Reflective support children’s learning in the various subjects I

Reflective
commentary  

 

The evidence gathered has been
analysed in order to unpick how technology is affecting our class. I provide an
overview of e learning across the curriculum, as a resource for both teaching
and learning. I define E learning for the purpose of my study as the way in
which teachers use the internet, interactive white boards (IWB), and devices in
the classroom to support children’s learning in the various subjects I
observed. I am mindful that children gain a lot of ICT skills and knowledge
outside their classroom (Ofcom, 2016).

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I found, in our class as research
suggest, the IWB is the most effective ICT tool for teaching by making the information conveyed throughout
the lesson, visually appealing (Appendix 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) (Beauchamp and Parkinson’s, 2005; Becta, 2003).
Teacher’s use of the IWB can vary from lesson to
lesson, teachers can dominate the learning when they focus on the activity and
use themselves as a presenter of information, rather than a discussion
facilitator (Appendix 5 and 7). Consequently, this reduces the learning
opportunities (Reedy, 2008). The interaction with the screen combined
with dialogue enhanced the pupil’s engagement (Arnig
2013; Siraj-Blatchford, 2007). The
IWB failed in one class, for the majority of this study the bulb was broken,
rendering the IWB useless (Appendix 7). Therefore,
because I do not have as many experiences to draw upon as a qualified teacher,
sometimes referred to as ‘Thinking in action’ I need to reflect this in my
planning, in case the ICT fails, I still need to be able to manage the learning
(Schön, 1991:p.49).

 

Ofcom (2016) identify
‘YouTube’ as the favourite platform for viewing content, when our children go
onto this platform to play Just Dance, this can lead to inappropriate
commercial advertising (Appendix 9)
(BESA, 2013). This raises an important point; our
school policy clearly states that children should not be going on this platform
(Appendix 10) (DfE, 2015). Consequently, the school policy as a result is now
under review. I had various discussions with colleagues about our use of this
platform not being in line with policy, and the feeling is the benefits of the
platform far out way the risks. In future practice, when using such websites it
will be necessary for me to ensure I work within the school policies and be
clear that the sites accessed are suitable (DfE, 2017; Jacques and Hyland,
2010).

 

Our school uses
software designed for monitoring the practice of reading (Appendix 11).
Children take a test, which gives them a score based on their ‘Zone of Proximal
Development’- the child’s actual development level as determined by independent
problem solving (Vygotsky, 1978, p.86). The software maintains the learner’s
interest in the task, ensures the task is simple enough to achieve, control the
pupil’s level of frustration, demonstrates the task, and emphasizes certain
aspects that will help when they practice reading (Topping and Paul, 1999). There
is some adult guidance, in the form of monitoring, praise for completing a
test, there is no collaboration with more capable peers, and using this
software is something a pupil does independently, during self-study (Dixon-Krauss,
1996; Wood and Middleton, 1975). In contrast, when a teacher and pupil share a
book, with the teacher reading the most in the beginning, as the pupil develops
confidence, they gradually take over (Appendix 12) (Morgan, 1986; Palincsar and
Brown, 1984).

 

Both methods work however; it is the human interactions with
the pupil in the traditional method, which enhances their learning (Garner,
1987; Hattie, 2008). Human interaction also offers greater opportunity for
teaching media literacy. In future practice, I will maintain the online method
because it complements the traditional method and supports development of media
literacy (Topping and Paul, 1999).

 

The essential point here is media rich environments have
immersed pupils in a world they need to understand (Livingstone and Haddon, 2009; Mommers
et al, 2013). To support the pupil’s
interpretation of media our teachers need a framework such as literacy
(Livingstone, 2004). I observed a pupil showing signs of media literacy
with regard the internet during my study (Appendix
7) (Ofcom, 2016). I observed
teaching of media literacy through the IWB
during whole class work and group work (Appendix 8) (Hobbs, 1998; Postman,
1996). I also observed that with or without ICT, media literacy is relevant in
teaching and learning across curricula and some pupils are showing some
understanding of media literacy (Appendix 8) (Hobbs, 1998).

 

In
our class, we record the children’s achievements on an online learning journey
using a piece of software (Appendix 13). There
is every hope that pupils will reflect on their work critically, a
process called ‘thinking about one’s own thinking’ to enhance their learning (Flavell, 1979: pp. 231- 236). In support of this, pupils have independent time during
assessment mornings every week, which enables them to upload evidence against
their learning objectives. Studies indicate placing the responsibility on the
pupil for their assessment could begin to reduce the potential for bias of a
teacher’s judgement (Barrett, 2008; Harlen,
2005). In contrast, in our class, the
teacher moderates pupils’ judgement against each learning objective as
‘explorer’ or ‘master’ (Appendix 1). I found
this relevant because if the teacher, pupils, and parents work in
partnership to produce their next steps this would reduce the potential for
bias (Harlen, 2005; Bass and Eynon, 2009).

 

We use software
designed for enhancing their understanding of maths in our school; we set
independent activities, based on their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (Appendix
14) (Dixon-Krauss, 1996; Vygotsky, 1978, p.86). In support of this, the teacher
models the way they solved word problems, then encourages the learners to
engage in problem solving, in as many different ways as possible, one of which
could be using this software (Appendix 4 and 6).

 

Quizzes engage
learners in the processes of social interaction, dialogue and sharing, all of
which are part of socio-cultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978). It should be the case
that when pupil’s and teachers use ICT collaboratively and there is greater
opportunity, for exploration and investigation through talk, learning improves
(Appendix 15) (Dawes et al, 2000; Rudduck and McIntyre, 2007). However, I
noticed this type of group work could create a competitive rather than
collaborative atmosphere during our own trainee teachers’ English lesson
(Appendix 16) (Holloway et al. 2013; Postman, 1994). I found this relevant
because teachers need to consider the educational purpose of grouping pupils at
computers, to create challenge (Dawes et al, 2000; Wegerif and Scrimshaw,
1997).

 

We organise our
devices to support trio and individual work, pupils’ use of their own devices,
or school based IPads and Chromebooks (we have seven devices for thirty
children). Issuing the
devices can cause a distraction, this needs planning in advanced, and teachers
should always check the equipment before the lesson (Arthur and Cremin, 2010). Mouza and Barrett-Greenly (2015) make the point
devices are popular in class and have the potential to close the gap between
the didactic and the digital learning currently in schools. I found this
relevant because for me observing learning with didactic materials is much
easier than observing online learning (Hattie, 2008; Chandler-Olcott
and Mahar (2003). For me the most significant aspect was that I need a better
understanding of how, when, and to what degree ICT works to support learning,
particularly when pupils work independently (Arnig, 2013; Mouza and
Barrett-Greenly, 2015).