DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: DIGITAL LEARNING

Fostering creativity in students has dominated discussion in education since the turn of the century. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) lists creativity as one of its 4Cs alongside critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its top ten list of desired skills for 2020, including creativity among them. Professor Michael Fullan includes creativity as one of his 6Cs, and describes it as the need for students to possess creativity and imagination.

Despite these attempts at defining creativity in education, a challenge remains: explaining what creativity looks like within the traditional school culture. Too often, ‘creativity’ gets confined to a single course - such as art - or an individual unit, project, or activity. However, Professor Fullan defines creativity not only as “the opportunity to pursue novel ideas”, but also as “economic and social entrepreneurialism” and “leadership for action.” He argues that students need the opportunity to use their imaginations, engage in problem-solving, and have the opportunity to learn through play. Therefore, when schools provide these conditions, students have a chance to develop their creative skills.

As an app, Book Creator does not create these conditions any more than a paintbrush or crayon creates a masterpiece. And yet, when placed into the hands of students who are given the opportunity to imagine, explore, problem-solve, and create, it removes the technical limitations from a student’s imagination. Not only does Book Creator provide students with the capacity to work in text, drawing, photos, video, and audio, but it also encourages them to embed and incorporate content created in any number of tools. The open-ended, multimedia capacity of Book Creator then supports the conditions in which the creative process can occur.

Book Creator is an open-ended, creative and cross-curricular app that empowers students and teachers to create multimedia ebooks. Available on iPad and Chromebook, Creator launched in 2011 and has gone on to be one of the most popular apps in education, winning the 2015 Bett Award for Best Educational App, and 2018 American Association of School Librarians Best Website for Teaching and Learning.

Returning to Fullan’s notion - that creativity not only results in a product, but also entrepreneurialism and leadership - how might educators allow students to harness the power of digital tools such as Book Creator to design a creative solution to a community challenge, or take action as a leader in the classroom? Multimedia tools encourage students to share their thinking and demonstrate their understanding in varied and previously unimaginable ways. The challenge then lies in how skilled educators might design new learning experiences that foster the creative process.

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The overload of information on the internet poses a problem for time-strapped teachers, who have to trawl search engines for resources that are appropriate for their subject and class. It was this problem that, in Autumn 2014, we decided to tackle head-on with the creation of TeachPitch, a platform that curates free teaching resources and lets you search these for the perfect resource.

Since then we have had tens of thousands of users from over 130 countries, providing direct access to over hundreds of thousands of resources and with millions more available via our dedicated premium content providers.

We are so proud of the work we have done, but we have come to understand that dealing with information abundance is only one part of a wider issue; the digital capability of teachers. In a report in 2016 (page 9) the UK Government recommended that:

“Employers should ensure existing staff have the training to keep their digital skills updated, and develop active recruitment and development strategies to maximise the digital skills of their workforce at all times.”

We know that teachers are still not always offered this level of support, and we want to help solve this bigger problem with a resource that is relevant to them. This is why we are very excited to announce a brand new online teacher-training platform solely focussed on fully engaging teachers as professionals in a rapidly evolving new Digital Economy.

We are extremely proud to present: the Digital Skills Course.

This course consists of a series of 20+ webinars given by expert tutors over one year, accessible via our innovative, exclusive training platform. Registered teachers will be able to enjoy online training in a variety of topics, from video teaching & learning, using tech to identify and address student special needs, and digital educational content creation. The course also addresses tech matters that are further out there, such as virtual/augmented reality, the role of the blockchain in education, introduction to coding, and so much more.

With this course, we aim to improve teachers’ digital awareness and introduce them to the way that digital tools and methods will change how teaching takes place in the future. We want to provide the teachers of today with the skills to teach the students of tomorrow. We are working hard on the first release of the course; building the platform, testing it with real teachers and identifying the very best tutors to lead the webinars. We cannot wait to introduce the final product next month.

We have had great feedback so far. If you’d like to get involved with helping test the course, or keep updated about our progress, please email us at [email protected]. To find out more about TeachPitch, visit www.teachpitch.com.

