Which learning strategies can be used to transcend the digital divide for 21st Century high school students in an African international school?

The digital divide is a concept predicated on the theory that the future (or present) is digital and information-based, and that those without the resources to partake will be (or are being) ‘left behind’. The implications of this for education are exacerbated further when one takes into account the limited educational resources available in some parts of the world, and further still when the students in that education system will soon be required to compete in a global market. This paper attempts to address what impact the digital divide need indeed have, if any, and what learning practices might best be employed to compensate.

21st Century Skills

Any discussion of the effectiveness of one or another learning practice must begin by identifying what is to be learned, and why.

The world is changing and developing quickly and in new, unexpected and unpredictable ways. In order for students to be prepared, we need to have one eye focused on the here and now while having the other focused on what these students will need in the world that awaits them when they leave school (21st century Fluency Project 2009, p.4). Students armed with only 20th century consuming skills, it is argued, risk being “completely unprepared for life as a citizen, family member, or worker in a rapidly transforming economy” (Crockett et.al 2011, p.7), and “20th century literacy, reading and numeracy is no longer enough to provide our students with what they’ll need to be prepared for the world we’re expecting them to create and manage” (ibid. p.5).

It is further argued that the notion of a job, or career, for life has become obsolete (Deakin Crick and Wilson 2005, p.364 ). This makes specialist, vocational training, at least at high school level and also perhaps undergraduate level, potentially a thing of diminishing worth. When organizations hire new employees they don’t expect them to have learned everything they need; they want people who can learn, and they expect them to make use of resources to facilitate that learning (Bransford et al. 2004, p.19). They increasingly recognize that in a rapidly changing world, mainstream education cannot produce, directly, graduates demonstrating competencies required by all sectors of society; rather, its purpose should be to provide a foundation for continued learning (Gunga and Ricketts 2008, p.310). With this in mind, then, the intention in education should be “to create a powerful and self-sustaining momentum of commitment to lifelong learning” (Fryer et al. 1999, p.4).  This puts a premium on learning how to learn, since anything more specific, such as subject content and even technology and ICT (information and communication technology) as it is taught in schools, is seen as likely to be out of date by the time a student leaves (Wegerif 2002, p.11).

Along with ‘learning how to learn’, there is an increasing emphasis on the need for creativity. As Fisher (2002) proclaims, “we need creative thinking to generate the new…the technological world enables us to access knowledge in abundance, but creativity is in short supply”. For this reason and to this end he promotes communication, collaboration and creativity as the key things that students need to learn.

He also recognizes that other skills are necessary in order to shepherd that creativity, largely in terms of critical thinking, acknowledging that “imagination can be used to serve evil ends so it needs to be informed by values. Imagination can lead to false belief so it needs to be tempered by critical thinking, reasoning and judgement”.

Other theorists echo some of these beliefs, and highlight others. Gunga and Ricketts (2008) would argue that what industry demands are flexible and self-confident professionals with skills in communication, problem analysis and problem solving, planning, networking and lifelong learning (p.298). Woolmer (2009) claims that ideal gradual attributes would be being inquiry-focused, being innovative in the approach to knowledge and understanding, being confident and self-aware, being collaborative as well as an independent learner, being international in outlook, and operating with personal and professional integrity. England et al (2008) believe that the six important transferable skills in the digital age are self-management, learning skills, communication, teamwork, problem-solving and ICT.

Woolmer’s ‘international’ outlook is repeated elsewhere. The world has shrunk, and whereas students 15 years ago were competing at home or in neighbouring towns or cities, the competition today comes from both people and machines in places spread far and wide across the globe (Jukes et al. 2010, p.5). Multicultural education, it is argued, is necessary to prepare future generations for the challenges they face in an increasingly global and interrelated world (Salili and Hoosain 2007, p.5). This is especially true of the international school graduate, and more so still for the third-world graduate whose future very often, rightly or wrongly, lies elsewhere.

The role of digital, ICT-based resources for this learning is also a key focus in the literature. Roger Wegerif notes how:

Workers in this new climate require transferable thinking skills more than content knowledge or task specific skills. They particularly require an ability to learn how to            learn new things since accelerating technological change is making old skills (and  knowledge) redundant and generating needs for new skills (2002, p.3).

