Given the ICT capabilities of creating, investigating, managing and applying social and ethical protocols there is much to consider when teaching and learning with ICT (Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority, 2014). We are reminded by Attard (2011) of the important role ICT has to play in classrooms with technology changing the way we go about our everyday lives. Take for example the world’s most famous wiki, Wikipedia described by Thornberg (2013, p69) as ‘a virtual ocean of collaboration.’ Undeniably social media has infiltrated our world , with over 500 million tweets (Internet liv stats, 2015) everyday posted on twitter with educators embracing the affordance of enhanced communication and collaboration, leaving a predominant footprint in the twitter sphere (Carpenter & Krutka, 2014).
As educators it is time to collaborate, communicate and plan for authentic tasks such as a Year Six class designing an activity for a Year 1 buddy class in Scratch can facilitate the problem solving process and needs to be encouraged (Cadler, 2010; Roblyer & Doering, 2013). With seemingly so much to gain I am constantly astounded by educators who are not motivated to engage with the affordances of our technological world. Tutorials are available twenty-four seven via the internet, general capabilities such as learning how to learn are viewed by many educationalists as a requirement considering the rapid pace of change with technology (Roblyer & Doering, 2013). The Hour of Code project last year engaged over ninety-seven million students from around the globe. The rise of the use of ebooks, the philosophy of the flipped classroom, project based learning through projects such as Genius Hour (2015) and the rise of the Maker Movement (Stager, 2014) frame just a few examples of online environments espousing the benefits of collaborative environments driven by a constructivist philosophy (Roblyer & Doering, 2013).
New technology tools allow children to do new things in new ways, sharing their learning through online or interactive presentations with audiences around the globe. (Thornberg, 2013 ). Bring Your Own Device environments increasing allow more children to engage with technology at home and at school, thus providing an environment (if managed correctly) of heightened student engagement, lending itself to less behaviour problems in the classroom. The affordance of highly interactive and engaging apps and websites such as Scratch and Scratch Jr for creating, Maths Trainer and Hungry Fish for drill and practice, YouTube for tutorials and websites such as BrainPop (2015) for learning and testing knowledge, which can be accessed as an app on mobile devices all contribute to learning being constructed rather than teachers delivering content.
At the beginning of this course I had my doubts about the benefits of maintaining a blog and the learning I would take from it. Twelve weeks on I am convinced that the process of making my thinking public, reading and commenting on the thoughts of my peers has deepened my learning; an important tenant of constructionism and one I will enthusiastically champion at my school with colleagues and with students in my classroom (Stager, 2005). As my Summer of Learning draws to a close and a new season approaches I know my journey as a teacher continues as students in my classroom construct knowledge through ongoing conversations, sharing of ideas, creating and moving forward with the appropriate use of technology.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (2014). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/ICT
Calder, N. (2010). Using Scratch: An Integrated Problem-solving Approach to Mathematical Thinking. Australian Primary Mathematic Classroom. 15(4). 9-14. Retrieved from <http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=534282799471647;res=IELHSS>
Carpenter, J. Krutka, D. (2014). How and why educators use twitter; a survey of the field. Journal of research on technology in education. 46 (4) Doi:10.1080/15391523.2014.925701
Genius Hour. (2015) Retrieved fromhttp://www.geniushour.com Hour of Code. (2014). Retrieved from,http://hourofcode.com
Lifelong Kindergarten Group & MIT Media Labs. (2014). Scratch. Retrieved fromhttp://scratch.mit.edu
Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition, 6th Edition, Pearson.
Stager, G. (2005). Toward a pedagogy of online constructivist learning. 2005 conference on computers in education, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Retrieved from http://stager.org/articles/onlineconstructionism.pdf
Stager, G. (2014). What’s the maker movement and why should I care? Administrator. Scholastic. Retrieved fromhttp://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3758336
Thornburg. (2013). From the campfire to the holodeck: creating engaging and powerful 21st century learning environments. Wiley. San Francisco.
Internet liv stats. (2015). Twitter useage statistics. (2015). Retrieved fromhttp://www.internetlivestats.com/twitter-statistics/