheless significant” (Gee, 2003; and Pahl, 2005). Many people who object to computer use are focused on violent games, inappropriate web sites and questionable content but are not using research to support their beliefs. I believe as educators we need to teach students responsible use of  computers, software and the internet because we see the value of computers for students. I recently read a blog post about filtering of internet in school and how we as teachers need to teach our students what sites they are to use in school and what sites aren’t appropriate. Will Richardson, who wrote the blog post, thought that filtering was a form of classroom management so that teachers didn’t have to teach responsible use. 

Yelland’s article also looked at the value of ‘authentic activities’ that students can experience using computers and the internet. In my own case, my students have gone on virtual field trips around North America, dissected a frog, examined and commented on art in museums, visited Auschwitz and collaborated with students around the world. My students also have personal blogs which allow them to post their writing on-line and have an authentic audience to provide feedback. I find it hard to understand that people could not see the value in the experiences students have using technology. Students become excited when they have visitors to their blogs that read their writing or leaving comments. The visitors or their audience provide motivation to continue writing and posting to their blogs but perhaps the biggest factor is that students begin to want to write ‘for’ their audience. Students become better descriptive writers who become more aware of the mechanics of their writing so that they can provide their audience with interesting blog articles to read.  The goal is that the blogs can provide authentic audiences, rich discussions, feedback and interactions for the reader and the writer.

On page 226 Yelland states “Children are exposed to computers and a vast range of new technologies in every aspect of their lives. It is impossible for any of us to avoid technologies since they are integratal to everything we do.” Leonie Rowan and Eileen Honan in the article Literaily lost: the quest for quality literary agendas in early childhood education explores the various types of literacies that young children engage in. Young children are already participating in “media literacy, computer literacy, technological literacy, visual literacy or emotional literacy” (page 195). If young children are already exposed to these various literacies why wouldn’t we as educators embrace these opportunities to build upon them as we teach the children? Yelland continues this thought “If schools ignore this (the prevalent use of technology in our society) they cease to be relevant to life in the twenty-first century “(page 226).

On page 227 Yelland questions the new curriculum “there has been an increasing recognition that curriculum decision-making needs to take note of children’s out-of-school experiences and build upon them.” I agree that these questions need to be asked and educators need to be the ones to make changes in their classroom. I also think there should be changes made in teacher education programs that weave technology use throughout the content classes to show pre-service teachers how use technology in the classroom. Yelland quotes Dede who has “called on educators to ‘reshape children’s learning experience in and out of school to prepare them for a future quite different from the immedate past. Meeting this challenge involves teaching new skills, not simply teaching old skills better” (2002, p.178).

These are questions that the articles raised:

1. We can’t avoid technology in our lives so why do we want children to avoid technology in schools?

2.  Why is using technology relevant in the twenty-first century?

3. Why doesn’t provincial curricula recognize the value of technology? Does the curricula give teachers any incentive to integrate technology into subject areas?

4. How do you use technology in your teaching/school?

5. What type of technology use do you feel has the most value to students?

6. We can’t avoid technology in our lives so why do we want children to avoid technology in school?

7. Why is using technology relevant in the twenty-first century?

8. What future are we preparing our students/children for?

9. Why doesn’t provincial curricula recognize the value of technology?

10. Does the curricula give teachers any incentive to integrate technology into subject areas?

11. Why do educators have to prove that use of technology is beneficial to students?

    I’ve spent about 45 minutes looking through all of my emails from my Diigo groups and checking out the links. There are links about math, science, language arts, story telling, research, use of technology and on and on. Subscribing to Diigo and joining a few Diigo groups allows me to keep up on current posting and new links. The members of the groups find the links and post the interesting ones to the Diigo group. I like to go through the links then organize the ones I want to keep on my wikis. I have wikis for all of the subject areas I teach and a wiki that I use for all of my professional links. Today I came across this post and thought it was very fitting considering that we’re all planning our major digital project for our class. As well, I’m on my school division’s technology committee and we’re planning our technology goals based on why we’re going to be using the technology. These are questions that we should all be asking ourselves as we embark on our technological journey.

    “5 Questions for Planning Successful Web-Based Activities

    1. What is the curriculum related purpose of the activity? The outcome or assessment should be aligned to your lesson objectives and standards.

    2. Does the Internet enhance the activity? If the answer is no, find a more appropriate place to integrate the web.

    3. How will students use the online resources? Once students locate information, they should be asked to apply, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, or create. The activity should require them to move to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

    4. Do students have necessary information analysis/information synthesis skills or am I including these in instruction? The project should not become simply an exercise in locating information. Students must have the necessary background knowledge and pre-requisite skills to complete higher level tasks or these must be included in instruction prior to the web-based learning activity.

    5. Do I have the necessary time and support for the activity? Double your original time estimate and always have access to technical support to resolve problems efficiently.”

    “Lists are based on those outlined in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching by M. D. Roblyer.” source: http://unhub.com/rXKd