How can immersive technology support teaching and learning? Why should teachers consider integrating technology with their pedagogy? What does successful technology integration for lessons look like?
The technology world is changing so quickly. However, just introducing technology for the sake of technology is not educationally meaningful. As teachers, we should continually be reflecting on the pedagogy we use in our lessons, consciously thinking about how we teach. We go into the classroom having prepared our lesson, included relevant resources, and planned the lesson activities.
The importance of considering the pedagogy of learning theories we might use with the technology we select for our lessons needs to be considered carefully when planning the lessons. Pedagogy is the study of teaching and learning methods, including the aims of education and the ways in which such goals may be achieved.
Pedagogy refers more broadly to the theory and practice of education, and how this influences the growth of learners. Learning theories are an organised set of principles explaining how individuals acquire, retain, and recall knowledge. By studying and knowing the different learning theories, we can better understand how learning occurs. The principles of the theories can be used as guidelines to help select technological tools and strategies that promote learning. Therefore assisting us in deciding what technology to use in our lessons.
Building in activities and tasks to get the learners to remember what we are teaching, so they can complete the problem to be solved or are prepared to complete assessment tasks.
Think about how a lesson is conducted; why content is taught in a particular way; why specific resources are used for that content.
As teachers we play a decisive role in preparing the next generation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). So considering and thinking about the technological resources being used and selected, is most important and integral to good classroom practice.
The pivotal question is how to use technology for teaching and learning against the backdrop of industry 4.0 which is changing so quickly. Consider that it is critical for the school or learning organisation to remain ahead of the curve in a world that is evolving rapidly, by incorporating relevant 4IR technology and focusing equally on teaching and learning.
Our learners are digitally tech savvy, even young learners in poor environments have been exposed to cell phones, social media and the internet. Many are equally comfortable in both real and virtual worlds. As teachers we need to engage with learners in a manner with which they are familiar.
The technological developments in the digital, physical, biological and scientific domains provide the fundamental background to 4IR. These have an impact on all aspects of everyday life. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) the skills required to thrive in Industry 4.0 include complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and cognitive flexibility.
Teachers are the centre of teaching and learning in schools, and technology should be used as a service for teachers. Extended reality (XR), which includes the various forms of computer-altered reality, should be applied to teaching and learning to help teachers to make better decisions, collaborate, solve problems, think critically with colleagues and address the individual needs of learners. While at the same time developing these skills among their learners as well.
As teachers, we have to understand how different forms of technology could be used beneficially in lessons for the subjects being taught, and understand learners' technological expectations when entering school.
It is necessary for all teachers to embrace technology, to develop new ways of integrating technological advancements into teaching and learning to truly benefit learners. To assist in creating an awareness of the technological opportunities being so varied and wide spread.
Many schools are using cloud computing, such as Google Workspace for education or Microsoft teams and Microsoft 365; sharing collaborative documents and storing information on the cloud. Learners may be developing applications and websites.
Schools integrate 3D printing in art and technology lessons. Some use it for Maths, and integrating with Geography (creating maps), History (designing historical buildings), and in Language (design scenes from set-works)
The range of Augmented Reality (AR) applications accommodates many educational topics; explore some of them.
Virtual reality (VR) uses virtual headsets. Here too are a range of educational resources to integrate into lessons.
With the draft DBE Robotics and Coding curriculum, many schools are introducing coding and robotics into their school offering. This too should be incorporated across subjects, and again, there are many options to consider.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is working in the background of many applications that we use.
Both AI and big data provide an opportunity to assist in creating more effective education management systems. These technologies allow for true personalised learning for learners providing better assessment options, collecting data, evaluating behaviours and their performance.
The changes in the world of work are happening much faster than in previous industrial revolutions. The 2019 Horizon Report spoke about change and developments in educational technology in Higher Education. More than 3 years on, with the changes we have been living through, these ideas should definitely be included in schools.
Explore combining XR, AI, and other technologies, opening up the door to compelling new experiences, enabling learner-centred instruction, and allowing teaching and learning to happen in the world of the learner.
Teaching and learning should be immersive and interactive, building on the benefits of experiential learning in a meaningful and relevant manner, building understanding, concepts, reinforcing knowledge, and extending learning to new experiences. Learners can enter the Louvre, go into a volcano, explore Mars, conduct dangerous experiments safely without using actual chemicals, go into a plant and understand osmosis, or venture inside a heart.
To be effective and meaningful technology must not be a gimmick or just an add-on; it must be properly integrated into lesson planning and design, related to the learning outcomes.
Use the technology to engage and support pedagogy, and rethink how you design and teach lessons innovatively, thereby creating active learning environments.
Sources and Additional Reading:
World Economic Forum (2022) Centre for the Fourth Industrial revolution. https://www.weforum.org/centre-for-the-fourth-industrial-revolution
Hosseini, Z. & Kinnunen, J. (2021). Integration Of Pedagogy Into Technology: A Practical Paradigm. Education and New Developments 2021. http://end-educationconference.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021end086.pdf
4IRSA (2021) SA Education System Starts Adapting For Future Work
World Economic Forum (2020) Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy. https://www.weforum.org/reports/jobs-of-tomorrow-mapping-opportunity-in-the-new-economy
Horizon Report 2019: How new technologies lead to a redesign of learning and teaching https://www.zbw-mediatalk.eu/2019/05/horizon-report-2019-how-new-technologies-lead-to-a-redesign-of-learning-and-teaching/
Google for education. (2019). The future of the Classroom Emerging trends in k-12. Google. https://edu.google.com/latest-news/future-of-the-classroom/emerging-technologies
Okojie. M C.P.O., Olinzock. A.A., and Okojie-Boulder, T.C. (2006). The Pedagogy of Technology Integration https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JOTS/v32/v32n2/okojie.html
Contact Karen Walstra to conduct professional development at your school or to work on the school's strategic planning with regard to technology integration.