Wednesday, 8 October 2014

What Does an ICT Savvy Student Look Like?

I need to start thinking about where I am going regarding the use of ICT in my classroom and not just about solving the issues in front of me. Within science education I feel that I have moral purpose and understand the place of my subject within the curriculum. But what about the other parts of my job; the pastoral side and (prominent for me at the moment) the ICT side.

As I have said before our school have asked the students to each bring their own iPad to school. There are a few students who haven't, but they usually do have devices of some sort. As predicted by a lot of the articles about BYOD that I have read there is some issues over the level of use of the devices within lesson. I agree that as a parent I would be concerned if my child had a £400 device and was not using it effectively. But what does using it effectively mean?

When the scheme was first announced by the chair of governors at a speech day he spoke about 'skills for life'. Our Saturday lesson programme has been transformed for key stage 3 into PHSE lesson taught by the pastoral staff in the hope it will give them skills and knowledge for life. The iPad 1-2-1 scheme is also supposed to give the students the 'skills for life' in an increasingly technological world.

I actually like this idea better than introducing iPads to improve learning. I read all the time that there is no evidence that ICT will make much different to the learning. For many members of staff incorporating ICT into lessons is going to be a stretch. On top of all the curriculum change embracing new technologies and creating the resources to go with them is going to be a lot to ask.

For me technology is a great way to keep myself organised and I hope that the students will pick this up too.

So what does a tech savvy student look like?

I did some research about the use of ICT in business. The vast majority seem have stories about the transformation of their business by being able to reach customers better. The others seem to say that by designing an app helped communication within the company. That didn't seem to apply to the students.

Instead I wrote the following aims: students live in an increasingly technological world, where businesses, organisations and individuals are using advances in ICT to communicate, collaborate and organise. Students need to be aware of the benefits and risks of this as well ash the practicalities of using technology.

In no particular order, a 'technologically advanced student' will be:

  • using RSS feeds, twitter, social networking apps, instapaper, read later, to collate potentially useful information and resources for later use. They may even do this in collaboration with others
  • accessing alternative forms of media such as podcasts, video and blogs. They will probably do this in short chunks. This may be related to work, but also related to the interests of the students.
  • sharing, communicating and collaborating on work projects over distance and time using electronic devices. This may be communicating with other students, but also will be communicating with teachers.
  • organising time, resources and work using shared calendars, email and folders that sync across several devices and maybe shared with many others.
  • able to manage their workflow
  • aware of their own digital footprint and act according when using social media.
  • able to produce a range of media to be consumed inside and outside school. This maybe in conjunction with school work, charity work, social work or to raise awareness of an issue. This will involve blogging, video, podcasts, documents, images, infographics, websites, GIFs, and presentations. 
  • supporting others in their use of electronic devices.

They may go further and:

  • produce their own app
  • learn how to code
  • investigate computer networking
  • build their own computer
  • use ICT in another enterprising way

I would admit that it isn't necessary for students to be able to do all of these things for their learning, or even their life. But I do think that it is important that students are aware of all the implications and ways that ICT can be used.

The next steps are working out how we get there? Do we use technology for learning? Should we be restrictive and prescriptive about the way that technology is used in lessons? What about outside lessons and in extra curricular activities? Will practice change as a result of technology and what will the behaviour of our students in lessons look like? How will these changes impact on their employability? Is it even possible?

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