Furthermore, if all knowledge is soon to be available on the internet, he argues, then we should not teach knowledge itself but the skills to search for and make sense of knowledge (Wegerif 2006, p.2). Such skills are supported by Nneke Eke’s (2009, p.282) suggestion that today both learners and instructors need to have the ability to create structure, locate, search, retrieve and use material in multimedia and digital forms, and The 21st Century Fluency Project’s assertions that learners require the ability “to unconsciously interpret the avalanche of information in all formats, in order to extract the essential and perceive its significance” (Crockett et al. 2011, p.9) and the ability to “decod[e] the messages in digital media to understand how data can be shaped or misrepresented” (ibid. p10).

Malawi’s Digital Divide

A number (though by no means all) of these skills relate to technology, ICT and the internet. For a school operating in Malawi this presents a problem. Sub-Saharan Africa is on the wrong side of the digital divide, and as such, the students educated here risk being left with a disadvantage when the time comes for them to work alongside, and compete with, their western- (or indeed eastern-) educated peers.

There are a number of obstacles to overcome. Le Roux and Evans (2011, p.109) remind us that “the use of the Internet and information and communication technologies to deliver educational resources is considered mainstream in the 21st century, yet in secondary education in developing countries it is often seen as a luxury”. This is certainly true in Malawi. This is down to a number of factors, not least the fact that ICT is imported and therefore relatively more expensive in Africa than in developed countries (Nneke Eke 2009, p.286). One possible solution to the problem of expensive hardware and software is cloud computing, by which services such as software and infrastructure are outsourced, but this too is so far poorly used in developing countries around the world (Le Roux and Evans 2011, p.110) due to the simple reality that “infrastructure like the availability of electricity…and the internet is not yet fully in place” (Nneke Eke 2009, p.278). Less than one per cent of Africans are said to have access to broadband services, due to a lack of international connectivity and unwieldy state telecom monopolies. In Malawi, there is a dearth of electricity, technical support and expertise, and affordable hardware.

Some commentators, though, do not see this as big a stumbling-block as it might appear. Indeed Stambach and Malekela (2006, p.328) claim that “there is nothing new in the sense of what ICT education promises to ‘do’ for Africa”.

ICT and Learning

With underdevelopment conceived today as a lack of access to digital technologies, the solution to the problem is described in terms of the accelerated value of ICTs for ‘bridging the digital divide’ (Stambach and Malekela 2006, p.326). It is recognized that technology can not only engage students in learning content but also provide them with powerful tools to expand their learning experiences (Smaldino 2011, p.1), and that many of the flexible learning skills that new workers are said to need today are ICT related (Wegerif 2006, p.2).

The role of ICT in learning can usually be divided into three general areas: ICT as tutor, ICT as tool, and ICT as support for dialogue (ibid. p.21). Some, such as Dede (2011, p.11), would argue that the first is foremost, claiming as he does the “Digital Teaching Platforms are the way forward, not bits and pieces”. Most, however, seem to prefer the ‘bits and pieces’ approach, allowing as it does for greater flexibility, and greater teacher participation, which is still seen as vital. Gardner (2000, p.33) observes of ICTs as tutors that “when they are plugged in, they are all too often simply used to ‘deliver’ the same old ‘drill-and-kill’ content, and Banyard et al (2006, p474) suggest that this approach can lead to effective teaching methods being displaced by time in front of computer screens. We shall concentrate here on the second and third areas.

As a tool, ICTs have numerous applications facilitating a variety of learning approaches. ICT-based project work, for example, allows teachers to adopt the style of contingent instruction with the teacher offering help only when a learner is unable to resolve their difficulties; the tutor is able to stand back (Banyard et al., p.485). Also, the making of multi-media products allows students to construct their own understandings rather than interpreting the teacher’s understanding (Johanssen 2000 cited in Wegerif 2002, p.27), understandings that may have only been accessible in the extraordinary classroom in years past (Veenema and Gardner 1996, p.75). The multi-modal dialogue made possible by ICT, it is argued, allows the interesting possibility of dialogic interaction between different representations of meaning, words, music, visual images and so on (Wegerif 2006, p.5), and it has long been recognized that combining more than one presentation form, as such technology allows, can enhance learning in general when compared with just using one medium (Sabri and AlShawi 2008, p.3).

As a counter-argument to these assertions, it can be argued that while designing multimedia presentation requires and trains project management skills, research skills, organization and representation skills, presentation skill and reflection skills, these things could all equally be learned through ‘designing and making a poster display (Wegerif 2002, p.27), and that the use of technology alone does not lead to transferable thinking skills (Wegerif 2002, p.34).

