The integration of mobile technology in classrooms is no longer just a nice-to-have option in learning and development. Indeed, it has now become an essential part of the educational process for the 21st century generation. Furthermore, the the choice of device is also no more the focus of discussion. What is and will always be of utmost importance, is how teachers are integrating the technology in their teaching practices and what learning outcomes the children produce.
A recent report suggested that ‘adding 21st century technologies to 20th century teaching practices is just diluting the effectiveness of teaching” (OECD 2015). There are concerns that schools have not yet become good enough at the kind of technological pedagogies required to make the best use of it in the classrooms and therefore, the technology is used as substitution with no functional change in teaching and learning, rather than as redefinition, where the technology can be used to enhance new tasks which were previously inconceivable (Reuben Puentedura, SAMR Model).
While technology is slowly but surely becoming part of the educational process, it is still separate and not integrated into the student learning experience. Due to this, many schools find themselves in a situation where the technology is used as an add-on effect with insufficient or seamless integration into curriculum. John Hattie’s work on Visible Learning (2009) illustrates that successful classrooms display great passion where there is a variety and depth of skill and knowledge by both the teacher and learner.
Therefore, in order to create great teaching where the use of technology can amplify learning and development, an appropriate EdTech pedagogic workflow, which incorporates traditional elements of teaching practices and the use of current mobile technology becomes necessary. This pedagogic workflow is
- The disappearance of walls and enclosed structure of the classroom, in which both the teacher and student can communicate seamlessly through various digital channels and in which they become co-learners.
- It is the facilitation and instruction of learning processes from teacher to student within a collaborative and mutually beneficial manner, and in which the student becomes their own teacher.
- Importantly, it is the pedagogic interactions that takes place between the two participants (Parmar 2014) in which the killer app is still the teacher.
When teachers come to understand that through technology, they are offering instructional processes, a digital workflow can be better understood and created.
If schools have decided to adopt mobile technology as a strategy within their educational culture, then integrating it effectively into the curriculum should become a priority. This understandably does not come easy and requires teachers to think creatively, laterally and to the extent, as digital natives (the generation of people born during or after the rise of digital technologies) (Prensky 2009), so that they can use the technology as a tool to promote and extend learning.
The writer is Dr. Neelam Parmar, Director of E-Learning at Ashford School, United Learning Trusts
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