ICT Project: Education in the Age of Applications.
Inserting Technology in the School:
The Gimnasio Moderno organized several working tables with the educational community, as well as discussion spaces with experts, where the political basis for technological development in the Gimnasio Moderno was established. Based on these findings, the Strategic Plan for ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Insertion was designed. Therefore, this first moment consisted in executing this ICT strategic plan, which contains five aspects:
a. Management and Planning: where a needs diagnosis was carried out and an action plan was designed to establish administrative and management policies, as well as to determine the necessary budget. This process is led by the ICT Coordinator and his support team.
b. ICT Resources and Infrastructure: the main purpose was to improve the technological equipment of the school to increase the access of teachers and students to technologies.
The school set out to have a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure, which would allow teachers and students to have tools to develop effective teaching and learning processes. Therefore, taking advantage of the school’s improved physical infrastructure, technology was incorporated into the classrooms.
The first thing was to equip the classrooms with digital boards, sound equipment, have a substantial improvement in connectivity, as well as expand the number of digital tablets for each student. This includes the installation of a data center that contributes to a significant improvement in the flow and security of the school’s information.
The second was to provide teachers with enough devices and resources to prepare their classroom materials, conduct follow-ups, provide reports, etc. Laptop computers were also purchased for each section. The experience has been valuable and the use of this technology has been permanent.
The third, to adapt and modernize the computer rooms under a lab approach in the Faculty Building. This included the creation of the Maker Space, which is an environment equipped with lego robotics material, 3D printing and tools for the creation and construction of products depending on the projects being developed. The ICT Classroom is also located in the Faculty. This is a space designed for research and development of digital skills. Therefore, in this space permanent ICT training processes are carried out with all the teachers. Finally, the ICT Classroom is also used for the development of videos and audiovisual material with effects and green screen. The projection of the ICT Classroom is that teachers and students can develop their own teaching and learning resources.
At this stage, various teaching and learning resources were also acquired, such as:
– The Symbaloo platform for sharing various resources among teachers.
– The 3D platform for educational use in alliance with Education District (the Gimnasio Moderno was a pioneer in Latin America in applying 3D technology in academic spaces)
– The Progrentis Platform: pilot for students to develop comprehensive reading skills with the use of technology.
– The Progrentis Platform: pilot for students to develop comprehensive reading skills with the use of technology.
– Raz-kids: platform for the development of skills in the area of English.
– Educaline: platform for the development of skills in the area of mathematics.
– Khan Academy: is being used in 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th and 11th, as a support in the processes in the areas of Mathematics and Science.
– Infobase Digital Library: this database provides access to more than 5000 digital resources and reference materials in English.
– Google Education: Teachers and students at Gimnasio Moderno make free use of all of Google’s educational tools, from email, to the Google Drive for sharing and creating information, to the Google Classroom as a virtual collaborative learning environment.
– Also, internal communication systems were improved and institutional e-mails were created in G Suite for the whole school (for students, teachers and administrative staff).
c. ICT and curriculum development: When we speak of “technological literacy”, we mean using technology as a tool for organization, communication, research and problem solving, and not just for learning how to operate a computer. In this way, “technological literacy” can be incorporated into all curricular areas as part of the school culture. For this reason, we seek to reflect with the various areas on the use of technology in the processes of teaching and learning, and we project that each area will include the ICT component in its curricular proposal and academic activities.
d. Teacher Professional Development: a process was initiated to train teachers in the basic use of equipment and resources, from Smart Tablets in the classroom to the use of email. Likewise, permanent external support is provided to strengthen the development of digital competencies in teachers.
e. School Culture and ICTs: Effective integration of technology seeks to generate a transformation in the way teachers conceive and use technology during the teaching and learning process. This helps to encourage the application of a pedagogical practice where the student plays an active role and is responsible for his or her own learning. Thus, technology becomes a transversal axis that promotes active learning within the curricular proposal of the educational institution in each of the grades and areas.
Just as technology modernizes and helps to transform the school culture internally, the Gimnasio Moderno also contributes to and participates in inter-school groups that promote the contributions of technology in education. This is the case of the ETB group (Educational Technology in Bogota), which is made up of various schools in the capital, such as El Nueva Granada, English School, El Campestre, Gimnasio Moderno, etc.
Active integration of technologies
This second moment seeks:
- To develop digital skills in the teachers and students of the Gimnasio Moderno.
