Friday, 5 July 2013

How Does Technology Affect Me as a Teacher?

Teaching and learning is being transformed by technology very rapidly. Increased interactions online is exponential and continues to grow. Many of us  perform routine activities online, including, interacting with others, managing finances, and conducting business. As this shift in our daily lives continues to transform our time management and number of interactions with others in a day we need to consider the potential within our classrooms. Technology can influence not only  the way we learn but who we learn alongside.
How is this affecting my role as a teacher?

Today’s classrooms are changing dramatically from the traditional transmission and delivery model. There is a new focus on interaction and collaboration rather than using technology for menial tasks such as publishing and presenting.Pachler, N. (2005).
 
Technology has the potential to empower student voice, allow learners to be creative, collaborative as well as cognitive. Learners are active participants in the learning process engaging in discussion, sharing perspectives, and using knowledge to create new knowledge and understanding. Cultural diversity and beliefs are valued and viewed as ways to consider and challenge our own ideas.
Educationalists are now rethinking how we address changes in society to equip children for the future. Pachler, N. (2005). The benefits of ICT within a classroom are numerous but the challenges for teachers are also problematic.  Consideration is now required about what technologies to use and how to use them to maximise student achievement.
Designed by Dr Ruben Puentedurain, the SAMR model is used to help understand the levels of integration ICT can be used in teaching practice and result in transform the learning of their students.
Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model (SAMR) model explains levels of integration that a teacher can adopt. Substitution explains using technology as a replacement tool.  i.e.:  The same task could be done without technology. The higher end of the model, redefinition, explains seamless integration of technologies into the classroom allowing for creativity and collaboration that would not be possible without technology.  
Authentic and real world learning within the classroom creates opportunities to develop life skills for our students.  Teaching and learning should reflect the world of interactions online and our scaffolding should be occurring within this context that is practical and within reach for the child. Providing opportunities for learning as a cyber citizen is essential for personal growth and development. Cognitive Apprenticeships explained by Vanessa Paz Dennen (2004), are social interactions for learning that provides models, structures, expectations and scaffolding opportunities that require both cognitive and metacognitive skills. It transforms learning from the peripheral to a natural progression into full engagement in learning. Dennen, V. P. (2004).

When considering mentoring and coaching it is important to reflect on Vygostsky’s zone of proximal development.  Children require challenges as they are learning but within perimeters that would achieve success for the learner making new learning obtainable by the child. Working within the ZPD allows children to explore opportunities that would not otherwise be possible. It affects both emotional and cognitive conditions for the learner affecting motivation and confidence. The ability to scaffold learners is now being considered by computer software designers. Dennen, V. P. (2004).  This will have a large impact in the ways we can implement technology for learning in the classroom.

The impact of technology has created opportunities for learning and teaching that requires a pedagogical shift, a different approach in the way we view and use technology and requires new opportunities for collaboration that reflects changes that have already occurred in our society.


Cutting. Lynda  (2013) The SAMR Model Retrieved from http://appsadaisy.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/the-samr-model/


References
DuFour, Richard. (May 2004) What Is a "Professional Learning Community"? Retrieved  
from http://www.plainfieldnjk12.org/pps_staff/docs/dufour_PLCs.pdf

Dennen, V. P. (2004). Cognitive apprenticeship in educational practice: Research on scaffolding, modeling, mentoring, and coaching as instructional strategies. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed., pp. 813-828). London, England: LEA.

Pachler, N. (2005). Theories of learning and ICT. In M. Leask & N. Pachler (Eds.), Learning to teach using ICT in the secondary school: A companion to school experience (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.


What are my responsibilities online?
All teachers who are employed at a state school as permanent full or part time are eligible for their own laptop lease under the TELA Scheme. Some Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB), literacy, Māori and itinerant music teachers are also eligible’ All teachers under this scheme are empowered with a 1-1 device for the purpose of teaching and learning practices. Knowing how this can benefit you and your teaching practice with inevitably reflect through in teaching pedagogy. Ministry of Education (2007)
Albert Bandura’s,  social learning theory, states that children learn behaviours from observing, imitating and modelling behaviours,  attitudes and outcomes of others, within their own environment.  It is a theory that reflects a social element for learning. McLeod, S. A. (2011).

