Learning outside the walls of the classroom: Engaging the digital natives
This study investigated the response of students and teachers to the use of ICTs to promote teaching and learning outside of the classroom and regular school hours in a Caribbean secondary school. Following an action research design, Grades 10 and 11 Biology students were given access to subject content and learning support through online discussion groups (Google and Facebook), a website that hosted information and an accompanying blog. Data were collected by questionnaire, interviews, and observation. Initially, the students were reluctant to use the discussion groups, though they eventually reported that these facilities provided useful learning support outside of the classroom. They however rejected the Google group in favour of the more familiar Facebook group. Students were so enthusiastic about these resources that they requested that more subject areas be added. Teachers were somewhat reluctant to answer this call, citing the lack of access to equipment and time as deterrents. One year later, the initiative had expanded to the point where the school had acquired additional equipment, had devised a policy for ICT use, additional resources were added to the website and increasingly, students were using their portable devices for academic purposes both in and out of school.
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