Before I had begun this course I was quite unsure myself about the role of ICT in schools. Growing up I didn’t really have a lot of technology readily available and my school really only had one computer suite for all 300 children. So my limited knowledge in technology was no surprise but I can strongly say that I have now enhanced my skills of using technology and have my own vision of how intend to use it in my future practice.
In this day and age technology plays a key role in both in our lives and if not more in our children’s lives. Technology is everywhere we go from digital billboards, smart phones, tablets, recording equipment, televisions and lots more. It is evident that technology is a major part of who we are because at some point in our lives we all need to use technology, some more than others. It can be said that children of this generation can truly be the “first digital generation” that have everything at their fingertips (Kenyon, 2012). The world of ICT is growing rapidly and therefore ever changing, hence children need to be taught the adequate skills required to keep up with the change if they want to keep up with society.
Technology is now seen as a part of our everyday lives and with the implementation of the new “Computing” curriculum practitioners are now in a position to engage children through fun and exciting ways. The new Computing Programme of Study (KS1 and KS2) it states that children should become “digitally literate- able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.” Although, research shows that many teachers feel that they may have difficulties to embark on this new venture because of:
- poor quality of equipment and internet support;
- lack of support when new systems are adopted;
- lack of demonstrable pedagogical benefit;
- the lack of availability of time to experiment with new ICT tools;
- the sense that computers were not important for the very academic student.
(Preston and Baker, 2014)
For a successful integration of technology in education it is essential that teachers feel confident and equipped to teach children not only computing but also to use technology across the curriculum. My first recommendation would be that teachers are given adequate training and support to enhance their own abilities in technology and have on-going training as this will only result in better quality teaching.
In my future practice I would like to see a whole school approach to have technology at the centre of children’s learning. What I mean by this is, people often talk about literacy rich classrooms, which is extremely important but I would like schools to have the same approach towards technology. Although, many classes I’ve worked in have seen desktop computers in the class, which is excellent, but technology has advanced rapidly. Schools now are investing is iPad’s which are versatile as a range of apps can be downloaded which practitioners can use to fit around any topic. Bridghouse and Woods (2006, pp.114) state that “the learning community can create, receive, collect and share texts, images and sounds on a vast range of topics, in ways more stimulating, richer and more time efficient than ever before. Classes should be full of available technologies for the children such as iPad’s/tablets, cameras/ video recorders, computers, games on the IWB and programmable devices for children to explore and be engaged in learning.
The use of technology, in the classroom (indoors and outdoors), have many transparent benefits on the learning and engagement of children but a key aspect which needs to be considered is e-safety. E-safety issues can usually make teachers feel quite worried about using technology but in my practice I intend to familiarize myself thoroughly of the schools policies and endeavour to have a whole school approach on informing children how to “stay safe” when using technology (eg- the internet).
I hope that I have given a clear portrayal of my vision for technology in the classroom and in my future practice. I just wanted to finish by adding that I truly believe that using technology “enhances children’s self-esteem and drive” and this is paramount for successful learning. As I future early years teacher I would like to provide young children with a strong foundation of their earliest memories of technology which they can go on to build on in their futures.
Bridgehoust, T. and Woods, D. (2006) Inspirations: A collection of commentaries and quotations to promote school improvement. London: Network Continuum Education.
Department for Education (2013) Computing programme of study: key stages 1 and 2. [online]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239033/PRIMARY_national_curriculum _-_ Computing.pdf [Accessed 6th Oct 2014].
Caldwell, H and Honeyford, G. (2014) Computing And Digital Literacy. In: Dawes, L and Smith, P. (ed.) Subject Teaching in Primary Education. London: Sage Publications Ltd. p.43-64.
Kenyon, T. (2012) Digital literacy must become an essential part of the ICT curriculum. The Guardian [online]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2012/nov/15/digital-literacy-curriculum-future-skills [Accessed 03.11.2014].
Preston, C. and Scott Baker, M. Do young children need access to computers as much as they need to play with sand and water? In: Burden, K. Leask, M. & Younie, S. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching and Learning Using ICT in the Primary School. Taylor & Francis.