How to Improve my Technological Knowledge to use ICT in education?
Struggling with technology?
The most common issue in using ICT (information and communications technology) is that many teachers today don’t possess the necessary technological knowledge. They are not comfort using technology or interacting online.
In this hub, I will look closer into the issue and try to explain some ways for teachers to learn how to use technology for education.
Of course, a lot of teachers today use technology for teaching their students. Many have great ideas and modern technology works fine for them. However, a shortage in the knowledge still exists among many teachers.
Unfortunately a lot of the teachers still use their “old pedagogical methods,” which means they are centered on their teaching. Just “converting” these methods into online education might have a negative resulting effect on the education. Results of this can be worse in some cases, be that students watch a lot of movies from their teachers. They watch the lessons on their computers instead of in the classroom.
The “new” trend, which I think is great, is that the teacher’s role is being changed to becoming a ”designer” with students taking part in the design of their own learning. This idea originates in the theory of constructivism. ICT very well supports the ideas of constructivism based encouraging the students’ thinking and understanding to actually learn. The online tools offer students great opportunities to find a lot of information within a context. They can work with all of the available information and choose specific ideas to produce structured content based on their understanding. The teacher would act like a coach or guide to support the students when needed. Not just to answer but to encourage the students to find the answers themselves. (Read more about constructivism here: http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/)
To use technology effectively with better results from the students, there needs to be “relearning” for some teachers. The core in education is now the students and their needs. Focus would be on teamwork, understanding, interaction; more student-centered education. - Taught is not equal to learnt-…
In the 1980s, Shulman described pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). He wanted to show that pedagogical and content knowledge could not be separated. A teacher’s knowledge should include both factors to avoid focus on either Pedagogy or content.
In the way that digitalizing has changed learning and teaching, the PCK-theory can no longer compete with the increasing use of technology for education. While PCK continues to last, there are more factors to take advantage of. There is technological knowledge to handle as well.
Koelher and Mishra “developed” the theory about PCK and came up with another “edition” in 2007. It includes the technological knowledge. In fact, there are 7 areas to manage and consider in identifying all knowledge areas. You can see in the picture that all circles are cutting into each other. The model is still under development. It holds some complexity to identify all areas to be handled and to interpret what their true meaning.
"Clearly, teachers must know and understand the subjects they teach, including: knowledge of central facts, concepts, theories, and procedures within a given field; knowledge of explanatory frameworks that organize and connect ideas; and knowledge of the rules of evidence and proof." (Koehler & Mishra, 2008)
"By their very nature, newer digital technologies, which are protean, unstable, and opaque, present new challenges to teachers who are struggling to use more technology in their teaching." (Koehler & Mishra, 2009)
How to learn about technology so you can implement it in your class?
Are you a teacher with high levels of knowledge in technology? Good - use this knowledge and even share your it with your colleagues who don’t have it. This is a great way to learn new things, by sharing and supporting each other.
Are you not comfortable with using technology? I will describe some ways to learn more. My suggestions are based on the theory of constructivism which includes thinking, understanding and trying. There are a lot of courses in different applications which provide a good way to learn how to use a specific tool.
To understand technology and how to use it in education, you have to understand the concept, easiest way to get there is to try, try to try.
My suggestions to start building your technological knowledge:
- How do children learn to use technology? Look at your own children or the children in your class. They use it a lot. Begin with asking your children what they are doing on their computer and even ask if they will let you try. They will appreciate the attention from you as well! Start simple and take small steps if you like it that way. Play games with your child, I think you will enjoy it.
- The crucial part in ICT is the interaction portion, take away the C and you are left with just IT... There are a lot of opportunities to make you feel more comfortable with interacting online. Find some forums on the internet in topics that you are interested in. It could be almost any topic you can think of. Search for your topic and try to find some interesting discussions or maybe blogs to follow. This will offer a great opportunity to start interacting. You can be anonymous, you sometimes have to leave an e-mail, but this will only be known to the blog owner. In some blogs and forums you are required to sign up in order to participate in discussions.
When you get used to reading blogs, why don’t try to find a blog about ICT in education to follow? Like this one; http://edte.ch/blog/
- If you have a Facebook account, search for some groups engaged in ICT in education and join them. Here you can almost certainly find some useful links and tips from other teachers or developers.
- I also suggest that all teachers in one school create a group on their own. Some have more technology-skills than others and you can learn from each other. Choose a topic that everyone has to study for a week. For example, find five methods of using technology in education. The task calls for everyone to write down the five methods and explain why they chose them. This should be done online in a forum where all in the group can read. This gives new input and material to discus. Set up a meeting where all can share their findings and give advices. Meet in real life or online.
- Suggestion for next task; make an educational video? To learn how, search for tutorials on YouTube. Try search for “How to make an educational video”, or what ever other tutorial you like to find. Next time you meet the other teachers you all present your videos and share how you created it. Share your experiences and difficulties. The upcoming task might be making another video or improve the first one.
Examples of tutorials on Youtube
Wich is the best way for you to learn new things?
- You can easily make a movie with your smartphone. No pressure for quality standards, just experiment and watch the result. If you are not satisfied in the first place, try again.
- Sign up to an online education course and take part. For example, look at https://www.coursera.org. The courses are for free. In this way, you will experience what students experience when taking part in an online education. You will surely find ways to improve and ways to combine online with your time with the students in class.
We are all beginners at some point. There are no shortcuts to reach knowledge. Take some courses and also keep trying on your own. Help and support each other, interact with your students. Remember to have some fun on the way. And remember that our children never have seen technology as something hard to learn, they just use it, from age 2-3. I think adults might do the same; just use it!
Useful links for more information
- Learn It In 5 - What is Web 2.0?
Learn how to use any web 2.0 technology in the classroom in 5 minutes or less.
- Why Blended Learning? Isn’t just ICT enough? by Kerlund74
It is a lot about online and e-learning when using ICT. But that is not the way it always has to be. Blended learning is about teaching both online and in a "ordinary" classroom.
- Why using ICT in education and how to practice it? by Kerlund74
ICT means Information and communications technology. ICT is getting more and more common in schools and training, but what's the big deal? I will try to illustrate how to practice ICT in education.
© 2014 kerlund74