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Technology transforms learning and teaching?

There is an ongoing conversation about the promise of digital technologies and whether they lead to increased teacher effectiveness, and improved student achievement.

Chris Jager, who worked in the Middle East with education institutions for a number of years, has found teachers can be defensive and competitive (for example, a teacher wanting to look better than a colleague because of the test scores their students are achieving). The teaching tends to be traditional and teachers are seen as the catalyst to learning - so if a student fails it is seen as the fault of the teacher.

Chris suggests John Hattie's research (Visible Learning, 2009) as a starting point to help consider ways of measuring performance / effect (including Key Performance Indicators, standards-based evaluation of performance, and student achievement gains). Hattie has looked at 800 quantitative studies from around the world (83 million students from around the world), and he ends up listing 28 key aspects of learning and teaching. From his analysis he discovered the use of computers would mean "a change in the conception of being a teacher...it necessitates a different way of interacting and respecting students" (p.4, 2009). Hattie identifies, for instance, that feedback, a student's prior cognitive ability, and the trust built by teachers with their students were paramount to effective learning.

On the flip side, putting the control into the hands of students can be concerning to students themselves as they are not sure what this would actually look like in practice. The most important thing is what the students bring to the learning situation, followed closely by what a teacher brings, as well as the influence of home, peers, schools and principals.

Putting technology into schools is only a small part of the equation. When teachers see learning through the eyes of the student and when students see themselves as their own teachers, that's when you get the most effective outcomes. Thoughts?

Image: 'Paulo Coelho If you love someone, you must be prepared to set them+free' http://www.flickr.com/photos/85608594@N00/27112492425 Found on flickrcc.net

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