Which aspects of technology use foster which types of learning?

This post relates to section 1.2.2 of ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children’s learning across the curriculum.

In this section, the following types of learning are discussed:

  • Acquisition – When you “acquire” knowledge or understanding about something
  • Discussion – When the students and the teacher talk about the issue/topic and look at different things associated with the topic of discussion and explore a deeper understanding.
  • Investigation – When you go out and explore based on your newly founded/acquired knowledge
  • Practice – When you put what you know to use (perhaps create something based on your knowledge)
  • Collaboration – When you work with others and agree a final outcome based on your knowledge and understanding
  • Production – When you are able to go ahead and create something based on everything you know.

The task was to create show how different types of ICT could be used in your own teaching. Or, if you don’t teach, suggest a way you would like to see it being used in a school to support all the different types of learning for the children. 

I took the example of newspapers and tried to link the learning types to the activities involved. The table below shows how I would be able to use ICT to cater for and set tasks to accomplish my goals:

Learning through: Students learning about your topic could be using:
Acquisition Watching a video about how newspapers are made (e.g. a “How it’s made” episode that outlines the processes involved in newspaper production from journalist to print. This would give children an idea of of the steps involved in newspaper production.
Discussion A teacher led discussion with an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) to collect and share ideas from students to ensure that they understand the steps involved in newspaper production process. These discussion points could perhaps be shared with the class at a later stage via the school’s VLE.
Investigation Students could use the internet to explore the various newspaper formats that are used and learn the difference between Broadsheet and Tabloid newspapers. Images could be used to allow students to distinguish between the two and allow them to make comparisons (i.e. A broadsheet has more words and a tabloid has more pictures etc.)

The internet could also be used to allow students to conduct prescribed research around a particular topic that they may want to write a newspaper article about. They may also be encouraged to look for appropriate images that they may want to use in their finished articles.

Practice Students practice being journalists for a newspaper and focus on a particular story. Perhaps record an interview (Dictaphone or even mobile/smartphone device) or use word processing software to write up their findings from their investigation.
Collaboration Students work together on the computer to create a final article and are perhaps challenged to create an article for either a broadsheet or a tabloid newspaper etc. and agree on whether the article fits the criteria of the chosen format. Students could assume particular roles (i.e. journalist, photographer, editor etc.) and collaboratively create the finished article.
Production Students are able to independently work on researching, creating and producing newspaper articles using a range of technologies.

Some reflections:

I thought it was very interesting that I initially had the view that excessive use of ICT generally makes the student lazy. However, itnow appears that I was probably looking at things all wrong.

The following from the course makes things more clear:

  1. Different old technologies are good for different types of learning – so digital technologies will be good for different types of learning as well

So we must ask ‘What are the types of learning we are trying to elicit from students?’

  1. If we only ask ‘What can we use this technology for in teaching/learning?’ then we go along with doing whatever it is good for; we don’t sort out the problems we need to solve.

So instead we say ‘Here is the teaching/learning problem – How can technologies help?’

And that way, we challenge the technology to help with the really important learning needs.

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