Welcome to another FREE preview of my new online PD course for Primary educators about how to “Assess ICT Capability” across all Learning areas. Completing this course will contribute to 5 PD hours addressing 2.6.2 and 5.1.2 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient teacher accreditation. In this glimpse as to what you can expect, I will discuss with you the best way to use the ICT Capability Learning Continuum in the Australian Curriculum.

Like other general capabilities listed such as Literacy and Numeracy, it is imperative that if you want to ensure progression and continuity in student capabilities in ICT that you yourself are well-equipped to be able to recognise this occurring and then to plan for effective learning opportunities for each individual student. There is strong evidence to support that the level of confidence and competence you have in ICT, in other words, your own ICT capability has a tremendous impact on the quality of ICT capability a student can achieve. In addition, there is also proof based on recent ICT literacy tests from the National Assessment Program (NAP-ICTL) that exposure to just technology is not enough today to ensure that students themselves are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be lifelong learners. A key characteristic of ICT capability. What you need today is strategies that you know will work? To be an ICT capable teacher, one of the key qualities that must embody is the ability to “apply current instructional principles, research, and appropriate assessment practices to the use of ICTs” (UNESCO, 2017).

In order to be able to do this, such general capabilities like ICT capability not only provide you opportunities to develop this within students across Learning Areas but includes a Learning Continua that will help you plan for effective learning opportunities and map common paths throughout it. It is significant to note, that the four out of the six levels of progression in ICT capability lie within Primary education as indicated in the table. According to ACARA, each level in the Learning Continuum indicates a sequence of learning independent of student age. Take note as well, that individual students will progress in their capabilities at their own pace which may be influenced by prior experience, sense of self in the world and cognitive capacity.

Prior experience in this circumstance would be whether or not a student would have access to a computer at home. As a teacher, you could use this information to gauge the impact that home use might have on capability and the possible need to set more challenging work in school. It also presents you with the opportunity to ensure that the less capable students are not left behind because of a lack of regular access to ICT outside of school.

A student’s attitude to ICT could also have a lot to do with their sense of self in the world. You would need to determine whether they dominate group activities or are they reticent? Do they persevere or give up easily? Use this information to help consider the makeup of groups for an ICT activity.

Cognitive capacity refers to the level of decision making a student has in terms of the use of ICT. Higher order skills forms a key part of ICT capability and a student’s awareness of the uses of ICT inside and outside of school will play a strong role in their cognitive abilities.

These are some of things that you could use to assess a student’s ICT capability in your lesson. However, here is what you need to know. In order to be able to use the Learning Continuum proficiently, first we’ve already covered you own ICT capability but you also need to know how to recognise progression.

Research indicates that progression in ICT capability demands that:

  • Students develop greater autonomy and confidence in their selection and use of information sources and tools;
  • Students are expected to develop into discerning users of ICT, with an increasing awareness of the benefits and limitations of the systems they use;
  • Students become able to present their ideas in an increasing variety of ways with a developing sense of audience;
  •  Students use ICT-based models of growing complexity for increasingly complex lines of enquiry involving progressively greater decision making and personal autonomy and;
  • Student ability to evaluate their own work grows, and they become progressively more able to discuss and appreciate social, economic, political, legal and ethical issues.

 

If you want to know how to ensure progression in capabilities, click here

Using Australian Curriculum level descriptors in the Learning Continuum

Progression in the ICT capability LC is to do with the ability of students to meet the criteria stated in each Level Descriptors. The levels that lie within Primary education include levels 1 to 4 with the expectation that students in Foundation Year at Level 1, Year 2 at Level 2, Year 4 at Level 3 and Year 6 at Level 4.

The Learning Continuum is not indicative of the other year levels and highlights gaps between the various years and the level of progression. Each level description is a ‘best fit’ description and not a tick box assessment. It will be up to you to decide the intermediate level of capability a student has between various levels. For this reason, it is vital that you accurately determine their current level of capabilities in ICT whether it be a new student or current student. For example, a student Year 3 may be approaching Level 3 capabilities or be struggling and may have just surpassed Level 2 capabilities in ICT.

It is for this reason, that the information pertained in the Learning Continuum would be best suited as key data to pass onto other teachers as a student changes classes, moves up a year level or changes schools. However, the above paragraph highlights the significance of providing meaningful information to your colleagues. It would inappropriate of you to simply report that a student was functioning at Level 3, as this information is simply ‘best fit’ and the student might be functioning above or below  that level in relation to one of the aspects. There would be a lot more information required. For example, you would need to know more than just that a student could Use ICT as a creative tool to generate simple solutions, modifications or data representations for personal or school purposes; you would need to know in which media they had experienced in doing this.  Determine if it was with text as in a word processor, or with text and graphics like with a desktop publisher, and even with an image manipulation program (and if so, with a painting and/or drawing program). Know which program they had used (Potter & Darbyshire, 2005).

To give this type of information to parents would be meaningless and this also includes the level descriptions. More information would be needed and this is covered later.

The assessment of ICT capability is vital to the proper use of the ICT capability Learning Continuum. It is hoped that through understanding this that you will also become greater in your own capabilities with ICT and most importantly, are confident in your abilities to meet the national requirements which is to assess general capabilities to the extent that it is embedded in the Primary Learning Areas.