3/18/2020 0 Comments
Philosophy of Education - Essay Example I believe that Education is the key to success and it is through education that a person receives the fundamental skills and tools that are important in building a life that is successful and prosperous. The quality of education in a country will determine the level of its success and prosperity. Therefore, as a teacher I believe that it is important for every child to receive quality education. Although quality in education is something that cannot be achieved by the teachers only, I believe teachers play a major role in improving the education quality of a country. To improve the quality of education, teachers, parents and all stakeholders in education must work together. Quality in education includes the health and participation of learners, support from family and community, availability of good learning environment, content that is relevant in real life situations and teacherâ€™s organization and proficiency. As a teacher, I believe that everyone has the ability to learn. However, for effective mastering of concepts and skills, a student must show interest in learning and willingness to participate in the learning activities. My work as a teacher is to provide good learning environment in the classroom and improve the quality of education. The arrangement or organization of the classroom can improve or inhibit learning depending on the learning patterns of each child. Therefore, by accommodating the studentsâ€™ different patterns of learning, the teacher creates an environment that is conducive for learning. Although education has always been associated with economic growth, I believe that with better quality education the economic returns can be much higher. It is also evident that increased investment in education increases political stability, democratization, improves the health of the people and reduces poverty and inequality. Thus, I am strongly convinced that it is the role of teachers to ensure that the education provided in schools is of good quality so as to realize the maximum benefits of quality education. Young minds are very critical and delicate, and teaching them is challenging and frustrating. Any indication by the teacher that he or she is not interested in a particular subject or area of study and lacks passion for learning will make the children to lose interest in the same. A teacher must convince the children of his or her knowledge and expertise for them to be willing to learn and show interest in learning. My job, as a teacher is to develop an environment that promotes learning. I am a teacher and an instructor because I posses the passion for guiding children through the process of learning and one of the best ways of fostering learning is to show the children these feelings I hold over education. I promote learning by providing a relaxed atmosphere for children, stimulating conversations on presented ideas and organizing ideas in an easy way that can be understood by the learners. I believe subject matter are interconnected thus I emphasize that everything that people learn form a world of understanding from which they develop their personal views. I also believe that showing respect to my students is important because it encourages them to be open and inspires them to respect each other and all other people. My method of teaching is that which acknowledges diversity in teaching methodologies and techniques. I believe that hands on and minds on learning are important because supplementing curriculum with other activities promotes the learning process. I am certain that by involving the learners in fascinating lessons and making use of strategies which address their learning styles, they can achieve success in academics and have self confidence in the learning process. Learning only takes place when the children are fully engaged in the learning process, are personally connected to the concept taught and use the knowledge acquired in real life situations. Therefore, when this happens a child is encouraged to be engaged over and
Customer Care And Complaint Resolution Policies Commerce Essay At Romans Pizza, According to Chenet and Johansen (2006) customer care is the ability to inspire trust by being courteous, knowing ones products and understanding the customers needs. Complaint Resolution Policies are defined as To see the analysis of customer care and complaint resolution policies at Romans Pizza, this project consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 will explain the background and brief description of Romans Pizza which will be including the background of Romans pizza, about the good and the service of the product and lastly about the industry. While chapter 2 is based on customer care policy, vision and mission statement of Romans Pizza and their impacts on customer care operations. In chapter 3 all complaints which Romans Pizza face frequently will be touched and ways of logging complaints by customers and who is responsible for attending customers complaints. Chapter 4 will look at the resolution process followed by Romans Pizza and turn around time taken to resolve the complaints and how the VIP customers are handled while chapter 5 will focus on the review process of the complaints raised by customers including how the escalations are handled and how complaint resolution closed. However as researchers we will also recommend to the management in terms of how they can improve on customer service considering that this is a more competitive and even globalized world .this research work shall be handed over to management. CHAPTER 1 THE FIRM Researchers used Romans Pizza Time Beaters (Pvt) Ltd as a case study and conducted a research based on an Analysis of Customer Care and Complaint resolution Policies. This firm was found in 1993 when Arthur Nicolakakis bought over a struggling Pizzeria. He had a vision to provide the best quality product at the lowest price. Its goal today is still to be the best value for money in the industry. Here in Botswana its operations started in September 2010, opening a single outlet in Gaborone which is located at Game City mall. It is said to be opening other operations in Francistown-Blue Jacket Street, Phakalane, and Square Mart Mall. The competition in this industry is very tough as new entrants enter in succession. PRODUCTS It is producing and selling pizzas. They range from sizes small, medium and large. A customer can either book for a pizza over the phone or in person, and it takes about 10 minutes for it to be ready. Various pizzas are produced with different flavours and taste depending on the ingredients used by the production department at Romans Pizza Time Beaters (Pvt) Ltd. They also sell beverages such as water and soft drinks. THE INDUSRTY Romans Pizza Time Beaters (Pvt) Ltd falls under