Managing technologies education

Resources

Every class is different because the learners and their context are different. Teachers are different too, in experience, skills, interests and personality. Given those differences it is unlikely that one teacher will pick up and use a lesson plan or other curriculum resources from another teacher exactly as it is. There will be some adaptation, subtle or not so subtle, to accommodate the differences in context and style.

Nevertheless, even if you never use a resource exactly as it has been used by another teacher, access to resources is important. It will almost always be quicker and easier to adapt something that already exists rather than develop from nothing more than an idea. Moreover, even ideas have to come from somewhere and that is often something that somebody else has done previously even if that sometimes is as much a guide to what to avoid as to what to do. Locating and sharing resources is important work for teachers.

Resource evaluations

Among a vast range of resources, some will be excellent and applicable, some will not. Locating and assessing the entire range is clearly more work than can be accomplished by a single teacher in reasonable time. Hence there is a need for evaluations of resources to assist with deciding which are worth the time and effort to access and consider for use and there is value in sharing discoveries with colleagues within schools and further afield. Working cooperatively can benefit everybody, teachers and learners.

Evaluations of resources may be available from a variety of sources including education systems, employers, curriculum agencies, professional associations, and teacher managed websites. In some cases teacher sites might be blogs but sites like Pinterest are increasingly popular as ways to collect and share links to teaching ideas and resources. See, for example, https://au.pinterest.com/jaybee25/ and https://au.pinterest.com/hgutke/, which are just two of many Pinterest sites maintained by teachers with a mix of professional and personal links.

Criteria you might consider in evaluation of resources include:

Reviewing resources and making those reviews available for later reference by yourself and others is a useful activity. In constructing a review it is helpful to think about and answer the questions that you would want answered in a review. Using a simple standard format for reviews can facilitate the processes of reviewing and referring to reviews provided by others in the search for suitable resources. Useful reviews of a resource will answer key questions including:

  1. Where can can I get it?
  2. How much will it cost?
  3. What levels of education does it suit?
  4. How does it link to curriculum?
  5. How might I use it in a class?
  6. How do children respond to the use of the resource?

The presentation includes suggestions, comments and links to a variety of locations where resources for technology education may be found. Core sources include curriculum agencies, professional associations, education systems & employers, museums & government departments, commercial publishers, journals & magazines. All of these and more may be worth exploring for resources that can be adapted for use in your classes.

Links to resources

Australian Curriculum

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Education systems and employers

Professional associations - Australia

These associations are focused on ICT in education and digital technologies but also have active interests in the broader technologies curriculum and provide professional development and resources.

Professional associations - International

Museums

Journals & magazines

Other resources

Assessment

QCAA offers ACiQ (Australian Curriculum in Queensland) assessment and reporting advice and guidelines in two documents, for P-2 and 3-6. The assessment model works from the achievement standards of the Australian Curriculum to a set of standards elaborations on a 5-point (A to E) scale that describes how well learners have demonstrated the knowledge, understanding and skills described in the curriculum. Judgements are made by teachers based on a folio of work produced by each learner and then reported on a 5-point (A to E) scale. The expectation is that the folio would include samples of work from multiple assessments over a period of time.

In addition to the guidelines, the QCAA site offers documents to support planning for teaching and assessment. For planning the curriculum there is a band planning template and example plans from each of the subject areas in each band, F-2, 3-4, and 5-6. The example plans include overviews of units that might be used to address content descriptions and descriptions of projects that could be used for associated assessment tasks. For each subject there are standards elaborations that are intended for use in developing task-specific standards which may be prepared as a matrix or a set of continua. Templates are provided for both formats. QCAA has a set of short videos to assist teachers with developing assessment.

Safety

As discussed in Module 5, learning and teaching of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies inevitably involves active learning with learners engaging in a variety of activities. Safety will be a necessary consideration in planning and implementing the activities. The curriculum offers brief comments under the heading of safety with a focus on managing risk. Similar advice is included in the QCAA documents that support planning.

Physical risks will be a consideration when learners are working with tools and equipment but there are different risks associated with working online. Additional care will be needed when dealing with aspects of the curriculum that involve learners working with food. Care is needed to ensure good hygiene and to avoid risks associated with allergic reactions to particular foods. Teachers need to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to manage them appropriately. School systems and individual schools will have guidelines that should be consulted.