Friday, April 9, 2010

Technology transforms learning and teaching? (Christine Jager, ACEC 2010 Day Three)

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 24:  Primar...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Christine Jager begins the conversation by looking at the promise of digital technologes and asks if they lead to increased teacher efectiveness, and improved student achievement.

Christine has been working in the Middle East with education institutions for a number of years, and has found many teachers to be defensive, and competitive (a teacher wanting to look better than a colleague because of the test scores students are achieving). The teaching is traditional and teachers are seen as the catalyst to learning - if a student fails it is seen as the fault of the teacher.

She looks at John Hattie's research (Visible Learning, 2009) to help consider ways of measuring performance / effect (including Key Performance Indicators, standards-based evaluation of performance, and student achievement gains). Hattie has looked at 800 quantitative studies from around the world (83 million students from around the world), and he ends up listing the 28 aspects of learning and teaching. From his analysis he discovered the use of computers would mean "a change in the conception of being a necessitates a different way of interacting and respecting students". Hattie identifies that feedback, a student's prior cognitive ability, and the trust build by teachers with their students were paramount to effective learning.

Putting the control into the hands of students can be concerning to students as they are not sure what this would actually look like in practice. The most important thing is what the students bring to the learning situation, followed closely by what a teacher brings, as well as the influence of home, peers, schools and principals. Putting technology into schools is only a small part of the equation. When teachers see learning through the eyes of the student and when students see themselves as their own teachers, that's when you get the most effective outcomes.

Christine's presentation was well-informed, had time for audience participation, and discussion, and raised some key questions, while also suggesting some suggestions (in part sourced from the NZ National Curriculum).
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