hotel catering industry. Its competitors include Debonairs Pizza, other restaurants who are selling the same products and Pizza Den. Romans Pizza Time Beaters (Pty) Ltd has also branches in South Africa. Time Beaters (Pvt) Ltd was incorporated in 2010 to provide timely and precise transportation to product providers. CHAPTER 2 CUSTOMER CARE POLICY AND VISION Customer care policy refers to the guide lines that are adhered by the organization when it is dealing with the customers whenever there is a problem. Usually such issues are expressed in vision and mission of the company in relation to the customers. MISSION Mission refers to what an organization aim for its purpose and existence as a supplier or producer of goods and provider of a service to the organization, (Schermerhorn, 2008). Romans Pizza Time Beaters (Pvt) Ltd mission is The Pledge Every Romans Pizza meal is made from the finest imported ingredients, all the way from Greece and Italy, as well as the freshest local ingredients. All meals are prepared to order and are therefore guaranteed to be fresh, delicious and straight from t he oven. The staffs ensure that the pizza experience is truly fit for a king. These are pizza perfectionists, it with and can prove it with the proud and passionate price promotion. Vision refers to the future predictions of the business in relation to what it offers in terms of services that it offer, (Schermerhorn, 2008). Romans Pizzas vision is to be one of the best in selling pizza and to provide customers with the best value and to provide the best quality product at the lowest price. Its goal today is still to be the best value for money in the industry. IMPACTS OF THE MISSION ON CUSTOMERS This mission has a very big effect on customers as what comes into their mind immediately they see the mission statements. They will opt to buy at Romans Pizza because most customers like to be associated with value and quality. So if Romans Pizza does not live up with the expectation of the customers that may work against their success of the business and mission. CHAPTER 3 FREQUENTLY FACED COMPLAINTS Definition of a complaint According to Chenet and Johansen (2006) a complaint is a chance of introspecting what could have been gone wrong and caused dissatisfaction. It can also be referred to as an expression of any dissatisfaction. Ways of logging in the complaints Customers who are willing to complain can pose their complaints via the companys telephone number The company also has a suggestion box displayed on the counter. What management do they will summon all the staff and brief them about the complaints raised by customers and coming up with a solution. The other mode of complaining by customers is through face-to-face. This includes face to face interaction between the customer, and a customer service representative of romans pizza, and then the matter is solved in the floor. The customers are supposed to report their complaints to the sales representative before reaching the manager. Process of logging in the complaints Customers have a way or process of complaining that is arranged by management of Romans Pizza. First of all, complaining customers raise their complaints to the sales representative. The sales representative can resolve the matter at hand if it does not require the top management. If the sales representative is failing to solve the matter, it is then directed directly to the manager. At Romans Pizza complaint numbers are not issued as complaints which are raised by customers are very average and minimal and they do not take long to solve a complaint so this avoid keeping customers waiting. Commonly raised complaints from customers Some of the complaints which are frequently by customers are as follows; Waiting period Sometimes customers say they take a very long time waiting for the pizza to be ready. Some customers order hot pizzas and want them right away but according to the Production manager, a single pizza takes about 10 minutes to be well cooked. Hygiene The level of hygiene at Romans Pizza does not impress some customers because one of the customers stated that it is not clean since there are always flies in the eating area, and the producers or cooks do not put on their hats properly thus chances of their hair falling in the food are very high. Wrong orders Another complaint that is raised is a mismatch of the product that customers have ordered. For instance, a customer might order a pizza in thick flavour and the seller can probably give the customer a thin base. This is usually due to many customers buying at the same time. The number of complaints that management of Romans pizza handle in a day cannot be measured as sometimes there are no complaints at all. In some days, one-two or three complaints can be raised and most of the time there are no complaints raised, they are very average in terms of number. CHAPTER 4 THE RESOLUTION PROCESS THE COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESS (LIST) Complaint resolution processes are the steps which are used by management of a business by way A company can use the `LIST` method of solving a raised complaint by a customer. What happens is that when a customer is dissatisfied with any service pertaining a company in which he or she interacted he will be listened to. After a customer has complained and listened to the customer service provider will then isolate the core and associated problems by asking the complainer some questions. Then the service provider will then solve the problem as quickly as possible and by so doing the customer will be informed. The last step of this method is to take the feedback from the customer to ensure that he is satisfied. Researchers have discovered that Romans Pizza also use the same procedure while trying to solve complaints raised by customers. First of all management listen to a complaint raised by customers and look at where could have been the problem by asking the customer some questions that are related to the complaint. A service provider will make sort of a dialogue with the customer and if its a minor issue that can be solved by a service provider he will promptly solve it and if it requires the manager it will be passed on where he will settle the complaint. After all respond will be taken from the customer and will be informed. Usually each and every complaint is resolved using this same procedure. Escalation process Refers to Standard Turn around time Refers to time set to completing a process or an event that was done previously, (Kotelnikov, 2001). As different customers uses different means of logging in complaints so the turn around time also differs at Romans Pizza and depend on the type of complaints raised, but usually a complaint that is raised over the phone takes about 5 minutes to be solved and face-to-face complaint takes