1. ICT current trends (the IWB)

The past to the current trends of the Interactive White Board (IWB)

Trends of ICT in schools started with the “grotty photo copied type written black and white” presentations of the light overhead projector (Tolley). Yes , the projectors were widely available and considerably cheap to run and use, but they were known and criticized to be very boring, time consuming and learner unfriendly.

The blaring yellow light and the faint black writing were hard to focus and were boring. Very rarely did the teachers integrate any other needs into the slides (e.g. Integrate pictures and video/ dvd). This meant that students didn’t focus and therefore didn’t contribute positive towards the lesson.

          The projectors are time consuming. Physically the teacher had to find the next slide, put it on the projector, and then commonly then refocus the machine. This lost time is when the students ‘switch off’ and lose focus.

I remember while at school doing a lesson on the projector, the slides were unappealing, the mood of the class was very boring  and the time and ‘switch off’ time between the slides were huge and thats why they are the negatives of the light projector.


Of increasing PC’s in schools, the Computer Projector was introduced. With very little skills and unknown capabilities of the Computer Projector from the teachers part, the classes became just the same as the overhead projector. And it turned the lesson sometimes into a lecturing hall.

          The computer projector brings the Microsoft PowerPoint into play. PowerPoint has many multi-media capabilities and can be used for basic lessons or for very detailed and informative lessons. With the use of pictures, hyperlinks to the internet, and the use of color, this appeals to towards the learners, and therefore addresses their learner needs.

          But unfortunately many of the presentations weren’t what they could be. The teachers were ‘proudly’ reading what is on the screen and send the audience into boredom.

As Tolley explains the underlying principle of enhanced visual aid in the computer projector, has been lost from the teachers bad performance.

And the last bad thing about the computer projector, is that the slide is always controlled by the teacher, and what is saved on the screen cannot be added to, slowed down to, or changed because it is what the teacher has made for the lesson.


The most current and most learner friendly trend is the Interactive White Board (IWB) in our schools. 

Students always want to be stimulated by something, this can maybe be done by a video, image, text, colors etc. The IWB allows for all of these to be displayed at one time.

There are many resources avaliable for teachers to ensure effective use of the IWB. One great example is the great online help from Promethean planet. This is an online  community where you can upload and download your IWB lessons and/ or evaluate other peoples. http://www.prometheanplanet.com/.

          The high interactivity of the IWB brings the power into the hand of the teacher, but also into the students. One IWB program is the Smart Board format Program, this allows the teacher and students to make slides according to what is needed.

          IWB are a positive influence in every classroom but you have to make sure the teacher has enough training to bring its full capabilities into action. That is why many universities (including Wollongong and NotreDame Universities.) do an IWB/ ICT in schools subjects to change the view and ways ICT are used in schools.

Positives of IWB are that teachers can manipulate and change objects in direct response to students needs. This means that the teacher can slow down, go faster, delete objects, add things to slides according to the students needs.

Good teachers add to IWBs all types of relevant images, videoclips (or URLs), sound files, graphic organisers and Learning objects. These are used to bring all learner needs into play.

IWB/ SmartBoards have a great tool where students can get up infront of the class and write on the board themselves.  This is a whole new ICT tool that for the first time students have the ability to contribute to the lesson themselves.

          The IWB is one of many current trends of ICT in schools. All recent ICT in schools are there to make learning more involving, more exciting and more learner friendly. The new ICT in schools (including IWB), i believe that students are becoming better students, smarter children and because of the changing technological times, the students are learning easier (because they have spent their entire lives surrounded by technology.).




–         Albion, P (28th June 2005). Emerging trends in ICT & education. Available from: http://www.usq.edu.au/course/material/edu5472/content/mod11.htm

–         Hollis, J (11th September 2007). SmartBoards in the Classroom. Available from: http://www.teacherslovesmartboards.com/2007/09/smartboards-in-.html

–         Kent, P. (2008). Interactive whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. Melbourne: Macmillan Teacher Resources.

–         Tolley, R.J. (ND). Notes on the use of IWBs in schools. Available: http://www.maximise-ict.co.uk/IWBs.pdf

–         Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2006). Literacy reading, writing and children’s literature (3rd ed.).   Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

2. Digital natives debate

Below is a videoclip to a song “i need my teachers to learn”, it is a funny and quirky video on the Digital Natives frustration to their teachers. Enjoy!


There are many blogging pages, discussions and studies on the debate of Digital Natives versus Digital Immigrants. There seems to be an equal divide either agreeing or disagreeing with Marc Prenskys’ 2001 ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’ paper.
Marc Prensky is the creator of the word ‘Digital Native and Immigrant’.
       He has defined Digital natives are said to be people who have grown up in a world of computers and 21st century technologies.
      People who are considered Digital immigrants grew up before the digital age and have had to learn how to use technologies later in their life.
Prensky has said “Digital immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been, and that the same methods that worked for the teachers when they were students will work for their students now. But that assumption is no longer valid. Today’s learners are different.”

