I had an epiphany whilst on professional experience placement last week and observing a Year 4 technology lesson. The students were continuing a lesson on learning how to code their own online game. The students’ prior knowledge at the beginning of the lesson which included defining terms such as, branching, iteration and user input was absolutely new knowledge for me! I was in awe as students knew how to insert forever loops and if/then commands while adding a second sprite into the mix. To add insult to injury, not only was I gobsmacked at how out of touch I suddenly felt, but the preppies were lining up outside ready to begin their coding lesson! Have you ever heard of the expression, ‘Where have you been, hiding under a rock?’ That was when I realised that I need to either get on board or get left behind!
So, I have just come to the end of week one of my professional experience placement in a Year 4 classroom. Awesome bunch of kids! The digital technologies in the classroom however, are very, very limited to say the least! While it is a BYO device school, there are frequent occasions where forget to bring their ipads and there are some students who simply don’t own one. There are a few ipads that belong to the classroom that can be borrowed to cater for these students, but even then there are still instances where students need to ‘double up’ on one ipad.
When pre-service teachers participate in professional experience placements, they are expected to have extensive knowledge of all key learning areas belonging to the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2017) back to front and inside out in order to confidently and efficiently teach them. Hours are spent planning the most effective and engaging lessons in the effort that students will understand and demonstrate knowledge of the learning objectives. Digital technologies are increasingly playing larger roles in this planning process in classrooms today due to the rapidly evolving digital society that we now live in. With this, also comes the responsibility for teachers to teach students how to use digital technologies safely, responsibly and ethically so that they become well informed digital citizens.
This week I am developing a website for assessment 3 which needs to include a digital artifact that I have created. I’ve encountered a few challenges so far, including finding reasonably decent software and apps that are user-friendly and don’t lose their formatting once published to the web (oh, and are free). I had spent the better part of a day creating an avatar using a well-known software tool only to find that I needed to be a premium member to attain the embed code! Aggghhh!!! Never mind, I won’t be perturbed.