a very short time which is usually 2 minutes. Definition of Deviations Chenet and Johansen (2006) define deviations as a change from an agreement. As for the resolution process each and every customer is given the same priority and the process is the same while attending customers, even VIP customers. According to the customer service provider at Romans Pizza what the customer asks they provide in terms of services and said they appreciate customers complaints as they help in capitalising the mistakes done so as to work on it so that it can never repeat again. CHAPTER 5 THE REVIEW PROCESS ANALYSIS OF COMPLAINTS The staffs of Romans Pizza normally handle meetings every week after the complaints have been collected. They then try to come up with ideas as to how to solve those complaints and strategies to ensure customer satisfaction. They can make themselves better in giving the good customer service which makes them a good competitor against other rivals. HANDLING OF ESCALATIONS Romans Pizza normally make sure that those complaints that are frequently raised by the customers are known throughout the company so that those kinds of complaints can be prevented in the future. TURNAROUND TIME This refers to a set offered for completing a process or on event as done in the previous process or an event (Kotelnikov, 2001). The maximum time taken to resolve the customers complaint does not take more than 30 minutes. Time is considered as money at Romans Pizza the moment a complaint arise the customer care providers immediately takes action and if the complaint is not solved the manager is engaged to assist to solve the problem. This process does not take hour since the customer might lose patience and confidence in the company. COMPLAINT RESOLUTION CLOSURE At the end the branch manager of Romans Pizza should solve customers complaint fairly, that is to say the branch manager should be and give the customer compensation to ensure customer satisfaction and create a good image for the company. After the sale customer satisfaction is checked by calling back the customer to find out if they are satisfied with decision taken to solve the complaints. Conclusion To sum up the project, researchers can conclude that customer service is an integral part in a business for it to be successful and if it provides good quality service, more customers can be obtained and existing customers retained. Thats what Romans Pizza and Time Beaters (Pvt) Ltd is trying to do and if they keep on serving customers with quality they can gain edge over their competitors. Recommendations Romans pizza should improve the hygienic state of their company since it is not good for the health of the customer. The waitress must pay attention when the customers place orders and also brief about the variety of pizzas available in order to avoid mismatch in the products. Also the time estimated for the pizza to be ready should be taken into consideration because sometimes the time promised to the customers for the pizza to be ready is exceeded. The Romans pizza should not take more time to place the orders and should not make the customers to wait for a long time .
ICT for Special Educational Needs Support
The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the use of computers in education and offers enormous potential to teachers and pupils.Â There is a growing number of consistent evidence which shows that ICT can and does improve learning outcomes, particularly in the core subjects of English and Mathematics (Cox et al, 2003).Â Providing high quality software is matched to the specific needs of the individual, it can act as an effective and powerful tool in learning. While it cannot replace high quality teaching, it can enhance the learning process.
The application of ICT to teaching and learning can provide many benefits such as, facilitating communication, increase access to information, improve motivation, increase problem solving capabilities and enable deeper understanding of complex ideas. ICT can provide pupils with special educational needs improved access to learning and areas of the curriculum which may have been previously inaccessible.
According to Westwood (2003),
â€œThe largest single group of students with special needs comprises those with general and specific learning difficulties that are not related to any disability or impairment. Estimates suggest that this may be close to 20 per cent of the school population.Â These learning difficulties most frequently manifest themselves as problems in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skillsâ€™ which impact adversely on a childâ€™s ability to learn in most subjects across the curriculum.â€
(Westwood, 2003, P5)
The Audit Commission reports that one in five children in England and Wales has Special Educational Needs (SEN). This includes students with serious physical or learning difficulties but also many students whose reading, writing and numeracy skills develop slowly. Special needs include conditions such as dyslexia, physical disabilities, speech and language disorders, visual impairment, hearing loss, difficulties in communication, and emotional and behavioural difficulties.Â
In recent years, there has been an increase in evidence that technology can help these children overcome their communication and physical difficulties, so that they can be included in lesson activities and access a wider curriculum, as suggested by the Irish body, the Education of Science Department (ESD) in The Learning-Support Guidelines (2000),
â€œâ€˜Interactive computer-based systems allow the possibility of individualising the educational process to accommodate the needs, interests and learning styles of individual pupils. Individualised planning is fundamental to the successful use of ICT in supplementary teaching as it is to other forms of Learning Support. The planning process would include identifying a pupilâ€™s individual learning needs and considering how ICT might be used to meet those needs.â€
(ESD, 2000, P86-87)
Every learner has an entitlement to all the elements of cognitive, literacy and cultural learning. This belief is generally shared by all working with learners who experience any kind of difficulty, for whatever reason.Â The introduction of the national Curriculum and the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (DfE, 1994), superseded by the new Code of Practice (2002), have given teachers the opportunity to put this clearly into practice because they provide and support a curriculum for all.Â It is explicit in the National Curriculum that all learners have a right to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, which makes it difficult to exclude any learners from this entitlement.Â Stansfield (2001) believes that incorporating ICT support strategies can be advantageous in making this occur.
