Despite only having spent three months studying Digital Literacy it’s surprising when I look back at the different software/ideas/theories we have explored. In this post I’m going to talk a bit about the ones that have stood out most to me and why.
Way, way, way back in September (feels like an absolute age ago) I had my first trip to a primary school to find out how much children knew about technology and the issues surrounding it. (There is a post on this further down, if you fancy it!) This was my first experience on the course of being in a school and interacting with children, so it was only right that we went straight in with a dig lit aspect and used iPads with the children. Not owning an iPad myself, nor really witnessing a child with one I was amazed at how at ease the children seemed with them. We were asking the children questions that would elicit their recognition of technology, not only by name but by what it is used for. There were also questions about e-safety and other related issues. I think this experience has stuck with me because the majority of children seemed very aware of different types of technology (some which admittedly I didn’t recognise!) I’m also aware though that the school we visited is likely to have children who are encouraged to use technology and exposed to it before they arrive. This could be a contributing factor.
Something slightly different but just as significant is the theory we have been researching as well as practical elements of the course. I think the time when the mist cleared a little for me was after reading the NESTA: Decoding Learning report. Before this, I was struggling to link technology and learning together. I knew the basics, such as an iPad can be used to support learning. But I was unclear as to how technology could be used to support a Maths lesson for example. This report splits learning into separate categories such as “exploration” and “inquiry” and gives specific examples of technology and how they are used within lessons. This was really helpful for me and is something I can now always refer back to.
Going back to the beginning of term I can remember one lesson in particular. Our seminar leader had provided lots of technology and basically gave us free rein to explore and use it. There were webcams, robots, programming devices and other things that can all be used in the classroom to aid learning. We all found this session valuable because we could just explore and learn how the technology worked and then after spent time discussing the pros and cons of each and how they could be used to support learning.
“Romosapien” – our new robot friend!
In the last few weeks of term we began exploring specific software. Our seminar leader gave us a useful lesson on using SMART board technology. We’re all aware of the Interactive Whiteboards used in schools but have never explored them fully. If utilised to their full potential they can be so effective within all subjects. There are features on there that I never knew existed, such as the ability to draft your entire lesson in advance and save it, leaving you only having to press play at the start of your lesson. This seems a really helpful tool, particularly when lesson planning.
We also explored Scratch, an educational tool to introduce children to programming language. I struggled with this as I do not have previous experience of anything similar to this, but shows how important these lessons are in developing our own skills before we attempt to teach others.
I think the main point that has stuck with me this term is that I do need to bring myself up to speed on certain items of technology and aspects of digital literacy. I’m not being too hard on myself as this is a completely new concept for me and I am really keen to continue developing my knowledge and skills and become a digital leader myself.