For the past two months I followed the course Pedagogies for Flexible Learning supported by Technology, given by Dr. Petra Fisser. This course really was een eye-opener. Especially in terms of the integration of technology in schools. From my Teacher Training (which I did before this master) I knew that content and pedagogy have to be combined properly when giving a lesson. Yet, this course brought the' T' in my perception of a good lesson. Also, I learned about how to integrate it. The lectures were very interesting, it had hands-on approaches which made it active and we had some nice guest lectures.
I became acquainted with the TPACK model (which I described in my previous blog). I really like working with this model, because it is very useful for practice in real teaching. When I think of the future I want to play a role in improving (curriculum in) schools. The TPACK model is a nice way of integrating technology in schools. Because schools cannot hide for technology. Technology is steaming up in society and since school is a preparation for society, children have to have knowledge of technology. On the other side of the medal can technology support learning. And this is what I would like to enhance in integrating technology. When technology is integrated in a good way, and is combined well with the chosen pedagogy and content, learning outcomes are likely to improve.
But how do we make sure that teachers are really integrating technology? There can be several hindering factors. Teachers can lack technological skills, teachers do not want to use technology, teachers do not have the facilities, or teachers do not know which technology to use with what pedagogy and content. Some things (like facilities) can not be changed a lot (except buying technology). But teachers can be stimulated in integrating technology. First of all, teachers really have to see the benefits of using technology in their lectures. They have to be convinced that this is good for their pupils. In my opinion this needs a lot of talking with the teacher, but also doing things with technology. Give teachers workshops, stimulate use of technology in meetings and do classroom observations. This way teachers will also generate skills and get confidence in using technology.
Professional development and TPACK based lesson
In the final presentations I saw good examples of such professional development for teachers. When a school register for such a professional development and let teachers pursue it, I am sure that the integration of technology in that school will take a big step.
My group and I made a TPACK based lesson for a primary school. Also this lesson can be bought (for a friendly price) by a school to present teachers (or let teachers work with) a lesson where technology is really integrated. In this lesson we combined the use of Smartphones (T), Inquiry learning (P) and (A) 'Parts of the plants' (C) Knowledge (K). When designing this lesson we really worked as educational designers. We carefully chosen combinations that would fit well and a context where it is able to execute it. I feel that the cooperation in this project went well. The members of our group were from different cultures and backgrounds and I think we were really complementary. Very interesting. Also, we used technology ourself when completing this task. We used Dropbox for storing and sharing files and a QR generator from internet for example. Designing this lesson was a good experience to learn to work with the TPACK model. We gained many learning situations in which we can grow our professional development as educational designers in various contexts and conditions.