â€œFor learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN), the use of ICT can convert this entitlement to reality.Â The National Curriculum makes clear in each subject document that ICT should be used where appropriate, to support this process.â€
(Stansfield, 2001, P5)
The National Curriculum (1999) identifies with this and makes clear in each subject document that ICT should be used where appropriate, to support this process.
Appropriate provision should be made for pupils who need to use:
Means of communication other than speech, including computers, technological aids, signing, symbols or lip-reading;
Technological aids in practical and written work;
Aids or adapted equipment to allow access to practical activities with and beyond school
(National Curriculum, 1999)
In Wales, the government have recently put forward their vision for education for Wales in the 21st Century, with a far stronger emphasis on including all learners and the use of ICT to support this.Â The Learning Country: Vision into Action, (DELLS, 2006) highlights the need for a learner-centred curriculum if standards are to be raised and all learnersâ€™ experiences of education improved.Â The document makes clear that all learners means just that â€“Â including pupils with learning difficulties, specific disabilities and motivation problems; those who are gifted and talented, from different ethnic/cultural groups and looked after children.Â
This vision was further realised and put into place through the National Curriculum for Wales 2008, further emphasising the importance of these key issues that are central to my research.Â The document Making the Most of Learning (2008a) clarifies this, suggesting that theâ€¦
â€œâ€¦development and application of thinking, communication and skills across the curriculum for all learners, schools should choose material that will:
provide a meaningful, relevant and motivating curriculum
meet the specific needs of learners and further their all-round development.
So that the revised national curriculum subject orders and frameworks are truly learner-centred,â€
(DELLS, 2008a, P4)
Legislation promotes the notion that students with SEN should have access to ICT.Â ICT is incorporated into the National Curriculum and therefore access should be made to a range of devices to promote inclusion.Â Access devices, such as switches, keyboard alternatives, key-guards and joy-sticks can help learners with physical difficulties to use a computer, and enable them to access the same curriculum as their peers.Â
Pupils, who have literacy difficulties or an impaired visual disability, should also have access to enlarged texts or speech devices and equipment in order that it is possible to hear the words and text in the way that children who do not have SEN, can read without encountering any problems.Â For some students technology may be the only way to ensure they can make their thoughts and needs known.Â For them, access to appropriate ICT-based solutions possibly provides the only chance of participating in society and realising their full potential.
Given the vital role that ICT can play in helping children with special needs to communicate and be involved in learning, it is disappointing that there is relatively little research published in academic journals regarding the use of ICT to support inclusive practice.Â Many sources of information include reports from charities and policy organisations with expertise in the area of special needs.Â Amongst these groups there are a growing number of small-scale case studies being undertaken (BECTA, BDA), showing the difference that ICT can make to individuals both at school and at home. Many of these case studies are powerful evidence of the potential that technology has in making a profound difference for students.Â Such studies may also provide teachers with examples of the use of different types of ICT in varying circumstances, some of which may be applicable to their own students.Â Hence even though these case studies may be small-scale, they can be of significant value.
The promise that technology brings to education has yet to be truly implemented across all schools successfully which is perplexing due to the strong evidence that permeates throughout educational research and government policy, even though minimal.Â There are clearly many obstacles or barriers for schools to progress with the successful application of ICT for supporting their learners, whether this is due to financial support, time, misguidance or even technology overload it is unclear.Â Therefore I needed to carry out my own research to investigate the potential of ICT supporting pupils with SEN and share my findings with others to support the development of ICT based pedagogy.Â
1.2 The Research Organisation and Aims
This research will set out to investigate the potential of implementing an ICT intervention strategy to support the learning and development of pupils with special educational needs.Â This will be carried out by undertaking an extensive literature review of the current research and recommendations within this field.Â This will then be reflected upon, in order to acquire a clear understanding of the possibilities, features and problems related to such an intervention approach.Â The information gathered through the literature review will be used to inform a Case Study, focusing on how the implementation of various ICT support techniques could provide an individual pupil, with specific learning needs, improved access to the National Curriculum.