Nayak and Kalyankar (2010, p.209) suggest that “ICT may provide unique opportunities for supporting children with special learning needs or children from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds”, echoing Banyard et al’s (2006, p.486) assertion that “ICT rich learning removes language barriers”. This is because, claims Eke (2009, p.274), “the language spoken by [the] majority of individuals and learners is information and communication technologies”. (It might be argued that while it may be true that ICTs are the only common language, to claim that a majority enjoy fluency in it is to stretch that truth unreasonably).

ICTs are a motivating tool, also. Students, assert Banyard et al (2006, p485), value ICT work highly .As they remind us, “Motivation is an important contributing factor to educational success…and broadband technologies can promote that motivation. There is evidence that motivation is stimulated by advanced technologies” (ibid. p.475).  That said, where access to materials is limited, motivation can be adversely affected: “limited bandwidth can cause downloading to be very slow and that can have a negative effect on the learning process of the learner” (Nneke Eke 2009, p.284).

The most influential and revolutionary tool of all, of course, is the Internet:

The cluster of technologies that constitute the Internet powerfully reinforces and       extends some of the most effective traditional forms of teaching. The impact of     the         Internet in education is more dynamic and pervasive than any previous breakthrough           in information technology (Gunga and Ricketts 2008, p.309).

Through the Internet, the computer brings an endless supply of information into the classroom and therefore offers the potential to overcome the shortage of learning resources (ibid. p.294).

The problems of Internet use are equally well documented, however. Ravenscroft et al (2006, p.3) report that initiatives based around the openness and availability of learning content have rarely demonstrated or led to noted improvement in learning processes or outcomes. Omwenga et al (2004, p35) view the internet as being like a deep ocean with a large pool of resources that are available for grabs, but requiring guidance on where and for what to look. Without this guidance, Fuchs and Woessmann (cited in Banyard et al. 2006, p.474) found that computer-availability at home could actually be detrimental to educational performance, while computer availability at school was found to show no discernable positive effect. This is due also to distractions found on the net (Nneke Eke 2009, p.286). Plagiarism, too, has become an increasing problem, exacerbated by the wealth of material available to be plagiarized and poor thinking carried out in the process of search and synthesis (Banyard et al. p.276).

Apart from the Internet, the main focus of the literature on learning through ICT deals with its potential to support dialogue in a variety of ways, and the many learning approaches this can support. In the classroom, computer-based activities can be used to stimulate discussion (Wegerif 2002, p.29), and therefore has a role to play in supporting social thinking (ibid. p.15). What is more, the recent growth of handheld ICTs can, it is argued, introduce a new dimension in which the technology supports social interaction in a range of ways (Wright 2010, p.281). This is nothing new, however, and, as Leh et al (2005, p.238) point out, although many systems and or beliefs have been shifting because of technological development, the human need to interact with others and to learn in a social context has not changed.

As well as providing in-class social structure, ICT can, through the internet, extend such dialogue and social thinking far beyond school. It can be used to promote team-working proficiency with virtual partners in on-line environments (Crockett et al. 2011, p.10), through capacity and range that enables dialogues to be expanded to every corner of the world and include every perspective (Wegerif 2006, p.5). Hart (2010) at the centre for Learning and Performance Technologies is an advocate of learners engaging with each other by means of ‘social learning’, with learners working collaboratively using social software such as wikis, forums, file-sharing, shared calendars, blogs and micro-feeds. Such an approach, incorporating many aspects, is widely supported, with Chen (2005, p.18) particularly keen on the potential for asynchronous discussion to help promote “critical thinking skills, construct new knowledge, gain multiple perspectives, and even motivate higher interest in the course content”.

Technology allows student-centred learning, accessibility to resources, collaborative learning, tools for innovation, flexible study, just-in-time learning and adaptability (Nayak and Kalyankar 2010, p.209). However, a review of the evidence suggests that using technology does not, by itself, lead to transferable thinking skills (Wegerif 2002, p.3). A return on investment in the form of improved student learning only comes to those who move beyond technology and focus on learning (21st Century Fluency Project 2009, p.10). As Smaldino (2011, p.1) succinctly puts it, “when research-based instructional strategies are combined with appropriate and innovative technology applications, learning happens”.

