“Has our school made the shift from a teacher-centred model of teaching and learning to a student-centred one?”
Those schools who are already integrating technology effectively and meaningfully into teaching and learning (not using technology as digital colouring in) will see instant connections with the Digital Technologies Curriculum and what they are currently doing. See in my experience these schools have already made this pedagogical shift to student-centred approach. However, those schools who still believe (and apply in their everyday classroom) the approach that the teacher is the holder of knowledge are doomed to fail. Not just the new Digital Technologies Curriculum but any curriculum.
For me, as a lover of technology, the Digital Technologies Curriculum is an exciting document. Yes, that's right a teacher excited about a new curriculum! I'm excited because it has so many connections with other curriculum areas. Whether it be coding as a way of storytelling or creating a website as a way of raising social awareness, this new curriculum can be authentic and relevant. The ‘can be’ relies on the integration.
The possibilities to bind together the new Digital Technologies curriculum with current ACARA documents is everywhere. But in it's current form the document doesn't make these connections. In fact looking at it from a classroom teachers perspective, it is both overwhelming in terminology and quantity.
Who's going to make these connections? Who's going to challenge the students and explicitly teach the students the problem solving process, computational thinking and using innovative software packages that analyse data and communicate ideas? You see these 'digital natives' still need to be taught. They need to experience the design and problem solving process. They need to work collaboratively on projects. As this is not how schools assess students we need a greater focus on assessing skills like collaboration and less on product. Assess the process, the ability of the students to reflect and celebrate failure as part of the design process.
Creativity and the Digital Technologies Curriculum
With the global push towards creativity in schools, it is important to acknowledge the potential for students to demonstrate creative thinking in this new curriculum.
What do we know about creativity? We know that time restrictions hinders creative thinking. We know that extrinsic rewards (think about rewarding students in your classroom) don’t motivate higher levels of creative thinking or the creation of effective physical and/or digital products. One of the great challenges for schools is to create these rich, authentic projects that allow for student creative thinking and invention.
Integration doesn't mean less explicit teaching! And if we agree on this how do we get teachers up to speed in 'time-poor' environment that still contains a crowded curriculum?
integrate in the Primary Years
have a solid understanding of the ‘big concepts’
embrace new learning (skill acquisition) with the opportunity to learn with students
identify teachers with solid pedagogical approaches who are strong in literacy and numeracy (and a love of technology)
look for online resources that both students and teachers can learn from (students can learn from a plethora of resources)
allow time for teachers to plan rich, authentic and integrated units and actually do what they expect their students to do
look a coaching approach
Nationally, come together as a collective group (admin, teachers and the wider community) to discuss the successful implementation of the Digital Technologies Curriculum