ICT in Education/Issues in the Use of ICTs in Education
- 1 Issues in the Use of ICTs in Education
- 2 Does ICT-enhanced learning really work?
- 3 How much does it cost?
- 4 Is there equity of access to ICTs in education?
- 4.1 Actionable Tips for Ensuring Equitable Use of ICTs
- 4.1.1 Actionable tip #1: Stop using technology for remediation!
- 4.1.2 Actionable tip #2: Let students create original digital content.
- 4.1.3 Actionable tip #3: Pick digital tools that promote interactivity and discovery.
- 4.1.4 Actionable tip #4: Honor students as experts, and let them share their expertise with an authentic audience.
- 4.1.5 Actionable tip #5: Find the right blend of teacher and technology.
- 4.1 Actionable Tips for Ensuring Equitable Use of ICTs
- 5 Are ICT-enhanced educational projects sustainable?
Issues in the Use of ICTs in Education
Effectiveness, cost, equity, and sustainability are four broad intertwined issues which must be addressed when considering the overall impact of the use of ICTs in education.
Does ICT-enhanced learning really work?
The educational effectiveness of ICTs depends on how they are used and for what purpose. And like any other educational tool or mode of educational delivery, ICTs do not work for everyone, everywhere in the same way.
Enhancing access. It is difficult to quantify the degree to which ICTs have helped expand access to basic education since most of the interventions for this purpose have been small-scale and under-reported. One exception is the television-based project Telesecundaria (discussed in a previous section), which in 1997-98 was serving over 750,000 junior secondary students in 12,000 centres in Mexico. In Asia and Africa, assessments of distance learning projects at the junior secondary level using a combination of print, taped, and broadcast technologies have been less conclusive, while at the primary level there is little evidence that ICT-based models have thrived.  In higher education and adult training, there is some evidence that educational opportunities are being opened to individuals and groups who are constrained from attending traditional universities. Each of the 11 so-called mega-universities, the biggest and most well-established open and distance institutions in the world (which include the Open University of the United Kingdom, the Indira Gandhi National Open University of India, the China TV University System, the Universitas Terbuka of Indonesia, and the University of South Africa, among others) has an annual enrollment of more than 100,000, and together they serve approximately 2.8 million. Compare that with the 14 million combined enrollment of the 3,500 colleges and universities in the United States. 
Raising quality.The impact of educational radio and television broadcasts on the quality of basic education remains an under-researched area, but what little research there is suggests that these interventions are as effective as traditional classroom instruction.  Of the many educational broadcast projects, the Interactive Radio Instruction project has been the most comprehensively analyzed. Findings provide strong evidence of the project’s effectiveness in raising the quality of education as demonstrated by increased scores on standardized tests as well as improved attendance. 
In contrast, assessments of the use of computers, the Internet and related technologies for distance learning have been equivocal. Russell, in his comprehensive review of research, claims that there is “no significant difference” between the test scores of learners taking ICT-based distance learning courses and those receiving face-to-face instruction.  However, others claim that such generalizations are inconclusive, pointing out that the large number of articles on ICT-based distance learning does not include original experimental research or case studies.  Other critics argue that dropout rates are much higher when instruction is delivered at a distance via ICTs.
There have also been many studies that seem to support the claim that the use of computers enhances and amplifies existing curricula, as measured through standardized testing. Specifically, research shows that the use of computers as tutors, for drill and practice, and for instructional delivery, combined with traditional instruction, results in increases in learning in the traditional curriculum and basic skills areas, as well as higher test scores in some subjects compared to traditional instruction alone. Students also learn more quickly, demonstrate greater retention, and are better motivated to learn when they work with computers.  But there are those who claim that these represent modest gains and, in any case, much of the research on which these claims are based are methodologically flawed.
Research likewise suggests that the use of computers, the Internet, and related technologies, given adequate teacher training and support, can indeed facilitate the transformation of the learning environment into a learner-centered one. But these studies are criticized for being mostly exploratory and descriptive in nature and lacking in empirical rigor. There is as yet no strong evidence that this new learning environment fosters improved learning outcomes. What does exist are qualitative data based on observations and analysis of student and teacher perceptions that suggest a positive impact on learning. 
