Forum questions:

  • What are the primary justifications in these readings for the integration of ICT into educational settings?
  • According to Selwyn, social and democratic issues need to be considered in this process – what might this mean in your context?
  • Given the idea of affordances discussed in Conole and Dyke’s article, what sort of relationship do you see between the percieved affordances of ICTs and the way ICTs are actually used in your educational context?
  • In your organsiation or educational context, what does the use of ICT invite or facilitate, and what does it lends itself to and what can it can do well?
  • What justification is given in the policy document you have chosen for the use of ICT for learning?
  • To what extent are issues of social justice and democracy, or affordances of technology for learning integrated into this policy?
  • How much is “improved learning outcomes” a focus of the policy?

These readings urge movement beyond an assumption that ICT will inherently improve teaching and learning and for educators to consider the ways and means to invest in structures and strategies to promote learning outcomes. The affordances that emerged most strongly for me include:

  • Non-linear structures that allow for improved differentiation
  • Need for development of digital literacy skills, where students have the capacity to decipher quality information and sources.
  • Capacity to make use of extended opportunities to connect with a broader network, including diverse cultural opportunities, subject matter experts, multi-sensory learning materials.

As Matt Ives (2017) indicated, the implicit consumerism of device ownership and the potential for devices to be status symbols is present in my context, however from a college perspective, funds are not invested in ICT without an overarching consideration of value for learning and a meaningful trajectory for the use of programs and products. Improved learning outcomes are central to my workplace and therefore considering the learning value of all ICT initiatives is front and centre.
Leadership at my school have worked hard in recent years to implement initiatives and develop staffing structures that will provide a solid grounding for leadership and momentum, merging perceived affordances with the “state of the actual” (Selwyn, 2010, p. 70). Investing in staff roles (like mine) to guide and coach colleagues in meaningful use of technology is improving the confidence of staff to try new approaches. Guided by PYP principles and with structured collaborative planning sessions in the junior school, robust conversations are encouraged to discern the most effective means to include digital technology with a focus on valuable learning outcomes.
This does not mean there is not a way to go; in a successful school context it can be challenging to convince educators that there is a reason to shift their paradigm, so for many it is a slow burn where we are working hard to lead by example.

Conole, G. and M. Dyke (2004). What are the affordances of information and communication technologies? ALT-J 12(2): 113-124.

Ives, M. (2017) EMT503 forum post March 11, 2017.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assted Learning, 26(1), 65-73.