Forums > LLICT Discussion
Unleashing the power of technology for learning
From the McKinsey report - Shaping the Future:
How Good Education Systems Can Become Great in the Decade Ahead
(posted in resources section)
The use of CT for learning offers great potential for improving quality. For example.
ICT offers an opportunity to put greater ownership for learning in the hands of
students, who themselves can help lead the way to unleash the power of ICT for
learning. However, most systems are still using lCT for largely marginal Improvement,
rather than to effect a transformational change. While education ICT investment
is growing, its potential b transform teaching and learning has yet to be fully
unleashed. On one hand, CT offers the Potential to:
• transform classroom practice, for example, by customizing instruction to the
needs and aspirations of individual learners
• expand access to quality learning dramatically (for example, to rural
• increase collaboration amongst teachers, students, parents and communities
On the other hand, if not used effectively ICT becomes little more than a
glorified typewriter...and an expensive one at that! This point was clearly
made: ICT is a tool -a powerful tool - but a neutral one. The IER discussion
therefore focused on examples of effective and innovative ICT use for learning,
and on the challenge of bringing about system-wide effective use of lCT, especially
and most importantly at classroom level. The best schools are beginning to
embed lCT in the day-to-day experience in every classroom but too often even
now ICT remains separate from the classroom experience in, for example. a computer
The question then – how do we ensure ICT is more than a neutral tool?
Great question Max! Here's where I'd like to be able to click and email out that question or Tweet it or post is within another environment to get thoughts.
I think the answer lies somewhere in the role and pre-disposition of the Leader.
Educators need to be prepared to explore the possibilities but also need some 'road maps' and strategies.
I reckon a 'top ten questions' to ask when reviewing ICT at school would be interesting!
Would be very interested in some responses, is this a universal perspective faced by all principals at this time? On the ground in schools it would appear that the agenda driving the management of the various departments’ ICT programs is heavily biased towards technical and security issues. I would argue that teaching and learning comes a distant last. This is reflected in the lack of education specialists at the upper levels of ICT management. For example, the first communication from the Western Australian Education Department to schools announcing the NSSCF rollout stated that “the way forward… was to count the number of network points in schools”. Had the way forward been identified as being a teaching and learning consideration, than a much more useful and manageable outcome may have resulted.
One of the significant issues here is that there is no integrated ICT pedagogical push from government policy makers who seem to be more intent on rolling out boxes of computers than looking at them as a tool to support quality learning and teaching. There are isolated trials but little regard has really been given to development of meaningful and valid integration of ICT in the classroom, especially at the secondary level.
Further, there is little or no support for professional learning, particularly the use of ICT to enhance classroom pedagogies available to schools. Consequently people are simply reinventing the wheel. How do you feel about this?
Steffan, you are quite right - the conversations are often around the 'hardware and security' than the 'leadership of learning'.
This is most evident when talking to people about starting points for strategic planning where people name devices as opposed to describe learning functions.
I'll do some more thinking.
it can appear that all the things we know about effective professional learning go out the window - spooked, if you like by the tool called ICT. I believe that this springs from the perceptions of "magic and mystique" that surrounded ICT from early times.... so demystifying, indeed, making this toolset accessible, user friendly and building a safety net that allows for individual exploration, outcomes and supported experimenting in the margins is critical.
I have a growing feeling that I will look forward to the DER $$$ expiring so we might concentrate on teaching and learning rather than bean counting the devices...... that may be a perverse standpoint though...and still under formulation...
I think part of the issue is that teachers think that you have to "integrate" technology. The mistake here is believing that even underdeveloped, ill considered or thoughtless use of ICT is better than none at all. This usually occurs when ICT is dumped in programs with little regard for meaningfulness. "I do it because it's in the program"
My feeling is using ICT that is ubiquitous is capable of providing relevance and validity to it's use and is potentially much more powerful.
Mobile devices are owned by just about everyone. Schools can invest in this technology for those students that don't have access. These devices offer a plethora of collaboration, creation and communication opportunities that static computer labs don't.
Many schools would have to rethink their mobile policies for this to happen. I think that is a very worthwhile discussion for another time :-) Jonesy
Brendan - great to have u in the discussion. Welcome!
