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I’m now starting the MOOC from Coursera “ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children’s learning across the curriculum“. Although I have not yet taught young children, I’ll try to do so after the summer, and this course comes at a right time!

So Week 1: the typical start with presentations. Nothing original here: “Hi, My name is Valerie, I’m from France; I am an IT engineer and I started teaching adults 2 years ago. I’d like to teach young children now and so am interested by this course.”

Notes from Introductory video:

  • Professional dev course, based on books with UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education
  • About (free) tools and resources available to teach
  • This is not a static body of knowledge as technology is changing all the time, and new experiences are made every days
  • In Week 1: Why using ICT? successes and failures; creating a Course journal

A couple resources:

Great example of the use of tablet(s) by young children to make a video on butterflies. Positive reaction: it lets them create a (digital) object, and get immediate feedback about what they do, thus engaging them; Negative reaction: they are not manipulating real objects but media, and may focus too much on media instead of understanding the concepts.

I think ICT should be used in primary education to prepare children to their future use of it (school and work), and because it provides additional means to teach.

Regarding the 6 learning types in relation to the coming activities to introduce ICT to young children:

Learning through: Students learning about your topic could be using:
Acquisition Teacher explaining concepts such as algorithm, program, iterations/loop, events,… Maybe watching a video also (YouTube, etc)
Discussion After an exercise, discuss on one’s solution with others (no ICT here)
Investigation Searching information about concepts in Wikipedia for ex (using browser and search engine)
Practice Computer game / exercise on concepts (using computer application, including development environment such as Scratch)
Collaboration Decide about the journal content (no ICT here)
Production Create a collective journal with information searched, images,… (using an application or word processor)

Regarding the French context, at this url, one can find the results of the recently closed study on the use of Digital at school, in France:
http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/05-mai/53/8/Dossier-EcoleNumerique-Aujourdhui-et-demain-Concertation-nationale-sur-le-numerique-pour-l-education_420538.pdf

Supporting Teachers: some advices taken from IITE UNESCO Guide:

  • Put ICT devices in the library and access halls because it is important for everyone to see the children working on computers.
  • Give a greater role to ICT in development and assessment, as it is very motivating for learners to get immediate feedback.
  • Provide more mobile devices with wifi. Fixed equipment is expensive and their scope of use is limited, while mobile devices plus wifi allow more flexible use of ICT.
  • One-to-one access to teachers then to students.
  • Training to teachers.
  • A technician oriented towards pedagogic innovation is needed more regularly in the school. [I’d like to play this role myself! 🙂 ]
  • Give visibility to teachers to talk about their activities.

Regarding Action plans and policies, the main points I’d like to remember are:

  • ICT training not much needed anymore, but training on teaching with ICT is
  • Importance of collaboration between teachers; communities of pratice; sharing and reusing learning designs

From the padlet, I got the reference of the European Schoolnet Academy, and they have plenty of very interesting MOOCs! For use, I will check at least the “How to teach computing for primary teachers” one… And if possible, the one on games in schools.

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