The role of ICT throughout the year I have spent on placement were very valuable and effective in the way I taught my lessons. I feel that it’s extremely important to include ICT in the lessons as students engage better with it. What it also allowed me to do was express and use different sources of AFL in the classroom. The reason ICT is important is that it plays a major role in students’ lives and activities, they part take in outside of school. In this assignment, I will be looking at the way ICT was used in the classroom. In part 2 of the assignment, I will be looking at the role of Prezi.
Throughout the year I used many different sources of ICT. The first source that I used was Google Slides. Google Slides was a good source for the students as it would keep all their files located in one section. The reason I used this with students was so that they could turn to it in the future. For example, some students may want to use this resource in their CBA. What’s also effective with the Google Slides is the fact that it’s a lot easier to insert videos and pictures then it is with PowerPoint. I feel that students enjoyed the thrill of using a different source that’s on google rather than just a PowerPoint. Initially, there were problems with using the resource as students couldn’t understand how to present the presentation and started to get frustrated. Like all types of ICT, there are going to be problems. Overall it gave the students a feel for using and making a different type of presentation.
Another source that I used with the class was Google classroom. The reason why I used this source because it was a different and exciting way for students to complete their projects outside of school hours. This enabled me to add more topics and ideas to the students as the weeks passed which I felt encouraged and kept the student’s interest in the topics. Another factor which resulted from the use of this source was the idea that it wasn’t written work, so the students engaged a lot better with the material. Google Classroom was easy for the students to understand and get to grips with. Google Classroom was a great resource to help include co-operative learning in the classroom.
I used a basic source of ICT with the students this was simply just Microsoft Word. The idea of using this source was so students could express their other skills rather than just making presentations. Students used this ICT source to explore what Microsoft Word consists of. Most students thought this was only used for writing assignments and essays. When I introduced them to the idea of making and creating Mind Maps students engaged extremely well and created different types of mind maps. I felt that this was a good source to use as students would have their notes on their source of ICT. I feel that this is a more efficient way for students to look back and revise their notes rather than look back in their copies. I also feel that as a teacher this method of creating mind maps on the digital resource would capture the student’s interests. In class, students could also come up to the computer and add in points themselves, again this is a good way to keep students interacted in class. It was another form of AFL which was used in the classroom.
Throughout the years that I’ve spent on placement, ICT was a source that I heavily depended on. At times there were problems that I encountered like all lessons. The main problem that I came across was that in the computer room some students couldn’t log onto the computer. This made me adjust my plans and allowed students to work in pairs. What was important about this was that I made sure each student had a task to do. For example, while one student may be constructing the presentation the other students can be researching on their phone for information and these roles were alternated throughout each lesson. Adjusting my lessons between pair work, group work and individual work the students will benefit in considering this is what the new Junior Cert is associated around.
One final resource I think all teachers should use is a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. This was a valuable resource for me through my time teaching as I kept all the results from the class tests on the programme. While some teachers may benefit from this source more than teachers, I feel that students could also use this resource for example if they were researching a project or a topic. This method of ICT came into good use when I was teaching my Geography classes. The reason being that students could record all the figures on the spreadsheet. When we were doing a pyramid student could record each point and figure onto the spreadsheet. This made it easier for students to read as some students when it comes to constructing tables and graphs would be messy. The point of having the spreadsheet it’s easy to understand read and follow.
All these resources that are mentioned above worked very well in the school that I am participating in this year. This is where they were all developed. But if I was in the school that I was on placement in last year I wouldn’t be able to use any of the resources that are mentioned above. One of the main reasons being that there were only twelve computers in a school with a population of two hundred. It was a DEIS school and the use of ICT in the school wasn’t promoted. Although all the resources that I developed this year benefited me through the year and will benefit me in the future it also heavily depends on the resources that the school has available. The students had a different approach to the idea of ICT to, so I think it depends on if ICT is promoted in the school environment. If it’s not promoted it would be difficult to include ICT.
Part 2: Spotlight on one ICT resource
The ICT source that I will be focusing on in this part of the assignment is Prezi. The reason why I picked Prezi was that it’s a slideshow program that ads more life to the presentation. Prezi makes it easier for the students to present as its inviting and captures the imagination of the students in the class. This also made my subject Religion interesting for students.
Prezi is very useful and easy access with many different resources. It’s easier to include pictures straight from your computer and Google. This is easier access then PowerPoint word. Another feature which made presenting interesting for students was the fact that they could include music in the background of their presentation. My knowledge of Prezi helped when it came to explaining Prezi to the students.
