The uptake of technology has always been dependent upon two factors
1. the technology has to be easily adapted to the current environment. (eg. the ball point pen was easily adapted to schooling because it removed the issue of ink being everywhere)
2. the environment needs to change to allow the technology to reach it full potential. (eg to watch movies when intro duced we needed to provide dark areas to make viewing easier)
I believe e-learning is the next phase of development. It requires a restructuring of the environment and thus a restructuring of traditional pedagogy.
At the Australian Sciernce and Mathematics school we have a new radical building design where it is virtually impossible to teach in a convential way. We have teams of teachers working to achieve educational outcomes. We are exploring the nature of learning and what are the core elements of knowledge, skills and dispositions for students to learn in the 21st Century?
We have a learning management system that is slowly coming online, we have had to create an assessment and progress management system that are student focused not subject based, so each student has their own individual leaning plan. We have about a 1:3 computer ratio with interactive smart board technologies and students bring their own laptops to school and communicate via the wireless network.
The purposeful re-creation of the environment has forced the change and I find the issue at hand for new teachers to this school is not the technology but how can they use the technology to improve learning outcomes.
I am currently working with teaching staff, helpng them develop effective ways to use the technologies and then as a community we share these ideas.
In the future I want to be able to have my laptop based at my office desk and be able to access any information on it from any smart board in the school and have no desktop or laptop present. I want cordless mice and keyboards so that students can take advantage of the information on the screen (eg. explore JAVA applets). I want the technology to blend into the environment so much that it can not be seen much like a pencil is today.
While we are on the subject of ICT, I believe its real power can be utilised in that it speeds up acees to information, software can be used to help clarify and organise understandings and finally to present our understandings. Too often teachers have only focussed on the access and presentation aspects. To help students arrive at deeper understandings we need to use the tools to clarify and organise information. This is a form of reflection which helps learners move to those deeper levels of understanding. The emphasis for the teacher is not information giving but dilemma creating and support to help them clarify what they need to find out and to organise it in such ways as to arrive at a complex and thought provoking answer.