It would seem from an exploration of the issues above then that very few of what we earlier identified as ‘21st century needs’ actually require ICTs. In fact, the only two that are clearly reliant on technology provision are specific ICT skills and access to resources via the Internet. The remainder are either potentially aided or strengthened by the use of technology, or exist independently of any ICT application.

Learning Needs on the Wrong Side of the Digital Divide

The learning of most 21st century skills, it would appear, does not require the use of technology. These, as we have seen, include ‘learning how to learn’, creativity, values and integrity, reasoning, problem-solving, self-awareness, an international perspective, and transferable thinking skills. The areas (and of course they are not distinct, none can be, they all overlap) that appear to be most strongly supported by ICTs are those of communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.

According to Vygotsky (1978 cited in Salili and Hoosain 2007, p.8), children learn new ideas through practice in social interactions with adults or more competent individuals. Wegerif (2004, p.1) goes further: “individual thinking skills originate in mediated dialogues”. He argues that it is dialogue itself – a capacity to engage in dialogue and to see things dialogically – that appears to be the primary thinking skill from which other higher order skills derive (Wegerif 2006, p.4). Applied in education, dialectic and dialogic processes are claimed to be a primary ‘engine’ for stimulating and supporting the collaborative development of knowledge, meaning and understanding in engaging ways that promote deep learning in most educational contexts (Ravenscroft et al. p.3). Furthermore, induction into dialogue is said to be a way of teaching general thinking skills such as creativity and learning to learn (ibid. p.10). Sabry and AlShawi (2008, p.3) note both that “learners who interact in a regular basis with other learners were found to be more motivated and had better learning experiences” and that “some studies found that learners who interact regularly with their [teacher] were more motivated [and] had better learning experiences”. (Communication with teachers can be key: it has been noted that learning goals that are agreed upon jointly by the students and the teacher have a better chance of being accomplished (Boekaerts 2002, p.18), and that the most effective educators are those who connect to a young person’s developing social and emotional core (Dede 2011, p.6)). Here it is clear that the quality of relationships in the context of learning is critical (Deakin Crick and Wilson 2005, p.362), and it is through communication and collaboration that those relationships exist.

As Wegerif (2002, p.14) testifies, there has been a major shift in both philosophy and psychology towards seeing thought as essentially social rather than individual. Collaboration, it is said, transcends culture and is the hallmark of successful learning (Garton 2007 cited in Salili and Hoosain 2007, p.13). He also argues that collaborative learning improves the effectiveness of most activities (Wegerif 2002, p.3). Above this, famed pragmatists such as Dewey and Mead, and socio-historicists such as Vygotsky, emphasize that knowledge is constructed in practical activities of groups of people as they interact with each other and their material environments (Greeno et al. 1996, p.16). A school therefore should be seen as a learning-community, and learning should be arranged in such a way as to enable group-thinking, team-work and collaboration. Also, a number of studies suggest that, in order for learning-communities to be successful, they must provide their members with an inclusive sense that they all matter to one another, and are responsible for one another (Bransford et al. 2004, p.16).

One consistent feature in the literature on the role or experience-based, problem-based and collaborative work as a learning tool is the central place of reflection (Andresen et al. 1999, p.6). Debriefing and reflective thought are employed throughout as essential stages (ibid. p.2). Helping students to self-assess, to become more metacognitive in approach, argue Bransford et al. (2004, p.17), is especially important for learning. Greeno et al. (1996, p.19) concur, identifying this reflective, self-monitoring capacity as that which discriminates developmentally advanced children from their less advanced peers.

Communication and collaboration and reflection are very effective ways of preparing students for the 21st century, but they also provide the means by which they can learn more than just how to communicate and how to collaborate (and how to reflect). They can be effective ways of promoting the transferable and critical thinking skills that are seen as essential in the modern and changing world.

Lists of thinking skills typically include information-processing, reasoning, enquiry, creative thinking and evaluation, and while some approaches to teaching thinking treat such skills as separate, other approaches treat them all as aspects of ‘higher order thinking’ (Wegerif 2002, p.2).  These skills need nurturing. These are the skills that will allow for life-long learning, adaptability and flexibility in the workplace and elsewhere. They and abstract logical structure, it is argued, but rather embodied practical skills that are learnt in a context and then, often with the help of teachers, taken out from that context to be applied in a new context (ibid. p.13). This practical and contextualized aspect of thinking skills is perhaps why, as Greeno et al. (1996, p.35) point out, most efforts to directly teach metacognitive skills and other deliberate learning strategies have been disappointing. “The best way to teach thinking skills”, argues Wegerif (2002, p.3), “is not as a separate subject but through ‘infusing’ thinking skills into the teaching of content areas”.

