Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning?
This is the fundamental guiding question which lead the EDUsummIT in 2009, as discussed by Voogt, et. al. I found this question to be a significant point of discussion for all teachers, particularly as we move into the BYOD and digital classroom environment. For ICT to have a positive effect on teaching and learning, it has to be used appropriately in order to add value to the learning experience. Although this is obvious, recent classroom experience has proven that successfully integrating ICT into teaching and learning activities in order to add value is not as easy as it sounds.
This effective integration of ICT into the classroom relies on technologically competent teachers who are committed to not only the use of technology as a teaching resource, but also to teaching students how to be technically proficient, confident and develop skills that will assist them in the future. This means addressing the use of ICT at a pedagogical level. Voogt makes an excellent point when noting that, ‘the pedagogical approaches that are expected to be important in the knowledge society should include, among others, providing variety in learning activities, offering opportunities for students to learn at their own pace, encouraging collaborative work, focusing on problem solving, and involving students in the assessment of their learning’. (p. 2)
As the capability of technology increases, the opportunity to connect students with each other, as well as extremely useful people and resources around the world is increased. This is reflected in Alan November’s video, as he talks about using technology, and in particular, the internet, to connect students in a global way. November also discusses the idea of a global community that uses a global curriculum. While this idea would be difficult to initiate, November does make a valid point when he asserts that in order to move into the 21st Century, the role of the learner needs to move into a ‘contributor’ role, rather than being simply a learner who passively consumes information. I agree with this sentiment, particularly within the subject area of the Visual Arts. Visual Arts relies heavily on students forming their own opinions and developing skills in critical thinking, analysing and evaluating. In order to develop these skills, strategies such as direct instruction alone are not sufficient. Students need to connect, to engage with and process ideas from around the world, encountering many cultural, social and geographical notions. As November suggests, the way to successfully do this is to connect students using technology, in order to enhance their experience and knowledge. For this reason, it is extremely important to use technology in the Visual Arts classroom.
November, A. (2009) Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom. Video: https://vimeo.com/3930740
Voogt J., Knezek G., Cox M.J., Knezek D. & Brummelhuis A. (2011) Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A call to action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 15 November 2011