Upon beginning this course my first thoughts are not overly positive towards ICT in schools, although I believe ICT can be used productively as an aide in classrooms to help children reach learning goals and I do believe they are imperative to education and full participation in 21t century society. However, there are many problems surrounding this area of learning that I need to come to terms with and better understand before I can begin to engage positively with them in the classroom.
Currently one of my jobs (in a non-school setting) requires almost constant calls to maintenance for ICT issues; computers crashing, freezing, technology not working which results in massive losses in time and productivity. Although I haven’t seen ICTs used much or often in the classroom, the instances that I have seen them used have always included an element of unreliable technology and wasted time or last minute changes to plans to compensate. This includes a projector that kept switching off and required the teacher to provide her own until maintenance came to fix it a month later and even then, did not fix it properly. Another example of this was laptops in a classroom I was doing teacher aide work in. The laptops were constantly dropping out or not loading, the teacher was teaching a different group and so could not help them and I don’t have much more knowledge than to turn it on and off again and so the students wasted 10 minute of a half hour lesson just getting their computer to load. However the most reliable form of ICT I have come across is the Ipad but I will discuss my issues with this below.
Consistency and Equal Access
My other concern is the consistency and availability of technology across schools. Children in low socio economic or rural areas are given an unfair disadvantage from the start, due to less availability of ICTs in schools and possibly at home (Rowena, 2001) because of this there becomes what is called the digital divide, the divide between those who are information rich and those who are information poor ( Sutherland-Smith, Snyder and Angus, 2003). The majority of schools I have been placed, volunteered or worked at, do not have access to a computer lab more than once a week, and do not use tablets or devices. While one or two have class use of iPad and laptops, in class ready and charged for every student to use with the added extension of programming beginning in year 1. Furthermore, I am still yet to find out what an Interactive whiteboard is, and this is in Brisbane! This leads me to ask questions such as: is it fair we are giving some students an advantage in using technology over others when entering the workforce? Is it fair that we are allowing some students to fully engage in in the educational, social and economic activities and democratic processes that internet and ICT access allow by giving some students this power and not others? Should there be some consistency in what technology is used and taught in schools? How do children engage in class during a BYO if they don’t own a device and cannot afford a device?
I do believe ICTs can be used in schools but only to the extent that they are consistent and reliable. I’m interested to learn more from this course on how this could be achieved.
Cullen, R. (2001). Addressing the Digital Divide. 67Th IFLA Council and General Conference. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/14684520110410517
Sutherland-Smith, W., Snyder, I., & Angus, L. (2003). The digital divide: Differences in computer use between home and school in low socio-economic household. Educational Studies in Language and Literature. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wendy_Sutherland-Smith/publication/251346474_The_Digital_Divide_Differences_in_Computer_Use_between_Home_and_School_in_Low_Socioeconomic_Households/links/00b4952789ead24cc4000000.pdf