In consultation with the schoolâ€™s SEN team, it was decided that Pupil A would benefit from the intervention strategies, a child with mild/moderate learning difficulties who was receiving one-to-one support 15 hours a week with a Teaching Assistant.Â However, shortly after initiating participant training, pupil discussion and implementation of the intervention strategies adopted, an unexpected problem occurred with the whole Case Study.Â The parent of Pupil A had been offered a new job which meant that the family had to move out of the area and the school â€“ the research site.Â Therefore, the discussion process got underway once more, in the search for a pupil who would benefit from such an intervention process, while being supportive to the research study.
I finally decided upon inviting Pupil B to take part in my study, due to the similarities in the difficulties experiencing access to the curriculum as with Pupil A.Â Pupil B has been diagnosed with Dyslexia and is currently receiving 15 hours of support per week and is located in the same class as pupil A, therefore the class teacher could still participate. Coupled with this similarity of circumstance for selection, was a point made within Pupil Bâ€™s Occupational Therapy Assessment Report (Appendix 10), specifying the recommendation for an ICT intervention strategy in order to support the recording of his thinking and learning.
â€œAs a Year 5 pupil it is important for ****** â€˜s long-term recording needs to be developed to permit speed and endurance in order for him to devote his attention to content of work i.e. sentence construction, punctuation, etc.Â Development of IT skills and a measured approach to written recording is therefore recommended.â€
This proved to be an ideal solution for the research, though more importantly for the pupilâ€™s needs.Â The Pupil Profile section within Chapter 4 highlights the main issues regarding Pupil Bâ€™s learning difficulties and the nature of support he requires due to his dyslexia.Â Keates (2000) explains that one of the main groups of people with Special Educational Needs who could potentially obtain many benefits from ICT is those with dyslexia.
â€œDyslexic pupils face some difficulties in the school including problems in the processing of sound and note-taking. ICT gives access to the curriculum of the subject being taught for dyslexic pupils. Dyslexic pupils often respond positively and quickly to using computer systems, fast realising the support, facilitation and access to a learning environment that ICT affords them.â€
(Keates, 2000, P4)
These are the main reasons for the focus on Dyslexia within this research and the selection of a pupil for the Case Study who possesses this condition. Therefore, coupled with the time frame available and considering the nature of the research site, this selection was deemed the most feasible, in respect to gauging any effect on standards and ability levels through the inclusion of ICT intervention strategies.Â In order to measure any improvements a series of pre-test and post-tests will be carried out and comparison made.Â Through this approach, an analysis of reading, writing and spelling will be undertaken, which are the main concerns highlighted within his Individual Education Plan and SEN statement.
When considering all of these issues two questions were generated in my head which became the Key Research Questions, which act as a guide and focus.
Key Question 1: Why adopt ICT in Learning Support for pupils with Special Educational Needs?
Key Question 2: How can ICT encourage and facilitate teachers and peers engagement in supportive learning, in a more productive way than might otherwise happen?Â
These questions are considered throughout the whole research and are reflected on when considering recommendations from literature in the field, examined and discussed within the following Chapter 2.Â The research methodologies adopted throughout this inquiry are described in detail in Chapter 3.Â While Chapter 4 provides a detailed report of the Case Study carried out with specific reference to the overriding research questions.
Finally, Chapter 5 contains a presentation and analysis of the findings exposing the successful outcomes and issues arising from the Case Study.Â Conclusions are related and compared with that of claims made by literature within the field in order to justify inferences.Â The concluding chapter also offers recommendations for further research and intervention processes for implementing ICT strategies for supporting pupils with SEN.
The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs CHAPTER 2:
Technology and Pedagogy
Although the use of ICT in mainstream education has its origins in the 1970s, it has only been in recent years that the government has identified the importance of and paid special attention to the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)Â in Special Educational Needs (SEN).Â Investment in ICT and the development of policy and practice in meeting SEN requirements have created unprecedented opportunity for the inclusion of all pupils in meaningful learning experiences.
This recent and welcomed emphasis on inclusion, coupled with the ever-advancing technologies, have stimulated much interest in using various ICT applications for both individualised learning and for integrating pupils with disabilities into a mainstream school environment.Â This chapter provides an overview of some of the issues regarding teaching and learning with technology to support SEN, while exploring the polarized opinions that run through research and literature within this field and the possibilities which these two merging areas within education can provide an individual learner.
