Welcome to the IT Connection. This is a blog about news and trends in Information technology with a specific focus on learning and teaching. Enjoy.
Information Technology can make a difference
Differentiated Instruction can be easily implemented using the very same tools of communication that students so readily use outside the classroom: cell phones, video cameras, iPods, iPhones.
Collaboration and sharing can be easily achieved using tools such as Smart Boards, Search Engines (Google), Wikis, Blogs, Web 2.0 interactive pages, online games, virtual reality sites, podcasts, videoconferencing.
We don’t suggest that whatever we have done in traditional teaching/learning be dispensed and replaced with these new “cool” methods. Traditional strategies can work extremely well alongside these IT tools.
Just finished registering students for the Spring Term 2009 of our online learning sessions at TCDSB.
This was an amazing turnout of 1200 kids. The constant ringing of our phones due to calls today from many other kids who, for whatever reason, missed the registration deadlines is an indication of where we stand on this fairly new mode of curriculum delivery.
Children learn differently and in differentiated ways.
Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction, Individual Education Plan, Assistive Technology, Modifications, Accommodations, Success for All, Education for All, Growing Success. I have mentioned but just a few strategies and programs that are used in our classrooms on a daily basis and not just for Special Education purposes but for all students.
In our classrooms, however, our children are not free to use these tools in the same manner they do when they are elsewhere. There is a notion in traditional educational circles that they are distracted by them; that they are not conducive to learning and therefore must be banned. The truth is that when children and young adults use IT tools they communicate, learn, and share ideas and information in ways that were not possible using traditional learning/teaching techniques.
In fact, most of the content delivered in traditional ways in our schools today becomes irrelevant if we think that by the time JK students graduate from College or University there will be career choices that never existed when they started school. The total amount of knowledge available to these students will have multiplied several times over. They will face global challenges that were unheard of when they were in elementary school. Most of these issues are and will be impossible to tackle by the efforts of one single mind.
Are we preparing these students for the future? Are we empowering them with the necessary critical thinking skills that will allow them to switch careers several times in their most productive years? Are we giving them the tools to collaborate and share or are we simply forcing them to memorize and dig up content?