Welcome to this insightful blog which delves into cyber space, technology in the classroom, and teaching and learning using technology. Feel free to take a look around. Happy learning!!
The Get With It: Cyberbullying produced by the National Centre for Technology in Education and the Office for Internet Safety in conjunction with Barnardos (2008); define bullying and cyberbullying as the following:
Bullying is the repeated aggression, verbal, physical or psychological conduct by an individual or group against others. It is widely agreed to be behaviour that is sustained or repeated over time and which has a serious negative effect on the well-being of the victim, and is generally a deliberate series of actions.
Cyberbullying is bullying which is carried out using the internet, mobile phone or other technological devices. It takes on a more psychological rather than a physical form of bullying, and is usually used as a branch or means of ‘traditional’ or ‘conventional’ bullying, rather than a stand-alone form of bullying. It is usually accompanied by other conventions or forms of bullying. It can be used in the following ways:
- Personal intimidation
- Personal humiliation
- False reporting
Cyber bullying, within an educational context, creates the issue of whose responsibility it is to educate, prevent or create and administer consequences, in circumstances of cyber bullying. Schools and educational institutions often come under scrutiny when it comes to dealing with cyber bullying. So whose responsibility is it when it comes to dealing with cyber bullying?
Educational institutions need, within their school policy, to have a clear and comprehensive policy on bullying and cyber bullying, stating explicitly what they deem to be the nature of bullying and cyber bullying, and what the consequences are. This is because these institutions embrace the new technologies being developed, to help expand the horizons of teaching and learning to promote intellectual quality and personal learning environments, in which students then have access to. Schools need to ensure that students’ personal learning environments are safe, comfortable and conducive to learning, and nothing else. This of course is difficult when cyber bullying occurs outside the classroom. However, in defining specifically the schools’ and teachers’ roles in preventing cyber bullying, there needs to be an explicit school anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying policy for teachers, students and parents; as well as education of cyber bullying, so students, parents and teachers become aware of how to recognise cyber bulling and how to stop or prevent it before it creates negative consequences for the victim. Educational institutions also need to be aware of restrictions placed on certain social networking sites within the school network. As is traditionally said, prevention is better than a cure!
TRY THESE LINKS…!
A series of interactive online games provided by cybersmart.gov.au and YouTube video clips to get educated on cyber bullying!
Get With It: A Guide to Cyberbullying Brunswick Press LTD (2008) National Centre for Technology in Education and the Office for Internet Safety in conjunction with Barnardos. Retrieved from: http://www.rcysostenibilidad.telefonica.com/ed/media/pdf/Get_with_it_Cyberbullying_Booklet.pdf
“Learning in its simplest form is embedded in human existence…it is an active process in which the learner uses sensory inputs and constructs meaning out of the information being passed across (Driver, 1989). Learning is a social activity; it is intimately associated with the human connection with other human beings…” (Oluwafisayo, 2010)
Constructivism as a theory dictates that knowledge is constructed and built upon the previous knowledge that a person has already acquired. Social constructivism, as is suggested through its title, branches from the general constructivist theory, and interprets learning as a social construct whereby a person learns and acquires new knowledge through their social interactions with others, and meaning is gathered and interpreted from their experiences. This implies that knowledge between two people differ: “the mind produces its own, unique conception of events.” (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995, in Oluwafissayo, 2010) This process is deemed as an active and constructive process.
Constructivism implemented as a teaching style or method in a classroom context, can produce the following benefits:
- Students learn to become self-directed learners with initiative, as not only are they learning the content, but they are also learning about their learning (otherwise referred to as metacognition). Students therefore as a result become independent, as well as collaborative, and active learners.
- Knowledge constructed can be applied to the reality of the students’ contexts, that is, knowledge becomes relevant to their lives beyond the classroom context.
- Constructivism, especially inked with Personal Learning Environments, cater for different learning abilities, needs and styles of students. Learning can be tapered to student interest and also allows for differentiation to occur.
Social constructivism at its core, recognises that learning occurs at different moments of one’s life, not just within a classroom setting, and that the teacher is not the only source of information or knowledge for students. This is why social constructivism as an educational tool, is beneficial when used in the classroom, as it incorporates different elements and situations of learning, and then builds upon these.
