Bridging the Divide

Last week I attended a lecture for another course which focussed on the topic of using digital technologies at home and at school to develop students literacy skills. It was suggested that the ICT accessible in schools were mostly computers and that teachers are more concerned with how to use ICT themselves and view technology as separate to the curriculum instead of integrating digital technologies for the purpose of supporting literacy development among students. It was also stated that at home students engage not only with computers but also with a greater range of ICTs such as games (apps), television, Xbox and so on.

With these statements in mind, we were then asked to discuss how we might bridge the divide of using ICT in and outside of the classroom (home and school) to develop student’s literacy skills.

Of course, there were suggestions about how this could occur. Some suggestions we all agreed on and other suggestions caused a divide in opinion.

My opinion, well, it all comes down to the student and their learning needs and capabilities. There are not many homes or schools today that do not have some sort of technology. So bridging the divide shouldn’t be as complicated as it is made out to be.

At home, most children have some form of a technology device, be that a gaming system, a phone, a computer or a smart device of some sort. And while children may not use them for educational purposes, they most definitely could be. For example, ICT devices at home could be used to complete a homework task in which students use a device for a particular purpose. For students, using ICT is exciting and engaging, so why not have them use their devices to connect with each other via blogging to help each other with homework or a project. Why not use social media for education outside of school? The possibilities are endless. Now I know you probably thinking “What about the student who doesn’t have easy access to ICT?” I guess my response to this would be that there are ways around this. For example, make the use of ICT set in homework optional. And If this student comes up to you and says it is something they are interested in doing, are you going to say no? Couldn’t you provide them the opportunity at school to partake in that task?

In the school context, unfortunately, there are teachers out there who view technology integration as intimidating and even unnecessary. In a way, I understand where they are coming from. Change can be scary. But ICT is happening and it is here to stay. Teachers need to embrace this. And while it can be intimidating there are ways of learning ICT. Of course, you can learn the devices manually and go to professional developments which I am sure would only enhance both ICT learning and skills. But there may be a simpler way to tackle the issue. Your students. Children today are coming into the classroom with more knowledge about ICT than you and I could even imagine. Who’s to say we can’t learn from our students. After all, isn’t that part of our job? We are here to model to students that we are also learners. We are always learning. Why not share our knowledge and learn with each other?

If you do anything today, watch this video. Though it is a few years old, I think the message is still relevant, maybe now more than ever.

So is there a ICT home/school divide? Sure! Does there need to be. No.

If you would like another perspective on this topic head over to Charlotte’s Blog!

That’s it for now!

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