One of the most critical problems in trying to assess the effectiveness of computers and the Internet as transformational tools is that standardized tests cannot capture the kinds of benefits that are expected to be gained in a learner-centered environment. Moreover, since technology use is fully integrated into the larger learning system, it is very difficult to isolate the technology variable and determine whether any observed gains are due to technology use or to some other factor or combination of factors.
How much does it cost?
Broadly speaking, educational television broadcasts and computer-based and online learning are more expensive than radio broadcasts.  There is disagreement, however, over whether television broadcasts are cheaper than computer-based and online learning.  That said, categorical assessments of cost-effectiveness are difficult to make because of lack of data, differences in programs, problems of generalization, and problems of quantification of educational outcomes and opportunity costs.  Speaking specifically of computers and the Internet, Blurton argues that “[w]hen considering whether ICT is “cost-effective” in educational settings, a definitive conclusion may not be possible for a variety of reasons. However, when considering the alternative of building more physical infrastructure, the cost savings to be realized from sharing resources, and the societal price of not providing access, ICT as a means of enabling teaching and learning appears to be an attractive and necessary alternative.” 
A common mistake in estimating the cost of a particular ICT educational application is to focus too much on initial fixed costs—purchase of equipment, construction or retrofitting of physical facilities, initial materials production, and the like. But studies of the use of computers in classrooms, for example, show that installation of hardware and retrofitting of physical facilities account for only between 40% to 60% of the full cost of using the computers over their lifetime, or its total cost of ownership.  In fact, while at first glance it may seem that the initial purchase of hardware and software is the costliest part of the process, the bulk of the total cost of ownership is spread out over time, with annual maintenance and support costs (known as variable or recurrent costs) constituting between 30% to 50% of the total cost of hardware and software. The cost of professional development, another variable cost, also accumulates over time. For computer-based approaches the total cost of ownership therefore includes:
- Retrofitting of physical facilities
- Hardware and networking
- Upgrades and replacement (in about five years)
VARIABLE OR RECURRENT COSTS
- Professional development
- Connectivity, including Internet access and telephone time
- Maintenance and support, including utilities and supplies
In order to determine cost efficiencies, fixed costs must be distinguished from variable costs, and the balance between the two understood. If the fixed costs of a technology project are high and its variable costs are low, then there will be cost advantages to scaling up. This is the case with general educational radio and television broadcasting. Programs such as Sesame Street and Discovery are more cost-efficient the larger their audience since the high cost of production is distributed over a larger viewer base while no staff expenditures are made for learner support.
On the other hand, the case of Telesecundaria in Mexico demonstrates that the impact of higher variable costs related to learner support may be offset if the scale of the project is sufficiently large to the point where per student costs compare favorably with those of traditional schools. Similarly, with the Interactive Radio Instruction project annual cost per student is estimated to fall from US$8.25 with 100,000 students to US$3.12 with 1,000,000.  Obviously, these economies of scale may be achieved only in countries with large populations.
Open and distance learning institutions have also achieved cost-effectiveness through economies of scale. Per student costs of the 11 mega-universities range from only 5% to 50% of the average of the traditional universities in their respective countries. 
The introduction of computers represents additional costs for schools but without short-term cost advantages. Data on cost of computer use per student in both primary and secondary schools in fact suggest cost-ineffectiveness. In Chile, for example, cost per primary school student is between US$22 and US$83, with expenditures for computer use requiring 10% to 37% of the national primary school budget..  In the U.S., computer investments accounted for 1.3% of total expenditure on schools, with annual cost per student at US$70. 
Perraton and Creed suggest that these levels of cost support the argument against putting computers in every classroom, particularly in primary schools where there are no strong curricular arguments for investment in computers. In secondary schools, spending money on computers may be justified by the curriculum but this will come with significant increases in total school expenditure. 
Another dimension of cost is location, or who will pay for what. In projects that involve computers connected to the Internet, either the school or student or both bear the variable costs related to operations such as maintenance, Internet service charges, and telephone line charges. In contrast, with radio programming the learner has to pay only for a radio and a set of batteries.
Is there equity of access to ICTs in education?
Given the wide disparities in access to ICTs between rich and poor countries and between different groups within countries, there are serious concerns that the use of ICTs in education will widen existing divisions drawn along economic, social, cultural, geographic, and gender lines.