It seems to me that Prensky overly emphasizes the differences between his two groups and de-emphasizes the similarities.
He makes it appears that the Digital Natives, grow up reading very little and engaging with digital media a whole lot more, this does not mean that they are illiterate or unresponsive to traditional forms of teaching and learning.
According to Prensky, Digital Immigrants are attempting to teach the Digital Natives with methods that are no longer valid.


“Unfortunately,” he says, “no matter how much the Immigrants may wish it, it is highly unlikely the Digital Natives will go backwards. In the first place, it may be impossible—their brains may already be different”

There are many other factors that make you become a Digital Native (and Immigrant) and not just the date you were born.
What happens if you have both the desire and the skills in technology, no matter what your age, what will you be called?

I believe there are many other factors that contribute to being a Digital native/ Immigrant, like: culture you were born and live in, the date you were born, determination andwant for technology, need for technology as in your job or lifestyle and lastly the society you live in.

        – Bennett, S., Maton, K. & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.cheeps.com/karlmaton/pdf/bjet.pdf

– Honeycutt, Kevin (2009) I need my teachers to learn. Retrieved 30/3/2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxHb5QVD7fo  

        – McGeady, K (2010). Blog: Digital Natives. Retrieved from: http://primarytech.globalteacher.org.au/2010/02/12/digital-natives/comment-page-1/

        – Prensky, M (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

3. ICT as a cognitive tool

Our society is becoming increasingly reliant on the internet and in computers. It is no surprise that teachers are starting to use both computers and the internet in online activities (such as the WebQuest) to help educate their students.

         Dodge (1997) defines WebQuests “as an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with come from resources on the internet.”

     WebQuests are an interesting and effective way of motivating and engaging all students in the classroom. It requires the students to step out of their role, and into the role of a characters. Each student is given a role, and in order to accomplish the ‘mission’ every student must have completed the set task allocated by the WebQuest.


WebQuests are a great activity where students are given work to scaffold their learning within a constructivist learning environment. The basic structure of a WebQuest is to have activity/ies around a central question or problem that is need to be answered.

Levels of WebQuests include short and long term teaching.

– Short term, designed to be completed in 1 to 3 class periods

Long term, designed to be completed in 1 week to 1 month in the classroom

Continue reading

4. Social constructivism

How does the Constructivist Theory work, and should I practice it or not?

All teachers should ask themselves this when they begin teaching.

The constructivist classroom as “a culture in which students are involved not only in discovery but in a social discourse involving explanation, negotiating, sharing and evaluating” (Brewer. J, Daane. C, 2002).

Brewer & Daanes’ article is a reminder of the priority of the constructivist teaching has in the classroom. After reading ‘Translating constructivist theory into practice in primary-grade mathematics’ (Brewer. J, Daane. C, 2002),  it made me think of the importance of the constructivist teaching style. A key point of the article was that constructivist teachers are facilitators of learning, rather that dictator of teaching.

From the article I also found out that this theory creates a team-work environment, whilst also allowing students to be independent. It gives them the opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts in a risk-free classroom.

I want to use the constructivist theory in my classroom, i just have to remember a few points that Brewer and Daane pointed out:

  • Learning is a constructive process
  • New knowledge is built on prior knowledge
  • Promote autonomy
  • Social interaction

From the points, I find that Social Interaction is the most important part.  The routes of Social Interaction is from Lev Vygotsky’s constructivist theory, which is often called social constructivism.

Social Constructivism – “learning theory that emphasizes that learning is an active social process in which individuals make meanings through the interactions with each other and with the environment they live in. Knowledge is thus a product of humans and is socially and culturally constructed” (Net Pedagogy definition, n.d).

I believe that when I use the constructivist theory in my classroom, that it will provide a comfortable class environment where students will be highly effective in the classroom.  



Screen shot GIF of: http://viking.coe.uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/social.htm


Brewer, J., & Daane, C.J. (2002). Translating constructivist theory into practice in primary-grade mathematics. Education, 132(2), 416-426. Retrieved January 6, 2010, from Notre Dame Blackboard

Chen, I (n.d.) An Electronic Textbook on Instructional Technology: Social Constructivism Theory. Retrieved 1/4/2010, from:  http://viking.coe.uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/social.htm

Net Pedagogy Portal (n.d.) Glossary. Retrieved 1/4/2010, from http://www.thewebworks.bc.ca/netpedagogy/glossary.html

5. Learning Design (LAMS)

Learning Activity Management system (LAMS) is an open system for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities.

It provides teachers with an intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities (LAMS home site).