Through content areas, then, thinking skills can be learned. But this requires learning to happen in the first place, for both the knowledge, and more importantly the skills through which that knowledge was attained, to ‘stick’, and to last. It is well recognised that one of the challenges for schools is to establish learning environments that help learners to transform information from short to long-term memory more effectively (Learning and Teaching Scotland 2007, p.9).  Crockett et al. (2011)  list the conditions for this to occur as follows:

  • New information must connect to something the learner already knows and has made meaning of;
  • Previous knowledge and experience must be considered;
  • Learners need repeated, differentiated learning opportunities over extended time periods;
  • Students need consistent, regular, frequent and meaningful feedback.

This connecting of meaning and applicability of skills and knowledge is at the core of how learning happens. As Greeno et al. (1996, p.23) attest, “if students understand the solution as an example of a general method, and if they understand the general features of the learning situation that are relevant to use of the method, the abilities they learn are more likely to be applied generally. Or, as architect Richard Saul Wurmun rather more poetically put it, “information without context, interest, and relevance is like one side of a piece of Velcro – it doesn’t stick” (Crockett et al. 2011, p.4).

Transcending the Digital Divide

We have seen how ICTs can assist in the development of these skills. Here, we will discuss how a learner-centred, experience- and problem-based approach to learning can facilitate the development of these skills without the necessity for advanced technology.

According to Rogers and Freiberg (cited in Freiberg and Lamb 2009, p.101), students who ‘love’ school do so because they feel trusted and respected, are part of a family, have helpful teachers, and enjoy opportunities to be responsible. Given the key role of motivation in education both in school and in life-long learning, this would seem to support a learner-centred approach. This approach (variously referred to as student-centred, person-centred, etc.) is described by Motsching-Pitrik and Derntl (2005, p.651) thus:

[It is] based on a hypothesis that students who are given freedom to explore areas                based on their personal interests, and who are accompanied in their striving for          solutions by a supportive, understanding facilitator not only achieve higher                academic results but also grow with respect to their personal values, such as              flexibility and self-confidence.

Learner-centred classrooms facilitate higher achievement, and have more positive learning environments with stronger teacher-student relationships than teacher-centred or traditional classrooms (Freiberg and Lamb 2009, p.99). This claim is backed up by empirical research (Derntl and Motschnig-Pitrik 2003, p.2379), so we know it to be effective.

Being learner-centred involves many factors, such as honouring students’ backgrounds and cultural values (thus aiding multicultural/international understanding), and recognising special strengths (Bransford et al. 2004, p.16). This has implications for teaching as well as learning: in a 2008 study of such an approach to learning (Harris et al, 2004, p.5), one of the main conclusions was that as students were very different and their needs were diverse, the skills of the teacher were of utmost importance in meeting these diverse needs for the success of the student. To make this approach work, teachers need to place themselves in the ‘students’ condition’ (Freiberg and Lamb 2009, p.101); they will become an equal with the students and will encourage them to increasingly take charge of their own learning (van Gorder 2007, p.22). It is a form of contingent instruction. Claxton (1990, p.31) might compare this to the idea of ‘teacher-as-Sherpa’, or ‘teacher-as-gardener’.

With or without ICTs, the focus of such an approach is communication, openness, honesty, but most importantly dialogue, between the student and the instructor. This dialogue is involved at all stages, from negotiating a curriculum, to negotiating objectives and outcomes, to providing meaningful feedback and for reflection on the part of both the student and the instructor. This further promotes critical thinking skills on the part of the student, who must be metacognitive in his/her approach enough to be able to evaluate his/her progress and how to better it.

The idea of experience-based (or experiential) learning is not dissimilar in ethos to that described above. As Andresen et al. (Andresen et al. 1999, p.1) explain, “much of the impetus for EBL has been a reaction against an approach to learning which is overly didactic, teacher-controlled and involving a discipline-constrained transmission of knowledge”. They claim the ultimate goal of EBL to be the learners’ own appropriation of something that is to them personally significant (ibid. p.2).

