Emerging trends in ICT & education

Focus: What are the emerging trends in ICT and how should we respond?

Probably the only certain thing about ICT is that it is changing and there will be something new tomorrow. Under those conditions it is futile to pretend that we can identify all of the current trends let alone deal with them in the space and time available to us here. What we can do is highlight a few trends and indicate some developments worth watching.

Link to top of pageOne-to-one computing

Norris et al. (2003) have argued strongly that a key reason for the limited impact of ICT in education is that computer technology has seen low levels of use in schools primarily because access has been very limited - "no access, no use, no impact". Getting ICT into the hands of learners is seen as the key to ensuring that it has an impact on teaching and learning.

This is not a new idea. In 1990 Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne became the first school in the world to introduce a program in which every student had a laptop computer. Other schools in Australia and elsewhere followed. In recent years, as the cost of laptops has declined in relative terms and the capability of the equipment has expanded, the trend has accelerated. Whole school districts and even states in the USA have adopted laptop programs.

Laptops unleashed

Read one or both of the following articles:

Levin, H. (2004). Laptops unleashed: a high school experience. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(7), 6-11.

Livingston, P. (2004). Laptops unleashed: a middle school experience. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(7), 12-15.

  1. What do you see as the major advantages of laptop programs in schools?
  2. What do you see as the major issues associated with laptop programs?

Share your thoughts with the class in the discussion area.

The Levin (2004) article lists references to descriptions of some recent laptop programs and to relevant research. They provide useful starting points for further exploration.

Despite their decreasing cost in relative terms, laptops are still regarded as too expensive in many educational applications. They also present problems in relation to their bulk, weight, power consumption and fragility. Handheld computers and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) are cheaper, smaller, lighter, less demanding on power and more robust than laptops. Increasingly they have the capacity to perform many of the computing tasks that might be required in a typical classroom. As a consequence they are being used in a variety of contexts (Brown, 2001).

Link to top of pageWorking with media

In recent years the media capabilities of typical computer systems have increased to the point where somebody with the appropriate skills can produce professional quality images, audio and video using commonly available hardware and software. In an era where education is concerned with multilteracies this trend provides opportunities for teachers and learners to communicate using a wide variety of formats.

Digital media became more accessible when Apple began to provide iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto and related applications free with Macintosh systems. The software has been through several versions and is now collectively referred to as iLife. Microsoft now has a Media Center Edition of Windows XP which offers similar capabilities using software including MovieMaker. Third party software and peripherals are available for both systems.

Digital video in school

Read the following article:

Hoffenberg, H., & Handler, M. (2001). Digital video goes to school. Learning & Leading with Technology, 29(2), 10-15.

  1. What is your own experience of working with digital video and other media?
  2. What uses of digital video and other media have you seen in classrooms?
  3. What uses of digital video and other media can you envisage for classrooms?

Share your responses with the class in the discussion area.

Hoffenberg & Handler (2001) provide a list of references which is worth exploring for additional detail. For more information and ideas about digital media in education you might visit iLife. For the classroom or Using Digital Media with Windows XP.

Link to top of pageBlogs, wikis & RSS

A blog (abbreviated from weblog) is often described as an online journal but might be better described as "web sites that are easily created and updated by those with even a minimum of technology know-how" (Richardson, 2004). At the simplest level most blogs are like an online diary. They allow the author(s) to write material direct into a form on the web and arrange entries by date. Depending upon the system used the entries may be archived by category, searchable, linked to entries in other blogs and have comments linked to them. Blogs can be used to build and maintain complex sets of interacting web sites. Like many good technologies they allow initial entry at a simple level with opportunities to extend to more sophisticated uses as necessary.

A wiki (from the Hawaiian for "quick") is web site that can be edited directly on the web. Probably the best known is the Wikipedia, a substantial and growing encyclopedia which is being built collaboratively. If you think that an entry in the Wikipedia could be improved, then you only need to click the edit link and make the necessary changes.

RSS, for Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication (Richardson, 2004), is usually associated with blogs and wikis. It allows a site to publish a feed which is a summary, sometimes headlines but maybe more, of content in the site. Aggregators enable users to bring together feeds from multiple sites into a single location where they can be easily checked for new content. EdNA has introduced RSS feeds for many of the services it offers so that content from EdNA can be displayed directly in another site.

The following links provide some starting points for exploration:

Blogs by teachers Blog hosting RSS Aggregators Wikis

There are many more sites worth exploration. If you discover some that may be of wider interest share them with the class.

Blogging to learn

Read the following article, which is one of a short series about blogs:

Bull, G., Bull, G., & Kajder, S. (2003). Writing with weblogs: reinventing student journals. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(1), 32-35.

Based on your reading of the article and your exploration of the links provided above:

  1. What do you see as the educational potential of blogs, wikis and RSS?
  2. What cautions do you think might need to be observed by a teacher looking to use these technologies in the classroom?

Share your responses with the class in the discussion area.

Link to top of pageReferences

Brown, M. D. (2001). Handhelds in the classroom. Retrieved 7 June, 2004, from http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech083.shtml

Bull, G., Bull, G., & Kajder, S. (2003). Writing with weblogs: reinventing student journals. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(1), 32-35.

Hoffenberg, H., & Handler, M. (2001). Digital video goes to school. Learning & Leading with Technology, 29(2), 10-15.

Levin, H. (2004). Laptops unleashed: a high school experience. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(7), 6-11.

Livingston, P. (2004). Laptops unleashed: a middle school experience. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(7), 12-15.

Norris, C., Sullivan, T., Poirot, J., & Soloway, E. (2003). No access, no use, no impact: Snapshot surveys of educational technology in K-12. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(1), 15-27. Retrieved 6 June, 2004, from http://ezproxy.usq.edu.au/login?url=http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=11950628&db=aph

Richardson, W. (2004). Blogging and RSS - the "what's it?" and "how to" of powerful new web tools for educators. MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, 11(1), 10-13. Retrieved 7 June, 2004, from http://ezproxy.usq.edu.au/login?url=http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=12592551&db=aph