In a time where the future of the subject I teach and the moniker I use here on my blog and on Twitter seems to be under constant attack (that’s ICT if you hadn’t worked it out) you’d think I’d find it difficult to find reasons to be cheerful. What’s the future of ICT as a subject? Where’s it all going? What on earth are the Government doing with education? Are the goalposts moving every day? (it seems so sometimes)… The truth is though, I’ve literally never been so excited to be a teacher than I am at the moment…
For me, the value of technology, of ICT, the ability to communicate electronically through all of the different means and mediums of ICT; socially, through graphics, music, websites, blogs, the data of spreadsheets, presentations, web 2.0, all of it… I think it makes our lives better. It makes us more efficient. It makes us able to do things we couldn’t do previously and it advances the human race. It really excites me. It always has. Call it the Trekkie in me.
Don’t get me wrong. Other subjects like English for example, don’t bore me – the written word excites me too, but as a teaching subject – the fact that the technology is ever advancing, ever evolving, making our lives better and the learning opportunities greater; that is what has always made me so excited about the subject.
Over the course of the last year I have had the opportunity to shape and formulate my vision of teaching & learning in relation to iPad in a way that leads me to see the two as being explicitly linked. The iPad is tool which enhances teaching & learning in such an amazing way.
- 10 hours life
- Quick up/down time
- Amazing apps which support learning
- Web access
- Great work flow
- Media tool
- Music tool
- Video tool
…the list of reasons why it is great goes on.
So… i’ll put my iPad badge on. I don’t see it as a threat to ICT as a subject. In fact, having iPads 1:1 is only going to make the teaching and learning within ICT even better, stronger, more exciting, engaging, and more immediate. Add to that the fact that because the apps are so intuitive and easy to use, students can collaborate more easily, reflect on their learning more easily, share their ideas more simply and learn more as a result.
Take this afternoon for example. In the course of a 50 minute lesson (learning outcome: to demonstrate understanding of a given audience), my Year 9 ICT students were able to:
- Film a 5 minute instructional video of themselves
- Divide in to separate scenes
- Add titles to it
- Add sound and special effects
- Collaborate on improvements
- Render it out
- Show it
- Discuss it
- Share the learning/apps/features
- Come up with ideas for improving
I can’t remember ever being able to turn that much work and learning around on a Friday afternoon by utilising PCs. Using the iPads meant that the technology was a facilitator rather than a barrier. Technology didn’t slow down the process of making an end product for a given audience; we were able to fit that in and then have the deeper conversation around the learning. We were able to spend time discussing the product; the ways of presenting information, ways in which the presentation could be altered for a different audience, whether or not the language was suitable for the audience, so forth and so on. Sometimes in the teaching of ICT, the software and OS and ‘sit at your seat’ mentality or multitude of different pieces of technology lead to a cumbersome & slow work product process – it hinders the learning – not with iPad. We were able to get it all done quickly, efficiently and to a really high standard, leaving us the time to focus on the learning.
The future’s bright…