- To positively impact all those processes of teaching and learning that take place inside and outside the classroom, in such a way that the digital competences of teachers and students are developed and strengthened through the integration of ICT.
The areas of digital competence can be summarized in the following way:
- Information: identify, locate, retrieve, store, organize and analyze digital information, assessing its purpose and relevance.
- Communication: communicating in digital environments, sharing resources through online tools, connecting and collaborating with others through digital tools, interacting and participating in communities and networks; intercultural awareness
- Content creation: Creating and editing new content (texts, images, videos…), integrating and reworking previous knowledge and content, making artistic productions, multimedia content and computer programming, knowing how to apply intellectual property rights and licenses for use.
- Security: personal protection, data protection, digital identity protection, security use, safe and sustainable use.
- Problem solving: identifying digital needs and resources, making decisions when choosing the appropriate digital tool, according to the purpose or need, solving conceptual problems through digital media, solving technical problems, creative use of technology, updating one’s own competence and that of others.
This moment is developed under the understanding that technological resources in education can benefit and enhance learning. However, it is important to bear in mind that there are learning environments in which the use of technology is more favorable to the student. This is the case of those environments where active pedagogy is practiced. In successful learning environments, teachers participate as leaders and facilitators of knowledge (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003; Fullan, 2007). In this situation, teachers use technology as a tool to support the development of higher order concepts and skills, which involves working with students to interpret concepts, develop products, work collaboratively, and transfer knowledge and skills learned to different contexts. This involves working with students to interpret concepts, develop products, work collaboratively, and transfer knowledge and skills learned to different contexts.The opposite would be to think that technology is only useful for the development of isolated technological skills, such as the use of a text editor (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007).
Following these ideas, the active integration of technology is carried out in two simultaneous ways:
- Cross-Section Integration of Technology in the Classroom
- Steam Project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) – Technology Area.
Cross – Section Integration of Technology in the Classroom
The cross-section integration seeks to develop digital competences in all the teachers of the school and to accompany them in the insertion of technologies in the classroom.
To achieve this, the following initiatives are being developed:
a. ICT Training Space for Teachers: training programs are developed every week with teams of interdisciplinary teachers of various grades. Technology teachers are in charge of these training spaces. The teachers attend the training in groups on a weekly basis. The objective is to explore, reflect and share about the use of various ICT tools to apply them in teachers’ pedagogical practices. The idea of these meetings is to create communities of support or communities of practice. As teachers develop digital competencies, it is planned to accompany them in their implementation in the classroom.
b. Project Based Learning with Technology (by Romina Peschiera): this space seeks to introduce and strengthen student-centred active learning strategies in teachers. To this end, 12 projects have been developed with different grades under the Project Based Learning (PBL) methodology using a ‘backwards design’ approach, where the starting point is to identify the understandings and results that are sought to be achieved with the students at the end of the designed project.
In this second phase, the various projects designed by the teachers are being implemented. To this end, classroom visits are made to support implementation, followed by reflection sessions. At the end of the projects in each term, there will be follow-up meetings with all participating teachers to share strategies, concerns and recommendations. The idea of these meetings is to create communities of support or communities of practice.
c. ICT Newsletter: the launch of ICT newsletters was initiated. These newsletters have two components: the weekly ICT tips and the monthly ICT newsletters. The ICT Tips that are sent to the entire internal community of the school. These are tips with brief recommendations on the good use of technology. The ICT Bulletins are sent to the entire educational community (including parents) and seek to publicize the progress, experiences and news around ICT in the Gimnasio Moderno.
d) Talks: in conjunction with the area of psychology, talks have been held for students and parents to make them aware of the proper use of technology (e.g., online care, security, cyberbullying, sexting, etc.)
Steam Project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) – Technology Area
From the area of technology, we have been working with the STEAM approach with the purpose of cultivating the scientific and technological vocation by providing solutions to real problems of interest to students.
Training in programming has been included from the early years, allowing students to pose situations that need to be solved with the help of computers. These are the first steps in the development of their computational thinking.
Robotics technology has also been slowly entering the classroom. The projection is to make robotics a proposal of a cross-cutting nature that allows the different subjects to find common points that bring students closer to the different contents in an entertaining way and from their own interests.
Through their projects, both programming and robotics, they promote design, where students bring their creativity into play to solve problems in their environment.
Today, the technology area integrates the contents of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in the development of projects, both at the level of programming, design and robotics. In the future, it is planned to integrate the areas of science, technology, mathematics and art to work in an interdisciplinary way.
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