Ideally, one wishes for equal opportunity to participate. But access for different actors—both as users and producers—is weighted by their resources. Hence, initial differences are often reproduced, reinforced, and even magnified….A formidable challenge, therefore, continues to face planners of international education: how to define the problem and provide assistance for development. 
The introduction of ICTs in education, when done without careful deliberation, can result in the further marginalization of those who are already underserved and/or disadvantaged. For example, women have less access to ICTs and fewer opportunities for ICT-related training compared to men because of illiteracy and lack of education, lack of time, lack of mobility, and poverty.  Boys are more likely than girls to have access to computers in school and at home. Not surprisingly, boys tend to enjoy working with computers more than girls.  As the American Association of University Women reports, “Girls have narrowed some significant gender gaps, but technology is now the new ‘boys’ club’ in our nation’s public schools. While boys programme and problem solve with computers, girls use computers for word processing…”. 
In an evaluation of its programme in four African countries, Worldlinks,.  an organization that promotes project-based, international telecollaboration activities among secondary school teachers and students from developing countries, it was found that despite efforts to make the programme gender neutral, gender inequalities in access persist in Uganda and Ghana. Furthermore, while girls benefited more from the programme in terms of improved academic performance and communication skills, boys were able to hone their technological skills more. A complex of economic, organizational, and sociocultural factors account for these differences: “High student-to-computer ratios and first come-first serve policies do not favour girls (typically heavily outnumbered by boys at the secondary level), girls have earlier curfew hours and domestic chore responsibilities which limit their access time, and local patriarchal beliefs tend to allow boys to dominate the computer lab environment.”.  Measures proposed to address this gender bias include encouraging schools to develop “fair use” policies in computer labs, conducting gender sensitivity sessions, and advocating for reducing the after-school duties of girls to give them more time to use the computer lab.  Girls also need to have female role models to inspire them to participate in technology-related activities. 
Providing access to ICTs is only one facet of efforts to address equity issues. Equal attention must be paid to ensuring that the technology is actually being used by the target learners and in ways that truly serve their needs. An ICT-supported educational programme that illustrates this wholistic approach is the Enlace Quiché:Bilingual Education in Guatemala Through Teacher Training programme..  The programme seeks to establish and maintain bilingual education technology centres for educators, students, teachers, parents, and community members in Quiché and neighboring areas. The technical teams for each centre are composed of three students, two teachers, and the centre administrator, with at least one female student and one female teacher. Another objective of Enlace Quiché is the creation of multimedia bilingual educational materials that are anchored on the Mayan culture and that reflect a constructivist approach to learning. As the project website notes, this “demonstrate[s] that the technology can be used to know, to conserve, to disclose and to value local knowledge.” The project thus illustrates a model for bridging the digital divide arising from the monopoly in Internet content provision by Western and English-speaking groups and from uneven capacities to make purposeful, relevant and critical use of digital resources (see section on language and content below).
Another example of a wholistic approach to ICT integration in education is a radio instruction project in Mongolia called the Gobi Women’s Project. It seeks to provide literacy and numeracy instruction built around lessons of interest to around 15,000 nomadic women, and to create income opportunities for them. Among the programme topics are livestock rearing techniques; family care (family planning, health, nutrition and hygiene); income generation using locally available raw materials; and basic business skills for a new market economy. 
Actionable Tips for Ensuring Equitable Use of ICTs
In the article, “What a Decade of Education Research Tells Us About Technology in the Hands of Underserved Students,” Stanford doctoral candidate Molly B. Zielezinski discusses what she and her colleagues discovered about “edutech” and equity after completing a comprehensive literature review of the subject. Not surprisingly, they discovered that, although technology has the ability to provide access to high quality digital learning materials, students in many low-income schools only have “access” to technology solely for the purposes of remediation. Ironically, using technology for remedial purposes rather than for authentic productive and creative purposes, broadens the digital divide between underserved students and their counterparts in wealthier school districts. At the end of the article, Ms. Zielezinkski and her colleagues provide five Actionable Tips for improving the quality and effectiveness of technology implementation in low-income schools. Recently, several Educational Technology graduate students at Michigan State University worked collaboratively to generate practical applications for each of the five Actionable Tips mentioned in the article. In the space below, you will find their ideas of technologies that can be used to match these applications for each tip suggested by Zielezinski.
Actionable tip #1: Stop using technology for remediation!