Davitt (2005), suggest that even though for many decades educationalists and ICT specialists have advocated the potential benefits of using ICT to support and extend learning opportunities, both in mainstream and special education, it is only in recent years that research in this fieldÂ is beginning to gain substantial momentum.Â Underlying this faith in ICT, whether acknowledged or not, are clear assumptions about the way in which children learn and the attributes of ICT.Â The learning theories that are core to most ICT learning to date are considered by Jones and Mercer to,
â€œâ€¦embody a strongly individualistic conception of learning which has dominated learning theory and educational practice in this fieldâ€
(Jones and Mercer, 1993, P19)
Many writers have extolled the benefits of using ICT in a learning environment with SEN, suggesting that technology can act as a great equaliser in overcoming or compensating for differences among learners. See, for example, the Code of Practice on Special Educational Needs (DfEE, 1998a), the Green Paper on Special Educational Needs (DfEE, 1997) and the SEN action programme (DfEE, 1998b) which recommends that;
â€œThere will be more effective and widespread use of Information and Communications Technology to support the education of children with special educational needs, both in mainstream and special schoolsâ€
(DfEE, 1998b, P26)
This idea has important implications for learners with disabilities and special educational needs because it suggests that technology can help create the conditions for equal opportunity to learn and equal access to the curriculum for all.Â The appeal of technology as an equaliser for learners with special educational needs is borne out in the many materials that have been developed to address special educational needs.Â In particular is the formerly National Council for Educational Technology (NCET) now British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), who provide a range of information to help identify technologies to aid the learning process of pupils with special needs.Â BECTA are the body advising the government on the use of technology in education and published a compendium of research findings entitled â€˜IT works!â€™ (See Appendix: 1)
The report made as many as 27 assertions with supportive references from research, however, the assertions made here may need to be seen in the context of a government trying to re-affirm and justify a belief in the educational potential of new technologies.Â Nevertheless, they can offer a useful starting point for a discussion of the potential of ICT to enhance pupilsâ€™ learning.
Professional magazines and trade shows also offer a dazzling array of devices and programmes covering all areas of the curriculum and all types of learning difficulties.Â For example, the official magazine of the UKâ€™s National Association for Special Educational Needs, â€˜Specialâ€™, contains an ICT guide as a regular feature.Â This feature explores a range of issues from reviews of programmes to the skills that teaching assistants need to support learners.Â
It covers all types of learning with technology for all kinds of learners.Â Many ICT hardware and software developers such as the Semerc group currently provide training for teachers and support workers to develop their professional practice and provision for pupils with SEN requirements who use their product.
2.2 The Information Supermarket Highway
The plethora of available information, software titles and hardware strategies covered under the heading ICT and SEN can be daunting.Â In the pressurised world of teaching, there is little opportunity to think critically about what is available or how it should be used and would this best match an individual pupil.Â In a review of the instructional effectiveness of technology for pupils with SEN, Woodward et al. (2001) examined the research on software curriculum, specifically designed for pupils with such needs.Â They identified a number of design variables thought to affect academic outcomes for pupils with SEN, such as the type of feedback, visual quality, practice, strategy instruction, assessment and motivation. Woodward et al. found that there are no simple answers to the question of effectiveness:
â€œsimply because a program or approach has been validated by research does not necessarily mean it will be used as intended in practiceâ€
(Woodward, et al, 2001, P21)
The rhetoric accompanying new technological devices in education, and particularly special education, seems to have been very influential, confirming new ways of thinking and talking about teaching and learning.Â However, there still prevails a lack of clarity, understanding and application of technology being used to its full potential throughout the education system.Â
The culmination of grandiose and radical suggestions prominent in commercial slogan and catchy advertisements that are attractive to the educational eye, maybe responsible for our previous lack in informed purchasing, the appropriate matching of resources and effective teaching with the aid of technological resources to promote and maximise the learning of all pupils.Â
Many government papers are littered with the evidence of mismatched spending and resources for learning, that has resulted in missed opportunities, depleted tax payers finances, and a waste of genuinely keen practitioners time and efforts to provide improved services to their learners and an increased possibility of teachers becoming switched off from the possibilities of ICT enhancing teaching and learning.Â The Scottish Governmentâ€™s paper on Education and Disability (2002) provides a perfect example of this detrimental situation within their plan to improve access to education for pupils with disabilities.
â€œThrough the National Grid for Learning, new computers and networks are being installed in schools across Scotland to allow pupils to benefit from the use of ICT in learning. At the moment, various service providers are being contracted to install the network, but some pupils with disabilities are unable to use these computers for a variety of reasons.Â Therefore, as part of their accessibility strategies, responsible bodies should make certain that contracts for any future supply of computers or upgrade of existing stock ensure that the computers (and associated furniture) are accessible or can easily be modified to be accessible to pupils with disabilities.
(Scottish Executive, 2002, P 17, 47â€“48, www 12)
What is clear from this financial miscalculation and poor organisation is that the LEA services should be providing schools with the appropriate information for purchasing ICT software and hardware.Â Schools should make critical assessments on their ICT requirements in terms of what they want it do, who it is for and what are the expected outcomes from the resource.Â Merely placing a PC in a classroom is not going to improve the learning experience for pupils.Â Many factors have to be taken into consideration in order for the inclusion of technology to be successfully applied to pedagogy.
