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Reflective Summary - Teaching as Inquiry - Intergrating ICT into Inquiry Process

School type

Timaru Christian School is a Intergrated Special Character Full Primary school, in Timaru, with a roll of 101 students, and a decile rating of 6.  There are 4 multi-levelled classrooms from New Entrant to Year Eight.

Cluster

Timaru Christian School is a member of the Aoraki Rural Cluster, along with 10 other schools from the South Canterbury region.  All teachers in the cluster schools conducted a "Teaching as Inquiry" for their 2011 ICT PLD.

Each school's inquiry question focused on how ICT tools, strategies and thinking could be used in teaching and learning.  Lead teachers used the focus to complete a "Teaching as Inquiry" while guiding their colleagues through the process.

Intentions

For the staff of Timaru Christian
School, ICT was broken down into three basic components: a) a source of
knowledge, b) a publishing tool, and c) a cyber-space community. In do so, we
set our learning objectives on three basic goals:

  1. What
    is the best way to use ICT for increasing the levels of
    achievement/understanding for students;
  2. What
    tools will enhance both students and teachers presentations of final work; and
  3. Given
    that ICT encompasses a cyber-space community mentality, what is the safest way
    for our students and teacher to engage and operate within that community? 

Impact on students

The use of ICT tools was met with noticably higher engagement levels and motivation in literacy.

Students have begun to utilise ICT really well in two of the inquiry stages: a) Having a look – they are quite willing to go to various websites, search engines, and digital resources to consider any topic. They still struggle with validating resources, considering opposite points or conflicting data, and referencing sources (understanding copyright and ownership of data) ; b) Unveil findings – they are well versed in movie maker, power point, toon doo, and are quick to take advantage of tool that brings “flash” to their product, however they do not tend to use the tool
to its full capabilities and struggle with feedback when releasing their
publication.

In terms of cyber-safety,
students have become more safety conscious with passwords and sharing
information on-line. This however, has not reduced cyber bullying through text
or Facebook. This is still a problem in the senior class.

 

Next Steps

As stated previously, ICT will be
an on-going part of TCS’s student’s everyday lives. They will continue to use
it as a source of knowledge, but with the understanding that it has limits and
does not over-ride all other sources (interviews, videos, audio, text based,
newspapers, magazines, etc.). While it is very powerful and very fast, it has
its limitations with a heavy reliance on search engines and believing that
someone is always telling the truth. We will be progressing down the road of
comparing multiple sources and using referencing as students begin to realise
that what is on the net is someone else’s work and not their own. Things like
copy right will be discussed.

We will continue to use the
various publishing techniques available in the modern ICT world and allow
students to explore different ways of communicating their findings. We will
emphasise that a pretty package should not limit  substance and the purpose of communicating,
the structure of communication, and the analysis of communication remains
consistent whether using ICT or not. It is a lot like be able to solve math
problems before and after the invention of the calculator.

Cyber-safety courses will be a
yearly approach, with the school looking for alternative internet based
programmes to provide different stimuli and reminding the students of the
dangers and rewards of such a global and often ill-monitored society/community.