As part of the new Junior Cycle students have to present and I feel that by using this in a class and subject that’s non-exam will encourage students and make them confident in their ability. By creating Prezi this also helped students with other skills not just presenting. For example, students would have to research and construct the Prezi presentation. Key skills; Managing Myself, Communicating, Being Creative, Working with others and Managing Information and Thinking. Managing myself is a Key Skill that helps learners become capable in an information-intensive environment. As well as encouraging creativity and working with others using digital technology. Students will begin to understand the Key Skill of staying well while using technology which is an important current topic with this generation of teenagers, students will be responsible, safe and ethical while using the digital technology (NCCA, 2015). Students benefit and improve all the key skills in the Junior Cycle just by creating a Prezi presentation.
The target learners were my second-year class. The idea behind using this class to research with the students was that it would prepare them for their classroom bases assessments. The more the student’s practiced making and researching I knew they would develop their skills. This also made the subject of Religion interesting for the students as it was non-exam. The students presenting skills will also improve as again they will be practicing often. The reason why this class was my target class was that there are several students who have different religions. Not just different religions but also had a few students who had learning difficulties. There was an SNA in the classroom to which also assisted when I was teaching the class. While students who may struggle when it comes to reading, they may enhance in their ICT skills.
The Learning Outcomes this ICT based resource supports are the following, students will be able to ‘creates, appreciates and critically interprets a wide range of texts’ (DES, 2015). Another learning outcome is ‘awareness of personal values and an understanding of the process of moral decision making’ (DES, 2015). This learning outcome linked in well with the subject of Religion students can also apply it to other aspects of life.
Prezi helps students develop their Junior Cycle Key Skills, Managing Myself, Communicating, Being Creative, working with others and Managing Information and Thinking. Managing myself is a Key Skill that helps learners become competent in an information-intensive environment. Students will understand the Key Skill of staying well while using technology which is an important current topic with this generation of teenagers, students will be responsible, safe and ethical while using the digital technology (NCCA, 2015).
When it came to introducing Prezi to students, I structured my lesson plans off of the model Bridge 21. The Bridge 21 model is designed to release the potential of technology-mediated learning, through a structured move away from individualized, teacher-led learning. Its rationale incorporates the potential of ICT to support a structured collaborative, project-oriented learning environment (Conneely, Lawlor, & Tangney, 2013).
The lessons that I planned were only planned over a 40 minutes class. Like all topics, the first lesson that was planned was to introduce the students to Prezi and all the functions that come along with it. The way that I carried this task out was that I gave students a handout with the instructions and as a class, we carried out steps as they were laid out. While at the start students were struggling with the topic. By the end of the lesson, students were allowed to work in pairs and this helped their progress. One point that I did make clear to the students was that I will be there to support the students and not criticize their efforts at this topic. My role in the classroom was to act as a facilitator and encourage students to express different ideas (Conneely, et al 2013). I felt that the students were willing to ask questions as I was walking around the classroom. This may have been because of the fact that their classmates were chatting between themselves and they might not have been embarrassed that fact that the fellow students couldn’t hear them. As a teacher, I felt that this was the best way to approach a class that was structured in this manner. It made me get around to all the students to see if they were making progress with the topic. On the other side at times there were discipline issues. The fact that I wasn’t standing at the top of the room students thought that they could get away with misbehaving. This is where the role of the SNA came important as she could keep an eye on students while.
The second class followed the same layout as the bridge 21 model and this lesson was to create an artifact. So, the task the students undertook was they created a presentation on their chosen topic. The students had to pick an idea in which the discovered in the first 40-minute lesson and develop their views on this and create a presentation. The students got frustrated at times through this lesson as they always wanted to see what the student beside them was doing. At one stage I heard a student saying that they want there’s better than their friends. So, a task like this I discovered brings out the competitive nature within the class. As a teacher’s point of view, I was satisfied with this as I knew it meant something to the students.
Finally, the third class was a 60-minute class the students had to present the topic. The students presented their presentation to the class, answered questions about their clip from other groups and reflected on what they learned. (Conneely, Lawlor, & Tangney, 2013). The elements of the Bridge 21 model were used throughout the lessons, beginning with Teamwork and Technology incorporated into all lessons followed by Skills Development displayed in lesson two and three and finally the self-evaluation of reflection in lesson three (Conneely, Lawlor, & Tangney, 2013). An aspect that I noticed in this class was that students were engaged with the Prezi the fact that it’s different then what they were used to. Students put a lot of creativity into the Prezi and I felt that this paid off as all the students respected each other’s work.
