Barriers to ICT education

Throughout this couse I have examined many innovative technology tools that can facilitate highly effective learning experiences. However, the obstacles that teachers often face when implementing these tools in the classroom has not been addressed.

I have brainstormed some of the key barriers that teachers face when planning and implementing ICT learning experiences below:
  • Time- creating websites, wequests, podcasts and other technological tools can be time-consuming. Teachers may only be allocated a certain amount of class time in the computer lab each week or fortnight.
  • Confidence
  • Access- Not all classrooms and schools have access to ICT tools such as interactive whiteboards.
  • Resistance or fear of change
  • Technological faults: If technological tools fail to work properly, teachers may be more reluctant to plan ICT learning experiences
Collaboration with other teachers, professional development and participation in online professional groups may assist educators to overcome these barriers.


Creating an 'ePortfolio' on Mahara for assessment task 2 has been an interesting experience. I have gained an instight into the ways in which ePortfolios may be used in educational contexts. According to Lorenzo and Ittelson (2005) ePortfolios represent students' efforts, progress and acheivements over time. Online portfolios may be used to assess students and document learning experiences.

I found Mahara to be relativley 'user-friendly'. However, I found that understanding the overall layout of Mahara to be a time-consuming process. The lack of 'help' or 'faq' links on the mahara site often led to fustration as I tried many times to insert objects with little success. After finally working out how Mahara worked, it was very easy to use.

Mahara is not a flexible tool. Layout and design options are limited. I found it difficult to align objects. Often I would move objects around, save the view and return to find that it had not saved succesfully. Perhaps this is an error in the mahara software.

I found another ePortfolio provider online, called pebblepad. I have not used or accessed pebblepad, however it is interesting to note that there are other ePortfolio options. The image below is an example of an 'ePortfolio' from pebblepad.

After investigating ePortfolios I can not see any difference between ePortfolios and websites. Websites can be formatted to look like 'ePortfolios'. Perhaps an effective ePortfolio software tool should contain templates for resumes, graphic organisers and flexible design options.



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Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, June, 1-12.

Brady, L. (2006). Collaborative Learning in Action. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

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Reflective Synopsis

Communication technology has radically changed the ways in which we communicate and learn (Smith, Lynch & Knight, 2007). Contemporary society is marked by dramatic socio-economic changes (Smith & Lynch, 2006). Educators need to assist learners to cope with an ever-changing world. The constant emergence of new technologies means that students need to quickly adapt their skills to utilise the latest information and communication tools.

Incorporating information communication technology into learning experiences enables students to access vast amounts of information and collaborate in highly effective and innovative ways (Smith, Lynch & Knight, 2007). Technology provides students with opportunities to participate in activities that involve active cognitive processes, such as creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluating (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999).

This course has provided me with many tools, which can be used to facilitate highly effective learning experiences, that will equip students with the skills to cope in a rapidly changing world. Prior to beginning the course I had used some of the technological tools that we were required to investigate. However, I had not examined these tools through an educational lens. I discovered the versatility and possibilities of a myriad of technological tools.

The Active Learning and ICT design framework and Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement theory acknowledge the need for educators to incorporate technology into learning experiences. The ICT design framework emphasises the need for ICT learning experiences to be carefully designed and facilitated through effective learning resources, tasks and supports (Oliver, 1999). Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement Theory suggests that learners need to be engaged in meaningful, collaborative, creative and self-directed experiences involving technology (Kearsley and Schneiderman, 1999).

Throughout this course I have examined a variety of technologies which, when used according to the Engagement Theory and ICT design framework, can be used to facilitate effective learning experiences. Killen (2007) suggests that learning experiences that involve problem-solving, reasoning, decision making, critical reflection and evaluation promote higher-order thinking. These processes are central to Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement theory (1999). According to Education Queensland higher-order thinking involves “... the transformation of ideas and knowledge” (2002, p.1). When technology is used in collaborative ways to encourage students to reflect, explain, create, problem-solve and synthesise ideas, it can be an extremely effective means of facilitating learning experiences which promote higher-order thinking.