2.3 The Technological Pedagogical Debate
In early 1998, the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) responded to the claims made for ICT by publishing a set of criteria to form an integral part of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses stating that:
â€œICT is more than a teaching tool. Its potential for improving the quality and standards of pupilsâ€™ education is significant. Equally, its potential is considerable for supporting teachers, both in their everyday classroom role, for example by reducing the time occupied by the administration associated with it, and in their continuing training and developmentâ€
(DfEE 1998, P17)
This pressure on teachers to assimilate ICT in their work can, therefore, to some extent be seen to be predicated by an acceptance of the claims made in support of the educational potential of ICT.Â The potential of ICT to liberate users from routine tasks and empower them, for instance, to focus on the creative and cognitive rather than procedural aspects of writing or to make accessible vast amounts of information is to some extent reflected in the National Curriculum Orders for Information Technology, which emphasise the capabilities of communicating and handling information in various forms.
â€œSchools should provide opportunities, where appropriate, for learners to develop and apply their ICT skills across the curriculum by finding, developing, creating and presenting information and ideas and by using a wide range of equipment and software.â€
(DELLS, 2008b, P6)
There are clearly strong claims to be made for ICT, but to view ICT as the solution to the educational challenges we face purely by virtue of its sheer existence, is misguided.Â The success of ICT use depends on our familiarity with good practice firmly rooted in an understanding of how pupils learn and our reflection on optimal environments of ICT use as bases for pedagogic innovation beyond the assimilation of new technologies into prevailing traditions of classroom practice.Â In view of the fundamental changes to our concept of knowledge, the learning process, the role of the teacher and human relations more widely brought about by ICT use, we need to go beyond doing the things we have always done, albeit with the help of new technologies.
The core aim of the 1998 DfEE ITT for ICT wasâ€¦
â€œâ€¦to equip every qualified teacher with the knowledge, skills and understanding to make sound decisions about when, when not, and how to use ICT effectively in teaching particular subjectsâ€.
(DfEE 1998, p. 17)
In my view this aim requires a basic familiarity or relationship with learning theories and the findings from educational psychology as otherwise there is a real danger that the implementation of the computer activity may too easily encourage a distancing of teacher involvement; or as Crook (1994) suggests,Â
â€œâ€¦a dislocation from the normally rich context of class-based activity and discussionâ€.
(Crook , 1994, P18)
Whilst acknowledging the fundamental impact on traditional pedagogical modes, it is important to emphasise how the effectiveness of new technologies in the learning process depends on the â€˜centralityâ€™ of the role of the teacher in rendering pupilsâ€™ experiences with technology coherent, by embedding them in a context of interpersonal support.Â The role of the teacher, therefore, remains pivotal, such as in identifying appropriate learning outcomes, choosing appropriate activities and structuring the learning process.Â
In their analysis of the contribution new technologies can make to teaching and learning, Gregoire et al. (1996) provided the following with respect to student learning:
New technologies can stimulate the development of intellectual skills
New technologies can contribute to the ways of learning knowledge, skills and attitudes, although this is dependent on previously acquired knowledge and the type of learning activity
New technologies spur spontaneous interest more than traditional approaches
Students using new technologies concentrate more than students in traditional settings
These positive images are, however, balanced by two further observations of genuine significance:
The benefit to students of using new technologies is greatly dependent, at least for the moment, on the technological skill of the teacher and the teacherâ€™s attitude to the presence of the technology in teaching.
The skill and this attitude in turn are largely dependent on the training staff have received in this area
(Gregoire et al., 1996, P18, www10)
Despite the over deterministic inference behind some of the statements, Gregoire et al. (1996) are sounding a warning that technology itself is not a panacea, and that without skilled application by the teacher its benefits may soon recede. The crucial element remains the way in which the technology is incorporated into pedagogical patterns and this is in turn dependent upon the impact it has on the personal theories of the teachers deploying the technology in their classrooms.Â
2.4 Scaffolding Learning Using ICT
Collis et al. (1997) argue that the within a technological approach to pedagogy, the scaffolding role of the teacher is crucial, however the potential of ICT is exploited infrequently due to effective implementation of techniques being heavily reliant on the teacher providing the appropriate support for learning.Â Regardless of the suggested gains from any type of technological tool, it is when the teacher supports and guides learning that these benefits are maximised (Waller, 1999).Â
The computer does not enhance the learning experience unless teachers incorporate ICT very carefully into the curriculum.Â The role of the teacher is highly significant in the structure and outcomes of ICT based activities.Â The teacher guides and directs the pupils learning through structured planning, organising the activity, interventions during the learning process and the ways pupils apply their ICT skills within various contexts.
