Every day there seems to be a different news articles on the perils of exposing our children to technology. Whether it be too much screen time or a decline in traditional skills such as handwriting, parents are bombarded with many negative messages often lacking in context and without any positive views to add balance.
A recent article in The Age highlighted technology use in Australian schools and OECD research on the effect of technology in improving (or not) academic performance.
“Schools adopting technology in the classroom would fail to improve results if teachers were stuck in “20th century teaching practices”.
“If students use smartphones to copy and paste prefabricated answers to questions, it is unlikely to help them to become smarter,” the report said.
“Technology can amplify great teaching but great technology cannot replace poor teaching. ”
As Kilvington is as a leading school in IT, we felt it was important to share our thoughts on technology in the classroom and how we are adapting to an ever-changing teaching environment.
Our approach to the use of technology (or any resource for that matter) within the curriculum is to support, consolidate, engage, differentiate and extend. Technology is not the focus but one of many tools (eg. soccer ball, pastel crayon, trundle wheel, test tube) that we can use to assist in providing teaching and learning of the highest quality.
Rather than get caught up in whether IT will improve student outcomes, we prefer to put our time and energy into improving the quality of our teaching which is ably supported by IT amongst many, many other resources, tools, activities and events.
We are fortunate to have Kirsty Watts in the role of Dean of e-Learning. As part of her remit, Kirsty’s job involves:
• Ensuring that curriculum programs are appropriately integrated and resourced to support learning technology initiatives.
• Providing ongoing eLearning professional development to teachers to advance their skills and classroom practices using technology.
• Working with students to provide support and, where appropriate, instruction to promote effective use of the rich technology offering at Kilvington.
• Being proactive about researching the broader education community involving the use of technology around the world.
It is this proactivity that led to us becoming the first school in Australia to host the highly successful Code Avengers Code Camp in the September school holidays. We want our students to be fully prepared for the fast-paced digital world into which they will embark on their careers (If you want to know why coding is so important then read this recent blog post).
We can’t and shouldn’t avoid using technology in the classroom, but it must support the curriculum, its learning intentions and our wider goal of developing the critical thinking skills of our students so that they can understand the benefits of technology and assess for themselves the suitability of using it at any given point in their project.
Don’t forget to read our post on what makes a good teacher!