The case studies of change and impact show how integrating the use of ICT (information and Communication Technologies) students were led to collaborating, which led to teachers changing the ways they taught to allow students to learn independently (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, n.d.). I believe the idea that educators are changing their teaching techniques and the way that they educate is exciting. Educators should be growing and changing with gains and advancements of technology. Another example of evolving of technology is at an Italian school where a teacher began pinning student’s ideas on a board. This organically expanded to creating a website for students to share their responses, not just with the school but the world. This is a powerful use of technology because the technology was not being forced upon the teacher, but the teacher found a purposeful use of technology to empower students learning.
In contrast, there was a group of schools that found the use of technology enabled the learning but didn’t drive the learning (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, n.d.). The teachers could not perform the activities without the use of technology, but there were no changes to actual content taught. In these schools, technology is not being used effectively to benefit their learning. I fear that this is more common in schools that are pushing technology on teachers, instead of training and working with teachers to use technology. Instead of fitting the devices using the same instructional techniques, teachers should be using opportunities that technology provides to transform a different way of teaching (UNESCO, 2012). When teachers are placing worksheets in an LMS (learning management system) versus having students fill out a worksheet, there is no advantage to the students learning.
To improve these schools need to provide time for training, model how to implement this technology, active learning and provide options relevant to their content (Gulamhussein,2013). Teachers need to view other teachers implement technology before they can understand the depth needed to teach others. For teachers to transform their teaching techniques, they need training available on demand and individualized for that teacher’s immediate needs (UNESCO, 2012). Teachers need opportunities to collaborate with colleagues to discuss obstacles and successes. When teachers are given time to meet regularly they can work to improve their implementation of technology.
I have found through the case studies and readings, there appear to be common themes. Teachers want to do the best for their students, but without education and training, they get caught up in the day to day work. The Oulu school in Finland the teachers using technology experienced learning gains, but convincing colleagues of this was difficult (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, n.d.). These teachers attributed this to lack of training and technical skill. One teacher stated that teachers were afraid because they hadn’t received professional development on this technology, and this hesitation was out of fear. When teachers don’t understand the benefits of implementing new ideas or lack the skills necessary to implement, they don’t make any attempt to make changes. It takes a very brave teacher to make any changes without the support necessary, or skills. I keep referencing Gulamhussein’s five principles because these are needed for training to be successful. These principles are not happening the majority of the time, which traps teachers in the constant whirlwind, over and over again.
Gulamhussein, A. (2013, September). Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Retrieved from Center for Public Education: http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (n.d.). www.oecd.org. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/site/schoolingfortomorrowknowledgebase/themes/ict/41187025.pdf
UNESCO. (2012). Turning on mobile learning in North America; Illustrative intiatives and policy implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.