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John Simkin

ICT in the Classroom

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The Fischer Family Trust have been carrying out a three year study into the use of technology in the classroom. Surveys conducted between 2000 and 2003 generated responses from over 3,500 departments in secondary schools. The report summarises details of the ICT resources used in each subject and indicates how teachers rated the IMPACT of their use upon pupils' learning.

http://www.fischertrust.org/ict_main.htm

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I've just viewed the project's MFL section. The statistics do provide an interesting quantitative snapshot of what is happening in MFL/ICT. I'm not surprised to see how projectors have made a greater impact than interactive whiteboards. Buying the latter for every classroom would be prohibitively expensive.

Of course, the statistics neglect the most interesting aspect of ICT usage in subject teaching. There's a saying in educational ICT that it's not so much the program that matters, it's the way that it's used. I would have liked to have found out more about how Word, for example, served to support the teaching of MFL. The effective integration of ICT into on- and off-computer classroom practice is key.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com

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I've just viewed the project's MFL section. The statistics do provide an interesting quantitative snapshot of what is happening in MFL/ICT. I'm not surprised to see how projectors have made a greater impact than interactive whiteboards. Buying the latter for every classroom would be prohibitively expensive.

The Alexa website allows you to discover details about any website. Type in the URL and it will tell you the site's world ranking, how many page impressions the website gets, total number of users, and the length of time visitors stay on the site. It also provides a traffic history graph of the site. Another useful feature is that you can compare the records of any two sites. You can also provide reviews of websites (placed on the Amazon site).

http://www.alexa.com

MarketLeap is also worth visiting.

http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/default.htm

This will give you a good idea of why websites obtain high ranking in second-generation search engines such as Google.

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David writes:

I've just viewed the project's MFL section. The statistics do provide an interesting quantitative snapshot of what is happening in MFL/ICT.

I know the site well. I'm pleased to see that in the MFL section they list my own Fun with Texts package, which is currently used in just over 3000 secondary schools in the UK.

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I recently did a bit of thinking about the National Curriculum requirement in England whereby ICT has to be applied across the curriculum:

“As a general requirement, teachers should provide pupils with opportunities to apply and develop their ICT capability in all subjects (except physical education and the non-core foundation subjects at key stage 1). For each subject, these translate into specific, statutory requirements to use ICT in subject teaching.”

http://www.ncaction.org.uk/subjects/ict/inother.htm

Why? What is so special about ICT? It seems to me that all teachers have been conned into doing the work of the ICT department. Sure, teachers of foreign languages find the use of generic software applications such as word-processors extremely useful in teaching foreign languages – see Module 1.3 at the ICT4LT website for examples – but how much time do you spend showing the kids how to open and close a file and save it correctly? This is surely the job of the ICT department. Let’s change the wording of the above statement at the National Curriculum site:

“As a general requirement, teachers should provide pupils with opportunities to apply and develop their MFL capability in all subjects. For each subject, these translate into specific, statutory requirements to use MFL in subject teaching.”

Yes, MFL across the curriculum! History teachers can teach about the French Revolution in French, geography teachers can teach about the ecology of South America in Spanish, etc. A daft idea? No, this is what happens in bilingual schools all over the world. And why exclude physical education? (See the original statement above.) Boys should be encouraged to talk about football in French, for example, which will be of great help when they are following their team in France – and Spanish might be useful for the occasional gifted pupil that turns professional and is bought by Real Madrid. (Have you noticed the quality of the English of some of the Czech players in Euro 2004?)

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