Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Bringing Novel Study Into the Computer Lab
I highly reccommend reading:
Bringing Novel Study Into the Computer Lab http://glendastewart-smith.blogspot.com/2010/07/bringing-novel-study-into-computer-lab.html
It explores the use of computer labs and class sets of laptops, Inquiry Based learning, PBL, collaborative learning and of course technology. The focus on literacy, diverse learners and how to bring it all together.
Here are some excerpts:
The creation of heterogeneous groupings is an important component to the success of this project. A good reader may support a poor reader, and a student with a more “expert” background in computer skills will provide support for their group during project time in the computer lab. Heterogeneous groupings also provide opportunities to separate students-at-risk from their peers. If, for instance, reception level ESL students always work together, then they are denied the opportunities to learn more advanced grammar and syntax from native-speakers. Support can also be provided for struggling readers through the use of audio books on CD and tape. Everyone “reads” the story and everyone can contribute to the web site projects.
In longitudinal studies that looked at the impact of learning from computers (using them as tutors or as part of integrated information systems), and learning with computers (using them as a reading and writing tool during collaborative learning situations), researchers found that in all cases student achievement was positively impacted. (Barnett. 2003) In the first scenario, students’ gains could be measured in increased scores in statewide tests and increased discipline, and all evidence indicates that this benefit continues in higher grades. Students learning with computers made significant gains in other areas:
1. Students routinely used higher-order thinking skills far beyond what was expected for their grade level.
2. Students demonstrated enhanced ability to collaborate with peers to develop projects and reports.
3. Students demonstrated increased initiative. They maintained time on task for longer periods and often continued their work during recess, before school, and after school. (Barnett. 2003)
Another question centers on acceptance of this learning context as valuable. Certainly it is not traditional. Society is on the verge of a paradigm shift and electronic technology will revolutionize learning to the same extent as the printing press did in the 1500s. Computer literacy will certainly begin to become almost as important as language literacy. Will oral literacy be enough? Can voice recognition software and a fast computer replace the need for reading and writing competency? Will educators consider computers valuable or is it just an expensive and under used toy? Hopefully the use of project-based and collaborative learning in the computer lab will help answer these questions and promote students’ literacy learning and critical thinking.