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The technological progress has changed tremendously the structure in which we perform our daily chores. It is imperative that the role of educational institutions is to equip their learners with the right technological skills indispensable when assimilating with the wider community (Broadly, 2007). Schools, universities and organizations have been actively examining the emerging technologies for their potential impact on teaching and learning (Fritsch & Wolf, 2012; Johnson et al, 2012; Victoria DEECD, n.d; ACU, 2012). The i-Pad/tablet has been exceptionally well received by both teachers and learners as its integration into the curriculum proved to increase engagement and enhance learning experiences (Johnson et al, 2012).
The prevalence of combining e-learning with the f2f has impacted on curriculum delivery probing educational institutions and organizations to look at the quality of learning with positive gains. In order to continue our successful programmes, Navitas will need to widen the windows of opportunities available in educational technology. This is the right time to delve and embrace more innovative, versatile and empowering tools supporting the way the future education system should be today and in the future (Victoria DEECD*, n.d).
The paper explores the necessity of incorporation of m -learning technology for teaching and learning at Navitas. Navitas has vital roles to act upon in order to meet individuals, government, community and industry's needs (Navitas English, 2012). The English Programme serves over 25,000 students a year (Navitas English, 2012) and, the number is growing. The current migrant learners are technology oriented, and they have high expectation on what they will receive at Navitas. The organization's mission is to create opportunities for lifelong learning and guarantee relevant training and learning significant to the 21st century education (Navitas, 2012). For this, it has a strong commitment and dedication to enhancing students' learning experience by tapping on the current technology tools available.
1.2 The need and choice of technology
Students coming to class are already immersed in using new devices. They download apps, use social network and play online games. Therefore when they enter a formal learning they expect similar interactions in the classroom.
Further, the abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators. This, education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborative models. Therefore, incorporating the i-pad/tablet technology in the AMEP/LLNP classroom will provide the right choice of challenge based and active learning. Tablet interaction allows students engagement. It also meets the needs of varied groupings of learners. The various component features such as portability, sustainability, compactness, large display, and touch screen make tablets ideal devices for teaching and learning. The ipad/tablet was primarily designed with the interest of adult individuals. Thus, its user-friendly applications packages suit all learners even if they have no prior engagement with innovative tools. My personal experience, in the AMEP/LLNP, highlighted that adult learners interact better with tablet/ipad than computer or laptops. Couple of my elderly adult learners have never approached a personal computer/ laptop but used i-pad with ease. This is formidable finding, is an indicative to consider the provision of tablets in the AMEP/LLNP classroom.
1.3 The technology gap
The student population that Navitas admits is considerably large. At present, the population stands at 25 000 students per year (Navitas English, 2012) and there is the anticipation that the number will grow in the future. The computers currently available are not sufficient to cater for the population. Furthermore, the computers available do not have in built multimedia features such as the webcam. This limits the interactions between learners, learner's instructors, and the instructor. The lab cubby trolley used is heavy and bulky, and there is time wastage in setting the equipments for a lecture. Thus, Tablets are ideal replacement to the current cumbersome computer laboratory equipments, video equipment, and various other expensive tools that are not nearly as portable or as inexpensive (Johnson et al, 2012, p.14).
The use of tablet in teaching is possible. Extensive studies have been undertaking to measure the benefits associated with the integration of ipads acquired them a listing in the 2012 Horizon Report, as one of the top five emerging technologies with one or less year 'time- to- adoption' (Johnson et al, 2012, p.14). The DEECD of Victoria has dedicated an entire 'i-pad for Education' website for parties interested in using i-pads. The department highlights the combination of the device's compact size and multiple computer capabilities and interactivity is significant to teaching and learning (Educause 2011, Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, n.d).
- Learner- centered
-Appropriate boradband demands
-Equity and accessibility
-Reliable and robust
-Purpose use of media
-Inclusive of materials
1.5 The technology framework
Source: Fox and Trinidad structural framework (Broadly, 2007).
Fox and Trinidad framework (Broadly, 2007) adopted describes three crucial components in developing m- technology for learning. The resources provide the learning content and delivered to student via a variety of forms with the use of m-technology. Pedagogical issues are to engage the learners. It determines how the environment develops to cater for the learners' needs and allows collaboration and learner centered environment. The adopted technology is rich with diverse features. The delivery section is how the learning environment is reliable and accessible to the learner. The design should factor in the geographic allocations of different learners. The instruction might be covering a wide range of audiences. The m-technology is flexible and will adequately provide for this. (Boradly, 2007, p.2).
1.6 The plan
System environment and infrastructure
Support of the Technology
Development of policies to guide the practice
Training and development
Source: CSU* Educational Technology plan 2011-2013
The parts of the plan adopted should be included in Navitas strategic plan, and given a priority to be implemented in accordance with Navitas' mission and visionin creating opportunities for lifelong learning and providing relevant training and learning significant to the 21st century education (Navitas, 2012). The m-technology plan should encompass the following:
1.6.1 System environment and infrastructure
This is the platform onto which the technology should be laid. It requires a strong network with high-speed wireless system. The current Internet network should be extended to support the online environment. Expand the infrastructure to support the development and introduction for teaching and teaching support staff (Uyset al, 2011, p.5).
