In a changing world, where almost 30% of jobs in the USA are based in the tech industry, education and teaching must change to prepare children for future employment. With a changing world, a changing style of learning is required to meet the needs of the students. Teachers must welcome this change, be prepared to change their teaching ways, and provide the best opportunities to help their students. For those teachers who believed that rote learning was key, more modern teaching forms are essential.
In education today, teaching without ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) is no longer an option. Children need to use literacy skills, both on paper and in digital form, to prepare for future opportunities, which means that teachers must change their teaching methods to support all children’s learning. Electronic devices are becoming common in all businesses and homes, so all modern classrooms need to reflect this and have a range of computers, laptops, tablets, and devices to give students the best experiences.
For teachers, past teaching methods need to change, using up to date electronic devices. While they may still be teaching the same skills, they need to use a wide range of digital technologies in a bid to help improve literacy. Methods such as collaborative learning, online platforms, use of apps, blogging, researching, and presentations can help develop the literacy skills of reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension. A range of creative ideas by the teacher will motivate and engage learners in the classroom.
What are the benefits of promoting the use of ICT by teachers to enhance literacy?
Numerous benefits can be found when using a range of ICT methods for all learners. When students use an app or a game, enthusiasm in their learning can be increased, thus promoting literacy skills to communicate with others. Past problems of being held back with complications of getting thoughts down on paper or concentrating on their handwriting no longer becomes an issue that hindered many student’s progress. For some, time spent concentrating on handwriting took the enjoyment out of activities, along with missing the skills that were being taught. With ICT, these issues can be reduced, allowing the student to focus on the improvement of the skill.
Studies carried out by Crick software, a UK literacy support company, found that technology has a positive impact on reluctant readers, especially boys, along with less-able readers and writers. Teachers have also felt that technology helps children to organize their ideas and structure of writing, while supporting vocabulary and spelling, promoting creativity and confidence. The use of technology has also benefited children with physical disabilities who cannot hold a pencil but who can express their thoughts as they can type. This means that they can take part in class tasks and work with peers.
No longer are teachers seen as pillars of information. With easy access to a variety of knowledge, students can learn about a topic almost instantly. Instead of seeing this as a question of their authority, teachers can use this teaching opportunity. When information is discovered online, teachers can deepen student’s understanding by asking further questions, encouraging them to creatively form conclusions, enabling them to complete further research to broaden their understanding of a topic.
Using technology can help different capabilities within the classroom. For example, to help more advanced students investigate a topic in greater depth. By using technology effectively, students who need extra support and guidance can get the time they need from their teacher without compromising others’ learning experiences.
A flipped classroom (when students learn content at home and come into class ready to discuss ideas) is an excellent tool for teachers, enabling students to investigate an area of learning at home, then go into school prepared to discuss their findings. This means that the teacher will have more time for personalized learning and in-depth discussion, working on communication skills and opportunities to plan in-depth tasks with the students, allowing them to structure their thoughts.
Another changing role of the teacher is the setup of learning management systems or online learning environments, which can allow students to access online resources to assist learning, designed specifically for times when the teacher is not present. For example, when a student has been absent from school, for homework assignments or when a student needs to extend their learning to deepen their understanding. Students can access a range of resources helping to ensure work is completed. These learning environments are also excellent for students who need to do extra work, practice a skill, allowing them to work at their own pace while keeping up with their peers in the classroom.
Changing role of teachers
As the world of education is changing, teachers can help students to seize fantastic opportunities through the use of technology to promote literacy. As the online world changes, teachers need to be provided continuing professional development to support new and changing digital skills to allow for more opportunities within the classroom. The ability to teach students these skills will help build the foundations for tasks that are required in the world of employment.