My concern with BYOD (bring yr own device) is the effect it may have on teachers. What platforms and software will BYOD generate or require, and how do teachers cope with that in lesson design? If ICT based pedagogy is the crux of change, how will we go introducing a plethora of variance into the equation....with teachers perhaps only just ready to have a crack at embedded, meaningful ICT within curriculum.
"how will we go introducing a plethora of variance into the equation....".
This seems to assume that BYOD requires schools to provide direct support for every device students bring. That's a problem we don't want to own - but we don't need to. We only think we need to because of our history of providing the ICT that students use. This was needed in 1980 when schools were about the only places students would find a computer, but we've moved on since then.
Students in general manage to use the things they own - I've NEVER seen a school anywhere teach students how to use a mobile phone or iTunes, EVER, but they manage to learn. Yes, there is some learning required abut the technology, but it's not the main game.
It's easy to lose sight of educational goals when we enlarge technological issues so much that they block our vision.
There are also advantages in using tools that are technology-agnostic rather than proprietary (though unsurprisingly vendors do their best to sell technologies that lock people into their own products). This becomes more important with BYOD (or any other work with the real world where you can't dictate technology to users)
We have all known, at a level, that we have already moved from ICT being a tool to a literacy. By 'literacy' I mean the encompassing of all aspects; software and hardware, and how these two parts make a far greater whole. For the most part, our teachers are illiterate or at best operate at a preschool level of literacy aquision in ICT. They hesitate to use this literacy because they don't feel empowered or well educated, like any early learner. If we explore a major concept of neroplasticity, all learners exhibit different rates of uptake of concept learning. Inspite of institutional learning opportunities, will still learn. This includes mobile phones and iTunes. However, this does not diminish the importance of schools in their role in educating the individual, including ICT literacy. Whether we subscribe to schools having a social obligation to prepare productive members of society or simply teaching people 'how to think', both demand we engage in ICT literacy. Just like English, ICT is an adaptive language, it is evolving. One of the best skills we pass onto, or allow students to discover, is how to be adaptive and resilient members of society. 'How do we train for a job that doesn't exist yet?'
Im really glad the WHITE ELEPHANT of BYOD is being discussed.
At the moment, this is easier 'said than done'. I can't argue with the logic but the practical implementation and risks really do need more than lip service. I wonder if anyone 'out there ' is trail blazing?
Ken, bravo! You have done an excellent job in articulating the 'drivers' and the 'rethink' required around this issue. You are quite right when you note "..when we enlarge technological issues so much that they block our vision".
G'day Ken. My angle there is not about supporting devices, but is about ensuring that a range of devices do not detract from teaching and learning. So Task Design would need to move to a broader more conceptual level - not neccessarily a bad thing - that would allow students to learn, "about spreadsheeting concepts" on whatever app they choose, rather than "be taught excel" (for a lock step 10 weeks). I have concerns that many teachers, faced with the app/device variance will im-or-ex-plode. again, a bottom line here is the need for PL around teaching and learning with ICT.
The app 'splash top' is not brand restricted. In my class I got to play with 2 personally owned iTouches, some school iPads, my android phone and a windows laptop all at various stages taking control of the classroom IWB. While splash top is constantly getting better in it's software design, I still have not found an acceptable seamless use in the classroom... So I too am curious of people who are leading in this area.
wow, around byod etc etc, check this out:
so much in there, unsubstantiated claims, good thinking, blatant rubbish, hi leverage possibilities...makes my head spin....
Ken touches on an key explore/control aspect and how it relates to learning.
Yes, most students these day have a mobile phone. Must it be a school issued identical mobile phone because they attend the same school? Does individual ownership automatically preclude the need for certain usage guidelines within schools?
Who takes responsibility for teaching the use of mobile phones, and also a wide range of devices with a variet of consoles. How does the intensity of concentration and continued trial/error persistence created when playing a new game fit to jurisdictional views of learning and concept acquisition theory.
Without wishing to start a flame war is Linux really better than (insert another operating system) or might the essential variety add rather than detract from collective creativity and potential?
Max, if we enable for generic not specific devices then what Blogs, Webzines, Sites, etc would become the new set “text books”?
Would TED www.ted.com/or RSA http://www.thersa.org/OR http://www.thersa.org/about-us/history-and-archive be included and what about the iTunes Uni or the Khan Academy offerings www.khanacademy.org/ OR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Academy ?
