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.
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”.
We can all agree that when technology is used correctly in the classroom it can both support and enhance learning. However, when we consider outdoor learning, should we be utilising new technological innovations? Or is it vital that outdoor learning spaces continue to provide a tech-free zone for today’s digital children?
It can be difficult for teachers, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, to implement technology effectively in their classroom. Here, Liverpool tech-specialist Dave McGrath discusses a few things that teachers can do to enhance learning via specific technologies.
When it comes to technology, schools have changed radically in recent years. More and more, tablets, laptops and mobile devices are being used to enhance the learning experience. The use of technology extends beyond the classroom too. Thanks to the easy availability of data capture solutions, many schools are now adopting card swipe systems to boost security and efficiency.
Christmas is extremely motivating for many learners with SEN, and it can definitely be a time to mix learning with fun (good teaching should always be perceived by pupils as fun). Innovative uses of technology bring education alive and create a positive climate for learning. Here are my favourite resources for teaching SEN at Christmas: