Scoil Naomh Fiachra

Control Technology and the Curriculum

On this page we have looked at some of the features of the new Primary School Curriculum and compared them with some of the features of the Control Technology Project, to show how the project aims and methods fit in with the methodologies and strategies which are central to the new curriculum.

The new curriculum is based on a constructivist theory of learning and a fundamental premise of constructivism is that children actively construct their own knowledge rather than absorbing it from others, e.g. teachers, or internalising it through rote learning.

The Control Technology Empowering Minds Project emerged from this same constructivist approach, and, in particular, from the work of Seymour Papert and others at MIT. Indeed the software that children use in this project – “Mindstorms” – takes its name from a book of the same name by Seymour Papert. The sub-title of the book was “Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas”.

Primary Curriculum
Control Technology
Central Methodologies Key Features
Talk and Discussion Collaborative/Co-operative Learning
Active Learning Strategies
Problem Solving
Use of Local Environment
Skills Development through Content

Talk and Discussion Collaborative/Co-operative Learning
Active Learning
Problem Solving
Skills developed as Children have a need for them.
Projects and work developed from Children’s own experience
Key Methodologies
Key Methodologies
Co-operative Group Work.
Guided Discovery.
Play and Co-operative Games.
Investigating/Exploring.
Learning through Language.
Reflection and Action.
Story Telling.
Problem-Solving Experiences.
Active Learning/ Hands-on Approaches.
Use of ICT, Media, Photographs, Questionnaires, Interviews.
Whole Class Teaching.
Active Learning Process.
Engages Children at different Levels.
Requires atmosphere of Trust and Support.
Requires Teacher to Guide and Direct Work.
Collaborative Learning.
Developing Problem-solving Strategies.
Children learn to ‘think about how they think’.
Learning with Technology not about Technology.
Cross-curricular Integration.
More Relevant and Meaningful Learning.
Improved Confidence and Self-esteem.
Children create External Structures to facilitate Conceptual development.
Children become Designers.
Children learn to control their Environment with Technology.
Co-operative Learning Roles
Co-operative Learning Roles
Questionner
Recorder
Speaker
Encourager
Observer
Researcher
Questionners
Recorders
Reporters
Encouragers
Observers
Researchers
Builders
Designers
Organisers
Photographers
Programmers
Group Learning
Group Learning
Sense of Purpose
Learning from/with Others
Language Skills
Sense of Democracy
Interpersonal Skills
Sense of Purpose
Learning from/with Others
Language Skills
Sense of Democracy
Interpersonal Skills
Collaborative Learning
Collaborative Learning
Aims to provide opportunities for students to engage with knowledge, concepts and skills in a way that allows them to make connections between their existing experience and the ‘new learning’ they are engaged in. Aims to provide children with the opportunity to create external structures with which to facilitate conceptual development and to enable children to develop problem solving strategies and skills at their own pace and in their own way.
Aims toprovide children with a means of controlling their environment with technology and improving their confidence in the future use of such systems.
Pupils will externalise their thinking and reflect on what they are doing and how they are learning i.e. thinking about how they think.
Teacher’s Role
Teacher’s Role
Supportive Environment
Collaborative Ground Rules
Subject/Materials
Group Size Assignment of Students
Classroom Organisation
Task and Expected Outcomes Explained
Monitor and Intervene
Group and Individual Reflection
Talk and Discussion
Open-ended statements
Brainstorming
Circle Work
Agree/Disagree
Supportive Environment
Encouraging Peer Tutoring
Collaborative Ground Rules
Group Size Assignment of Students
Classroom Organisation
Task and Expected Outcomes Explained
Monitor and Intervene
Group and Individual Reflection
Talk and Discussion
Open-ended statements
Brainstorming
Learning with Pupils

Top of Page

Control Technology and The New Curriculum
Where does it fit in?

The following quotations from the Mathematics and Science volumes of the Primary School Curriculum illustrate how the Control Technology Project fits in with the aims and objectives of the curriculum.

New Curriculum Key Features Mathematics & Science

  • “A constructivist approach to mathematics learning involves the child as an active participant in the learning process.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Mathematics, p.5)
  • “The importance of providing the child with structured opportunities to engage in exploratory activity … cannot be overemphasised.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Mathematics, p.5)
  • “The teacher has a crucial role to play in guiding the child to construct meaning ..”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Mathematics, p.5)
  • “Solving problems based on the environment of the child can highlight the uses of mathematics in a constructive and enjoyable way.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Mathematics, p.8)
  • “A constructivist approach
    • children discuss the problem
    • try a possible approach
    • further discussion
    • modify arising from the interaction
    • construct concepts from deductions
    • arrive at a solution or solutions
    • discuss results
    • record.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Mathematics, Teacher Guidelines, p.3)
  • “An important aspect of scientific activity is encouraging children to design and make artefacts and models that will provide solutions to practical problems.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.21)
  • “Practical investigation is central to scientific activity of all kinds.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.2)
  • “Experience of the physical world is crucial to children’s cognitive development.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.2)
  • “First-hand investigation is central to the way in which young children learn science.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.2)
  • “The scientific activity of children is similar to that of the scientist.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.3)
  • “An experimental and investigatory approach to science in the primary school can make a unique and vital contribution to the holistic development and education of the child.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.3)
  • “Children will learn to investigate the world around them through observing hypothesising predicting investigating and experimenting testing analysing.”
    • (Primary School Curriculum Science, Teacher Guidelines, p.2).