Unlike students enrolled in affluent school districts, students enrolled in low-income rural and urban districts are more likely to use technology for remedial purposes. Rather than using technology for skill and drill activities, teachers as well as students, should be using Web 2.0 technologies for authentic tasks. Listed below are resources to help accomplish this in the classroom.
- What is it? Twitter is a free social media microblog website that allows users to board cast posts. These post are called tweets.
- Why is it useful? Students could use this tool to communicate and collaborate via sharing links, giving feedback, and advice. The use of hashtags can also be beneficial to organize discussion.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students can form discussion groups using hashtags or conduct research following different twitter handles. They may also seek help from other experts online as twitter users from different professional accounts often tweet back to help.
- What is it? Wordpress is a platform where students can design and publish their own multimedia content.
- Why is it useful? Wordpress is useful because designing and creating original web content gives students the opportunity to be content-creators rather than content-consumers.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? In a classroom, Wordpress can be used to create a portable, digital portfolio. Students are able to collaborate and communicate by commenting on articles written by other students and bloggers. Wordpress also allows you to add various forms of media such as images, video, widgets, and linking to various social media.
- What is it? Online website that allows you to virtually dissect a frog.
- Why is it useful? This website provides some general information about frogs as well as dissections that could be used as an introduction to a live dissection
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? If resources or time is limited to actually perform a live dissection in class, it allows you to do a virtual dissection. This tool explains even more about what the different organs and systems students would be observing during the dissection as well as offers a more accurate representation of a dissection compared to face-to-face.
- What is it? Online flowchart maker
- Why is it useful? This website allows users to create flowcharts from various templates and manipulate the chart. There are also examples of flowcharts to search. It is free for up to 5 diagrams/flowcharts.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students could use a flowchart to show the sequence of steps in an experiment, visually represent a food chain, or organize their thoughts for a written essay.
- What is it? Padlet is an app that allows students to post onto a digital “corkboard.”
- Why is it useful? This can be a useful discussion tool that allows students to quickly view and share thoughts and ideas with other students. Often, students in remediation rooms, sitting at a computer, watching the screen as it feeds them ideas and expecting them to later regurgitate these same ideas on a quiz or test. With Padlet, students are communicating with one another, sharing knowledge, or comparing and contrasting their ideas about a particular topic.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Padlet is great for idea sharing in the classroom. It can be useful for brainstorming activities, activating and accessing students’ prior knowledge, or to compare and contrast different ideas.
Here is a video tutorial of how to use Padlet to encourage students to describe their mathematical thinking.
- What is it? MakeBeliefsComix is a basic comic book style platform that can be used for digital storytelling.
- Why is it useful? Rather than having students complete a traditional retelling of a story, allow them to create their story using a digital storyboard.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Digital Storytelling apps can be useful for storyboarding historical events, mapping procedural or “how-to” writing, or planning out personal narratives.
Learn how to make a comic using MakeBeliefsComix here.
Actionable tip #2: Let students create original digital content.
By providing opportunities for students to create products (rather than continuously consuming pre-generated material), they gain a sense of ownership. Creative thinking spans disciplines and can involve real world learning. It allows the creator to take intellectual risks and try new things. Many times, students feel a sense of pride in sharing something they have created. This can lay a foundation for future skill development. Listed below are resources to help accomplish this in the classroom.
- What is it? Educreations is an iPad app that functions like a recordable whiteboard.
- Why is it useful? Because it captures voice and handwriting and also allows the user to upload pictures to create interactive lessons and stories, Educreations is a powerful presentation tool.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students can write or dictate and then illustrate their own stories or create an animated re-telling of an existing story. It can also be used to annotate presentations.
- What is it? Scratch is a program that introduces visual, block-style computer coding.
- Why is it useful? This free website allows students to create games and stories through the use of visual block style coding. Utilizing problem-solving skills, and a design-thinking approach, students animate their avatars (sprites) to act in certain ways. This is a great collaborative, creative tool that helps develop important Digital Literacy Skills.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students can use Scratch to animate stories and create games.
- What is it? Piktochart is a free easy to use website that allows users to create info-graphs.
- Why is it useful? Students will be able to visually display there thoughts through info-graphs. Whatever they choose to convey can be aided by custom or provided visuals.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Piktochart can be used in any learning activity that requires students to respond to a question or topic. For example, students are given the topic of Water Cycle. This must teach about the Water Cycle using Piktochart. Students can now create whatever they would like to achieve this goal.
