I am not quite sure what to make of this article. What it assumes, as a basis for its argument, is that teachers have lost control of ICT and how it can be used in the classroom. This in itself is problematic, as this is an argument that I have found unsubstantiated through any of my own time as a student or as a student-teacher. ICT has always been available as and when it was needed, but never when it wasn’t integral to learning. This is most likely due to the teacher’s discretion (as examined further below), in deciding what was integral (or not so much) in students learning the curricular necessities.
Towards the end of his article, Brown asks five questions that would be appropriate for teachers (phrased as ‘a culture’) to ask themselves, which essentially boils down to ‘is ICT necessary in my class, and how am I going to use it?’ This, I believe, would have been a more effective question to answer within the article, rather than the he said/she said journalism that Brown seems to be promoting.
In answer to the question posed above, this is a question that I will constantly be asking myself throughout my time teaching. But, as with everything, this is a question that can be altered to fit with any learning area or method: ‘Is [x] necessary in my class, and how am I going to use it?’ ICT has become a tool now like any other. In my teaching area of English, [x] can mean anything from [ICT] to [novel] to [film]. Each aims to help teach in its own way.
In the end it just means that we have to adapt to new and changing times. Some ICTs will be applicable to a learning area, some may not. It is to the teacher’s own discretion whether or not they can see it working.
Before and after: Classrooms with their new technologies.
Bate’s article discusses whether the shift in education towards a more ICT-friendly model has come very quickly – perhaps too much so for the teachers who are primarily affected by this shift. This article, from what I understand, says that teachers should adapt with changing times, but also says that schools should assist with that transition, rather than making it an onus on the teacher.
As has been the case for the past few articles, I agree with this message – that teachers and students should have the opportunity to learn with new and changing technologies. Theoretically, this article makes sense, and I have seen it being applied in the real world: my old school had four computer labs and computers in the library, as well as in specific classrooms where they were needed (ie the Media Labs). I graduated in 2008 and my brother has started there this year, where all students up to year 10 now have personal iPads for use with schoolwork (where applicable). In the five years since my graduation there has also been at least one complete overhaul of new computers in the labs and library, simply in order to stay on top of updated technologies.
In the five years since I left school, there have been four new iPhone models released, and the first ever iPad model. Windows released two new software updates in Windows 7 and 8. The rise in social media since 2008 can be followed here also.
The ways in which people of all ages connect are changing; this can be seen in the classroom too – a sort of petri dish of outside society. Therefore, to ignore this changing landscape is to be not only blind to reality, but to be actively giving students a disadvantage in later life.
Justine Isard’s article ‘Why mobile learning makes sense in the 21st century classroom’ argues very much for the use of mobile learning devices (iPads and to a lesser extent laptops) in education. This argument, she says, can be made because mobile learning promotes an individualised learning opportunity that suits the student’s learning style, on top of being more student-focused than teacher-led. The use of mobile technology, however, must be used to work with the educational topic, and not simply because the technology is there.
This is, I believe, a good and useful article. The importance of technology in the classroom (even in the pre-iPad age) has been highlighted as a necessity, recognising its importance. It shows that children should be educated not only in the standard English, Maths, textbook, whiteboard style, but also on what is happening around them in the wider world. Students should be able to use modern technology not only for fun but for education. Students should also be able to recognise its correct use, or at least the safer way to operate it. What needs to be drilled in to students is their visibility, especially online, where they haven’t thought of this before.