By critically examining technological tools, I have discovered that ICT’s are not a ‘magic pedagogical wand’. ICT’s may not always create engaging, meaningful and effective learning experiences. However, using ICT’s to support meaningful learning experiences that are linked to ‘real world’ contexts can enhance learning (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999). Learning experiences which involve ICT’s require careful planning and reflection. Teachers need to identify the purpose and effectiveness of technological tools before utilising them in the classroom.

After evaluating the technological tools outlined in the course, I believe that the most versatile tools are Blogs, Wikis, Interactive Whiteboards, Websites, Podcasting, Webquests, VoiceThread and Learning Management Systems. Critically analysing these tools enabled me to identify how they can support effective pedagogical practices. These tools enable users to upload and interact with a range of resources. However, the effectiveness of these tools can be limited by unengaging and irrelevant learning experiences. When these tools are implemented correctly, they can facilitate collaborative, creative and authentic learning experiences which align with Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement Theory (1999).

Tools such as Vokis, Powerpoints, Flickr, YouTube, Picnik, animations and simulations, online quizzes, GoogleEarth, MediaFire, online music and SPARK, can be used in isolation or in conjunction with more versatile tools to enhance learning experiences. These tools may not be used as a focus for a learning experience. However, they are still valuable resources that can be used as a ‘hook’ to engage students, encourage creativity and higher-order thinking. According to the ICT design framework these tools can be valuable learning resources that support learners to conduct tasks (Oliver, 1999).

I have also pushed myself to discover new technological tools such as Wordle, Image Chef, Flickr tools, Infographic videos, Rubistar, ZinePal and Glogster. These tools can also be used to support engaging and meaningful learning experiences.

Participating in the discussion forums for this course and commenting and receiving comments on blogs enabled me to reach deeper understandings. Online collaboration provided me with opportunities to question, reflect and discover different perspectives.

According to Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) learners need to be engaged for effective learning to occur. Learning experiences which facilitate high levels of engagement involve collaboration and authentic problems. These learning experiences must be supported by meaningful and effective resources and supports (Oliver, 1999). By incorporating the ICT learning design framework (1999) and Kearsley and Schneiderman’s engagement theory (1999) into pedagogical practices educators can facilitate highly effective learning experiences. To equip learners with the skills to cope with a rapidly changing world create engaging learning experiences, learning managers must incorporate ICT’s into learning experiences.

Learning Management Systems

A learning management System (LMS) is software that enables teachers to build online courses which provide students with opportunities to gather information, collaborate and communicate. Blackboard is a LMS.

Throughout my three years at University I have used Blackboard for many courses. I find blackboard extremely easy to use. I have seen many blackboard course sites. Some of these were highly effective and became a space in which students could reflect, share thoughts, access further information and explore many different resources. Some blackboard sites were simply a means of providing further information to students. When blackboard sites are carefully designed they can be engaging and innovative learning resources.

Using moodle for this course has given me an insight into this Learning Management System’s capabilities. Moodle seems to facilitate collaborative learning in a much more effective way than blackboard. Moodle encourages collaboration and aligns with Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement theory which claims that learners need to engage in collaborative experiences (1999).

SPARK and Glogster

Although SPARK (Self and Peer Assessment Resource Kit) was listed as a tool to evaluate as part of this course, the site is no longer available to access. A new version of SPARK is currently being developed.

The new version of SPARK will enable students to confidentially rate their own and their peers’ contributions to group projects. Brady and Kennedy (2005) suggest that peer assessment can be a powerful tool for providing students with a sense of ownership over their learning. SPARK can be used to engage students in collaborative projects. SPARK could align with Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement Theory which suggests that students need to be actively involved in engaging, collaborative learning experiences (1999).

Below is a screenshot of what the newly developed SPARK site could look like.

*Image retrieved from:


I found another interesting tool on the internet. Glogster could be described as a ‘digital scrapbook’ which enables users to document their learning experiences in innovative and creative ways. Videos, audio files, images and text can be incorporated into glogster posters.

The image below is of a ‘glogster’ that was incorporated into school library wiki.

Glogster is a versatile tool that can be used to facilitate innovative and interactive learning experiences. Students could work collaboratively to create a glogster for a class presentation. This learning experience could align with Kearsley and Schneiderman’s engagement theory which suggests that learning should be a collaborative process (1999).

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