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Published October 19, 2009

Putting Your Own IT Under the Microscope!

We say it regularly, but we really can't say it enough: Profweb would be nothing without our partners!

Earlier in the year, an analysis table, which was part of an academic report created by Christian Barrette, caught our attention. The information being presented was part of the metasynthesis being done at ARC to determine winning conditions for the use of IT in education.

Are you curious to know what these conditions are? Link here to a table giving a brief summary of these conditions. Some basic principles are listed below.

Ensure Teacher Motivation

Using IT is not an end in itself and imposing it on teachers serves no purpose. The teacher needs to see concrete results for students, an improvement in their task or to feel competent using IT both pedagogically and technically.

Harmoniously Integrate Technology Into Courses or More Advantageously a Program of Study

Coherence is a must, and an IT activity must advance the course objective, the specific pedagogical intervention and the evaluation strategy. Best of all is when all of these activities take the approach by program into account and a specific link is made with an Exit Profile.

Harmonize Technological Choices with Educational Goals

One comes into the center of the academic action here. Although it is better to be constructivist than behaviourist, research indicates that IT in education is more effective under certain conditions which vary according to the goals of the activityand the roles that teachers and students play within them.

  • When transmission of content is the goal, the role of the teacher is an instructor and the student is reactive. Student motivation as well the learning of a routine or a skill must be assured. In this case the techno-pedagogical device (the collection of teaching resources integrating some aspect of Information and Communication Technology) should be individual and adaptive in order to permit each student to advance at their own rate, making their own mistakes and experiencing their own successes. In these cases, devices will probably be used for individual study both in class and in the laboratory.
  • When conscious proficiency of cognitive skills (questioning, synthesizing, analyzing, judging and reasoning) is the goal, the teacher is a facilitator and the student is proactive. The technopedagogical devices must elicit an awareness of working methods and of the acquisition of learning in order to create a conscious understanding within students of their own learning process. These activities are individual and experienced in classroom or laboratory as well as outside of the school.
  • When co-construction of knowledge is the goal, the teacher is a moderator and the student interactive. This is the environment for collaborative knowledge and here resources should give access to mentors and spread beyond the classroom or laboratory in the form of cooperative activities.

Ensure Favorable Organizational Conditions for the Activity

Here the organizational context comes into play. Investment in technology will pay the greatest dividends when it is integrated into an institutional plan for IT integration which ensures the availability of required hardware and software, as well as the presence of an IT Representative (REPTIC or other local equivalent) for a significant part of their job load. User abilities of both teachers and students need to be taken into account in offering training and support leading to both technical and pedagogical mastery.

Reduce Socio-cultural Disparities Among Users

Technology should be used to level the playing field between students and teachers as well as to encourage students to become responsible citizens in their use of technology.

According to research, these are the conditions which allow technology to give added value to teaching and learning. IT in education is an excellent response to the pedagogical challenges that have arisen in tandem with technology. For the Profweb team, this has always been a fundamental principle and why we encourage the use of IT in education.

What is your take on IT? Have you already experienced the impact of one or more of these conditions? Should other conditions be considered? Feel free to share your experiences by leaving us a comment.

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