EDTECH

As teachers, we spend our careers refining and honing our teaching skills. It makes sense, therefore, that any technology we use in school should enhance these skills or free us to use these skills better. As a teacher, I saw how this could happen, but also how commonplace badly designed software that didn’t have a positive impact was, as well as how many teachers struggled to plan and apply any technology well.

Reading gurus Giglets Education has released an advanced version of its online literacy resource, the Learning Cloud, for use by teachers and pupils in Primary and early Secondary education.

One of the most difficult things I found as a leader with responsibility for the use of iPads in the school was finding quality CPD for myself, as I was more often than not the person organising or delivering that training. People often ask me where I find out about the latest apps, technologies and other great technological tools. One such place is from great educators such as Joe Moretti, with whom (and several others) I’ll be co-hosting #ATI2017 in Malvern across 10th-12th April.

Whilst the technology for virtual reality has been around since the 1950s, it is only in recent years that it has moved from the realms of the gamer to a mainstream audience and is now knocking at the classroom door. And it’s not just adventurous startups that are exploring the world of VR. Corporate giants can see the value of the technology and are investing heavily in the educational arena. More than a million students (including many at Putney High School) have taken virtual adventures with Google’s VR Pioneer Expeditions programme.

At the latest British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) and Publishers Association Conference, Nick Gibb MP highlighted the importance of high-quality curriculum resources, citing results from the annual PISA reports, which showed that high-performing countries including Singapore and Finland, make far more use of textbooks in the classroom. The UK, on the other hand, has a thriving edtech market. So how can teachers utilise the combined power of the textbook and technology to create effective learning opportunities for students?

Implementation of digital content seems to be widely misunderstood. You can’t just drop in a sophisticated digital programme without a really good implementation program. Like with everything in education, it comes down to the person. If teachers are ill-equipped to use new programs, they will fall back on traditional teaching methods.

What will our classrooms look like in 2017? It really depends on whose crystal ball you look at! School budgets are being squeezed tighter than a jar of peanut butter at a squirrel convention. As a result, teachers are looking for free tools and apps to enhance their schemes of work and create resources using video and animation to help engage students, particularly reluctant learners. Leadership teams are now examining the prospect of creating a sustainable ICT solution that suits our new digital learners and will still be relevant in the future.

While Saturday was the shortest day of BETT 2017, there were still plenty of edtech  for attendees to see. Many of you came to our stand to discuss your work or to film Innovation Bursts, which was a tremendous honour for us. We’re always looking to work with educators from all areas of the sector, so to have classroom teachers, school leaders, consultants, suppliers and trainee teachers get involved was great for both feedback and future content! There was even a moment when the stand was invaded by a number of the Primary Rocks team!

Gratnells, leaders in classroom storage for over 40 years, has introduced an innovative new product range to meet the challenges faced by schools and colleges in the increasing use of digital devices by teachers and pupils alike.

The way we’re teaching in the classroom is changing, and it’s time to review the way we communicate and engage with the whole school community. Following the removal of national curriculum levels, schools have been given a measure of freedom as to how they teach the curriculum. Some may think this is an improvement – but it begs the question - does that make it more difficult for parents to understand how to read the performance of their child?

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