What is a digital world?

In week one we were introduced to the topic “What is a digital world?”. Dr Jennifer Howell asked us to do a digital audit on ourselves, to see how digital our worlds were (Howell, 2014). I learnt that I am what Prensky (as cited in Howell, 2012, p.6) labels a “digital immigrant”. I use technology daily, but it is limited to what I choose to use (Howell, 2012). There are so many technologies that I choose not to use simply because technology makes me nervous. Howell (2012) makes reference to technologically fearless teachers being open to suggestions made from our digitally native students. Most students are surrounded by digital technologies at home so their input could be valuable. To be able to describe myself as a technology fearless teacher, I will need to increase my digital pedagogy (Howell, 2012).

Children are digital natives, they have grown up surrounded by technology (My own image).
Children are digital natives, they have grown up surrounded by technology (My own image).

In an interview with Marc Prensky (CEMPVideos, 2010), he suggests that teachers do not need to know how to use a particular technology in order to teach effectively, as long as they can explain to the students what the resource does. This then leaves the students to explore the resource on their own. I found this an interesting point of view, which contrasts the opinion of Howell (2012), who believes that teachers should enter the classroom with a digital attitude and aptitude and guide students with our knowledge. My thoughts on these conflicting opinions tend to agree with Howell. I believe that it is important for a teacher to understand a resource and be able to provide students with help if needed.

Perhaps the most interesting point I will take from this week was Howell’s (2012) statement that digital technology enables life-long learning. The internet is a never ending provider of information, which means we are constantly taking in new information. I leave this week with an enthusiasm to enhance my digital world and start the journey to life-long learning.

REFERENCES

CEMPvideos. (2010, October 21). Marc Prensky – what is the role of the teacher in todays world?

. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MpzcjhY_wI

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Howell, J. (2014). Living and Learning in the Digital World Mod 01 topic 01 [ilecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/8a668af5-c192-4635-ab9b-d302c122bd6b

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Participation and the digital divide – who misses out?

The many factors that contribute to the digital divide (Newblogone, 2012).
The many factors that contribute to the digital divide (Newblogone, 2012).

 

When I think about the term “digital divide”, I imagine it to mean the divide between younger generations and older generations. However, the readings and videos from week 4 have clarified that the term “digital divide” actually refers to those who have access to digital technologies, and those who do not (Howell, 2012). This is not specific to a particular generation as I originally thought, but relates to the socio-economic status of families (Howell, 2012). While some families may be able to provide their children with the latest technologies and access to the internet, other children are not as fortunate, meaning students are participating in an unequal digital world (Howell, 2012).

 

Some children are fortunate to have access to different types of technologies at home. (My own image).
Some children are fortunate to have access to different types of technologies at home. (My own image).

 

So, how can schools ensure that all students have equal learning opportunities with technology? This is the thought that led me to investigate outside of the provided readings. Some schools provide tablets to their students for $100 per year (Johnson, 2015). But this is of little help if the student has no internet access at home. Johnson (2015) suggests that schools should expand internet access during school hours, adjust homework so that digital materials can be accessed on iPads or laptops without the need for internet, and inform students and their parents of local community spaces such as libraries and YMCA’s that provide free wi-fi.

 

This video (TEDx talks, 2014) discusses the importance of libraries bridging the digital divide, and corresponds with Johnson’s (2015) suggestion of our students utilising community spaces to access technology that is not available at home

 

This topic has opened my eyes to the importance of digital technologies in schools. As a teacher I will be expected to be able to provide students the opportunity to learn with digital technologies – to bridge the gap between what parents can afford to provide at home, and what my students expect and deserve to be learning in regards to technology (Howell, 2012). I look forward to learning more about the wide varieties of digital teaching resources available that will assist me in my future teaching career.

 

References

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Johnson, D. (2015). Helping to close the digital divide. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb15/vol72/num05/Helping-to-Close-the-Digital-Divide.aspx

New Blog One. (2012). The digital divide [Image]. Retrieved from http://newblogoneitg.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/the-digital-divide.html

TEDx talks. (2014, May 14). Get a read on this: libraries bridging the digital divide. Andrew Roskill at TEDx Charlston. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J198u5HK0pY

Digital fluency

The theme of week 6 was digital fluency. Dr Jennifer Howell described digital fluency as being able to use different digital technologies fluently (Howell, 2014). While there are some technologies that I would describe myself as digitally fluent in, there are also many that I use in the most basic form. Howell (2012) states that grade 4 students could be described as “technology neophytes” because they are beginners who understand the basics of technology and are ready for more complex learning. Perhaps this description fits me also, and I find myself wondering if there are teachers who are not digitally fluent, and how they manage to keep up with teaching in this digital world. This thought provokes a personal desire to become more digitally fluent.