- What is it? SketchUp is a 3-D modeling platform.
- Why is it useful? This website allows students to create manipulable 3-D models. As they create their models, students will also learn the mechanics of using an online drawing program.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students could use SketchUp to design a building for an architecture class, to model a physical or mathematical concept, or to recreate scenes from a literary text.
Book Creator (app for iPad and other devices)
- What is it? Book Creator is an app that students can use to create digital books with photos, videos, sound, and narration.
- Why is it useful? Book Creator is useful because it allows students to have a digital platform to share their synthesis of various topics.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Book creator could be used to publish a piece of writing that students have spent time putting together. This app could be used with various genres of writing. Students would be able to insert pictures to enhance their writing and allow them more ownership over their work as they now have an audience to write for. Another way book creator could be used is to create informational reports in a science class. Students could research different animals and then put together a book about their animal and share it with their classmates. Through both of these examples students are creating original, digital content.
- What is it? Powtoon is a video creation website.
- Why is it useful? Powtoon is a website that allows the users to create videos or presentations from scratch or templates.The templates can be altered to fit the content. Users can import their own videos into Powtoon, voice overs, and later export to YouTube or download as a mp4.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Powtoon can be used in the classroom by having students create a video to explain the plot of a story, or show the steps to a science experiment, or describe a sequence of events that happened in history.
Actionable tip #3: Pick digital tools that promote interactivity and discovery.
Students develop problem-solving skills and increased levels of confidence through play. By providing interactive, open-ended tools, students can explore and tinker to develop their own understanding of how things work. This exploration provides a feeling of accomplishment that will often times lead to sharing and collaboration with classmates. Listed below are resources to help accomplish this in the classroom.
- What is it: is a game where you dig and build different kinds of blocks and use permutations of them to craft different items. There are also enemies to kill, animals to tame and towns to build!
- Why use it: students learn collaboration techniques, discover concepts using observation, trial-and-error and games-based activities. The openness of the game encourages exploration, letting students experiment to meet different goals. Teachers can make in-game student activities adapted to specific objectives and standards.
- Activity: Students can use the in-game blocks to build one-, two-, and three-dimensional objects to discover the conversions, differences and similarities between length, area, and volume.
- What is it: Desmos is an online graphing calculator that can graph a host of functions in a quick, easy way.
- Why use it: It is intuitive and easy to learn. There is also a free app for students to download that can give students with a smart phone access to a high-powered graphing calculator. The website also offers many ready-made activities for educators to use, or the tools to make their own.
- Activity: Students are presented with a container that is being filled with water. They must estimate how the level of the water changes over time, and show their findings in the form of a graph. They do would do this again several times using increasingly complex containers.
- What is it: Geogebra is a dynamic mathematics software that is designed to help students discover and learn mathematical principles through live manipulation.
- Why use it:Geogebra contains several interactive apps including spreadsheets, a graphing calculator, a computer algebra system, geometry, 3D graphics, and probability. Students can create their own materials, use materials created by the teacher, or use other people’s previously created material to explore and manipulate mathematical concepts to find patterns and draw conclusions.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students can manipulate a transversal that is cutting across parallel lines to discover which angles will always be congruent and which angles will always be supplementary. Students can change pieces of a quadratic function and see how they affect the parabolic graph. They can discover how to translate a quadratic function.
- Why use it: Students build tracks, ramps and jumps for the skater and view the kinetic energy, potential energy and friction as he moves. Students can also take the skater to different planets or even space. There is also a list of teacher submitted activities available on the website. On this same website, there are interactives ranging in various topics from electricity to light to power. You can even search by grade level.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? This can be used to explore the law of conservation of energy as well as what factors impact more/less potential or kinetic energy.
- What is it? DragonBox is a series of games that supplement the teaching of the basics of algebra to kids in a natural, fun, and effective way.
- Why is it useful? DragonBox is useful because it gives students an introduction to algebra in a game like format and allows teachers to see an overview of the progress and knowledge each of their students are making. DragonBox lets the students learn algebra by using colorful and fun objects that are gradually replaced by numbers and mathematical expressions similar to equations on paper. It builds the conceptual knowledge in the early stages and leads students to the more abstract concepts as they achieve each level. DragonBox allows them to discover the idea of isolating the variable and solving for that variable.
