An informed and considered approach to the use of technology in the classroom can result in a redefinition of activities and curriculum that promote higher order thinking skills in the classroom. Developments in Web 2.0 Internet technologies such as Wikis, blogs and microblogging applications offer affordances for classroom pedagogies to evolve toward the use of more constructivist learning theories because students are able to collaborate on and publish materials that have previously been inconceivable (Puentedura, 2013; Stanton, 2013; Harasim, 2009). Recent research into the success of Web 2.0 technologies has demonstrated that education policy and institutions need to place more value in teacher training so that there is less of a focus on learning the technology and instead using the technology to address curriculum (Finger, Russel, Jamieson-Proctor and Russell, 2007; Harasim, 2012). Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) TPACK framework should be used by teachers integrating these new technologies into the classroom as part of Roblyer and Doering’s (2013) TIP so that students can be involved in more meaningful activities that have been shown to help them create knowledge through collaboration (Daniels, 2002).
Inclusive Web 2.0 technologies such as the MOODLE LMS with a social constructionism pedagogy can also provide a range of activities that can be accessed by learners who may be restricted in or from the physical environment of the classroom (Dougiamas, 2006). A considered design of digital education environments using TPACK and TIP can promote interactive use of wikis, blogs and forums as tools for collaboration between a student’s teachers and peers (Beauchamp and Kennewell, 2010). Students who are actively engaged in these types of meaning making activities through collaboration are using technology rather than learning it and participating in tasks that have been redefined toward meeting higher order thinking curriculum outcomes (Puentedura, 2013; Stanton, 2013).
Bigum (2012) and Seimens (cited in Paikin, 2013) have highlighted the need for education institutions to make more strategic policy decisions in an environment of increasing technological change so that previous failed integration policies can be avoided. A move toward more learner centred approaches founded on constructivist pedagogies are more likely to prepare students for the knowledge economy of our 21st C society (Finger, Russel, Jamieson-Proctor, Russell, 2007; Harasim, 2009; Seimens, 2005). Starkey (2012) also argues that students need further innovation toward integrated pedagogies that use connectivist learning theories so that they are prepared for complex relationships that utilise the affordance of digital devices and social networking in our society.
The challenges faced by teachers in developing much needed technical knowledge about new devices, software and Web 2.0 applications are made more complex by the need for flexible constructivist pedagogies that assist with their technological affordances. While the curriculum content may remain relatively stable, there are also increasing changes in this area of teaching with ACARA and NSW syllabuses, however, Wendy Worrell (cited in Finger, Russel, Jamieson-Proctor, Russell, 2007) argues that time and resource poor teachers are challenged by these complexities in schools that are in need of more funding. Cox (2012) also argues further that increased funding toward online classroom technologies (e-learning) will result in the identification of more specific and consistent measurements for areas of teacher training and development during a period of technological revolution. Gonski (2011) has also highlighted that technology integration funding findings from the Building the Education Revolution Implementation Taskforce that show a significant disparity in public vs private schools (See figure 1). Classroom technologies can be integrated by informed teachers and their knowledge networks to create innovative student centred learning spaces if they are supported with policy decisions that value their creative input into curriculum innovation.
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