Weeks 21 and 22 – A1

Reading by Conole – Stepping over the edge: the implications of new technologies for education.

Reflect on your own experience and how technologies have changed the way you do things and how you work. What changes have occurred in your own institution over the last decade in terms of the use of technologies?

In my seven years secondary school working experience, various changes have occured. Through the years there has been an evolution in the use of technologies. This was in part due to the ‘ICT across the curriculum’ approach that the  school’s ‘School development plan’ adopted. Mainly we have seen how  geek teachers were adopting these changes. Moroever there was a considerable investment & installation of hardware over the years;

  • Installation of interactive whiteboards. Seen adoption of technology by an ‘elite’ number of teachers. Used primarily for presentations, but also for activities involving student led presentations, group work, collaboration.
  • Held inservice courses on how technology can be used in the classroom, such as use of blogs, wikis, sound editing, podcasts, video editing.
  • Introduction of Wifi (pilot project in Malta).
  • Implementation of computers in special rooms such as Home economics, arts, Design & Technology…
  • Leasing of laptops to teachers, removal of internet filter for teachers. – to use for their teaching (not only). With this step more teachers started using internet

Although teachers have been given training with some web 2.0 tools, their use in lessons is limited. This might be due to limited training, need to change pedagogical approach, vast syllabuses, need for administration to boost teacher’s perceptions re technology. It seems that teachers seem to be more at ease using ‘Tools pre-2005’. Participation and collaboration are somewhat limited. Probably more time is needed for the appropriation of such tools.

On the other hand, a number of projects involving technology has risen in recent years. Example of these projects are eTwinning, Comenius and participation in video editing competitions. Still as web 2.0 tools are not available in their formal learning, students tend to adopt web 2.0 tools in informal settings. This is in parallel with Conole’s statement that educational institutions lack behind in adopting new tech.

Should our school provide a VLE or should students be left to adopt their own PLE? Should the focus be on having a central repository of knowledge or should students be trained in developing ‘strategies for finding and validating appropriate resources’?

This view by Conole is so true in my context; Students ‘may know how to navigate the internet to find information but don’t have the skills to critical evaluate resources and assess their academic value.’

I’m finding really useful the OU library and FirstClass forums. Conole made me think about the void which I will have after finishing H800; ‘…institutional tools are made available to the students only for the duration of their studies.’ At least the majority of H800 blogs have been created outside OU.

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