Growing up in a small Kent village as I did, I experienced the wonders of the countryside and the fresh open air. I was lucky that almost every day I spent playing in fields, climbing trees, kicking a ball and experiencing the sights, smells and feel of the great outdoors. In turn, my children and their friends all were able to do the same, always out and about in puddles, fields or a woods.
For a generation that did not grow up with the Internet, it is fascinating to watch small children today intuitively handle a touchscreen mobile device with such ease. Indeed, modern pupils are growing up in a world where digital technology touches every facet of their lives, from the toys they interact with, to how their health care is managed, to how education is delivered. It is important that we look at not only how but what today’s young people are learning in terms of technology, as digital skills are becoming increasingly crucial for succeeding in the workforce, and will continue to be so in years to come.
The technological landscape in schools is always evolving. As consumer trends like social networking, mobile applications and smart devices continue to make their way into the classroom, students are increasingly expecting an atmosphere of more interaction and less presentation. Beyond their expectations, the reality is that – as shown by multiple studies – students learn more through interaction and doing things for themselves, rather than passively absorbing content.
It’s a brave new world for education, particularly with the growing popularity of portable devices and flipped learning. Teacher and digital strategist Jane Basnett gives her finest tips on how a school can fully embrace the future.
A digital strategy must take into account what makes an excellent lesson, and will then plan to ensure that teachers make use of technology in a creative and meaningful way that enriches the teaching. Successful use of technology in the classroom goes hand-in-hand with other good teaching techniques, all of which can be enhanced by technology. The two (technology and traditional teaching methods) are not mutually exclusive. There must be a blend of the two strands in order to bring about successful and effective teaching. Schools will need to spend time training teachers to use the latest digital tools in conjunction with relevant methodologies to ensure ultimate success.
Chances are, you have a mobile phone on your person right now. It’s the same for many children, so how can schools stop these devices from being a portable scourge? Gordon Christiansen, CEO at Mobile Guardian, discusses the options available to teachers.
There has been a dramatic rise in mobile devices crossing back and forth between the school gates, and be it smartphones, tablets, notebooks or laptops, whether they are parent-owned or school-owned, there remains a duty of care that schools must practice. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that students’ mobile access to the world is properly managed and protects them from harm.
In my first post in this series, I spent some time talking about the reasons why more and more schools are choosing tablets as the tool through which to achieve their vision of giving every student access to their own mobile computer. In summary, it's because tablets are highly effective at enabling pupils to demonstrate their learning in creative ways, as well as being fun, reliable and easy to use.
That post ended by asking a question which often gets ignored; are tablets truly the best device to tackle the specific challenges which face GCSE and A Level students?