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Planning for Progression
Planning is a common practice by teachers, but it can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to the use of ICT in the classroom. Mostly, this is a result of our knowledge and over dependence of students’ everyday use of technology.
Progression, in any subject is to do with ensuring that students develop their knowledge and skills as they grow older and more mature. When using ICT in the classroom, it is to do with how a student can learn concepts and skills of increasing difficulty.
Planning for progression in student ICT capabilities involves you as a teacher, having a good level of knowledge of each student’s capabilities in ICT. Failing to plan for this, can lead to the duplication of work and this then leads to a danger of students stagnating in their learning, inevitably leading disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
How to plan for progression in ICT capability?
To overcome this obstacle, it will be important to first consider the following two approaches:
- Determine the ICT teaching objectives for the planning period (year/term/half-term).
- Clarify key topics for each subject for the planning period.
- Identify opportunities for ICT within each subject.
- Select and adapt the ICT projects which are most appropriate for achieving the ICT objectives with the subject contexts.
(Bennett, Hamill, & Pickford, 2007, p. 51)
- What is the educational purpose of the ICT activity – to develop student ICT capability, support the subject in its learning or both (recommended)?
- Will the students need to be monitored to identify opportune moments for teacher intervention to enhance their ICT skills?
- Does it provide the students with the experience of using ICT as a tool for learning?
- Are there opportunities to assess students’ ICT capability?
- Will the students work cooperatively or collaboratively?
(Kennewell et al., 2000, p.90)
Determine a starting point for their ICT capability journey
In order to plan for progression it is important that you have an appreciation of where the children are, where they ought to be and where they might be heading next. Determine a starting point and then give them accurate directions that will enable them to plot a course.
One way to achieve this is by planning a pre-lesson which will set them a similar ICT activity that will allow to take notes, observe and monitor their capabilities in ICT at that time. Then use the record of ICT capabilities for students to plan appropriately – the hallmark of a proficient teacher.
Challenging students with ICT and stretching more capable students
If there is ever to be a more challenging learning area to teach in schools today then it either has to be about teaching with ICT. Children today are fluent with technology even more than the generations before them. As a teacher, you need to set challenges for students with ICT that will help them progress further in their capabilities.
It is important to remember that increasing the level of challenge for students does not mean giving them more sophisticated software to use. Progression in student capabilities is not achieved in this way as it will only teach them new techniques. More sophisticated software should be used because the task demands it. Challenging students could simply be related to the subject context, or the style and mode of presentation. An example might be asking students if they have thought about changing the size of the text, including another picture or modifying the content if they are working on a slide.
Of course, you cannot challenge someone unless you know what they are capable of doing and gauging the level of challenge for ICT activities can be difficult, particularly as the children progress. For example, a student might be highly efficient at using on piece of software but inexperienced with another. Despite this, you will find that those students who are confident users of ICT will be able to transfer their knowledge and skills across a range of various software.
Intervene at the appropriate moments
In my view, a student can also be challenged intellectually by ensuring that when you teach ICT capability that you place emphasis on the development of higher order skills. If you have a set of questions written down for the planned moments, the unplanned moments and also at the times when you want to drive learning forward more, it is a great method to keep students thinking and on their toes throughout the lesson.
Focus on the Concepts behind the skills
This can be done through whole class discussion about examples and non-examples of a concept, both with and without ICT. Challenge naïve ideas about handling ICT tools, particularly when monitoring the progress of individuals. For example, when students use spaces to spread out text on a line or page, show the effect of extra text so the spaces move to a different position or line.
Fearing lack of Tech Support
One of major reasons for disengagement with ICT in the classroom is the fear of technical problems or thereof. Of course, if your school does not have adequate technical support, this may add further stress to you and even your students!
Here is what you need to know. Students don’t have to be sitting at a computer in order to develop their capabilities. The understanding of concepts and higher order skills can be enhanced with whole class questioning. Group discussions about the processes necessary to carry out a task can also be achieved and you as a teacher can model the planning, hypothesising and evaluating. So plan ahead!
By following these points, student engagement in ICT can increase whilst developing their capabilities in ICT. Remember always to monitor their progress in ICT activities so to ensure continuity and progression.