Deep learning with technology for 14-19 year old learners
In addition to providing a stimulus and process for learning, the use of ICT also has the potential to influence learner motivation and interaction with others. This has the potential to influence the context of learning in ways that are more conducive to all learning. Whilst this does not achieve deep learning in itself, it enhances the potential for doing so. Subject culture is one of the main drivers for how students use technology.
Learners do not necessarily have to be highly competent in the use of ICT, but learning the skills necessary to make the best of technology is one feature of a deep learning approach which employs ICT.
The use of ICT can be seen in of itself as a skill, one which can be learnt and developed and, with increasing confidence and competence, can become a facilitator, rather than barrier to learning. Practitioners need to ensure that they support students' skills learning and development so they can use technologies more effectively to support their learning.
Richard Simpson, Newcastle-under-Lyme College:
"...for deep learning to take place the key element is that deep thinking on the part of the teaching staff about the problems they are trying to address is an essential precursor to the development of deep learning for students."
Technology provides different means of linking informal and formal learning contexts for these learners
This work suggests that it might be beneficial to develop approaches which identify and draw on young people's informal uses of technology. What is clear from the work is that there is a difference between the technological tools used in educational settings and those chosen by the young people themselves. In particular the use of mobile phones, social networking sites and gaming play a large role in the out of school/college learning experiences of many young people.
Social uses of technology can be seen as an important factor in developing capacities for a deeper engagement with learning
The social dimensions of learning are very important for this age group, as the areas of the brain associated with social behaviour are still developing and the brain does not process interactions automatically. Core attributes associated with an independent learner, such as meta-cognitive approaches and critical thinking, involve a level of maturity that might not always be present in younger learners. Furthermore, we suggest that collaboration is contingent on being able to take a different perspective, and there is good evidence from neuroscience to suggest that this social task is very challenging.
It would therefore suggest that the social uses of technology outside of the study setting are very important aspects of learning which can assist with this maturation and the development of the social self and independent learning skills. This is also closely linked to the development of identity. ICT can provide an approach through which learners can experience concepts from multiple perspectives and in ways which would not have been possible otherwise.
Subjects which require an understanding of abstract concepts can provide a particular challenge to learners. The development of 3D modelling and associated learning environments can provide learners with a range of perspectives on these concepts which encourages a more complex perspective and a more complete understanding of them.