A Common set of ICT skills – how and why?

A few years ago I was involved in establishing a ‘checklist of ICT skills’ for teachers and students in a primary school. While it is useful to know what teachers and students can and can’t do with ICT, the checklists themselves did not prove popular or useful – too much detail and too much information to manage was a common response.

In the meantime I looked around for something simpler and more relevant to the roles of teacher and learner, something that focused on the skills needed to participate effectively in contemporary learning situations. I came across a list compiled by Tom March, which seemed to address the issues of simplicity and relevance. Thanks to Tom for giving permission to adapt the list and post it here – the Term ‘Foundation Contemporary Learning Skills’ is his.

The most important and hardest question to answer here is ‘what are our common benchmarks for student and teacher skills in ICT?’. The approach taken was to look at what is already happening in the school, and then apply that to the idea of what effective and creative teaching and learning looks like in 2011. As always, it’s a starting point for discussion and provides a focus for direction.

Foundation Contemporary Learning Skills

A set of common expectations for using ICT to innovate learning.

Maintain an Online Classroom Presence

  • Regularly update class web pages on the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) as an integral part of classroom practice
  • Add activities, post new information
  • Insert media, files, images
  • Add links to websites
  • Manage what the students do and don’t have access to
  • Use forums and wikis to encourage active student involvement in the page

Use the IWB to organise and deepen learning

  • Be familiar and confident in your use of the IWB and its tools
  • Use online resources and colleagues to actively explore new ways to use the board to extend and deepen learning
  • Use the software provided with the IWB and other software when it offers learning advantages over paper based activities
  • Encourage students to create and share learning using the IWB software
  • Create learning activities that the students can use independently of the teacher

Have Routines for Accessing and Sharing Online Resources

  • Develop ways to organise useful online resources – eg Google Reader
  • Share online resources with colleagues – (eg through email, LMSpages, Share Drives, Twitter, Delicious, Scootle)
  • Use Atomic Learning to help with ICT skill development where needed

Use Technology to aid Thinking and Creativity

  • Use software to make thinking ‘visible’ – eg Smart NoteBook, Wikis, Forums, Mind Maps
  • Encourage students to represent their thinking visually using these tools on the IWB and on computers

Teachers and Students:
Student use of Moodle (will vary across year levels)

  • Students contribute through comments or adding content
  • Students access LMS pages from outside school to further their learning
  • Students take on tasks like assessing the usefulness of links and activities on the LMS
  • Encourage students to share interesting resources with the group eg links to related activities on websites
  • Teachers create opportunities for students to meaningfully contribute to the learning space (LMS page)

Student use of IWB (will vary across year levels)

  • Students are familiar and confident in their use of IWB tools
  • Where possible and appropriate, students download IWB software for use at home
  • Students use the IWB in small and large group activities, with and without teacher intervention
  • Students create activities using Smart IWB software

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