Adam Bodley-Tickell is a high school Biology teacher. He teaches Thai students who are enrolled in an English-speaking programme at Patumwan Demonstration School, a high school in Bangkok. As well as seeking innovative ways to teach biology, Adam is experienced in the use of educational technology and excited about the opportunities it presents for education. As a holder of Master’s degrees in both science and education, he is passionate about combining his scientific knowledge with his educational background in order to create a 21st century learning experience for his students.
In today’s climate of rising nationalism, closing borders, and increasing tension in the world, the need for education around cross-cultural awareness and understanding is greater than ever. The advent of social media and other technology means collaboration between classrooms around the world has never been easier. So how can we, as educators foster, this vital skill of global competence? The concept of global competence ‘articulates the knowledge and skills students need in the 21st century’. One approach we can take to develop this competence is through global collaborations and projects, and in this post I will explore some of the ways in which teachers can get involved to help their students become more globally-competent citizens.
I recently took a group of my students on a field trip to our local zoo here in Bangkok. This formed part of our studies on animal behaviour, a topic in Year 12 Biology. Learning in informal settings outside of the classroom, for example at zoos, museums, and galleries, is considered to be a useful way to link educational content with issues that matter to learners in their everyday lives. In this post I will outline the pre- and post-field trip activities, as well as the activities undertaken during the trip itself. Technology tools were used where appropriate to enhance the activities and the trip itself, but as should always be the case when incorporating technology,these were used to support learning rather than being the focus.
In this post I will discuss Google’s latest educational tool, Google Classroom, and outline five key features that I feel make it a great addition to the Google Apps for Education family. Google Classroom is not yet a full-featured Learning Management System (LMS), but it does possess a number of attributes that make it very attractive for both learners and teachers. It is available to any school that has Google Apps for Education.
As teachers, we all think about ways in which we can make what our students are learning in the classroom more relevant to their real lives. One of the ways we can do this is by inviting external speakers to come and give presentations for our students. For example, last year I invited a researcher from a local university to come and talk to my Year 13 students about the evolution of drug resistant malaria on the Thai-Cambodian border.
It has been suggested that in many cases student projects are little more than busy work, which fail to promote higher level thinking skills. Increasingly, however, new ways of thinking about project-based learning (PBL) are emerging. A great resource for PBL is the Buck Institute for Education (BIE). They suggest that there are eight essential elements for PBL, for example having open-ended projects that involve in-depth, real-world problems that are more meaningful and engaging for learners, and encouraging student voice and choice in which projects to do and how to approach them.