What about text message novels. That literary genre has been developing for a few years, at least since 2007 when a Japanese romance novel writer who goes by the name Yume-Hotaru published a story in short bits. Each bit was small enough to fit into a text messages. Now the keitai shosetsu or cell phone novel is a literary sensation in Japan.
enabling for generic devices/platforms is a key Ches. - nice phrase. No doubt students can/will access these as second nature, (as they may well do social networking...)so one of those skills we need to evolve is discrimination. again, developing teacher practice around this concept is critical so that ICT is more than a "neutral babysitter"
I agree with the sentement that we don't need to "own the problem" of support of BYOD. Students should demonstrate their learning or access information in a way that is convienient and meaningful. They should use the device that is most appropriate for the context.
Is BYOD Fair?...fairness isn't an objective feature of the universe. It's a concept that was invented so children and idiots can participate in arguments. Scott (Dilbert) Adams
Steffan (and Mark), I too think that ICT use is driven by well meaning IT Facilitators who by nature are risk adverse. The issue here is that as leaders we can be held to ransom by a lack of technical understanding of how the 'whole system works'. I would be interested if anyon could recommend a suitable Post Grad course which opens the doors and demystifies the network and system so that educational leaders could make informed decisions on resources. I would also like to explore a universal portal where collaborative teaching is encouraged and promoted. That is why this new Palnet site is so exciting - now a similar idea for the rank and file to share.
Gerard an interesting point about being risk adverse. Do you think it has to do with the fear of loss? That overwhelming desire to keep/hold on to things including data just in case you may need it.
Opps tried to past an image and I seem to hav dropped of the rest of the comment. Here is the rest
This 1965 Fortune Advertisement may hold a clue. Yes over 46 years ago, oh and when they mention tape they do mean tape not a floppy or flash drive but good old fashioned magnetic tape.
There are some that would even welcome a return to punch cards becasue that contolled access. Just like the fear that spread when biros were introduced. Suddenly nib and inkwells in desks were not only in danger of being replaced BUT you could literally write anywhere with those biros. How would schools prevent students using biros to write on toilet wall or hallways or even notice boards.
It seems that with each leap of enlightenment and corresponding decrease in the cost of information access and creation there have always been fears. Look back at what happened sociologically when the printing press took off and removed the previous practice of monks as transcribers and generators of copies of books. No sky fell in but it did lead to massive societal change.
just created on our home page.
added a great little pdf about Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities.
more available here:
How might the digital revolution change the lives of students with disabilities? I have placed the same question in the Special Education Group. I wonder what realy examples of schools-systems doing things differently might look like?
Wow... What a great discussion... I hope I'm not posting too late as I think there is still so much to discuss in this area...
Okay, a couple of points from me...
In this area I wonder if we have been our own worst enemy to some extent... How long did we spend forcing teachers into computer labs so they could be workshopped through the process of developing a wiki or the like..?
We must shift our focus to pedagogy and what we know will be effective... As you guys have said already - the machines are just tools... So how can we use them to do things that we already know to be effective in a better or more efficient manner?? For example, how will thee computwers help us to differentiate learning opps??
Teachers may not understand the language of ICT, but they understand the language of learning... Maybe we should start there???
Bring you own device (BYOD)
Intersting debate... You were asking for trailblazers and I just happen to know of one...
http://bit.ly/KBfAdS is a school here in Auckland, NZ that is sometimes referred to as the Open Source School. Their idea is to promote BYOD and wherever possible they use source software in order to ensure that different devices can be used to meet the same outcome... I've been over there a few times and the whole thing is very well developed and effective. Whilst, I think there are still some good arguments for the use of proprietry software, I think these guys are doing some really innovative work and are definately learning things we will all be able to take advantage of...
I guess the interesting idea for me is that BYOD allow kids to learn anywhere and on whatever device. I'm less concerned about the idea of software being proprietry or not... Perhaps the rise of cloud-based solutions will solve the problems associated with multiple devices being used in schools? This way many devices can be used and schools/teachers could still ensure that a level of standardisation is maintained if they desire...
think the point about PL is really well made! I love the sentiments in this article:
http://t.co/IMuI4id9 . In particular the phrase "So now education leaders need to create a seamless interplay between teachers and technology."
Quality teaching has to underpin all we do. So the impact of leading this mindset and committment is difficult.
Leading can certainly be disruptively and innovatively painful, as u mention Chris!
is there any resource about specifically around Leading with technology?