- What are some examples of how it can be used in the classroom? This iPad app could be used with students to introduce the skill of isolating the variable or it could be used to reinforce these algebra concepts after being taught.
Teacher's Manual on DragonBox
- What is it? This website is an interactive way for students to learn about the different types of gases that make up the atmosphere.
- Why is it useful? This website is useful because it allows students to learn more about the gas and it’s importance in the atmosphere. You can read about what would happen if the percentage f each gas was increased or decreased.
- What are some examples of how it can be used in the classroom? You could have students go through and explore this tool after learning about the different gases to understand more about how the levels affect our environment as well as why we need the composition we need to survive. The visual images also help to solidify some understanding of what the alternate worlds would look.
- What is it? Duolingo is a free language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam.
- Why is it useful? Duolingo is ad-free and offers all its language courses free of charge. As of April 2016, the language-learning website and app offer 59 different language courses across 23 languages; with 23 additional courses in development. Students can definitely discover other cultures through languages.
- What are some examples of how it can be used in the classroom? Allow students to choose a language and culture to study. Duolingo allows them to speak, practice, and explore using different languages. This is an extremely interactive website/app for students to use in whatever way you see fit.
- What is it? This is an app where students play a game using first hand accounts and artifacts from the American Civil War to solve mysteries from this time period.
- Why is it useful? It gives students an interactive look into life during the civil war with artifacts and first hand accounts. Students play and interact with items from the National History Museum.
- What are some examples of how it can be used in the classroom? Allow students to use this as an extension activity for your Civil War unit. They can interact with primary resources and the time period itself.
- What is it? VoiceThread can be used to create multimedia slideshows with video, images, documents and voiceovers.
- Why is it useful? VoiceThread is useful because it is multimodal and shareable between teachers and students, and students with their classmates.
- What are some examples of how it can be used in the classroom? Students and teachers could create a presentations to share, interact with one another’s presentations, and give feedback. When working in a group, each contributor can leave comments via text, voice, audio file or video.
Students have noteworthy knowledge and information that they are capable of sharing with authentic audiences. It up to us as teachers to give them an avenue to connect with these authentic audiences. Various technology tools can help us with this quest. Listed below are resources to help accomplish this in the classroom.
- What is it? Kidblog is a safe, simple, authentic, and transformative way for students to publish their work on a blog and truly feel like they have an audience they are writing for.
- Why is it useful? Kidblog is useful because it provides the tools to help students publish writing safely online and teachers can monitor all activity within their blogging community. Publishing is made very kid-friendly and the teacher can monitor all comments. It increases students’ motivation to write because they have a meaningful purpose and it allows for engagement in the entire writing process. Nothing goes live until the teacher says so.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Kidblog could be used in the classroom for creative writing purposes, interactive science notebooks, or a digital portfolio to share work.
- What is it? Youtube is a video hosting website where users can enjoy the videos and music, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world. Users can create their own channels to house their videos and create playlists. However, be careful on the age restrictions--users should be 13 years old. Youtube links with google accounts. It would be useful have students post the video as either private or can only be accessed with link if you have privacy concerns.
- Why is it useful? Youtube gives the students the possibility of anyone in the world viewing it, therefore there is the authentic audience. Viewers have the option to leave feedback, rate the videos and even share the videos allowing for feedback for the student. The playlist and channel features allow for students to be “experts” and have their own channels.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom?This can be used in the classroom to have students create videos about various topics including their findings from an experiment or describe a concept.
- What is it? Aurasma is a free app for iOS and Android devices that uses advanced imaging recognition to blend the real-world with rich interactive content such as videos and animations, called "Auras". In other words, augmented reality for the classroom. It allows students to look at an object through a mobile device and view additional information such as graphics, animation, video, audio, and 3D content. Aurasma is changing the way we interact with the world, one Aura at a time.
- Why is it useful? Aurasma can bring a lesson to life and make it more engaging. It makes a lesson come alive for students. It helps students learn at their own pace by revealing information when they are ready for it. It can even provide differentiated instruction by creating different channels for different students.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students can use this app to share their learning in an authentic way. For example, students can create a book review for their peers to view using Aurasma. The book cover can be used as a trigger image. Students create a book review video to use as an overlay. Other students in the class can view the book reviews by hovering an iPad with the Aurasma app over book covers they are interested in reading.