LAMS is roughly a new tool introduced to teachers in the education community. Here the teachers can accommodate students to a range of individual tasks, small group work and whole class activities based on both content and collaboration learning activities.

Some great features of LAMS include:

– Very easy to construct. A simple drag and drop tool to easily create the sequence of your lesson. Or even a skeleton lesson plan which LAMS has already put  together to help out you as a teacher.

– The Chat tool. The teacher can allocate the groups of the chat, whther its in allocated groups, everyone talking together. This is a great way for the students to brainstorm and discuss the topic at hand. The teacher as the host can block, stop, delete any students computers if they get off track.

– Links can be added so students can be directed to websites and other resources to help with the task at hand.

– There are many great tools where the teacher (as a host of the LAMS page) can look over the students progress. The teacher can Hurry students to the next slide and look at where they are up to. These are great motivational tools for the students.


Prior to this terms work in ED4134, I have never heard of the word LAMS or anything like it. It was a great opportunity to listen to a guest speaker who came into our tutorial and took us through the LAMS foundation website.

We were instructed to play around the LAMS site to which we were to make our own design. Having our guest speaker give us pointers and help I can say that I will be using this in the future, and hopefully on try it out on Prac in these coming weeks.


–          LAMS Foundation (N.D) Home: What is LAMS?. Retrieved 4/4/2010 from http://lamsfoundation.org/


–          Campbell, C. & Cameron, L. (2009). Using Learning Activity Management Systems (LAMS) with pre-service secondary teachers: An authentic task. In Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009. Retrieved from: http://researchonline.nd.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1016&context=edu_conference

6. Pedagogical beliefs and ICT Integration

“Technology is now considered by most educators and parents

 to be an integral part of providing a high-quality education” (U.S. DoE, 2003, p. 3). That is why schools have such a great importance in integrating new technology in our schools.


There were two great readings to which both talk about ICT integration in our schools, to which both have great points with the issues that come with it.

First was Peggy Ertmers’ paper which uses a lot of research and evidence to argue that many people want an increase of ICT in schools to provide their students with a higher quality education.

Although while there is a great increase of technology integration in our schools, successful use of technology is still at a low. This suggests that there are some barriers which are stopping the full potential of technology advantages.

Teachers’ beliefs and practices are generally shaped by personal experiences and by the values and opinions expressed around them (Ertmer, 2005).


The main point of the article was to gradually ease the teachers into using technology. Introduce through such processes as:

–      Ongoing public conversations explicating stakeholders’ (teachers, administrators, parents) pedagogical beliefs, including explicit discussions about the ways in which technology can support those beliefs.

–      Small communities of practice, in which teachers jointly explore new teaching methods, tools, and beliefs, and support each other as they begin transforming classroom practice.

–      Opportunities to observe classroom practices, including technology uses, that are supported by different pedagogical beliefs.

–      Technology tools, introduced gradually, beginning with those that support teachers’ current practices and expanding to those that support higher level goals.

–      Ongoing technical and pedagogical support as teachers develop confidence and competence with the technological tools, as well as the new instructional strategies required to implement a different set of pedagogical beliefs.    (Ertmer, 2005).


However the second article, Brown begs to differ. “ICT should be used to develop a new kind of digital curriculum where students learn to be critical thinkers, critical consumers, and critical citizens” Brown (2005, p.17).

Teachers have to recognise students need for ICT, and how it might affect them in society. By introducing ICT students will leave school as “confident, creative and productive users of new technologies, including information and communication technologies, and understand the impact of those technologies on society” (Schools Advisory Group, 2000, p. 3).


          I agree with both Ertmer and Brown. Ertmer, with the integration of technology in schools, we need to help teachers see the benefits, how it can aid their teaching along with supporting their pedagogical beliefs. On the other hand with Browns’ idea there is a need to integrate technology into our schools, but to do so, it has to be in the right context.


–      Brown, M. (2005). The growth of enterprise pedagogy: How ICT policy is infected by neo-liberalism. Australian Educational Computing, 20(2), 16-22. (NotreDame blackboard)

–      Bruce Ayres (N.D) Teacher and students using computer. retrieved 6/4/2010 from: www.gettyimages.com/detail/879033-001/stone

–      Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4), 25-39. (NotreDame blackboard)

–      Schools Advisory Group. (2000). Learning in an online world: School education action plan for the information economy. Adelaide: Education Network Australia. Retrieved 16 October, 2002 from http://www.edna.edu.aulednalfile12665

–      U.S. Department of Education. (2003). Federal funding for educational technology and how it is used in the classroom: A summary of findings from the Integrated Studies of Educational Technology. Office of the Under Secretary, Policy and Program Studies Service: Washington, D.C. Retrieved 5/4/2010, from www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ os/technology/evaluation.html