ICTs in education: What’s important?

Kid with a kid cameraIt’s been a busy couple of weeks at a couple of conference days in Taranaki and Napier – and the highlight of Friday was a day spent with the Digital Daze cluster, in workshops and with a keynote, before their community celebration that was their DigiAwards.

A key idea that I and colleague, Chrissie Butler, were keen to explore throughout the day was the absolute importance of focusing on what students need, who they are, what they bring….and that the technology is always in support of that priority.

A central concern expressed by teachers and school leaders several times over the  days was that they would “get started on thinking about how to integrate technology once they have ‘caught up’.”

And here’s the rub. We will never catch up.

The development of technology continues at an exponential rate…apps proliferating like amoeba in a petri dish.

So, let’s not even try.

I have written about future proofing before – and the ideas remain important here: we cannot hope to be experts in the workings or every type of technology.

Venn diagram - content, pedagogy, technology - TPACK

Instead we can ensure that we carry a useful framework in our heads – I use a combination of TPACK and the eLearning Planning Framework – so that, whatever the technology, we can make an appropriate judgement about whether it’s worth using. And that our use of technology, our choice, is driven by what our students need and how they can explore it best.

A mental framework such as this might also help us keep our heads in the face of e- learning hype …. Yes, I’m talking about you, BYOD and ePortfolios;)

It was a privilege to be a part of the audience for the DigiAwards, in which students’ digital photography and animation were celebrated. To see the huge audience of happy whānau, the proud faces of students who may or may not usually win celebrate school achievement, and the dedication of the staff who made it happen, was to be reminded of what an appropriate mix of content, pedagogy and technology can achieve.

The gasps of amazement from the students as the work of their friends was shown on the big screen said it all.

[Top image: Some rights reserved by jason rust]

2 thoughts on “ICTs in education: What’s important?

  1. Thank you Karen. Your Keynote and workshop presentations were right on the button – along with Chrissie’s great start to our day together. The fact that we will never catch up doesn’t worry or frustrate us but just encourages us to stay on the steam-roller and that way we won’t end up stuck ‘in’ the road! Great day and yes the authentic learning, enagagment and excitment was palpable through the digi- awrads and the stunning food prepared by the Culinary Arts kids! The day also highlighted the value of cluster ICTPD and teachers’ teaching teachers.

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    • I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave a comment, Dennis:-) And you are absolutely right – the whole day was testament to the commitment of the cluster to itself. I do hope you are able to plan for sustainability beyond the end of the year as Friday surely indicates it would be worth it. Enjoy the rest of the term – and thank you so much for inviting me to work with your staff and the other schools. Best wishes.

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