Hardware in Classrooms
It is extremely interesting to see the change in hardware available for classrooms in a relatively small amount of time. Within my short life time, students have gone from copying from a chalk board to engaging with interactive white boards (IWB). As a visual learner, I think the use of an interactive whiteboard would have enhanced my learning experience, integrating moving clips, sounds, and even participating in the lesson myself by painting like Jackson Pollock on the whiteboard (see link above).
For this reason, I intend to utilise the capability of the interactive whiteboard in my classroom. When I was in school, interactive whiteboards had just emerged and were extremely under-utilised. Not to mention, the software available was probably less than responsive. However, there are now a number of great software programs and websites that could really engage students, particularly in lower secondary in the visual arts. Students using the board to create artworks during the lesson is a great, engaging development. In collaboration with the BYOD environment, students can take turns in accessing such software as individuals using their devices and in front of the class using the board. The interactive whiteboard is also great for teacher demonstrations of techniques and processes.
Note: Please see module 4 for a more informed and critical view of the interactive whiteboard.
The Affordances of Classroom Technologies
The affordances, or purposes, of technologies are constantly changing. Software and hardware are often used for purposes very different from their original affordance, meaning that one technology can have multiple affordances. For example, while reading the prescribed Matt Bower reading for this module, I used an interactive PDF which allowed me to make notes, highlight, and comment on the document. While this was not a PDF’s original affordance, the development of technology has made it possible. Thus, I think that Bower is correct in saying that the affordance of a classroom technology should be decided only after determining the affordance of the learning task (2008, p.1).
Software in the Classroom – The Basics
It is important to remember that students have a variety of experiences with even the most common of softwares, and as such have differing levels of knowledge on how to use them. Tools such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint can be complex and involve a large number of functions.
- When should students start word processing? I think students should learning to start word processing in early primary (Years 2-3 upward). However, this is assuming that the student has a good handle on handwriting, spelling and reading first. Of course, nowadays, many students will have already had experience in typing and using technology to word process at home before then.
- Is it necessary to teach keyboarding skills? Absolutely. Keyboarding skills may not only prepare students for the future of employment or study, but may hemp with spelling and coordination.
- What effect does word processing have on handwriting? Of course, word processing has a negative effect on handwriting as students are not using this skill. However, if used in conjunction with handwriting, I would assume that it has little negative effect.
- What impact does word processing have on assessment? Depending on the assessment criteria, word processing can have a positive or negative effect. It may equalise the opportunity for less capable hand writers to showcase their knowledge, which may be a disadvantage for those that have great handwriting, spelling and grammar skills. Word processing can also showcase the digital presentation skills of students, which may or may not be desirable. Personally, I plan to set assessments using either handwriting or word processing, depending on the content to ensure a level playing field.
- Is the auto correction of spelling a problem? If relied upon constantly to spell correctly; yes. If used occasionally by someone who is actively paying attention to spelling and grammar; no. To be honest, the auto correction of words has assisted me in learning the correct spelling of many words, which transitions into my handwriting.
Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis—matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45, 1, 3–15
ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/morgan.pdf