Thursday, August 19, 2010

ICT: Tell me everything I need to know!

I wrote a post some time ago asking how teacher education could prepare teachers for the 21st Century (see Initial Teacher Education and BectaX). I got some very helpful and interesting responses. This time though I want to ask a more focused question in the hope of getting equally useful suggestions:

What should I do in a one hour lecture to get new teaching students excited and enthusiastic about ICT in education?


A full lecture hall!
Originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
Some context to this question may help shape your responses. For the last few years I have had four lectures, each two hours long, where I could talk to the whole cohort of secondary student teachers. I don't think I was always successful in getting the students excited and enthusiastic but I tried to cover a range of topics, including: digital animation, interactive whiteboards, creative computing, ICT literacy, online safety, social networking, game based learning and Glow. I tried to be interactive, I built in discussion time, I used interactive voting systems, I did practical demonstrations and brought in guest speakers (such as Ewan McIntosh, Derek Robertson and Ollie Bray). It wasn't perfect and I changed what I did every year but there was space to explore and experiment.

This year though, the whole course has changed. The primary and secondary courses have come together into a single Professional Graduate Diploma course. As a result, there is a brand new structure and the number of ICT lectures have been cut to... one! A single lecture of one hour. To be fair, this is not the only ICT input the students will get during the one year course as obviously, they will look at and use ICT in smaller groups with a range of other subject specialist as well as on teaching placements. However, this is the only time they will be all together in the one place at the same time to hear about ICT. Also, it is timetabled for the first week of the course, so there is a real opportunity as I will be addressing hundreds of primary and secondary students and could help them to become excited and enthusiastic about the potential for ICT in education right at the start of the course.

So what do I do? What do I demonstrate? What key aspects should I focus on?

There are some things that are already fixed, for example, I will have to talk about the course virtual learning environment. So lets say I have forty minutes for other stuff. Now that I've given the context, I'll ask the question again:

What should I do in a one hour lecture to get new teaching students excited and enthusiastic about ICT in education?

I look forward to your replies.

14 comments:

Joe said...

I'm really hoping that this means that within their own fields primary and secondary and in their subject areas specialists will be working with them to cover all aspects of application of ICT in their specialist domains.
This should leave you free to look at future - Virtual Reality , Augmented Reality , impact of cloud, live data sets , global communities of teachers and learners .. bit on how fast changes are happening - speed of technical and product innovation is now breathtaking and impacts directly on learning and thinking so the need for a Personal Learning Network to support them into the future

Joe said...

and just to emphasise my point http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/teachers_pick_their_top_5_back-to-school_tech_tool.php
You can do a count down on when these tools arrived - Blogging only about 10 years old

David said...

Thanks for the prompt reply Joe.

Yes, I hope it means "...that within their own fields primary and secondary and in their subject areas specialists will be working with them to cover all aspects of application of ICT in their specialist domains" too! Time will tell.

And thanks for the top 5 link... might do something with this and online timeline tool.

Anonymous said...

David - I have a vague recollection of an advert where a woman opens the door to a service engineer calling at her house and behind him is a whole phalanx of other people - representing the resources of the company that support the engineer in his job.
Perhaps one image you might plant in the minds of your students is that of the teacher, behind whom is a whole phalanx of online resources and knowledge. The message is that with online resources, communities and collaborations the teacher is no longer 'alone' but can quickly and easily tap in to whatever is required to improve learning.

Walter Patterson

GeoBlogs said...

One thing could be to show them a spreadsheet of data, and then Gapminder World: http://www.gapminder.org/world/

How can the use of ICT transform something ?

Also Tim Handley's excellent #PGCEtips book is a prime example of crowd-sourcing: http://classroomtales.com/pgce-survival-guide-pgcetips/

A visualiser and smartphone would be good to demo a few AR apps maybe - and link to today's OFCOM report ?

Just some random thoughts while waiting for the kettle to boil :)

@relativism said...

I think 1 hour to share all your ICT knowledge, enthuse students about the potential for integration, the benefit that choosing the correct tool can have, the possibility to increase pupil engagement and the importance of preparing pupils for a technological world is an impossible task.

The most important thing that could have been said to me at the beginning of my teacher training is that ICT is far more than you realise. You may think that you are confident in the field or you may believe that you are a complete novice, either way you have a lot to learn.

Like Joe says "I'm really hoping that this means that within their own fields primary and secondary and in their subject areas specialists will be working with them to cover all aspects of application of ICT in their specialist domains."

The difficulty lies in the fact that the ability range of the students will vary immensely. Can you set pre-input tasks using something like wallwisher? You would be demonstrating the tool without needing to give input time to it. Most definitely discuss twitter & have something like twitterfall set up. How about blogs and their use for reflection?

David said...

Hello Walter

There was an advert for the RAF a while back that made the same point about the range of people that were needed to keep the planes in the air. I wonder if there are any adverts like that on YouTube...

I think something about personal learning networks will have to be there. The importance of building up a support network of people, knowledge, skills and tools will all have to feature somehow.