Boud et al. (1993) describe the assumptions of experience-based learning thus:

  • Experience is the foundation of, and the stimulus for, learning;
  • Learners actively construct their own experience;
  • Learning is a holistic process;
  • Learning is socially and culturally constructed;
  • Learning is influenced by the socio-emotional context in which it occurs.

The overriding and defining feature of EBL, however, is that it is intended to take place outside of school. Lave and Wenger (1991 cited in Ben-Ari 2005, p.367) argued for this, claiming that “the organisation of schooling as an educational form is predicated on claims that knowledge can be decontextualized”. Brown et al. (1989 cited in ibid. p.368) agreed, asserting that students “find it difficult to learn in schools, because learning takes place within the culture of school life, not within a culture where the domain knowledge is used in practice”. This view, however, has been countered, and EBL, it has been argued, has definite potential in a school-based context. “If taken metaphorically,” argues Ben Ari (ibid. p.368), it can “inspire improved pedagogy in conventional schools”. This view is support by Dunlap et al. (2008, p.3), who share the idea that such an approach provides a framework for designing active, collaborative, and interactive learning experiences.  Furthermore, it has been argued that EBL is being increasingly understood in terms of a future-orientated project to tackle global education issues such as those in forwarding multiracialism and multiculturalism, respect for the environment, non-aggression and co-existence, and world literacy (Andresen et al. 1999, p.8). EBL promotes collaboration due to its social context. This in turn necessitates communication. Neither this collaboration nor this communication need be digitally mediated. It is clearly appropriate to our cause.

One effective means of learning with the potential to build upon the groundwork of EBL is problem-based learning. Advocated by van Gorder (2007, p.20) primarily as a means of addressing this issue of multiculturalism, but applicable to wider issues also, PBL encourages students to perceive the world critically. Our world is not a ‘static reality’, it is argued, and such an approach encourages an understanding that it is constantly undergoing an ever-changing process of ‘transformation’. It is an approach supported by the 21st century Fluency Project (Crockett et al. 2011, p.12), who enthuse on the practical application of what is learned by giving problems first, and teaching second. As Deakin Crick and Wilson (2005, p.367) further explain, it involves “a re-sequencing of the content of the curriculum, which involves ‘problematizing’ and ‘contextualising’ the content, so as to create challenge and meaningfulness”. PBL is a very effective way of promoting critical thinking skills, as it allows for failure and reflection as well as success and reflection. And of course, it is perfectly suited to collaborative work.

Issues and Conclusions

The effective learning strategies have variously been identified as peer-assisted learning, experiential learning, problem-based learning, and learning based on critical self-awareness and reflection on learnt material (Knapper and Cropley 2000, p.54). These we have discussed above, are all possible without ICTs, and can be used to foster the 21st century skills required by graduates of an international school.

However, the arguments for the implementation of ICTs remain strong. Technology, it is said, can no longer be seen as a luxury available only to a select few, and should form an essential part of the world of education today, especially in developing countries such as Malawi (Le Roux and Evans 2011, p.115).

Some issues are insurmountable without the use of technology. The most obvious of these are in ICT instruction itself, and in the role played by the internet in providing access to information from around the world. Furthermore, the use of multimedia in presentations and production work, while not essential, can be stimulating and rewarding. Others, such as communication, while existing regardless, have the potential to be, and are being, transformed. As technology offers new ways of communicating, both synchronously and asynchronously, it is clear that schools would do well to incorporate these ways into their social and communicative practices (Mercer et al. 2001, p.2). And while it is not intrinsically superior to think together with those outside the classroom, or the school, it can be more motivating and can also stimulate more thought (Wegerif 2002, p.34).

Also, new technologies may have a role to play in bridging the digital divide in Africa. Current handheld technologies, for example, afford access to many opportunities within the normal classroom situation (Wright 2010, p.280).

It is a question of pedagogy, or progress, and of exponential change. Dede (2011, p.4) puts it thus:

We must reconceptualise technology integration not as automating conventional    classroom processes – or even as innovating within the structure of industrial era        schools – but instead as bridging to ways of teaching/learning so different that       integration is no longer an accurate description.

The fact is that while many, if not most of our desired learning outcomes for the 21st century – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, self-awareness, integrity, creativity and learning how to learn – can, with the right teaching, be met through the appropriate application of existing learning approaches, in having to limit ourselves in such a way we are swimming against the stream. And while fundamental truths about how learning happens in situations that do not necessitate the use of technology still apply and can still be applied, ICTs help.


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