DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: EDTECH

As we March (ahem) into the spring, it is time to find sunshiny shortcuts and time-saving strategies, dear IMS-reader. The questions this month have been based around improvement and engagement. Please send in questions for next month via [email protected] for next months piece.

The kids we teach in our classrooms today are undoubtedly ‘digital natives’. Born in an age of established technology, the latest generation of students have grown up with clever gadgets and devices, leading to today’s youth having an unrivalled passion and understanding for the digital world. Research suggests that three quarters of children now use the internet at home, and nearly all use it at school, with around 41 percent of 9 to 19 year olds having access to the web each and every day. At a time when the traditional textbook is being phased out in favour of technology, it’s time for teachers to adapt their methods of delivering information to meet the contemporary needs of children growing up in the digital age.

3D printing is steadily transforming the world through innovation, speed, localised manufacturing and empowering the creativity of the individual. Where computers and mobile technology changed the world and the landscape within education, 3D printing adds another dimension to learning and gives rise to the next generation of engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, artists and industry innovators. The notion to innovate and excite the classroom, to transform learning processes and to introduce the ability to simplify complex design processes can all be achieved with a 3D printer. Here, I discuss how the concept can be used across the curriculum.

70% of UK schools are now using mobile devices in the classroom, according to Tablets for Schools. The vast majority of those devices are likely to be iPads, yet how many schools can you name who are standout users of the device? That is to say, how many schools are using the device to deliver true 21st century transformational lessons?

It is never easy to predict where things are going in the future, but my own attention is really focused on virtual classrooms. These are tools that allow people to present via the internet, and are becoming more and more sophisticated. My current-favourite tool is Adobe Connect. It allows me to present to users all over the world. I can talk through a PowerPoint presentation, play videos, show the participants the screen of my computer, share files with them, set up a chatroom and turn on the webcam so that the participants can see me. It really has a lot of potential. I have noticed that more and more organisations are coming into this territory.

A structured learning system is crucial for students nowadays. Faced with a myriad of information sources, they have to develop an effective strategy to filter and make sense of it. In this context, note-taking comes in an as a handy way to save and review the most important points and ideas.

When thinking about what we would like our students to be able to do, the above definition really appeals to me. I believe that in preparing our learners for the real world, which is competitive and often challenging - we should also be teaching them how to (in the words of the dictionary definition) create ‘meaningful ideas, forms, methods and interpretations.’ We don’t want our students to be passive consumers of digital or analogue culture, I want them to be involved in shaping it.

As teachers we are very much aware of the dangers students face online, much more so than the children in our charge. These can be issues of data protection, bullying, hacking and dangers posed by strangers. Of course, protecting children has to be done in partnership with parents, but there is much that can be done in a classroom environment to start raising awareness.

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.

I must begin by giving my definition of ‘learning’. Learning is not remembering facts in order to pass an examination: learning is understanding. By understanding, the learning is not forgotten. The times I have heard it said “you must learn this” is countless when, in fact, what should be said is “you must understand this”.

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