Monday, 10 February 2014

#ililc4 Musings - Joe Dale, Putting the Pedagogy into the Technology Sat 8th Feb

I think it is great that as teachers, the element of accountability we have means we seek to justify everything we do, every experiment we take part in with hard evidence, numbers or research to prove its worth. Joe Dale's session at this year's ILILC conference at the University of Southampton was all about the proof in the technology pudding, as he sought to whizz us through some of the theory behind the work a lot of us MFL teachers have been doing the last few years in introducing new technology to our classrooms. I'll summarise a few bits here.

Interestingly, since we had been discussing this at our lead practitioner's meeting this week, the work of Dr Carol Dweck came up. For those unfamiliar with her work, Dweck argues that there are two types of mindset; fixed and growth. A person of fixed mindset believes that our qualities are set; Growth mindset believes that we can ‘cultivate’ and change our qualities through effort. Does this explain student attitudes to learning? Students ‘believe’ their ability/intelligence, and therefore work only to fulfil the potential they think they have? And again, does that resonate with some teachers' views of technology in the classroom? There are those of us who are embracing the technological change and others who are resisting it, although of course I appreciate not all of those who aren't technology geeks like the rest of us are necessarily resisting it because of their mindset - some schools aren't as spoilt for choice with fancy gadgets like us. I really like this popular graphic by Nigel Holmes who has summarised the key differences.

But then for those of us that are of a growth mindset, what difference does it make if the tech we are exploiting isn't having an impact on the learning? Joe shared an image with us that I had seen floating around on Twitter before (the image appears to be attributed to a chap named Bill Ferriter, though I can't be sure). What do we want kids to do with the technology?

There has been many a debate on Twitter of late as to the role of teachers in the classroom and the stance they take - traditional chalk and talk or Web 2.0 and all the shiny whizzy new things happening. Whilst I can't claim to belong in either camp, feeling as I do that I have had the benefit at Wildern of outstanding colleagues with experience to both extents, I do believe we shouldn't be using technology merely for the sake of it. The above graphic serves as a good reminder that the learning process is more important than the file that ends up in your inbox after a lesson with the iPads booked out. This links very nicely to a post about SOLO Taxonomy in MFL which Samantha Broom led us through later that morning...

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