Hello GeoBlogs

I saw David Warlick do a presentation on making numbers talk that had a real impact on me, so something like gapminder might be good... I think I saw a TED video on it that might be a useful shortcut to showing it's power.

We have a visualiser, so AR might be fun. The best example I've seen recently is an animated Suzi advertising the Gadget Show... but that bight not be entirely appropriate. Any suggestions?


Hello Relativism

Thank you for your comments and for reminding me how hard a task this is!

There wont be much chance to set up pre-lecture tasks. The course starts a week on Monday and the lecture's on Wednesday... but I'll have a think. Perhaps do something with posters and VR codes to see how many are tech savvy enough to pick it up before the lecture.

I will definitely have a Twitter backchannel, so watch out for requests for input from my Twitter network on the 1st of September.

Doug Woods said...

Somewhere on youtube there is a video of 21century learning in schools in News Brunswick. Show them that, having got them all to sign up to twitter. While showing the video get them to type their responses and display on twitterfall.

Otherwise just get them all to find out about some obscure capital city, say, the capital of Moldova. Including pictures, history, transport ... Then ask if they could have done that without ICT?

This all assumes delegates will each have brought their own computers or smartphones and you have (working) wifi.

David said...

Hello Doug

Thanks for some good suggestions.

WiFi isn't a problem... in theory. Laptops are likely to be thin on the ground but mobiles are more or less universal. I have based activities round text messages in the past. I'll have a think and see what might be possible.

Mosher said...

Just to be a devil's advocate, I think one thing that really needs to be mentioned in the lectures is that often councils/schools will block access to many of these resources and that it's good practice to check that they're available before rushing ahead with resource building!

Never assume that you'll be going somewhere with SMART boards, only to find they have Promethean. Don't assume you'll be able to show that YouTube video as the site may be blocked and so forth. It's frustrating, but definitely worth making the point.

Incidentally I may be in touch about the PGDE course shortly. And you thought you got rid of me in June ;)

John Johnston said...

Show them a few examples of real pupil work on web, video, audio, blog, wiki.
Set up demo of real time update of google spreadsheet from several folk (take 3 or 4 laptops hand out to random members of audience).
Email a photo from your phone to posterous, and have it auto forwarded to flickr, your blog and twitter.

David Gilmour said...

Found myself thinking: "Wouldn't it be good if this short session contained a message that was remembered, useful and talked about for years?". After all, their course isn't preparation for next year; it's preparation for a career.

So is there a message that's sufficiently striking, memorable and important for you to use? I think there is.

It's that they are about to go out and blow many of the biggest opportunities presented by ICT in their schools.

They're going to do that because they're going to be hit with new technologies at such a rate that their thinking will inevitably fall behind. And that means they're going to make decisions in terms of old thinking, and - unless they're careful - just do the same things, but at best in an electronic way. And that's where incredible opportunities will be (and, sadly, are being) missed.

It will be a doddle for you to hit them with examples: using a school web site to publish monthly newsletters; using internet email just for staff to contact one another; keeping sites like YouTube and Twitter out of school. Maybe some of your legendary humour could go in here?

The next step is to get across how important it is to change their default thinking, and see technologies in terms of what new possibilities and educational benefits they might enable.

The advent of blogs, for example, has made it possible for school web sites to carry fresh snippets of news as they occur, and not just monthly. Use comments, and suddenly they're no longer electronic versions of newsletters or noticeboards, but meeting places. You will have plenty more examples.

You have a golden opportunity here to make absolutely sure this cohort never look at technology in the same way again - and I'm sure you're the man to do it!

David said...

Hello Mr Mosher

Good to hear from you again Mr Mosher and glad to hear you are doing interesting stuff with your Computing classes. I assume we'll read in your blog how it goes.

The blocking of sites is a fair point to make and the need to cover something like IWB that everyone can use is a good idea. Someone put together a Google Doc on what social networking tools were blocked in each authority. I'll need to look it up and perhaps draw the student's attention to it.


Hello John

I was certainly intending to show some pupil work (Sandaig is still one of my favourite examples.) I hadn't thought of taking laptops to handout to a select few at the lecture but that's not a bad idea. I could set up some stuff like bookmarking/pre-loading sites beforehand which might make things smoother on the day. A live demo of Posterous and all the linked services you mention would be interesting... I'll need to have a practice first though to make sure I'm brave enough to risk it in front of hundreds of students!


Hello David

Something that's "...talked about for years" is a bit of a tall order! But yes, it would be great if it could be done. I agree about the danger of just doing it the way it's aye been done. Even when ICT is used, it is often used to automate old style practices (e.g. typing up a pretty version of an essay) rather than doing something new and interesting. Certainly last year I showed some examples of school blog based websites but since they didn't have a feel for how poor many (static) school sites are, they perhaps didn't see just how revolutionary a school blog can be.

As for "legendary humour" and "you're the man to do it". Oh dear! However, I'm going to give it my best shot.

Kenneth... said...

Will the ICT revolution be broadcast?