Kelm, O. R. () “Social Media: It’s What Students Do.” Business Communication Quarterly 74(4), 505-520
Killen, R. (2013) Effective Teaching Strategies: Lessons from Research and Practice 6th Edn pp.42-43 Cengage/Social Science Press: Melbourne
Marsh, C. (2010) Becoming a Teacher: Knowledge, Skills and Issues, 5th edn, Pearson Australia. p.211
Oluwafisayo, E. (2010) “Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective” Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability 6(4), pp. 16-25.
Retrieved from: http:///www.nabusinesspress.com/JSIS?EnobunWeb.pdf
Woolfolk A. & Margetts, K. (2010). Educational Psychology 2nd edn Pearson Australia. Chp. 9 pp. 336-374
“The difference between high quality teaching with an IWB (Interactive Whiteboard) is not the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) or the technological competency of the teacher…It is the quality of the underlying teacher.” (Kent , 2010).
The NSW Quality Teaching Framework suggests, as its first of four guides to what quality teaching is, that good teaching involves promoting ‘intellectual quality’ within the classroom. Although the concept of intellectual quality is ambiguous and does not stand by a concrete definition, there are three generally accepted aspects which contribute to the intellectual quality of teaching and learning (Newmann, 2000):
- Construction of knowledge, which requires not only reproducing knowledge, but understanding and interpreting this knowledge through higher order thinking skills.
- Disciplined inquiry, which constitutes being able to communicate this knowledge and an informed conclusion of this knowledge.
- Value beyond school, which requires the content being taught or learnt, to be relevant and applicable to the student’s context and world beyond the classroom.
One way in which intellectual quality can be promoted in the classroom for students, is through the use of the Interactive Whiteboard, or the IWB, as an “amplifier of teaching” (Kent, 2010). The IWB has a myriad of benefits, including catering to the different learning styles and levels of students (in keeping with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory), and its ability to be used in a group dynamic and promote student interaction and engagement.
Although the use of an IWB in the classroom has its benefits, the traditional emphasis on the quality teaching methods of the teacher, and the learning of the students, is most important when it comes to education. Technology is there to assist the teaching and learning occurring in the classroom. It is not the main method of teaching and learning. A number of teaching and learning styles must be implemented to the learning environment to cater to the different subject areas, and the different learning needs, styles and levels of students. As Kent (2010) states, “…focusing on technology is no guarantee in improving student outcomes. The focus needs to be on the teaching, he pedagogy.”
Hedberg, J.D. (2011): Towards a disruptive pedagogy: changing classroom practice with technologies and digital content. Educational Media International, 48:1, 1-16
Kent, P. (2010) Secondary Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards. Macmillan Education Australia PTY LTD: South Yarra. Chps. 1 & 3
Newmann, F. M. Research/Practice (2000). Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement (CAREI):University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Retrieved from: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fnsdcff.wikispaces.com%2Ffile%2Fview%2F1_K_Authentic%2BIntellectual%2BWork.%2BThe%2BWhat%2Band%2BWhy.pdf
When exploring the concept of eLearning (learning through technology), it is often associated with the Personal Learning Environment (or PLE), which can be described “not [as] a software application…[but] a new approach to using technologies for learning…[where] learners themselves develop and control their online learning environment.” (Atwell, 2007).
The PLE sits within the idea that changing technologies are a key influence and propagator in educational change. It is adaptable and conducive to a technological learning environment. PLEs are an important factor to consider when incorporating technology into the classroom, and also for establishing a safe and educational learning environment beyond the classroom, namely at students’ homes. PLEs are beneficial within an educational framework for the following reasons:
- They recognise and support the concept of lifelong learning. Atwell (2007) states that a PLE “…recognises that learning is continuing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning.” This idea also recognises that learning doesn’t occur in the one place at the one time, rather it will take place “…in different contexts and situations, and will not be provided by a single learning provider.” (Atwell 2007)
- They incorporate the concept of informal learning, which is an ongoing process whereby people learn through daily social interactions, which occur predominantly outside the classroom (associated with social-constructivism)
- PLEs cater to the different learning styles, levels and needs of students. Technology becomes another learning avenue for students, as some will have strengths in learning through technology. In relation to this, it can provide a new means or approach to assessment and recognition of learning for teachers.
- A PLE can adapt with the emergence of new technologies and advancing technological developments over time. Directly related to these developments are changing ways of learning, which can also be modified into a PLE.
Through a PLE, students can start to take their own initiative and direction regarding their learning, and taper it to their interests and relevance to their personal lives.
Some handy Twitter links for you on technology in the classroom…
Attwell, G (2007). The Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning? eLearning Papers, vol. 2 no. 1.
Retrieved from: www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media11561/pdf