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MirandaNet Fellowship Profiles (MirandaNet Archive - as of March 2015)
Myuse of ICT in the classroom stems from my involvement with the national curriculum at my school. I established an on-line project with a school in the US, sharing topics and correspondence by email. My use of the Internet has helped me obtain information for my own learning including research on BBC educational programmes.
Our school's website is currently used to provide a prospectus on the institution as well as a letter from the headmaster and information on the school. It is a great way to inform parents about sports and other events and activities and academic life in general. I use various programmes in the classroom for teaching and am able to compare standards, achievements and shared work with teachers throughout the US and the UK. I also edit a pre-prep broadsheet, SATIPS, via e-mail which covers these and other teaching issues.
I see a world of potential in the use of ICT for online teaching and learning. I feel it is a valuable teaching and learning tool for communicating online with classes in other countries, comparing and contrasting lifestyles and study methods. Internet access in the classroom gives students immediate access to research. At pre-prep level it would be very helpful to have voice recognition in the classroom so that children can get information and ideas down on paper without having to worry about the mechanics of writing--a slow process for 5 year olds. This would also be useful for special needs children, as would programmes which read out what is on the screen.
Packages that combine voice recognition with phonics, in particular teaching sound blending programmes that follow the 'Alpha to Omega' or 'Kingston' schemes for special needs children who struggle to learn. The programmes would also analyse the child's performance and store information on the child's weaknesses so that special programmes could be structured and tailored to cater to specific weaknesses.
Having used technology in my classroom I feel that it has changed education in a positive way.
I see the developments as very positive. When used properly in the classroom technology can provide individual tuition for children who need specific help while the teacher deals with the rest of the class.
Where the teacher is not well trained the computer is often a time waster and becomes a games machine. Many teachers do not know their programmes well enough and often choose ones that are inappropriate to the abilities of the children. Teachers have to be particularly careful not to use the computer when the same thing could be taught equally well in other ways. Computers empower many children who currently have poor literacy skills.
My American project is ongoing and has provided interesting dialogue between the pupils in both countries. It has developed understanding between the children on the differences in their cultures and how much their lifestyle is affected by the local environment. They have developed an understanding of geography, time and history and all these concepts have become very real for them. The communication has developed awareness between the children and given them real motivation to read and write.
We are currently trying to find schools in English speaking countries elsewhere (i.e. New Zealand, Africa) to investigate life in the Southern Hemisphere and the developing world. I hope to do this through contacts or through Oxfam's site.
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