This week, as part of the #EDC3100 course, we have been asked to create a digital concept map presenting reasons for using ICTs in our teaching.
Creating a digital concept map was frustrating AND cathartic. I struggled initially both with suitable user-friendly software and the reasons themselves. Yet through collaboration and reflection feel comfortable with my (third) attempt at identifying some of the reasons to implement ITCs in my teaching.
Initially, my considerations primarily focussed on the inabilities associated with students who may be learning within the context of the special education classroom: intellectual, physical, emotional and behavioural impairments. I did not get very far. After perusing some of the shared concept maps by my fellow classmates, I turned my attention to abilities in learning. For me, this broke down the barrier; words flowed forth readily.
Words, words, words.
These were all very important factors; however, I felt it was a bit blah, blah, blah.
The key theme that kept returning to the forefront of my mind was BELONGING, leading from opportunities and leading to confidence. Yes, all the other factors attribute to engaging students and enhancing learning, but within the special education context, to me, one of the most important factors is belonging.
Part of my journey in completing this task involved sourcing relevant information from other courses I have undertaken or am undertaking, such as EDC2100 Managing Supportive Learning Environments and EDX2260 Teaching Science for Understanding. This lead to locating a resource for developing concept maps called Inspiration (located here).
Inspiration is a terrific site, which identifies the importance of incorporating visual learning tools in your teaching. It has specific software for students with and without special needs to maximise engagement and participation. The following is an excerpt from the Inspiration website:
Visual thinking and learning strategies have been shown to increase academic performance for students of all learning abilities. Inspiration® Software’s visual learning software is recommended for students with ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia, aphasia, and visual or auditory processing disorders. By providing multiple mediums for representation, expression and engagement, Inspiration Software tools help students visually organize and outline ideas to structure writing and improve communication and expression. All this while learning skills that enhance and make learning fun and engaging.
With Inspiration Software’s tools, students brainstorm using symbols and images to represent and sort their ideas, and create visual diagrams and graphic organizers to break work down into manageable sections. Visual learning engages students of all abilities as they work together and contribute at their individual levels.”
You might find it useful when presenting your arguments as to why you would incorporate ICTs into your teaching and as a resource to implement as part of your teaching.
I have posted my concept map to the forum as requested by David Jones, but for ease of reference include it below. I chose to use Popplet for my creation, specifically because I have not used it before and wanted to try it out. I note I have room for improvement!