Within a society children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school.’ McLeod, S. A. (2011).  

Becoming a role model in online behaviour, will develop learners who will become confident, global  participants who reflect positive and respectful values in their interactions online. All teachers are bound by ethical and professional responsibilities to seek and share knowledge, model appropriate online behaviour at all times. New Zealand Teachers Council (2013)

In 2007, Netsafe released a  use  agreement template for schools aligning with the New Zealand Curriculum expectations of technology use in schools. This has now outdated by the use of social media, blogs and tweeting requiring a new model that reflects the way people are now using technology for teaching and learning. Replacing the traditional ‘Cybersafety Policy’ and ‘Acceptable Use Agreement’ telling us what we can and can’t do. We are now required to be more prepared, informed and responsible ‘Digital Citizenship Policy’ and ‘Responsible Use Agreement’. No longer can we hide behind an Acceptable Use Agreement that tells us what we can and can’t do.
      References
McLeod, S. A. (2011). Albert Bandura | Social Learning Theory. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/bandura.html

Ministry of Education. Netsafe Kit for Schools Retrieved from http://www.netsafe.org.nz/the-kit/policy-and-use-agreements


How can I work collaboratively as a Teacher?
Technology has removed physical, time and travel barriers beyond our wildest beliefs. We no longer need or should be teaching in isolation. Professional learning communities have proven to be powerful and successful.

‘ To create a professional learning community, focus on learning rather than teaching, work
collaboratively, and hold yourself accountable for results.’ Du Four, R. (2004)

Working collaboratively online provides “anywhere, anytime” access to learning materials
and online courses, offering more personalised approach to learning opportunities. It allows support for individual needs and the sharing of best practices.

The future focus in leadership is no longer a heirarchy system. Collaboration is a new way at looking of leadership that embraces team and values every participants input. This model branches off one main belief aim or desired outcome that is lead by engaging all participants highlighting their strengths and developing a culture of confidence and belief that together you can make a difference.  People shape and influence environments and what you do and say makes a difference.  

Collaboration alone will not result in student achievement or effective use of professional development time. For effective collaboration requires time and expectations that is embedded within school routine. It must focus on student achievement without  administration and team relationships overriding the purpose for collaboration? DuFour, R. (2011). Working within a team who have a shared understanding of the end vision, display a higher level of commitment, are better at problem solving, generate interest and motivation for advancement. A leader can inspire, motivate, support, allowing a culture that reflects risk taking, acceptance of all ideas, negotiation of an end result, innovation and change. NCREL (1995)

References
DuFour, Rick.  (2011). Work Together But Only if You Want To. Retrieved from  http://allthingsplc.info/articles/KapanMagazineRickDuFour2011.pdf

NCREL (1995). Building a committed team. Retrieved from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/educatrs/leadrshp/le200.htm


How can being collaborative online help my teaching?
When teachers work in collaborative teams schools are more likely to see gains in
student achievement, find higher quality solutions to problems, promote increased
confidence among staff, create an environment in which teachers support one
another’s strengths and accommodate weaknesses, provide support for new
teachers, and provide all staff with access to an expanded pool of ideas, materials,
and methods (Little, 1990)

Personalising our own learning experiences maximising our own prior knowledge, strengths, and backgrounds to stimulate discussion as a really powerful way to engage in the learning process.

Social media is a powerful way to gain access to groups and professional learning communities, have peer to peer contact, any time, anywhere develop an online presence that reflects your professional commitment to learning and accessing relevant  Networking online assists to build relationships with like minded people, observe best practices, ask questions, gain support and share your own journey.  
The change required today is requires a shift in beliefs about how children learn. It requires teachers to take risks, face ongoing challenges, be dedicated and have a real commitment to bring about a sustainable change for the future.  If collaboration is a new direction now is the time to have your voice heard. Connect, share, engage and embrace change with the access the support of others online.

References

New Zealand Teachers Council. What is Social Media Retrieved from http://www.teachersandsocialmedia.co.nz/

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