Does ICT change how we learn (as distinct from providing new strategies for supporting learners)?
Firstly, according to Buckingham (2007), the use of ICT in primary schools has lasting effects on children’s motivation and willingness to learn. This is because children look forward to using technology during class time, for example using the laptops or iPads. From my experiences in schools, when children are given technology to use during a lesson they usually become more motivated to complete the activity that has been set, even if it is just using Microsoft Word to write sentences about a book they have been reading in class. Becta (2003, cited in Condie and Munro, 2007) believes that the use of word processing enhances writing development when combined with high-quality teacher guidance or when given a purpose or a context for the piece of writing.
However, what I have also noticed is that there is a big divide between the qualities of work which is produced from the children who are more capable of using technology and those who are less capable. I have read some brilliant sentences from children which includes all the criteria I have asked for and then read really bad sentences which hardly includes any of the criteria which I asked for – these children are in the same English group so should be producing similar pieces of work. I cannot help but question if it is because some of those children are not ICT literate? Children need the skills to use ICT to at least be able to produce satisfactory work!
A new strategy for supporting learners which cannot be used without technology includes the online educational games. I believe that these educational games are a good strategy to support learners – not only do they motivate children and provide a more enjoyable experience, they also teach children to think: they enable children to develop reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making skills which are generalizable to real life situations (Prensky, 2006, cited in Buckingham, 2007). I believe that providing children with technology based educational games is beneficial for children, although I think some teachers may become lazy and plan for children to play these games when they cannot be bothered to plan a more creative activity for children which may be more effective.
It has surprised me to find out that only 26% of teachers believe that the use of ICT makes learning more effective for children (Becta, 2009). I believe this may be because the knowledge and skills teachers have of ICT themselves may not be to a high standard; therefore what they are providing for children may not be effective. Thus, teachers need training and support for the different uses of ICT and how it can be beneficial for children (hopefully this can be something I teach staff at schools in the future!).
Becta, (2009) Harnessing Technology Review 2009: The role of technology in education and skills, Coventry: Becta
Buckingham, D. (2010) Beyond Technology: children’s learning in the age of digital culture, Cambridge: Polity Press
Condie, R., and B. Munro, (2007) The Impact of ICT in Schools – a Landscape Review, Coventry: Becta