Thursday, 19 January 2012

Building Capacity

Integrating Communication Technologies into the Classroom

I believe that we need to model promising teaching practices. If we want teachers to use Differentiated Instruction, unconsciously integrate technology, use commonly accepted assessment practices, etc. then we must practise what we teach. I have to demonstrate that a new process is expeditious, easy to implement and more effective.

If doing this takes too much time or is too hard for me then it will definitely be too burdensome for the teacher who is already overwhelmed with split classes, new curriculum and too many new initiatives to count.

Initially, almost any new process takes more time and effort than the existing process. The payoff in time and effort will not occur until the teacher becomes unconsciously competent with the new process.

A Sense of Purpose
Three key points
  • Networked communication tools are common in the workplace; schools must prepare students to use these tools effectively.
  • Effective communication is required for any literacy and is a keystone in life-long learning.
  • We need to replace outmoded processes not add to them; don't duplicate services.
Integrating Communication Technologies
So what are the advantages of integrating communication technologies (Web 2.0 tools)?
  • They are designed to promote collaborative and constructivist learning.
  • They promote creativity and address individual student needs.
  • They encourage communication beyond the walls of the classroom.
  • They minimize the need for specialized software and hardware.
  • They permit learning outside traditional classroom and laboratory spaces.
  • They prepare students for new and emerging technologies (NET).
The Process, Product and People
We now need to reach out to lead teachers who are aware of emerging technologies and understand their importance. They understand that these new technologies are authentic and effective but they need support in integrating them effectively into the curriculum.

We can do this via inservices or workshops and support these initiatives with Just-In-Time video tutorials. These lead teachers can then support teachers in their schools with the same inservices, workshops and Just-In-Time video tutorials.

As an aside: Earlier in this post I said "don't duplicate services." What I meant by this is that we shouldn't have face-2-face planning meetings AND wikis. We shouldn't have paper and pencil quizzes and online quizzing. We need to learn to use Web 2.0 tools effectively so that they replace outmoded or ineffective tools.

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