1.6.2 Support of Technology
The technology must be supported by the administration by providing the financial support. The m-technology plan should have its own fiscal budget. This will allow all the necessary facilities to be put in place. Also, develop a framework to support staff and students (Margan & Harman, 2010).
1.6.3 Development of policies to guide the practice
In order to protect the m-technology, policies ought to be set in place. Rules, guidelines, and regulations must be set so that there is sustainability of use and operation. Develop appropriate practice to aid curriculum renewal. Include integration strategies for ethical practice guidelines (Uyset al, 2011, p.5).
1.6.4 Training and development
The Navitas community especially instructors need to be provided with the appropriate training needed on the use of the new technology. This will equip staff with skills of maintaining and using the m-technology (Uyset al, 2011).
1.7.1 Work and learn
There is an increasing demand in everyday life on the use of new devices and tools. People want easy access to information on the Internet that is current and up to date. The needs and the social media have grown tremendously creating abundant opportunities for informal learning (Johnson et al, p.4). Integrating iPad/tablet in the classroom will enrich students' formal learning experience.
1.7.2 Decentralized Information Technology
Tablets will transform the educational space as both learners and tutors use the similar hardware and software, permitting them to practice and distribute audio, video, and other teaching resources to achieve classroom objectives. There will also be the reduction of use of paper work in the classroom providing learners with easy accessibility to e-books and other materials that are interactive (Johnson et al, 2012).
1.7.3 Collaborative Changes
In the world, we are today collaboration is critical as it fosters collaborative intelligence as it enhance teamwork and communication. Students are not only assessed though group dynamics but it is coupled with the normal assessment (Johnson et al, 2012). The iPad/ tablets will allow the lecturers to shift the teaching modes and embrace the unlimited collaborative features available on this dynamic device.
1.7.4 Abundance of Resources
There are immense resources on the Internet for learning and teaching. Learners can get information anytime and anywhere. Educational organisations can pre-load course materials, digital textbooks, and other helpful resources to support their teaching material (Johnson et al, 2012). Teaching and Learning managers can work with developers to design and create applications that suit the teaching needs.
1.7.5 A Dynamic shift
Students are increasingly online searching information through several social networks. This poses challenges to institutions to leverage online resources in order to give learners the best opportunities. The hybrid model, when put in place successfully, allows learners to take advantage of the formal learning environment resources. The ipad/tablet educational features are unlimited. With tap-and-swipe you can access to dynamic diagrams, animated illustrations, illustrative videos, and updatable softwares and content, all available at a touch for interaction, examination, and in-depth investigation (Educause 2011). Providing room where education overlaps with entrainment helps capture students' attention and entice them to take ownership of their own learning (Educause 2011).
1.8.1 New models
The rapid change in technology may pose challenges in regards to:
The cost control while still maintaining quality, and catering for the needs of the rising figure of learners. Navitas foresees the fiscal burden that can inflate costs further as iPad hardware is costly and their apps have to be approved by Apple through iTunes store.
The changes of the role of the teacher and the pedagogical approach they deploy may also hinder the adaptation.
There is still a mighty gap of illiteracy of digital media despite wide spread across the globe. There is no inculcation of digital media in the curriculum. There is the lack of willingness to respond to rapid change in technology by educators. In order to curb this problem, the curriculum developers must include new technologies in the curriculum (Johnson et al, 2012).
1.8.3 Institutional barriers
Most institutions provide stringent rules that become stumbling blocks to new emerging technologies. They fear spending on new technologies in the name of obsoleteness since technology is rapidly changing (Johnson et al, 2012). The solution is that leaders must set rules that are technology friendly and give priority to technology advancement (Uys et al, 2011).
1.8.4 Radio Frequencies (Broadband)
Despite the Australian Government efforts to provide a high-speed National Broadband Network (NBN) to 100 per cent of Australian by 2015 (ABCDE*), 2012), Challenges are still remain and still affects the implementation of new technologies in many educational institutions across the nation.
In order to steer education in the 21st century, Navitas must embrace the use of iPad/tablet technology implemented in all sectors of its education system. The educationists and curriculum developers at Navitas need to inculcate iPad/tablet technology in all courses offered. The iPad/tablet technology plan outlined meets all the criteria for the implementation of the new technology plan.
The use of i-Pad/tablet technology will be of great importance to the Navitas community in that it has all the required resources for quality education. I recommend a six months pilot project to be undertaken in both AMEP and LLNP because of the following points:
1.10.1 iPad or Samsung Galaxy
Both devices need to be trialed to help in order to select the most suitable one. Collection of feedback over a wide consultation working groups carried out and it will involve the Navitas teaching staff and learners.
1.10.2 Interaction capability
Both devices need to be trialed by teachers with various and dissimilar digital skills on mixed profiles of our learners.
Has the device features and interface add value to the teaching and learning experience?
Had the device burdened/ distracted teachers and learners from their goals and objectives?
ABCDE: Australian Broadband, Communication and Digital Economy.
AMEP: Adult Migrant English Programme
BYOD: Bring Your Own Device
CSU: Charles Sturt University.
LLNP: Literacy and Numeracy Programme
NBN: National Broadband Network
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