NAPLANning to go Online

Week 4 with one assignment down.

This week can be considered guilty of killing semester excitement. The week where the initial plans of being SUPER organised begin to slip from me. I start questioning whether I REALLY need to attend the early class or whether I can just watch the online version once I have had my beauty sleep. Fortunately for my grades, I am continuing to push through – I mean, we only have a couple of weeks until the Easter Break (woo!). So, since I DID in fact attend my classes this week, I came to learn of a very exciting ICT integration into our current schooling system – NAPLAN Online!

Upon its first mention within our lecture, I was a skeptic as to its effectiveness. Was it just going to be yet another thing we unnecessarily integrate to online? The exact same as the paper version, but just a tool to point out which schools lacked the same resources as their counterparts? But upon further research, it seems I may be wrong (rare, but it happens I guess).

Since its introduction in 2008, NAPLAN has been the (dreaded) test that is highly featured on school calendars. The event that was created to determine the levels of numeracy and literacy in schools, and what schools all aspire to be great at. The test that ‘determines’ the data to reflect how good the school and its staff are. For my household and I’m sure many others, the awful test that would ‘determine’ how rubbish you were – despite this not being the case. In saying this, perhaps this new version is the answer to at least some of the issues!

The National Assessment Program (2017) has noted benefits as;

  • Better assessment
    • Greater precision of results as it uses an adaptive design, in which the test automatically adapts to a student’s performance. It asks questions that match the students’ achievement level, allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge on a broader assessment scope.
  • Faster turnaround of results
    • Delivery of assessments online significantly reduces the time it takes to provide feedback to key stakeholders. Consequently, teachers can respond more quickly to learning needs.
  • More engaging
    • Research conducted on online assessment by ACARA  has highlighted that students have engaged well with electronic tests.

The main difference that I find exceptional about the transition to an online platform is the ability to tailor to an individual. This will effectively assist in meeting the differentiation needs education strives for, however lacks in standardised testing. Therefore, should the system work, NAPLAN Online will be a fantastic step towards catering to diverse student bodies.

For more information regarding NAPLAN Online visit: http://www.nap.edu.au/online-assessment 

Miss Ingram – Signing out

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Constructing and Transforming with ICT

Week 3 and things are heating up.

This week we have examined the two terms of constructive knowledge and transforming knowledge. My first thought is ‘here we go, yet more terminology to add to my ever-expanding list’. But I was wrong, the terms turned out to be quite basic and surprisingly helpful. Simply, it refers to the two type of student knowledge that underpins planning. Being able to identify what elements within the curriculum is valuable to the planning process as it provides the opportunity to reflect on a couple of key questions. Constructive knowledge refers the the content students will learn about, answering the ‘What do we want students to know and understand’ question. Additionally the question of ‘What do we want students to be able to do when they apply and transform their knowledge’ can be answered when the transforming knowledge is identified. The learn how to use phase of knowledge evidence. The effectiveness of these terms were put to the test this week when delving into my assignment for this course. To say I was struggling to begin with was an understatement. Partly due to the procrastination that I have already admitted to when introducing myself. But I have since noticed that it is mostly due to the fact I was trying to initiate a unit plan of attack without finding the finish line. Figuring out what I wanted the students to achieve proved to be the first step towards winning the race (literally – the race towards the pending assignment due date).

In saying this, my new favourite terms were not the only thing saving my GPA this time, but also my Backwards Design skills. Created by Wiggins and McTighe (2005), this process encourages the search for the desired finish line I so desperately needed this week. Nutting out what the end goal is for all to achieve the gold medal in the event of learning assists a great deal with the unit planning process. It means that meaningful action can be taken in order to meet the intentions set out, giving the students the best opportunity to smash those assessments out of the park.

Thankfully, as a result of these two strategies to improve the efficiency in my planning, I am well on my way to submitting my assignment on time (woo!). Until next weeks reflections (and potential rants depending on how the week goes)…

Miss Ingram – Signing out

Signaling the Connection

Week 2 and learning is already well and truly underway.