- What is it? WeVideo lets students show off their expertise by creating and editing videos and sharing them to video sites like YouTube. WeVideo is a great free, basic video editor that allows students to timeline, title, caption, and soundtrack videos. Subscriptions activate additional features.
- Why is it useful? WeVideo will take lessons, tutorials or presentations to the next level and increase student creativity and involvement. It combines visuals, sounds, voice and video in clear explanations or engaging stories. Have students prove their multimedia skills and apply these to any educational topic.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? There are many possibilities for using WeVideo in the classroom. Students can make a video of science experiments, re-enact history, tell a story or show a real life example of the Pythagorean theorem. The possibilities are endless.
- What is it? Museum Box, is a site that provides the tools for students to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box, much like a museum exhibit.
- Why is it useful? This online program allows them to embed videos, pictures, and audio. User can easily navigate through the exhibit to view the presented ideas. With Museum Box students can present their expertise to the online community and their classrooms.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? The great thing about museums is there is a museum for everything. Students can create their own online exhibit for which ever class that they would like. After all a museum is a place to protect knowledge and pass it own. Let them be the torch bearers of knowledge.
- What is it? Powtoon is a site where students or teachers can create animated videos and presentations.
- Why is it useful? Students can create engaging, professional-looking video presentations even without the use of a camera or video editing programs.
- What are some ways to use it in the classroom? Students could use Powtoon to design a presentation on a topic that they have researched or to tell a video story.
Actionable tip #5: Find the right blend of teacher and technology.
Technology should not replace the teacher but rather assist the teacher in the classroom. Teachers play a critical role in orchestrating and maintaining a blended learning environment. While not much research has been done in this area, we know that students do the best when they are able to work with peers and feel supported by their teacher. In the blended learning environment, students need to receive immediate digital feedback from their teachers. Listed below are resources to help accomplish this in the classroom.
- What is it? Google docs are an online, collaborative tool where an individual can create word documents
- Why is it useful? Google docs are useful because they are word documents that can be accessed from anywhere since they are online. Google docs are collaborative as multiple people are able to view, edit, and comment on a document at the same time. There is also the option to chat within a document if people have it enabled. Google docs also automatically save and record previous revisions of the document so you can track the changes that have been made as well as revert back to an older version.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Google docs can be used in the classroom for student’s papers or projects. When students are working in a Google doc they are able to share it with their teacher and classmates to receive feedback about it. You can also live chat on a document if the feature is enabled.
- What is it? Padlet is a virtual pin board that allows people to express their opinions on a common topic.
- Why is it useful? Using Padlet, students write comments, post videos, and/or post images on a wall to communicate their understanding of a certain topic or reaction to a picture, movie, or event . Then they can respond to each others' comments and build a conversation or discussion about the topic.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Students can use Padlet to brainstorm ways to attack a story problem. They can comment on which pieces of information they feel are essential. They can connect the problem to other problems they have done that are similar or related by posting pictures of examples. Students can post videos of mathematical concepts that would be needed to solve the problem. Using all the ideas posted on the Padlet, students should have more than enough information to be able to make an honest attempt at solving the problem.
- What is it? Nearpod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool that can have amazing effects in the classroom. The app’s concept is simple. A teacher can create presentations that can contain Quizzes, Polls, Videos, Images, Drawing-Boards, Web Content and so on. Students can interact with the presentation by completing quizzes or polls on their own mobile devices.
- Why is it useful? This app enables you to connect with your students digitally, but with structure. The flexible nature of Nearpod allows you to use it in creative and innovative ways. A summary of the data for each student as well as for the entire class is automatically calculated and can be found in the Reports section on the site.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Nearpod can be used anytime where a teacher would normally use a plain presentation. It allows teachers to pull ready-made presentations from a library of resources or just pull pieces of those presentations. Teachers can also create their own presentations. For example, a teacher who is doing a lesson on matter and its properties can begin the presentation by giving students a pre-assessment, then present students with content including images and videos, and finally check for understanding by asking to students to answer an open-ended question.
- What is it? Moodle is a web based application used to help teachers create and deliver effective online learning environments. Moodle is a classroom tool used to provide online material for a course. Teachers can include files, images, internet links, quizzes, surveys, lessons and more complete with due dates.
