We cover a lot of edtech trends, but which ones are here to stay the course? Iowa-based English teacher turned technology integration specialist Jarod Bormann gives his top five trends that are really leaving their mark in teaching.
If you are one with your ear to ground, I’m sure you have a pulse already on what is transforming instruction in education. As a classroom teacher, I thought I did too. But since changing my job to Instructional Technology, I have had the opportunity to work with educators in varying districts. I have also had the opportunity to expand my understanding by attending more tech conferences. These new experiences have given me a better outlook on what edtech trends are truly shaping education, whereas my prior knowledge mainly came from Twitter.
Despite the frequent, outstanding advances in edtech we see daily, there are still certain areas of education that have stayed mostly unchanged for some time. Here, veteran teacher Jim Baker discusses the problem that he sees with the traditional lesson format, and how it can easily be changed for the better.
From my biography, you’ll see I’ve been in the classroom for 43 years so am speaking from first-hand experience, not to court votes or to agree with what is ‘flavour of the day’. My presentation ‘The Way Forward’ will give you an idea of what my passion is: to educate students into becoming independent learners. I don’t like the word ‘teach’ so I avoid it whenever possible. When asked my profession I say I’m an entertainer. Check out comment #42 in my guestbook by a former colleague back in 2005, who was pleased to see I was “still blurring the boundaries between teaching and entertaining”.
Video can be a powerful instrument for learning, but how to make the most of it? Video innovators Trilby have the ideal system for sharing movies from classroom to classroom.
A South Shields school has adopted an innovative teaching aid in order to inspire its pupils. Stanhope Primary School, who houses up to 210 pupils, has chosen to innovate its school with video-sharing app and online storage service TrilbyTV.
Yew Tree Primary School in Sandwell, West Midlands have undertaken a new technology initiative powered by edtech specialist Trilby’s new product. The Apple Regional Training Centre, who are keen on all KS2 pupils having their own iPads for learning, have begun using TrilbyTV, a simple-to-use video sharing app and online storage service that allows students to share video projects with each other and around their school. This development is part of a collaboration going back several years, with Trilby having catered for many of the school’s technological needs.
For the past few years, the school has been looking for a solution to use, share and securely store the videos staff and pupils have created. Yew Tree have dabbled with videos in the past, but have lacked the proper infrastructure to show the movies as-and-when they were needed. The use of TrilbyTV, however, gives the school the ability to show pupil-made recordings at any location within the school with the minimum of planning. Within the first few weeks of using the product, the children have already produced over fifty videos within the school.
At the risk of sounding unprofessional, homework has always been a thorn in our side. The children dislike it, teachers can have workload issues around it, and both the school and the parents can have unrealistic expectations of it. It is an entity in which no one has a common opinion. It is also an incredibly emotive subject; if you open any teaching publication there are hosts of opinions for and against homework. In research completed in 2006 Cooper, Robinson, and Patall noted:
'With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant. Therefore, we think it would not be imprudent, based on the evidence in hand, to conclude that doing homework causes improved academic achievement'
This practical guide is for teachers looking to adopt a flipped learning approach to their classroom.
If you’re still not sure what a flipped classroom looks like, or if you want to confirm what you think you know, take a few minutes to read my guest post for the Senior Leaders site: ‘The Future of Learning’.
To create my own flipped learning videos, I use the brilliant Explain Everything app for iPad. For £1.99 you really can’t go wrong with this app. The following guide shows how I create my videos using this app.
Mobile learning is gaining momentum. Over the next two years, 12 to 17 year-olds will be the second largest adopters of smartphone technology according to eMarketeer.
At the same time, an increasing number of schools are providing smartphone and tablet technology to aid 'anytime, anywhere' learning.
The mobile classroom provides many benefits: convenience; the ability to repeat specific parts of any training until a topic is understood; using familiar platforms; and empowering students to take ownership of their own learning. It also encourages the 'flipped classroom' model – an approach I used with my pupils.
I should state from the outset I’m not sure the impact of any new technology in the classroom will ever be truly measurable.
It won’t be for the want of trying and there are a number of case studies trying to do just that. However, with that in mind, what conclusions can I draw from two years of iPad use in the classroom?
I have two areas that can be discussed anecdotally. The first is an A level class of 15 students who have spent the last two years studying PE using iPads. They recorded the best A-Level results in my ten years at the school. For those familiar with the way UK grades are measured, the value-added average was +17%.
To flip or not to flip, that is the question. The concept of the "flipped classroom" - where "homework" is done in class and class work is done at home - has been around for a few years and, thanks to advances in video technology and gradually shifting attitudes towards independent learning and technology, is now emerging as a viable alternative to the status quo.
The flipped classroom is particularly exciting because it require students to take preparation more seriously and become increasingly active in class; it also requires teaching staff to shift their attitudes so that class time is a place for conversation rather than lecture. And above all, it leverages new technologies (particularly video) in order to facilitate preparation in an engaging way that truly changes students' attitudes and motivation towards preparing for classes.
What if traditional methods of classroom teaching and ‘homework’ were switched?
Teaching professionals have constantly looked at improving ways of raising learner engagement and attainment. While some have fared better than others, it is technology that has offered the greatest scope for innovation, helping the teacher to spend more time supporting students directly rather than instructing them from the front of the class.
Flipped or reversed teaching is not a new concept; it dates back to the early nineties where it was trialled in a study on Peer Instruction at Harvard University. The basis of Professor Eric Mazur’s study was to integrate computer software into the classroom in order to allow the teacher to act as a coach rather than a lecturer.