Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the classroom is nothing new. I clearly remember filling out punch cards to program a computer at Mandurah Senior High School in 1983. Admittedly, the complexity of technologies available to students today is certainly far more advanced, even in comparison to ten years ago. This blog will focus on what is required for the effective use of digital ICT in the classrooms, including iPads, notebooks, MacBooks, internet resources, electronic text-books, flipped classrooms and other similar technologies.

There has been much discussion about whether the use of ICT in the classroom is actually a benefit to students or just a distraction. Certainly, in my teaching experience a significant amount of my time is spent ‘managing’ student use of their technology in the classroom. One recent report, Students, Computers and Learning: Making The Connection, states that “… even countries which have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT) for education have seen no noticeable improvement in their performances in PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment] results for reading, mathematics or science”.

However, Andreas Schleicher, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Director for Education and Skills, states “Technology is the only way to dramatically expand access to knowledge. To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries need to invest more effectively and ensure that teachers are at the forefront of designing and implementing this change”. Schleicher goes on to say, “If you look at the best-performing education systems, such as those in East Asia, they’ve been very cautious about using technology in their classroom” and “… those students who use tablets and computers very often tend to do worse than those who use them moderately.” . There is a clear divide between the need to implement effect ICT strategies in schools and the actual experience in schools.

The Horizon Report states that there are two clear long-term trends in implementing effective ICT programs in schools – “… redesigning learning spaces to accommodate more immersive, hands-on activities, as well as rethinking how schools work in order to keep pace with the demands of the 21st century workforce and equip students with future-focused skills.”
The report recognised six key trends that schools need to embrace to enable effect ICT use in schools. These are:
1. Redesigning learning spaces
2. Rethinking how schools work
3. Collaborative learning
4. Deeper learning approaches
5. Coding as a literacy
6. Students as creators

The report identifies significant challenges to implementing these trends of which some are solvable and some harder to solve.

Mandurah Baptist College’s ICT Committee meet regularly to consider these issues. Whilst there are many challenges, the College recognises the need for our teaching staff and students to be well equipped with ICT’s. We are actively seeking ways to implement effect ICT strategies so that our students are prepared for life in the 21st Century.

By: Mark Thomas, Humanities Teacher

Bibliography
Adams Becker, S. F. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12. Austin: The New Media Consortium.
Jenkin, M. (2015, December 2). Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/dec/02/schools-that-ban-tablets-traditional-education-silicon-valley-london
OECD. (2015, September 15). New approach needed to deliver on technology’s potential in schools. Retrieved from oecd.org: http://www.oecd.org/education/new-approach-needed-to-deliver-on-technologys-potential-in-schools.htm
OECD. (2015). Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection. Paris: OECD Publishing.