- Why is it useful? Moodle allows teachers to create a learning platform that can include all of the materials needed for a class in one location. It gives teachers the ability to grade student work online, store the grades and provide a space for feedback. It allows students to continue learning when they are not in the classroom and can be used in a flipped classroom setting.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? Moodle can be used in any classroom and with almost any content. It can provide homework assignments in math class, additional reading in science, a place to upload written work in English Language Arts or images of artwork in art.
- What is it? Google Classroom is a multimedia site that can be used to house and distribute classroom resources.
- Why is it useful? Google Classroom allows students and teachers to communicate, discuss, and collaborate online.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in a classroom? Teachers can post online assignments, post announcements, create discussions online. Students can access videos and multimedia files, complete assessments and submit work online.
- What is it? ClassDojo is an online classroom management website. It is free for parents, students, and teachers to use.
- Why is it useful? ClassDojo allows teachers to create a classroom roster with custom aviators for students. Teachers can award positive points and "need work" points to track student behavior. There is a high "ding" noise and a low "swoosh" noise for each award and consequence. Students respond to this noise. ClassDojo also acts a medium of communication between parents and teachers through the website and apps instant messaging feature. Teachers may also upload video and pictures to the app so parents can see what is going on at school. Students and parents have access to their behavior data.
- What are some examples of ways to use it in the classroom? You can use ClassDojo in a number of different ways to track behavioral data. I find it best to allow students to hear the positive point and negative point but reframe from letting view who it is that the points are for. The noise redirects students because their parents are able to see the reports and it ties into their classroom behavior consequence and participation grade.
Are ICT-enhanced educational projects sustainable?
One aspect of development programs that is often neglected is sustainability. The long history of development aid has shown that too many projects and programs start with a bang but all too soon fade out with a whimper, to be quickly forgotten. This is true for many ICT-based educational projects as well. In many instances, these projects are initiated by third party donors—such as international aid agencies or corporations—and not enough attention is paid to establishing a mechanism by which the educational institution or community involved can pursue the project on its own or in partnership with other stakeholders after the initiating donor exits. But cost and financing are not the only barriers to sustainability. According to Cisler, the sustainability of ICT-enabled programs has four components: social, political, technological, and economic. 
Economic sustainability refers to the ability of a school and community to finance an ICT-enabled programme over the long term. Cost-effectiveness is key, as technology investments typically run high and in many cases divert funds from other equally pressing needs. Planners should look to the total cost of ownership (see preceding discussion on cost) and build lucrative partnerships with the community to be able to defray all expenses over the long term. The need to develop multiple channels of financing through community participation ties economic sustainability closely to social and political sustainability.
Social sustainability is a function of community involvement. The school does not exist in a vacuum, and for an ICT-enabled project to succeed the buy-in of parents, political leaders, business leaders and other stakeholders is essential. Innovation can happen only when all those who will be affected by it, whether directly or indirectly, know exactly why such an innovation is being introduced, what the implications are on their lives, and what part they can play in ensuring its success. ICT-enabled programs must ultimately serve the needs of the community. Thus community-wide consultation and mobilization are processes critical to sustainability. In short, a sense of ownership for the project must be developed among all stakeholders for sustainability to be achieved.
Political sustainability refers to issues of policy and leadership. One of the biggest threats to ICT-enabled projects is resistance to change. If, for instance, teachers refuse to use ICTs in their classrooms, then use of ICTs can hardly take off, much less be sustained over the long term. Because of the innovative nature of ICT-enabled projects, leaders must have a keen understanding of the innovation process, identify the corresponding requirements for successful adoption, and harmonize plans and actions accordingly.
Technological sustainability involves choosing technology that will be effective over the long term. In a rapidly changing technology environment, this becomes a particularly tricky issue as planners must contend with the threat of technological obsolescence. At the same time, there is the tendency to acquire only the latest technologies (which is understandable in part because these are the models which vendors are likely to push aggressively) Generally, however, planners should go with tried and tested systems; stability issues plague many of the latest technologies. Again, the rule of thumb is to let the learning objectives drive the technology choice and not vice versa—the latest technologies may not be the most appropriate tools for achieving the desired educational goals.When making technology decisions, planners should also factor in not just costs but also the availability of spare parts and technical support.