Developing Thinking and Learning with ICT: Raising Achievement in Primary Classrooms

Developing Thinking and Learning with ICT: Raising Achievement in Primary Classrooms

Developing Thinking and Learning with ICT: Raising Achievement in Primary Classrooms

Developing Thinking and Learning with ICT: Raising Achievement in Primary Classrooms

Synopsis

Primary teachers need to incorporate the use of computers in their daily lesson plans, but how can this be done most effectively to promote learning skills in the classroom? In this fascinating book, Lyn Dawes and Rupert Wegerif outline a strategy for enhancing the effectiveness of computers for teaching and learning with an emphasis on: * raising pupil achievement in the core subject areas * developing collaborative learning in small groups * using group discussions as a way of improving general communication, as well as thinking and reasoning skills. The approach is to use computers as a support for collaborative learning in small groups and this book presents ways to prepare pupils for talking, learning and thinking together around computers. Excerpts from pupils' discussions illustrate the main issues and guidance on lesson planning and developing and choosing appropriate software is also provided. Thinking and Learning with ICT will be a valuable resource for primary teachers and student teachers.

Excerpt

Learning with computers in schools is a social activity in which the teacher plays a crucial role. The Thinking Together approach described in this book uses computer-based activities to support collaborative learning in small groups. Children are provided with direct teaching of speaking and listening skills to prepare them for talking, learning and thinking together as they use ICT (Information and Communications Technology). Such preparation for group work with computers, when combined with appropriate ICT tasks and lesson planning, can significantly improve children's achievement throughout the curriculum.

There has been intense interest in finding out if computers really can make a difference to children's learning. It has been difficult to see an overall picture partly because of the continuing evolution of new technology and the variety of ways teachers and learners have found to use computers in classrooms. While some evaluations have demonstrated that the use of ICT can support teaching and learning, others have found that it is hard to attribute learning gains directly to the use of computers. To understand thinking and learning with ICT seems to require not only an examination of individuals or groups at work, but also requires that research looks up from children at computers and investigates their surroundings. In doing so, a general research finding is that the involvement of the teacher in planning, structuring and organising ICT-based activities can make a significant difference to learning outcomes for children. Teachers' professional expertise gives them the foresight to set realistic learning objectives, to identify current understanding, to direct learning experiences and negotiate further steps with the learner. That is, teachers can organise and manage the context within which ICT-based activities take place. But what aspects of the contexts that teachers create really matter in terms of ensuring effective computer use?

This is important, because much software has been designed assuming that children's interaction with computers requires little, if any, intervention from the teacher. Tutorial software provides information and tests to see whether the learner can reproduce it. Other, less directive software has resources and tools to stimulate individual learning through play. Edutainment-type

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