Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

New Technology?

I recently came across this video that I created over 5 years ago. It was to highlight some of the great aspects that new technology could bring to the classroom. Looking back, this video fills me with mixed feelings. Yes, Moorside Community College were embedding some great use of technology within their teaching and learning, but that was 5 years ago. How many schools today use even one of the elements in this video? I am disappointed by the fact that whilst there are some schools using technology to enhance their teaching and learning, unfortunately, there are still far too many schools that have not even started to tap into the potential that technology can provide.

Looking back, I suspect this is probably one of the reasons that I have gone self-employed. My ambition is to help more schools achieve what is possible through technology. Students engage well with technology and in an age where the biggest challenge for the teacher can be to get the students engaged and on task, it would be a great opportunity to tap into skills which are now second nature to students. They have the capacity to adapt to new equipment, software and apps without ever requiring a manual or CPD session. They just press and click anything they see to find out what it does. This just goes to show us even more of the need for the use of this technology. Whilst it can be sometimes difficult to set up the infrastructure for everything to work together seamlessly, once in place, it enables all staff and students access to technology which will make a difference. 

Looking forward to the future, schools will be utilising technology that currently does not exist. This will require more than ever, schools taking a 'joined up' approach to their ICT provision. The network will need to be resilient and secure, but it will also need the flexibility to adapt to future technology. It would be great to 'plug and play' new classroom tech, but the reality is that further investment is often required and network managers spend loads of time scratching their heads trying to understand how and why to implement the new equipment. It is imperative that teaching and learning drives a school network infrastructure and not the static solution that is provided by local authorities, or companies looking to lock schools into long term contracts where everything is locked down; costing more to enable any additional features.

In short, schools need to create an ICT vision and plan how they see foresee what teaching and learning will look like in the future. Probably the majority of learning will happen outside of the classroom and this will not be possible without harnessing the use of technology. Even in the classroom, students will work independently, the teacher will become a facilitator of their learning, and this will all be made possible through embedding technology across the curriculum. This will result in students and teachers being able to work seamlessly between school and home - the 'nirvana' of education.

If you are interested in creating a school ICT vision that enhances the learning experience for staff and students, please get in touch for a free initial consultation. Discover how your school can create a classroom environment where technology maximises the learning experience for all.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Are you ready for the next generation of students?

Are you ready to harness and enhance the skills that these new students are bringing to your school?

Traditionally we ask students when entering the classroom, to switch off their phones and put to one side all their skills in the use of new technology. Obviously we cannot continue to let this happen. Schools have a large proportion of teaching staff who do not understand or widely use this new technology. So how do we address this problem?
  • Staff CPD? - anyone who has tried to deliver new technologies CPD to their teaching staff will understand what a thankless task it is. Some staff love it and can't wait to run off and try it. Some staff see you as an 'expert' and they could never hope to replicate  what they see. The vast majority of staff though tend to be apathetic and believe that they have been teaching successfully (or not) for a number of years without the need for technology.
  • Invest in iPads? - it would be naive to believe that by merely purchasing a class set of iPads will give them the tools to succeed. Ultimately it will need an investment in the network infrastructure - wireless, security, MDM solution, filtering, expertise and time to implement and manage the infrastructure and devices.
  • Bring your own device? - pretty much every student has a mobile phone in their pocket that is charged and ready for use. Again we need to invest in the infrastructure to ensure it is capable of dealing with all the extra network traffic that every student with a phone will generate. It also creates a problem of the 'haves and have nots'. Are we going to discriminate against those with no phone or who do not have the latest smart phone? Obviously we can't leave behind those who will probably be our Pupil Premium students. We are supposed to be closing the gaps, not creating a digital divide.
Ultimately the best solution includes all of these. We need an infrastructure that is robust, manageable and adaptable. Who knows which devices we will be using in 5 years time? Therefore, we need to ensure that our infrastructure is capable of adapting quickly without the need for a large capital investment. Students should be encouraged to use their own devices. Parents should be able to purchase iPads through a scheme that the school has arranged in conjunction with a reputable supplier. The school will then be able to provide a device in lessons to those who still 'have not'. Staff CPD now can take place in the classroom. Students will be teaching the teachers how to use the technology and then they need to be encouraged to share their good practice of what worked well in lessons.
Hopefully with all this in place, the technology becomes embedded. Students have access to everything that the technology brings, meaning that the level of work produced is not just a regurgitation of the text books, but also a classroom environment where they can produce blogs, videos, animations, websites, ebooks and anything else their imagination can create.

Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classroom?