Is PowerPoint a useful teaching tool? A few days ago on the Teaching English - British Council Facebook page there was a discussion about PowerPoint - Do you love it or hate it? The discussion linked to an article by Rob Lewis who talked about ways PowerPoint could be used in class. In an earlier post he…
Over the past several months, my team and I have been busy planning for the implementation of a One to World (often called 1:1) iPad program in grade 4. We have been successfully using iPads since 2011 at our school and have been piloting a One to World programme in three grade 4 classes throughout this year. The program has been enormously successful, largely because we focused primarily on learning outcomes rather than the device itself.
Pedagogy plays an important role in the successful implementation of any new programme. It helps to guide teachers in effective implementation and sets the foundation of what effective implementation actually looks like in the classroom. In developing our own model for the One to World Programme in grade 4 and choosing apps for teachers and students to use, we turned to research as well as to pedagogical models for learning and technology integration.
The key models that we looked at were Bloom's Taxonomy (using Bloom's 21), the Learning Pyramid, SAMR model for technology integration and the ISTE Standards. In addition, we are guided by the school's Mission (Engage, Enlighten, Empower), the IB framework and the Visible Thinking initiative. These models, as well as other popular models, all point to the same fundamental belief that students learn best when they are engaged in meaningful learning activities where they are given the opportunity to learn from each other and share their ideas and thinking with others. Inquiry Based Learning, Project Based Learning, Constructionism, Constructivism, and so forth, all advocate for student-driven learning.
In combining the different models into a pyramid, the focus on learning is on the bottom of the pyramid where the focus in on higher order thinking skills and activities which promote collaboration and creation. From the perspective of the SAMR Model, the aim is to move towards Redefinition so that learning can be transformative. The ISTE Standards sit outside the pyramid since these skills are interwoven throughout the curriculum.
Apps were placed on the pyramid based on the types of learning engagements which they promote. Those at the top serve more as digital substitutes for traditional classroom tools such as calculators, dictionaries, manipulatives and maps. They add interactivity but do not promote significant changes to how learning activities are designed. As we move down the pyrmaid, we find apps which focus more on shifting learning itself by promoting problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and collaboration and creativity and innovation. They help promote more student-centered and participatory learning and the transformation of learning itself.
This is not to say that there is not a place for apps at the top of the pyramid. It is natural to work through the SAMR Model throughout a lesson or unit or to spend some time on teaching styles such as lectures of demos. Important, however, is that teachers ought to recognize that they should work towards focusing more time and energy on learning engagements which are in line with the lower end of the pyramid.
This model was created as a Keynote presentation and recorded to explain it in more detail. A link to this presentation can also be found in iCloud. I would appreciate feedback from others on this model and how it could be improved.
The full list of apps we are using can be found here
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