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Excess workload: it’s the recurring issue that’s driving teachers away from the profession in droves. Between planning and marking lessons, collating results and ensuring that every child is catered for, it’s surprising that educators have any time to think let alone teach a class.

In fact, a DfE survey has revealed that teachers currently work over 50 hours per week on average - that’s more than both police officers and nurses! Don’t worry though, because Whizz Education is here to help. At Whizz, we understand the issues you face, which is why all four components of our multi-award-winning Maths-Whizz Schools Suite are specifically designed to help ease your workload.

1. The Maths-Whizz Tutor

The Maths-Whizz Tutor is an adaptive, online teaching solution which cuts down lesson planning time by assessing each student, and then providing them with fully-individualised lessons that aim to close specific gaps in their core Maths knowledge. In other words, the Tutor can simultaneously provide 30 different lessons to 30 different students, at the exact time they require it. Once a student masters a topic, the Tutor will progress to more challenging material, and if they struggle, it will provide confidence-boosting prompts until they are ready to move on. Additionally, the Tutor also marks lessons and collates the results, all in real time and all without teacher input!

2. Assessment & Reporting

As each Maths-Whizz lesson is marked, the results are converted into easy-to-understand reports, which instantly show your students’ strengths and weaknesses in each topic across the curriculum. Not only are these reports effective for identifying students’ needs, but they are also easily shareable, making them extremely useful for school performance reviews and parent-teacher meetings.

3. Teachers’ Resource

It’s no secret that planning your front-of-class Maths lessons can be an extremely time-consuming process, but this certainly isn’t the case when you have Maths-Whizz! With over 1,200 engaging exercises and worksheets, and a series of ready-made assessments available in one convenient online location, our Teachers’ Resource saves you the time usually spent scouring the internet for lesson content. To plan your perfect Maths lesson, all you need to do is select your students’ ability level and choose your topic.

4. Customer Success

If not done properly, the implementation of edtech can be an additional burden on teacher workload. However, when you subscribe to Maths-Whizz, you’re allocated a customer success manager who will come to your school to assist with the implementation of Maths-Whizz. Not only that, they will be on-hand throughout your subscription to ensure that you are achieving your unique educational goals through the provision of rigorous impact reports, bespoke CPD-certified training courses and special celebration assemblies that recognise student success. Our entire team has teaching experience, so they understand the practical issues you face each day.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to take back your life this year, call us on +44 (0)203 328 6564 to book a free consultation or arrange a free trial.

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Currently, the choice of whether to allow mobile phones in classrooms or entire schools rests in the hands of school representatives. For example, headteachers could enforce banning mobile phones in the whole facility during school hours.

It can be difficult to find learning strategies and resources that both tackle of budgetary concerns and teacher workload effectively. In 2018/19, we plan on helping you double your pupils’ rate of learning, while not charging a penny. Our team of educators and scientists know that our new platform works, and we want to bring it to your school this academic year.

Over the first half of 2018, 21st century skills have come to the fore of the education sector debates. Identified as a series of learning dispositions that are crucial to the future success of our children, these skills include communication, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, but also digital literacy and adaptability and flexibility.

Despite sustained investment in global education systems over the years, there’s a persistent gap in our children’s learning. 21st century skills - such as problem-solving, critical thinking and appreciating cultural differences - are lacking among the university students of tomorrow.

Digital leaders can be a great way to raise the profile for the effective, creative and safe use of technology in schools. It can be a great way to equip children with the enterprising and life skills needed in the future. Not only could the role of being a digital leader build their confidence and self-esteem - it would also be of benefit to teachers across the school.

I bet children will be cursing every day this month, if only about having to take exams and needing to revise for them. Exams are often seen as a necessary evil to be able to assess what children have learned throughout the year. However, exams imply marking, and for time-poor teachers of big classes, it can quickly become a nightmare. So what to do?

When it comes to stress, anxiety and worries, our natural instinct is to protect children from them; why? It’s a natural process we need to go through, and an important life skill we need to be able to manage. If we don’t fail, we don’t learn. Part of failing is feeling sad; part of feeling sad is knowing how we can move on and be positive again. It’s important for children to experience a healthy amount of stress and anxiety. If they don’t experience it, how will they learn to manage it?

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