This is a great discussion. Having just gone down the road of introducing 1:1 with our year 5 students, I can understand and concur with challenges that we all face! Our progress so far has been steady. I think what is important is that teachers need to feel supported by leadership teams throughout this process. We introduced this device because we strongly believed that it was going tp improve learning outcomes and personalize learning for our students. It is being used across the learning areas, and while it is not always smooth sailing, we have had students and in particular boys more engaged with their learning. I feel very supported by our education system as it recognizes the importance of embedding ICT across the curriculum. Our teachers are involved in a 5 day PL course organized by our system. This involves them working alongside their colleagues from other schools and exploring various topics including the effective components of a task (collaboration, ICT Integration etc...). Our teachers then have to design their own task using this criteria. Later in the year they will also be involved in peer observations based on the learning tasks they designed. Despite the good start, I see many challenegs on the horizon 1. How to sustain this enthusiasm for. Our staff and expand it across the school 2. How can I effectively evaluate the benefits of the 1:1 program in improving student learning. Thaks everyone, this is say first post!
HI Craig, your challenges sound and feel really familiar!
In essence I think you are looking at how to build a sustainable network/professional learning community. In grappling with this I have found an article by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Freize http://bit.ly/Ky1kWD a real support. Their ideas centre around the process of Name - Connect - Nourish - Illuminate. This process has worked highly effectively in a PL program I have delivered over the last 18 months - the So What? project.
In terms of evaluating 1:1 , have you had a look at the PiLSR surveys? http://www.pilsr.com/
They are free and evaluate teaching and learning practices in terms of technology use/integration. They can provide really valuabe data if done annually.
Hi again fellas...
Max, I think you really hit on the nitty gritty when you talk about the role of quality teaching. With this in mind I think the entire approach to pedagogy is what will ultimately determine the impact ICT integration will have on education.
I would actually go further than simply good teaching and learning though and also relate this to context. In my opinion many of the gains we have recieved from initial roll outs of 1:1 and the like have been related to increased engagement of learners in relation to the "novely effect" that as you guys point out can be hard to sustain.
With this in mind, I think we need to spend time reviewing what we teach as much as how we teach it. Simply trying to teach the same stuff using ICT is unlikey to overcome many of our biggest challenges.
So... I guess this brings us back to the biggest question of them all - Why are ids in school? Without wanting to make this too philosophical and academic I think this deserves a mention. By developing strong visions within our teams as to the purpose of different areas of the currcullum at differerent ages, I think we will be able to look at what our lessons might look like with a frsh persective...
Perhaps this fresh perspective will allow us to find new, more creative ways to make use of ICTs to do things we have never had the opportunity to do in the past or at least do things better or easier than ever before...
By moving learning to incorporate a greater degree of inquiry, freedom and creativity it would seem to me that ICT will be a fundamental requirement and less of an option...
So how do we ensure our programmes allow for this while still meeting the requirements of the curriculum and standardised assessments?
I have really enjoyed - and gained from - the conversations above. We have moved to 1:1 device for every learner with the emphasis being on technology as the enabler. It always concerns me when technology becomes the driver. More importantly, I want staff to become life long learners and for many, the challenge is taking them to a new learning ecosystem! Thankfully, there are enough keen, adaptive teachers who inspire and drive change throughout the school.
Importantly, I have always been keen in the idea of the convergence of architecture and learning. I would be interested to hear what others think but I feel some of the 1960's buildings that pass for schools are simply not conducive to technology rich learning environments. I have seen modern designs that are incredibly inspiring which allow for the student centred learning 'spaces' and environments. Steve Jobs' obsession with design (particularly his work environments) contributed to the inspiration and creativity that epitomises Apple.
Not suggesting we have multimillion dollar rooms but I do feel the nexus between architecture and learning is critical.
Hi Philip, the notion of wrong and right drivers for systems change is explored by Michael Fullan In his paper of a similar name. I will upload if I haven't already. The point you make about the need for teaching and learning to drive the use of technology, and not vice versa, is critical, I think. Where we fall down is around the "how" underpinning this. Your notion of the importance of the physical spaces we work in could be one important lever here.. In the LEAD21C supergroup, there is a forum discussion titled Innovative Learning Environments, which looks to explore that idea further.feel free to have a look at this new discussion and drop some thoughts in! Thanks for your inputs here!