This image represents the fundamentals of digital fluency.
This image represents the fundamentals of digital fluency. “Effortlessly and unconsciously” is a great explanation of how a digitally fluent person uses technology.(Langwitches, 2013).

A UK company, Fluency, trains unemployed youths to become digitally fluent in the hopes of decreasing the unemployed statistics (Mac Manus, 2013). Fluency recognises that employers expect employees to be digitally fluent. I feel this is a great opportunity for unemployed youths, but it highlights the importance of our students being digitally fluent before they leave school (Howell, 2012), so that they are ready for the workforce or further education. The below  is an example of what Howell (2012) suggests students should be digitally fluent in by the end of primary school. I find this list to be quite daunting. As a 29 year old, there are at least 3 areas on this list that I am not familiar with. I will need to challenge myself to increase my digital fluency. How can I expect to teach my future students to be digitally fluent if I lack digital fluency? This is something I need to resolve. checklist   It is quite clear that this week has emphasised the importance of digital fluency in our students, teachers, and those currently studying to become teachers. As future teachers it is our responsibility to ensure that we are confident with our digital skills.

References

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press

Howell, J. (2014). Learning and living in a digital world. Module 02: Digital fluency [ilecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/69320b47-1f26-4f87-ae1c-7ba4e48e0050

Mac Manus, S. (2013). Getting young people fluent in digital. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/aug/02/young-people-fluent-digital

Langwitches (2013). Digital fluency [Image]. Retrieved from http://langwitches.org/blog/2013/02/18/skilled-literate-fluent-in-the-digital-world/

Evaluation matrix: Adventure sequences game

Name of teaching resource

Adventure sequences game on BBC website

Weblink (if web based)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/maths/number_sequences/play/

 

Who should this digital teaching resource be used with? (ie year/grade)

Year 4

How should it be used? (e.g. individual, whole class)

The game would be best used individually, however it could be used in groups by taking turns.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

Mathematics. The Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2015) states that year 4 students should be able to “Investigate number sequences involving multiples of 3,4,6,7,8 and 9”.

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

  •  Fun way for children to practice number sequences
  • Has 3 difficulty levels.
  • Can be played at home as well as at school.
  • Has a link for worksheets that teachers could print and use during a lesson or assign as homework
Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

  •  Difficult to use in a group task, could cause arguments between students.
  • Each game is very short.
  • Difficult for teacher to monitor or assess. Unless the teacher is sitting with the child, there is no way of knowing how successful the student was.
Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

This website provides many games for areas of learning such as literacy, maths and science.

It could be used during group time, for example some students could be playing this game while others are completing worksheets.

It could also be used as a reward for students who have shown good behaviour.

 

REFERENCES

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2015). Mathematics. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/mathematics/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level2

Evaluation matrix: Popplet

Name of teaching resource

Popplet

Weblink (if web based)

http://popplet.com/app/#/2438329

Who should this digital teaching resource be used with? (ie year/grade)

A year 2 class

How should it be used? (e.g. individual, whole class)

Popplet can be used as either a group or individual project, or it can be used by the teacher as a visual aid.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

The Popplet shown in the example would be appropriate to use in a biological science lesson. This corresponds with the content descriptor “Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves” (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2015) for a year 2 class.

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

  • Very easy to use
  • Popplet lets you create an interesting visual aid that allows the user to insert images and videos.
  • Teaches children to organise their ideas and research information.
  • If children are working in a group, there is an option to have their name appear on any “Popple” they have contributed to the task.
  • Can be used on an iPad or PC.
  • Work can be printed.
  • Work can be shared via Facebook and other social media sites, as well as by email.
Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

  • It only provides 5 free Popplets.
  • Limited options for text. Unable to change font or use bold or italics.
Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

Popplet could be used as a mind map or brainstorm for any topic.

Teachers can create profiles on their students

 

 

 

                                                         REFERENCES

 

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2015). Science. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/science/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level2

 

Teaching resource: Popplet

Popplet is a fun web tool that allows users to create a visual mind map of ideas. It can be used as an iPad app, or it can be accessed via the website popplet.com. Popplet helps children learn to organise their ideas visually, and experiment with their creativity.

 

Example of how Popplet can be used.
Example of how Popplet can be used (Popplet, 2015).