Students at ISC are always encouraged to make use of the IT facilities at their disposal. IT skills are an ntegral part of learning and academic progress in modern education. In year 5 and 6, we do a lot of work that is supported by internet research or revolves around using design and word processing software. Recently, we have been studying the solar system and as part of a student-centred learning activity, our class researched the eight planets using online resources in pairs. Students then used software to create slideshow presentations and present their findings to their classmates.
Presentations promote confidence by speaking in front of others and develops general speaking and listening skills. Being able to integrate charts and data into slideshows and to draw conclusions from them develops meta-cognitive thinking and strengthens the ability to make conceptual links. Proficiency using presentation software is also a valuable skill in and of itself. Familiarity with using web search engines to find relevant media resources and information is an essential skill when making the transition to secondary school.
Project-based work helps prepare students for coursework assignments in higher learning. In addition, student focused tasks foster cooperative learning and help develop teamwork skills. Also, this type of jigsaw learning encourages participation from all members of the class and instills responsibility in pupils to further their own knowledge.
Online resources are also a great way to consolidate work in class. Educational video clips can explain concepts using animation and illustrate ideas in a way that appeals to visual learners. Blogs and websites can be used to support reading and writing skills too.
Earlier in the year, our class learned about news-writing. To supplement earlier lessons on the style of language, tone and vocabulary used in journalism, students read articles from a website designed by children of the same age. Pupils could select news reports that piqued their interest at a reading level suitable to them. Again, this student-led learning puts pupils at the centre of activities in the classroom.
The class used their word processing skills to type, review and edit their work based on teacher and peer feedback. Students also developed their ability to manipulate document layouts by incorporating pictures into their articles and designing captions to go with these.
All this being said, technology is not a replacement for traditional education methods. I agree with this quote from educator Donald A. Norman; “I’m not a fan of technology. I’m a fan of pedagogy, of understanding how people learn and the most effective learning methods. But technology enables some exciting changes.” IT adds an extra dimension to learning in the classroom. Also, being IT savvy is an important part of modern academia and this is reflected in upper primary at ISC. Students will be fully prepared to reap the benefits of this in the next stage of their education.