Week 7 – ICT in the Humanities & Social Sciences

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the Humanities and Social Sciences has the potential to enhance teaching and student learning enables educational stakeholders’ to access resources and information in order to facilitate new and productive learning experiences.  Reynolds (2012) asserts that ICT provides valuable resources for knowledge and understanding that support new pedagogical strategies which enable collaborative, interactive and multimedia approaches.   The Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014a) acknowledges the significance of students developing ICT capability in being able to create, adapt and use digital technology effectively and safely in a knowledge-based economy.  Importantly, identifying ICT as a key general capability recognises that digital technology has the capacity to transform and empower students in the way they think and learn (ACARA, 2014a).

There are a number of useful sources such as Web 2.0 technologies, software, websites and on-line resources that can assist in the effective planning and teaching in Humanities and Social Sciences (Johnson and Gilbert, 2014).  The use of mind-mapping software when teaching History can enhance student learning by providing them with an efficient visual tool to represent their planning and information.  Initial thoughts can be identified, development of understanding can be assessed and concluding reflections documented regarding what the students have learned.  Johnson and Gilbert (2014) assert that mind mapping software can assist in assessing student knowledge before, during and upon completion of a learning unit.  Brady and Kennedy (2009) describe the benefits of mind maps in providing teachers with information on how students understand new concepts, enabling the teacher to scaffold future learning.

In using mind-mapping software, for example; Inspiration 9 (Inspiration Inc. Software, 2014) to support historical teaching and learning, a topic is selected from the relevant year level of the Australian Curriculum: History document. This becomes the central focus of the mind map.  The historical knowledge, understandings and skills required to effectively investigate the topic may be included in developing a foundation for student inquiry.  For example, I have chosen to focus on the Year 4 subject of stories of the First Fleet (ACARA, 2014b). Within this topic, initial ideas and thoughts can be organised and mapped out (refer Example A) exploring the purpose for the First Fleet, the people and range of crimes punishable by transportation, and the treatment of prisoners at the time (ACARA, 2014b).  Furthermore, the historical skills that facilitate higher order thinking and critical analysis may be added that support inquiry learning, for example; posing a range of questions about the past such as Why did the First Fleet travel to Australia? and What was the journey like?  Students may wish to create a timeline of events and note relevant historical terms. Videos, hyperlinks and images may be inserted that provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in historical learning.

Example A.

Mind Map

In conclusion, the use of mind mapping software encourages students to design, plan, organise and demonstrate their conceptual understanding by being able to present their thoughts, ideas and sourced information in new and relevant ways (Marsh, 2005).  Students are able to evaluate, review and update their presentations as the development of historical understandings, knowledge and skills occurs (Johnson & Gilbert, 2005). Hence, a mind map becomes the foundation upon which students begin to identify, analyse and locate resources in investigating the story of the First Fleet and the significance of its arrival (ACARA, 2014b).

References

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2014a), The Australian Curriculum: General capabilities. Information & communication technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2014b). The Australian Curriculum: History: Foundation to year 10. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanitiesandsocialsciences/history/Curriculum/F-10#level4

Brady, L. & Kennedy, K. (2009) Celebrating student achievement: Assessment and reporting (3rd ed.) Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson

Information and Communications Technology. [Image 1]. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.enviroinfo2014.org/

Information and Communications Technology. [Image 2]. (2014). Retrieved from http://connect.onefpa.org/Home/

Inspiration Software Inc. (2014). Inspiration 9. Downloaded from http://www.inspiration.com/Inspiration

Johnson, N. & Gilbert, R. (2014). Using information and communication technologies. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th Ed.) (pp. 156-174). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Marsh, C. (2005). Studies of society and environment (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Reynolds, R. (2012). Teaching history, geography & SOSE in the primary school (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press

 

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Week 6 – Education for Sustainability (EfS)

Letter1

Dear Concerned Parent,

Thank you for taking the time to write and express your concerns regarding the purpose and content of the school’s Education for Sustainability curriculum programs. We appreciate your interest in the education of your child.  The aim of the school is to provide each student with access to a balanced education that will provide them the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding that will enable them to become active and informed citizens.  We believe that integrating concepts associated with Education for Sustainability as part of the whole school curriculum will significantly contribute to the achievement of this goal.

The framework that guides the school’s Education for Sustainability curriculum programs is underpinned two key education documents.  Firstly, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs [MCEETYA], 2008) document outlines a key goal for students is to become active and informed citizens at a local and global level in working toward the sustainability of natural and social environments.  The significance of sustainability is recognised in the cross-curriculum priorities embedded within all learning areas of the Australian Curriculum documents (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014).  Our school envisages that sustainability education will enable students to develop the skills, values, knowledge and world views that will empower them to protect and create a socially, environmentally, culturally and economically just world (ACARA, 2014).

The school recognises that sustainability education is a futures-orientated concept that shares an interconnection with the learning areas of Geography and Civics and Citizenship.  Reynolds (2012) asserts that fundamental human rights and social justice are essential in sustaining and improving social and natural environments.  Students begin to understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society in making decisions relevant to environmental sustainability (Tudball, 2010).  The Australian Curriculum: Geography (ACARA, 2014b) identifies sustainability as a concept integral to understanding the processes leading to unsustainability, how sustainability can be achieved and the development of world views involving stewardship.  In understanding the concept of global interdependence, our school is endeavouring to develop active and informed citizens that value empathy, social justice and action, responsibility and equity (Tudball & Gordon, 2014). Our school identifies the importance of students being able to critically analyse issues, recognise multiple viewpoints and values, effectively communicate to make well-reasoned debates when seeking to enact change within the context of either local, national or global issues Marsh (2005).

In conclusion, the school acknowledges that educational stakeholders that include parents, teachers, schools and policy-makers have varying views on the concept of sustainability.  However, the school believes that it has adopted a balanced framework for teaching Education for Sustainability that encompasses environmental, economic, social, cultural and political elements of sustainable development (Cutter-Mackenzie & Hoepper, 2014).  The students are effectively engaging with the concept of Education for Sustainability within real-life contexts through involvement in management of the school’s resources and facilities, and the development of partnerships between the school and the community (Cutter-Mackenzie & Hoepper, 2014).  Overall, our aim is for the students to develop the skills, knowledge and values to become active and informed citizens through engaging in a whole school culture of sustainability.

Regards

Darren Kirby

References

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2014), The Australian Curriculum: Cross-curriculum priorities. Sustainability. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/CrossCurriculumPriorities/Sustainability

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2014b). The Australian Curriculum: Geography: Concepts for developing geographical understanding. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanitiesandsocialsciences/geography/concepts-for-developing-geographical-understanding

Cutter-Mackenzie, A. & Hoepper, B. (2014). Teaching for active and informed citizenship. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th Ed.) (pp. 390-418). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Education for Sustainability. [Image]. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.earthtimes.org/encyclopaedia/environmental-issues/environmental-business/

Marsh, C. (2005). Studies of society and environment (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETY). (2008) Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Retrieved from: http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

Reynolds, R. (2012). Teaching history, geography & SOSE in the primary school (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press

Tudball, L. (2010). Putting civics and citizenship education back on the education agenda: responding to global imperatives and learning from international research. Social Educator, 28(3), 17-24.

Tudball, L. & Gordon, K. (2014). Teaching for active and informed citizenship. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th Ed.) (pp. 297-320). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.