Children today seem to be a lot more aware than their predecessors, and we mean this in the broadest sense possible. From a young age, they realise that they can easily talk to people from around the world, they question gender roles, they want to change the world and, most importantly, they believe they can do so. Indeed, children have realised that they already hold power to change the status quo.
Have you heard people talking about “making” in schools, or “makerspaces”, or “maker education”? What about 3D printers, squishy circuits or arduinos? The idea of making to learn is a philosophy of education that goes back to the late 1800s/early 1900s and the writings of John Dewey. “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”
It’s vital that teachers understand how edtech can help learners to develop confidence in their abilities, and recognise the progress that they have made. Arena has teamed up with Fujitsu to enhance the use of edtech to improve school efficiency and performance. By applying scanning innovation to the classroom, for example, teachers are able to put greater emphasis on progress across the curriculum, particularly in creative and technical subjects.
In the digital age, it is a challenge for teachers to ensure that their lessons keep up with the increasingly creative and vibrant media-led society in which we live, as well as to ensure that students are kept engaged in their education. It is even more important to engage students at a young age, so as to engender a love of learning early in life.
We know that teachers are leaving our profession in record numbers, and I have heard of schools where more teachers are leaving than staying. We also know that not enough young people are choosing to become teachers themselves. Teacher training places are going unfilled, and there simply aren’t enough teachers to educate our children of the future. As the population grows, there seems to be little effort to make any changes to recruit and retain quality teachers. Year-on-year, teachers are voting with their feet and leaving the profession.
There’s no doubt that technology has the potential to revolutionise teaching and learning. We hear plenty of stories from teachers who have harnessed digital learning to deliver a better, more engaging experience. Whether it’s making great education more accessible to everyone with online programs, or bringing multimedia content into the classroom to spark discussion and creativity, we all have our own successes to share.
For many years, methods of teaching remained the same: students reading from textbooks, writing notes to process information, and gaining all the key knowledge needed for the world around them. The boom in technology at the turn of the millennium, however, saw traditional methods of teaching become overshadowed by new devices and software packages that revolutionised the learning landscape. The focus is now on creating a 21st Century education. With this in mind, in this school year should we be ignoring traditional methods of learning altogether, or actually integrating these with technology?