The electronic revolution poses both benefits and dangers for all teachers, no matter what their subjects are, but, as I now realise, teachers must try to keep up with this expanding tool-kit, or else become fossilised in the eyes of their learners as well as missing out on some interesting learning opportunities.
These resources are always available, ICT can offer a range of perhaps more interesting routes to achieve a lesson learnt. Sometimes learners can be given resources that suit their level and learning styles, including colourful images and interactive quizzes. These allow learners to gain confidence without feeling that they are competing directly with their peers and learning at a pace that suits them. It also allows the teacher to track progress and quickly identify learners who need support using a VLE Web 2.0 platform such as Moodle.
It can be quite bewildering for teachers like me to embark on introducing ICT into my lessons and to find that, to my surprise, suitable ICT resources could indeed make my teaching area become more interesting for my learners. To decide how to do this I need to not only identify and study these resources, but also to continually keep up with new innovations. I now realise that I should try to keep a little ahead of my learners to do this and hopefully gain some ‘street credibility’ in the process. I also realise that I should only use these resources to support teaching, not replace it.
” ICT is a tool that extends and enhances good practice rather than constituting a replacement for traditional delivery”
Wikipedia (2012) Information and communication technologies for development [online]. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_and_communication_technologies_for_development [11.5.14]
A classic example could be to have hyperlinks to You Tube clips that I have already approved and posted on the course Moodle site so that learners can pre-visit and revisit a demonstration of a particular skill that they will need to practice and eventually need to be assessed in. If I can’t find such a clip, then I could film myself or a capable learner performing it (I have already started to do this), then post this clip as a podcast or estream.
What I need to eventually strive towards is to include such links in my scheme of work and lesson plans as a reminder to myself and anyone else who might stand in for my lesson. As far as my course is concerned, the teacher needs to have a tight control of what ICT resources, or at least what type of resources the learners use – for several reasons.
Firstly, not all FE learners place their subject learning as their main priority in life, particularly when internet access also enables them to be able to check their Facebook pages, or email messages. As mentioned earlier, there are many unprofessional recipes and you tube clips which could hinder learning. Recommended sites could also be screened for viruses, technical problems and excessive pop-ups. The likelihood of other issues such as bullying, grooming, fraud. Internet identity and images could also be screened, particularly for learners under 18 years old, before recommending these resources.
There is no reason, however, why tasks couldn’t be set for learners to source certain resources, such as recipes and information that will help them to complete assignments, as long as the tutor gives a list of recommended sites from which these resources should be gleaned. There are a great many cookery sites on line, ranging from good to poor. Some of the least useful sites give recipes that, to a trained eye, will give learners real problems, give foreign names for known ingredients, or obscure measuring units that will probably confuse people in this country.
Tutors can suggest recommended recipe sites such as www.bbcgoodfood.com and www.foodily.com , cookery blogs to view and join in, such as scramblingeggs.blogspot.com and londonfoodout.blogspot.com as well as recommend some great twitter sites, such as @foodimentary and @chow.com to read and tweet on. Many of my students already ‘meet up’ on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites to compare notes, but these sites can be misused with images and corrupted by malicious software, not to mention become embroiled in rather uneducational gossip about learner’s nocturnal pastimes. Many learners lateness can also be attributed to online gaming the night before – another obsessive web 2.0 facet that doesn’t help teachers.
I have set up a blog page on the course Moodle site and tried to encourage learners to respond to blog posts, but with limited success. Perhaps these sites are just not as appealing for young people as social networking sites which have developed cunning tricks to persuade users to become almost obsessed with using them daily. It is this side of web 2.0 that teachers need to be wary of, lest they become implicated with matters that have nothing to do with educating the learners.
Whet Magazine (2012) Social Networking in ICT [Online]. Available: https://uk.images.search.yahoo.com/images/view [11.5.14]
“We have created a world for students where they cannot focus because we have given them all this really cool stuff that is distracting. We’re teetering on the balance – too much time online can lead to health problems and narcissism”. Rosen 2013
Rosen, L. (2013) Kids Who Do Facebook Do Worse In School [online] Available URL.
Some schools and colleges who understand the value of ICT in the classroom have tried to bar social networking sites from their computers and this may prove to be the way forward, but the value to these sites of having users online means that they may find more devious methods.
In conclusion, teachers need to become familiar with the latest ICT tools and work out how they can use some of these tools to make their teaching more interesting, give their learners more ownership of their learning and also, by using a web 2.0 VLE platform, help teachers to identify and help learners who need support. Teachers also need to be aware that not all web 2.0 tools are useful to ICT. In fact, some of the more distracting and in some cases, obsessive facets of web 2.0, namely online games and social network sites can become a hindrance to unwary teachers.