Sunday, January 8, 2012

Evaluating the impact of technology on learning: student progress – ITEM part 2

Over the past year there has been a lot of interest in the idea of flipping the curriculum.  In order for schools to take this on-board, they have to be aware of the access students have to technology not just at school but at home.  To make the best use of technology at home, students must be confident that their skills are sufficient to use the computer independently when they are outside the classroom and not actually being taught.  This involves them being able to trouble-shoot and apply their knowledge to new technologies and situations – for example we are a Mac school but many students will be using PCs at home (though much of what we do is cloud-based so it doesn’t make that much difference).

The ITEM rubric addresses student progress:  a limited an inconsistent use of ICT across the curriculum or lack of opportunities to use technology in different subjects will have only a minimal impact on student progress.  Dramatic student improvement will only occur when all teachers are promoting the innovative use of ICT to develop thinking and learning skills.

A lot has been written about how the use of technology can lead to students developing more positive attitudes towards learning.  In the recent document from the IBO about the role of ICT in the PYP, teachers are encouraged to use technology to give students the opportunities to investigate, organize, communicate, collaborate and create.  21st century skills also stress the importance of using technology for problem solving and critical thinking.  It should be possible to assess how engaged students are in their learning and over time to see if this changes with the introduction of more or different technology:  are students interested and enthusiastic about learning?  Are they motivated?  Do they show sustained levels of concentration? Are they taking risks and trying new things?  Positive responses to all of these questions would indicate that students are having quality experiences and that they are confident in using a wide and challenging range of applications across the whole curriculum.

Ideas in this post are based on the ITEM Framework by Naace/Advisory Matters
Photo Credit:  NASA Visualization Explorer (iPad app) by NASA Goddard Photo and Video  Attribution 

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