I came across an interesting Blog today connected to the website Educator Innovator. As I scrolled through the blog tab, an article titled, What’s ‘Value Added’ About Tech Tools in the Classroom? By Nicole Mirra, caught my eye. This blog focused on an Educator Innovator webinar that featured Dr. Richard Beach, professor emeritus of English education at the University of Minnesota talking about value added by ICTs in the classroom and America’s education system push to have schools acquire technological resources without sufficient discussion about or planning for how these tools will enrich teaching and learning.
It appears that teachers in American schools have similar issues to many in Australian schools regarding the want to see their schools with equipped with ample digital devices so students can experience and develop skills in digital technologies BEFORE they begin worrying about the educational possibilities these technical resources may add to the classroom. Many preservice teachers who are about to begin ICT professional experience placement have noticed the lack of digital technologies within some school classrooms.
Regardless of whether schools have adequate supply of ICTs for students, the digital tools will still be acquired and implemented into teaching programs whether teachers are ready professionally or not, especially with the addition of the technology syllabus to the Australian Curriculum. This article is an interesting read on technology reform in Australian schools. Some will embrace the additions, others will run. I guess this is what we as EDC3100 students are learning right now. Explore and familiarise yourself to the reality of digital technologies in the classroom or ignore them and hope they go away (which they clearly will not).
This blog highlighted a point that resonated with me, and that was, it is not the tools that inspire innovation and add value to the classroom but the imaginative and inspired activities teachers plan and implement using these digital tools that enriches learning. This illuminates in me the need of teachers to access professional development or the creation and implementation of ‘digital resource’ networking groups within school regions to explore these tools collaboratively and develop ideas and strategies for implementing these creatively, effectively and confidently within the classroom.
Benefits of a collaborative networking group include working together to recognise which of these resource tools offer teachers and students something that cannot achieved with pencil and paper, reinforcing EDC3100 lecturer Vicki teachings and mirroring aspects of the RAT Model of evaluating digital tools for teaching and learning.
When my time comes that I am teaching students and working with digital resources in the classroom, I will definitely find solace in a group of like minded wanting individuals, willing to embrace the inevitable and investigate these tools relevance and quality and finding ways to implement them into classroom to transform learning. Maybe todays preservice teachers will play a role in supporting others to embrace and innovate classrooms in the future.