While the development of technology has mainly been used in a positive light in educational spheres to further children’s learning in fun and beneficial way, it also has its downfalls; namely cyber bullying. Most commonly cyber bullying takes “a physiological rather than physical form but is often part of a wider pattern of ‘traditional’ bullying” (Office for internet safety, n.d). Cyber bullying has managed to permeated all forms of social media as can be seen in the following link which demonstrates that even twitter has its fair share of bullying. The link also gives tips on how best to avoid cyber bullying, and what to do if it does occur.
Cyber bullying is a real issue faced by today’s school children and should be taken seriously by everyone- parents, teachers, schools and students alike. Most schools will have a process to deal with and prevent cyber bullying but there are a few simple steps that everyone can take to lessen the likelihood of cyber bullying becoming an issue. Below is a quick video to watch that sums up the best way to stay safe online and put a stop to cyber bullying even before it occurs.
Office for internet Safety. (N.d.) A guide to Cyber Bullying; get with it. Accessed 8th of April, from http://www.hotline.ie/documents/Cyberbullying.pdf
Safety Centred Videos. Youtube, (2009). Retrieved 8th of April, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ5zJvA0NYY
Today in my blog I will be talking about social-constructivism. This is a teaching and learning model that was born out of a backlash to the objective or transmission style of learning. For those who are not familiar with teaching terms, that sentence may need to be unpacked a little! The first thing that needs to be understood is that transmission is the educational belief that children learn by being told information and then memorising it- the teachers transmit knowledge to them. When teachers figured out this didn’t work so well they came up with another way of teaching that is now known as constructivism. That is to say children construct their own knowledge based on their environment and past experiences. Social constructivism is a branch of this posed by a man named Vygotsky. He believed that children learn best through social interaction with adults and peers and that language plays an important role in the learning process.
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with ICT in the classroom. Well, this shift in education brought about a whole new way of interacting with technology and how we think about it. Gone is the belief that only an expert in their field can teach, now today’s learners are personally responsible for their learning and initiate their own learning process. This is “best shown in the increase of online classes that require the learner to construe their own meanings without the instructor acting in the capacity of a “teacher”” (Enonbun, 2010). This means that more and more students are able to go online and through their explorations they are able to construct their own knowledge. This is further enhanced if technology is used in a social setting where students work in groups.
Social-Constructivism Oluwafisayo, E. (2010) “Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective,” Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, 6(4), 16- 25.
Picture Accessed 11th of April from: http://www.michelemademe.com/2012/07/tower-crane-building-with-boy.html
With new technology comes new ways of teaching and learning. An interesting new phenomenon can be seen with mobile learning devices. Attwood in his elearning paper explores the term ubiquitous computing, the notion that “connectivity will become available almost everywhere in the future…. And many different devices are now able to connect to the internet” (2007, pg. 3)
This means that no longer are children tied to a physical spot from which to research and communicate. Students are now able to access the internet, and by extension, a range of educational apps and websites where ever and whenever takes their fancy. It can be said that the traditional way of using computers was as an information storage device, whereas now we have progressed far beyond that and we use computers in a way that the student is the designer and the computer is a tool used to extend the brain.
Mobile learning encapsulates the belief that the best technology is the technology that is there. What good is a fancy computer locked away in a computer lab if a child needs to look up a fact while on an excursion? Mobile learning also makes learning more accessible, and more importantly relevant to the student’s lives and interests. Gone are the days where children are expected to memorise a list of facts, with mobile learning every tom dick and harry have a world of information at their fingertips- wherever and whenever. What teachers are now able to focus on is the process of learning, the skills as opposed to the content.
Graham Attwell and Pontydysgu (2007). Available at: http://www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media11561.pdf
My first blog entry will delve into the interesting and ever-changing area of technology in education, and more specifically interactive whiteboards (IWB). Ever since the introduction of IWB in classrooms there have been fierce debates as to whether or not they increase the quality of learning in any tangible way. Below is a list of ways in which IWB are capable of promoting the intellectual quality of students as explored by Kent (2008):
• It can engage students on a range of levels and thus caters for different learning styles
• If students miss an important lesson the teacher could record it and post it online
• IWB’s can provide instant feedback to the child in terms of their performance. For example if they are doing a maths or spelling program the IWB can be programmed to correct them rather than having to wait until the teacher is available
• On the same note it saves the teachers time and this spare time can be used productively
• Access to the internet provides a support network for teachers to share ideas and collaborate on programs for the IWB
• Provides an avenue to easily differentiate students
• It is fun for the students and thus makes them more likely to pay attention and learn.
If you’re still not convinced, visit the site below, play the game and then explore all the other educational games that is has to offer! They are fun, interactive games that cater for all different learning styles. Check it out at: http://pbskids.org/lions/games/soup.html
Kent, P. (2008). Interactive whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. South Yarra, VIC: Macmillan Publishers.