Research shows that digital skills are best acquired when technology is used as a tool for learning, and facilitates access to curriculum, rather than simply being the curriculum itself. So, how does this approach apply to ISF? This research will present the rationale, methodology and results of interventions aimed at examining the impact of an integrated approach to technology in the classroom.
The first intervention explored what a fully integrated ICT (Information and Communication Technology) curriculum could look like in a grade 3 classroom. Stand alone lessons shifted to a project-based approach, in which the technology integrator worked closely with the classroom teacher to match ICT skills with curriculum content. Over the course of the pilot, students were introduced to a variety of digital tools through which they could further their understandings and demonstrate their learning. The effect of integration was measured through analysis of tasks set before and after the pilot, and demonstrated a positive impact on the ability of students to successfully select appropriate digital tools for the task at hand.
The second intervention involved Middle School students. The goal of this intervention was to improve the digital skills of Grade 6 teachers with the aim they would utilise digital activities and tools in their future lessons. Grade 6, 7 and 8 students were empowered in the process by identifying the classroom activities that best enhanced their learning. This initial data however led to a change in direction for the study. The results have implications for all teachers on how students perceive they learn best.
Finally, we reviewed the current literature on ICT integration in the classroom, and in general on the use of technology as a learning tool, while at the same type exploring the concerns on the abuse of digital devices by children. The available documentation will help us identify the main obstacles to a successful integration of ICT in the classroom, and at the same time define policies on the use of devices at school, and draft recommendations for parents.
Technology, curriculum development, teaching tools, digital society, student agency, skills and knowledge, integration