All too often we use technology in our lives to make it faster, make it more efficient, squeeze just a little more into our day. Which is fine – sometimes it can be just what we need to get us over the line. But what would happen if this was ALL we used ICTs for in our classrooms? What if instead of writing up today’s Maths I use an IWB to ‘flick it up on the screen’? And what if, instead of finding a text to use as an example for my students I let them watch a 30 second video about that text? How much better off would my students be? Probably, not very much.
Using ICTs as replacement for slower ways of working can be great. Yes, saved copies of documents that can be shown on the whiteboard can save teachers some time (and money in photocopying) but they aren’t enough to engage, enhance or transform the way our students will learn. The RAT framework (Hughes et al, 2006) is an excellent tool that I have found to assess ‘Why I am actually using an ICT in this particular learning experience?” A great, very succinct, definition of the RAT framework can be found here.
I am finding it ever more prevalent that as a pre-service teacher that I continue to develop my ability to effectively and efficiently align student learning, with instructional strategies to achieve curriculum goals. And a huge part of this will be determine by how well I use information and communication technologies as tools for learning.