Colloquium with Cathie Howe: macICT

As Cathie Howe from macICT explained the focus of the work of this unit I was once again amazed at the diversity of programs and research undertaken, much of which would greatly challenge a vast number of teachers. It is not enough that new ICTs are integrated into classrooms to support students in gaining skills for the future; the greatest challenge is how to do this whilst ensuring a strong pedagogical approach that focuses primarily on what learning needs to look like and then exploring how ICT can support and enhance this. As Cathie spoke about Maker Spaces I couldn’t help but feel concern. In my recent experience there has been, in my opinion, a disproportionate amount of focus on setting up such spaces with little regard to how they relate to specific learning outcomes. I see enormous potential for MakerSpaces to support the design process that is a significant aspect of the NSW K-6 Science and Technology syllabus but see little evidence of strong connections in actual practice. This is definitely an area for investigation and one which I will certainly incorporate into my work with teachers. Another fascinating area discussed by Cathie was Transmedia Storytelling. This has great potential for the teaching of English in an explicit, contemporary and motivating way. My digital essay on Transliteracy explored the importance of this type of learning; the label given to this work is secondary to the important characteristics of the learning that is the focus of it. This is an area that I am excited to explore further in one area of my current work which aims to to increase student literacy achievement through a research informed, highly effective school-wide approach to literacy acquisition K-6.

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