In this week’s lecture and tutorial I was exposed to two frameworks that explain the rise in ICTs in the 21st century, as well as their ability to be effectively implemented into the classroom. This was vital in my learning as it allowed me to question ‘why NOT use ICTs’ rather than finding excuses not to. This being a common characteristic of mine.

The R.A.T Framework (2007) firstly seemed to me to have a fitting name, this being that I generally relate ICT in the classroom to being a pest. Although the connection sounding harsh as ICT can prove quite useful, it is the truth when attempting to provide a seamless lesson with as minimal potential elements to spoil this as possible. However, the framework is actually a great tool in assessing to what ability ICT coincides with the learning. It has been recognised that first you must consider what has been changed by the use of ICT . What has been been adjusted during the learning process, the instructional method, as well as the curriculum intention. Once these have been answered, the ability to identify whether the use of ICTs has Replaced, Amplified or Transformed can be established.

Alternatively, The Big Three (Kirschner and Wopereis, 2003) is an overarching view of ICT, its ability to explain the popularity and importance of it in the modern classroom. It looks at three key ideas as to significance of the intergration of ICT skills into curriculum areas. These being;

  • preparing the next generation for the workforce,
  • making schools more efficient and productive and,
  • enhancing and transforming learning and teaching

Looking at these three dot points or whether ICT has had a R.A.T effect in a classroom, is very different to putting it into practice. To me, being able to SEE the difference it is making within the learning environment is more enriching for my ICT change of view process. So, I look forward to being able to do so during my prac placement. Having the ability to reflect on the effectiveness of ICTs in my classroom with alignment to these frameworks.

Until then, I have already begun my toolbox of ICT resources by creating a ‘bubble.us’ mind map. Although upon closer examination, it makes the connection to ICT and teaching a lot clearer. At a glance it replicates how my mind feels when the word ‘technology’ and ‘pedagogy’ is said in the same sentence – all over the place! Therefore, enjoy my creation (particularly my proud colour choices), however I would advice a closer look!

Miss Ingram – Signing out

Welcome

Welcome to the EDC3100 blog of Mikaela Ingram. I look forward to sharing my learning path with you all as I learn the ins and outs of ICT and Pedagogy.

Happy scrolling!

Plugging In & Taking Ctrl…

Here it is, the first post. Evidently, I am writing this on Sunday evening at the very end of week 1. To which I have reached a point where I can no longer procrastinate my way out of it. To some this would seem odd. Perhaps to the people who thrive on the ability to demonstrate their creativity, express their thoughts or simply the students within this course that are thrilled at the idea of doing a whole university course focused on ICT. Well, as you can tell by my rush to meet my first looming weekly deadline, I am in fact not one of those people.

It is not that I hate technology, quite the opposite in true 90’s kid fashion. However, as a preservice teacher who prays for all to go right when stepping into the classroom on professional experience, you could say I do not trust it. I mean, we all want that glowing report from our mentor after a great lesson. So when I plan a lesson, the last thing I consider is how I can deliver a teaching episode with the use of ICT. I like to think I am flexible and that am able to adapt to what is placed in front of me, therefore making this hard to admit. However, avoiding it where possible just seems smarter to me. I can not be the only one, right?

Upon reflection of writing this however, my lack of consideration of how to encompass ICT in my pedagogy is more so what is stopping me. I am yet to have an issue with technology, highlighting the reason being more related to the refusal of reaching into the ‘too hard’ basket and exploring beyond my comfort zone. The word ‘learn’ by definition is to ‘gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught’. Therefore, whilst on my learning pathway at university with the support of many, it only seems reasonable to immerse myself in ICT within a pedagogical context now rather than later.

With my absence of a technology horror story in mind (touch wood), consider this first post my vows to letting go of my apprehension towards this course and ICT in general. Me reaching into the dreaded ‘too hard’ basket and having a crack. The beginning of me plugging in (so to speak), taking ctrl and utilising ICT as part of my pedagogy toolkit.

May the learning begin!

Miss Ingram – Signing out