When I reflect on using Prezi in the classroom there are many positive aspects which can be taken from this tool. The fact that I only started to use Prezi this year with the class groups means there is possibly still a lot that I haven’t discovered on the source. This is a product that I hope to enhance as I continue to teach.
At the start, there were the initial problems that come along with using ICT. The first problem that I came across was trying to get and keep the students interested in the topic and the idea of using ICT. For the students when they attend the computer rooms there first thoughts are to play games or listen to music. This was understandable considering the fact that students wouldn’t get to use the computer rooms that often. But the student’s actions were dealt with in the proper manner. I warned them against using the internet for games. After a couple of disagreements with students, they came to understand what the idea of the class was. The reason I feel students were reluctant to co-operate at the start was the fact they didn’t understand how Prezi worked. But once this was explained to them the students worked contently on the assignments that they were giving.
I explained to students that they had an option that they could construct a Prezi presentation of a topic in Religion that they were interested in or we could go back to the class and study a topic of religion which wouldn’t appeal to students as much as the computer room would. Once students got in on the lessons that were planned, they interacted very well with each other in comparing and creating ideas. (Appendix one)
Overall the feeling that I take away from the lessons is that students interacted well with the ICT used in class and the ideas that they came up with. I also think that it’s an important topic to do with students and they will benefit from the activities that they undertook. A challenge that I faced myself was trying to get used to delivering a class using ICT and directing students. It was difficult for me to make sure the students were okay as I was familiarising myself with the topic as well. By the end of the placement, I was a lot more comfortable using the ICT programmes with the students. There is still a lot of work to be done in schools to include ICT, but the school where I was on my placement have made steps towards this by creating a ‘classroom of the future’ on the school premises.
It will take a great period to implant ICT into schools all around the country. As mentioned above there’s a vast comparison in the two schools that I have been in. if the department wants to implant ICT, I feel that all schools need to receive the same resources. This is something that probably won’t happen which will make it difficult for students in less off areas. The fact that the department is also aware of the lack of training this will slow down the process. I also feel that students would take advantage of ICT resources using them in a manner which isn’t encouraged. This again I feel would be in the areas that are disadvantaged. The fact that students may not have access to ICT at home it would affect their use of it in schools. For teachers who have been teaching a lot longer than I have it will take them a while to understand and figure out how important ICT is in students’ lives today.
Johnston, Conneely, Murchan & Tangney (2012) found that implementing the Bridge21 model highlighted the positivity of students towards this approach and its potential for the realization of selected Key Skills which in reflection my implementation of the Bridge21 model did develop some aspect of the Key Skills it was set out to. The approach that was taken in carrying out the lessons was difficult because when I was in school, I didn’t use as much ICT as there is today. So, I feel for teachers as I already mentioned that have been teaching years without the use of ICT it will be difficult for them to adjust their plans.
Teaching and learning which will the help of this strategy could provide guidance, planning resources and related supports for the effective, use of ICT to school leaders and teachers (DES, 2015, p.8). the more it used it schools the more that it will develop. There are schools that now have ‘classrooms of the future’ in turn this will help develop ICT in the school environment. If it’s easy for students to access ICT they will develop their skills.
ICT has enhanced my lessons great throughout the years doing my PME. I feel that I benefited from the use of ICT. I also feel that the students benefited from the constant contact with ICT. There are resources that I will keep using through my time teaching, for example, Google slides and Prezi. There are also resources that I won’t use again. This is where I feel I benefited from using different ICT resources. The fact that the world is still developing this will result in different and greater sources of ICT being developed which of course I will have to adjust to.
- Conneely, C., Lawlor, J., & Tangney, B. (2013). Technology, teamwork and 21st-century skills in the Irish classroom. Shaping our Future: How the lessons of the past can shape educational transformation Dublin: Liffey Press.
- Department for Education and Skills (DES (2015) Digital Strategy for School – enhancing Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2015-2020
- DES. (2015). Junior Cycle Business Studies Curriculum Specification. Dublin: Department of Education and Skills
- Johnston, K., Conneely, C., Murchan, D., & Tangney, B. (2015). Enacting key skills-based curricula in secondary education: lessons from a technology-mediated, group-based learning initiative. Technology, Pedagogy, and Education, 24(4), 423-442.
- NCCA. (2015). Framework for Junior Cycle. Dublin: Department of Education and Skills.