HELP! What is the best way of actually using ICT in the classroom?

On my practicums, I have felt like I was in the eye of the hurricane when it came to classroom ICT. For every mentor that I had that championed ICT-based pedagogy, I had another educational expert telling me that it’s just a ‘fad’ and not to use it. What is the true answer? Should I try and use it or should I try and emulate some of my other teaching heroes that spout messages of ‘old fashioned teaching’?

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Hello again, Liam!
Great question! There does seem to be an impasse at the moment with classroom ICT. One could say it is probably the most pressing issue in modern-day education. There is a battle between the ‘old-school’ and ‘new-school’, which I believe is compounded by the majority of Australian teachers nearing retirement age. Technology can be daunting, and they can be forgiven for being hesitant at seemingly giving up their entire classroom methods to ICT just before walking away from the profession altogether.

Luckily for all of us, at PRAC-E Symposium II, Dr. Christopher Blundell, an academic from QUT and specialist in classroom ICT, gave a matter-of-fact talk about its usage. See what he had to say in the video and podcast below!

SUMMARY

  • Technology is not useful if it’s just a gimmick. Technology should be judged through the lens of its impact on student learning.
  • ICT is simply a tool to improve student learning. It has its place, but it also doesn’t in certain areas.
  • You have to question what you think ‘learning’ actually is. This will frame your approach to classroom technology.
  • If your goal is to make students learn, then everything should be used to determine what works for them.
  • If a tool is not positively impacting the students’ abilities to learn, than it should not be implemented.
  • A common argument is that ICT is ‘distracting’. If it is, you’re not using it correctly. ICT should be unavoidably engaging and interesting. Always question, if its improving student engagement.
  • ICT should always make your pedagogy deeper. If it is just a substitution, you should not do it.
  • Whenever you think of using any tool in pedagogy, deeply question its purpose. Then, question how it will be used, and how it will allow the students to engage in their learning. Then question outcomes. Make sure you have a method of measuring its use, and whether it actually improved your teaching.
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