Information Technology and Authentic Learning: Realising the Potential of Computers in the Primary Classroom

Information Technology and Authentic Learning: Realising the Potential of Computers in the Primary Classroom

Information Technology and Authentic Learning: Realising the Potential of Computers in the Primary Classroom

Information Technology and Authentic Learning: Realising the Potential of Computers in the Primary Classroom

Synopsis

As the presence of computers in the primary classroom increases and IT becomes a bigger part of learning, this book takes a realistic look at the role of the computer in the National Curriculum, including when it is best not to use computers.

Excerpt

The initial impetus for this book was the recognition of a lack of suitable reference material for students on the B. Ed, and PGCE, and in-service training, courses within Homerton College. These courses highlighted the need for reference material on learning outcomes related to the use of computers in the primary classroom. No existing volume offered a clear vision of what effects on learning a teacher might reasonably expect when children are given access to different types of computer-based resources across the curriculum. And yet teachers are required by the statutory orders in all subject areas in the National Curricula for Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, to make judgements on the ‘appropriate use’ of Information Technology in every context. If a teacher does not have a well-developed understanding of the teaching and learning objectives that particular models of computer use can facilitate, she cannot be expected to manage the integration of these resources in a way which will optimise their impact. Furthermore, she has no guiding criteria against which to evaluate the success of her strategies.

This book has been planned to assist anyone who wishes to maximise the positive effects of information technology in her classroom: to use these technologies to facilitate authentic learning, that is, learning which has personal meaning and substance for the learner. It seeks to offer practical help to students and teachers planning work schemes for children. There is advice on task management and examples of classroom practice which have known positive outcomes. The book interweaves this practical advice with the theoretical basis behind the scenarios described, raising issues which are of concern to every reflective practitioner. As the use of computers in schools continues to increase in the coming decade, these fundamental issues will have continuing relevance.

The late 1980s and early 1990s have seen a steady increase in the presence of computers in the classroom. During that time there has been a strong emphasis on informing teachers how to operate the machines, and some input on how different types of computer use could be integrated into the curriculum. The current recommendations for a National Curriculum for teacher training place a strong emphasis on developing student teachers’ IT skills. Many useful and highly accessible books and information packs, referred to here, will tell the

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