Mercer and Fisher discuss Brunerâ€™s (1997) idea of â€˜scaffoldingâ€™, where they suggest teachers need to be reflective and mindful of how they structure learning experience that require the use of technology to support pupil learning.
â€œIf we can describe and evaluate the ways that teachers attempt to scaffold childrens learning with computers then we might be able to help teachers understand and perform their role in supporting childrens computer based activities. â€œ
(Mercer and Fisher, 1997, P210)
Bruner (1978) suggests that the Scaffolding process involves the adult guiding and supporting pupil learning by building on previous understanding and abilities.Â In assisting the development of pupils, educators require a clear view of learning objectives and understand that their role is to support learners enabling them to develop more independently.Â The amount and type of support required will vary depending on the pupil and the nature of the task.Â Tharp (1993) put forward a range of strategies that can be adopted to support pupil development through an instructional conversation, described as:
(Tharp, 1993, P272)
According to Tharp, the most productive strategy for support is providing feedback, as this enables pupils to assess their efforts to achieve set objectives, which will be taken into consideration during the planning and participant training phase of this research.
Mercer (1993) suggests that the quality of understanding, of which learners obtain through the application of ICT in the classroom, will not be controlled the quality of the technological tool applied; more accurately, it is determined by the approaches utilised to interact between the teacher, pupil and the â€˜interfaceâ€™.Â Cook and Finlayson (1999) concur with this idea and describe the application of ICT to support learning as a joint activity,
â€œâ€¦the way that learners and the learning support mechanisms of teachers, computer program and fellow group members work together so that the highest possible level of performance becomes achievable.â€
(Cook and Finlayson, 1999, P100)Â
In support of this view, Labbo (2000) indicates that relying solely on technology to scaffold learning is not necessarily going to help or maximise the potential of the learner.Â Applying a model based exclusively on computer aided instruction is far from â€˜authentic learningâ€™; despite the fact that certain educationalists and politicians find this model appealing and the way forward.
I believe that before decisions are made to move forward within this field there is a great necessity for further research in order to realise that the combination of technology and how it can support the reciprocal roles of the teacher and child is far more significant than the technology itself.Â Arguably, it is this strong pupil-teacher relationship that requires attention and what should be central to the teaching and learning process, even when the technological tool is absent from any learning experience.
2.5 The Potential of ICT Supporting SEN
ICT been used to support learners with SEN within mainstream schools for some time, under the terms of assistive or enabling technology, adapting to developments in technology and educational policy changes for learners with different needs.Â In Blamires (1999) it is put forward that;
The story I collected, entitled â€œGoatman,â€ was recounted by a nineteen year old male sophomore at the University. The person who told the story is a white male whose father is an engineer and mother stays at home. After I inquired if he knew of any local urban legends, he first told the story of Hell House; and as we both live in Ellicott City and have never actually seen this mysterious building, we decided to pay it a visit. It was a foggy night on March 21st during our schoolâ€™s spring break as we slowly cruised through the back roads near the Howard and Baltimore county line. When he told me the story before we left I was not particularly nervous; however, the eerie settings added a hint of fear into the air. Unfortunately, after a long search, we were unable to locate the house and decided to return home. On our trip back he recounted another story that he had heard from a friend a few months ago, which I thought was even more exciting. The urban legend is known as â€œGoatmanâ€ and took place in northern Prince Georgeâ€™s County, the same county that University is located in:
Rumor has it that back in the early 1970s, a scientist working at an agricultural research center in central Maryland was performing an experiment with goats when something went terribly wrong. He was doing tests on manipulations of goat DNA, when one of the subjects attacked and bit him. When the saliva from the goat entered the scientistâ€™s bloodstream he immediately began undergoing changes from the goatâ€™s DNA combining with his own. The man began to morph into a half-man, half-goat creature and escaped the lab into the nearby surrounding woods. Following this incident there have been eye-witness accounts of Goatman causing havoc aro...
... The story uses scare tactics to discourage premarital sex by adolescents, and also demonstrates societyâ€™s stereotype of women as in need of protection. The story may evolve to change over time, but the message the legend carries will most likely carry down from generation to generation just as the Goatman legend has for many years.
"Goatman (Cryptozoology)." AllExperts. 27 March 2007. http://en.allexperts.com/e/g/go/goatman_(cryptozoology).htm.
"Goatman (Maryland)." Wikipedia. 31 March 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goatman_%28Maryland%29.
Lawson, John. "The Goatman Legend of Prince Georgeâ€™s County." ESortment. 2002. 1 April 2007. http://azaz.essortment.com/goatmanlegend_rhcn.htm.
Livingston, William L. Jr. "GoatMan Hollow...the Legend." GoatMan Hollow. 30 March 2007. http://www.goatmanhollow.com/the_legend/the_goatman_legend_1.html.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.