DEC Scan Journal : Volume 34 Issue 3
2015 Volume 34, Issue 3 26 Contents Editorial Reflections Teaching & learning Research Curriculum support Share this Resource reviews The case study details how a mainstream teacher, Peter, in a primary school in a large metropolitan city in NSW approached technology integration with his students using the HPC conceptions and themes in a unit of work focused on Japan. The classroom was observed over several weeks, planning and policy documents were analysed and interviews and focus groups were conducted with Peter and a small group of students from his class. The classroom The class of 28 was a heterogeneous grouping of Stage 3 students, with many stating, that they had good access to a range of technology devices at home. They were used to working in small groups, and on individual projects when required. Students sat in table groups close to the interactive whiteboard. The classroom had four desktop computers, iPads and a set of digital cameras, which were loaned from the school library. Access to wifi in the classroom was often intermittent, which made working with technology quite frustrating at times. Students in this classroom also used a project-based approach for the Japan study guided by a focus question with a set of contributing questions. The process Peter used involved big ideas and GOASA (Gather, Organise, Analyse, Synthesis and Apply). To read more about this planning organiser follow the link to this blog post on Medium. Studying Japan Japan was the country of choice for the study as the teacher’s content knowledge of the topic was significant. Peter expressed the choice this way: I lived there for many years. I can pass on what I know to what the students are learning, it is all part of my belief that it’s important to know your subject, this topic is a key part of what middle year’s students need to know in-depth in the social science syllabus. Students directed their research on the topic of Japan towards investigations of cultural, linguistic and geographical features. They worked in groups and used various software applications to present their final product to the whole class, just like Nina’s students. Peter had active interest in his project- based approach to teaching from his principal and a highly visible parent community who also engaged with the class’s technology program through weekly online news reports and enthusiastic endorsement of a site visit to an innovative technology lab at a local university. The field trip The event was a field trip organised by the researcher and was designed to follow up Peter’s interest in exposing his students to inspirational and cutting-edge work in the technology field with a Geography focus. It featured innovative work conducted by academics in augmented reality and other technologies. Its purpose was to show middle year’s students how experimental technologies can push what is known in subjects like Geography as well as computer science and engineering. In the lab students played with Minecraft using photorealistic computer graphics and immersive sounds, they experienced Google Earth on a 6x3 metre screen, as well as Google Street View on the Liquid Galaxy System 7 x LCD rig where they visited significant sites and street cafes in Tokyo. This field trip demonstrated not only the power of site visits for middle years students but also how this kind of activity fosters creative ideas and curiosity thinking in young people. There were opportunities to play with technology alongside experts including being able to use personal devices for trials of new software on the day. Geography suddenly became a lived experience where technology gave it a real edge and these Stage 3 students could travel virtually to the country they were studying. Other geospatial technologies including the current fad of geocaching amongst keen geographers also presents all kinds of exciting learning opportunities. Conclusion Research in Nina’s and Peter’s classrooms revealed how their deep knowledge of integrating technology for learning supported student learning in History and Geography. For Nina’s praxis, it was her QUEST construction together with a focus on metacognition, creativity, creating communities of learners and how she defined the game of teaching (Hunter, 2015a). All of these themes are found within the five conceptions of the HPC model. Peter concentrated on all five conceptions in HPC too but more so on Creativity, Life Preparation, Public Learning and Contextual Accommodations. The theory conception was evident in his practice but less so in this context. Technology integration was an authoritative force used to prepare students for their lives beyond school through the way both teachers encouraged experimentation and risk- taking with software applications and the mobile devices they used.
Volume 34 Issue 2
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