Sunday, May 14, 2017

Teaching and Learning with Technology

About two and a half years ago I wrote several blog posts about the IBO's pre-publication of The Role of Technology in the IB Programmes.  Following my week at the IB office the The Hague, I've now come back to read through the publication of Teaching and learning with technology:  A guide of basic principles, that was eventually published a year later in December 2015.  I wanted to dig into this publication again in the light of the changes coming to the PYP from Principles into Practice (PiP). As we transition and upskill our educators I wanted to reflect on the role of technology in this process.

Back in the pre-publication days, I wrote a blog post about whether technology was a language, a literacy or a concept.  I like the way this is now explained:  "things and concepts work together as "technologies" to make the world easier to live in and understand:  technologies are anything that aids or extends you" (the you here refers to the entire school learning community).  Technology supports the curriculum and does not dominate it.  It is:

  • evident but seamless in the curriculum
  • accessible to all learners, creating classrooms that are inclusive and diverse
  • adaptive to many contexts
  • Supportive of intercultural understanding, global engagement and multilingualism (the things that really define what an IB school is - the things that set these schools apart from other "good" schools)
  • helpful in fostering the collection, creation, design and analysis of significant content.
Of course technology is also a literacy - it needs knowledge to be acquired, applied and reflected on, and it is cognitive, being demonstrated more through thinking than simply mastering a variety of tools.  However technology literacy does encourage the development of different skills, and the ability to understand and communicate in many forms (multimodal).  As the emphasis is on the connections to the real world, technology can broaden students' experiences and prepare them for their futures in a multicultural world.  And literacy is developed by actively choosing and using multiple technologies in the classroom.

Back in the day, I also wrote a blog post about integration -v- implementation.  I've been thinking about this again today too.  One part of the document that really spoke to me was this:
Integration means developing approaches to learning that technology supports, or that are only possible by using particular technologies ... the popular definition of technology integration involves learning to use "things", but the academic definition involves learning concepts that these particular "things" support or make possible.
And in my mind this is how it relates to PD: "in order for technology use to be better connected to both pedagogy and instruction, professional development must demonstrate to educators both how and why they need to use new technologies."  Right now I'm facilitating a workshop on digital citizenship and I know that some of the new technologies introduced might be challenging to some of the participants, but hopefully we can explore these hows and whys, so that they will feel comfortable using them with their own students and sharing with others in their learning communities.

Photo credit:  I took this photo last week in Den Haag

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