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Technology in the PYP: fostering multiliteracies

I’m preparing for a workshop about technology in the PYP that will take place in Doha next month, and so I’m digging deep into the new digital resource recently published by the IB PYP: From principles into practice.  The technology section of this resource begins with describing the difference between technology integration and implementation.  I’ve written a blog post about the difference between the two just over four years ago, so will simply outline the thinking from the new resource here:

Integration is about pedagogy and ways of thinking … implementation is about the tools, infrastructure and other resources used to support learning and teaching.

Technology in the PYP is seen in broad terms:  it includes tools such as pencils, books, laptops, iPads and online resources.  Students can develop critical and creative thinking through technology, and alongside these, technology can include coding, information and communication, design and innovation.

All members of the learning community are technology teachers:  it’s everyone’s responsibility to support students in developing technology literacy, competence and confidence through the integration of technology.  It’s not just a case of developing knowledge and skills, using technology to extend learning and encouraging students to use technology to create new solutions to challenges, it’s also everyone’s responsibility to support students in making ethical choices when using technology and to help students understand and become responsible digital citizens.  As the IB’s mission is to create a better and more peaceful world, it’s also important to consider how technology can both enrich and harm, to discuss rights and responsibilities and to work with parents to help students make informed and appropriate decisions when using technology.

In order to integrate technology effectively, schools and teachers need to foster a shared understanding about the value of technology in teaching and learning, as well as encouraging agency of all members of the learning community, accessibility to learners, adaptability, and to consider how technology can support intercultural understanding, global engagement and multilingualism.  Technology supports the development of multiliteracies, for example digital literacy (knowing and using a range of digital devices), media literacy (knowing how to access, analyse, evaluate and create media), information literacy (finding and using information and data), critical literacy and design literacy.  Technology literacy encourages multimodality as both teachers and students can use any modes of expression such as print, images, animations, sounds and so on to communicate ideas and content.  Design thinking can move students beyond following instructions to find creative and innovative solutions to address opportunities and challenges.

As I plan for this upcoming PYP workshop I’m considering how best technology can help transform learning and help learners and teachers to develop an understanding of the learner profile, international mindedness and their place within a technology-rich global society.

Photo Credit: PLANETART Flickr via Compfight cc

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