Enthusiasm is infectious, but Education Technology should empower and support your classroom environment
Writing this I would like to openly admit to being someone who gets very excited about EdTech and new apps, but who has also seen the impact of both sides of this coin. I have learnt along my travels, to consider the depth before use
I have been lucky enough to work with educators from a range of disciplines at International schools for middle and higher education (11-19yrs).
As a trainer I have some very varied weeks. If we all reflect on the education institutes we work in and for, you can imagine the breath of experience and knowledge for pedagogy as well as their subject.
It has been an inspiring and reflective.
Training others in Education Technology it can be very difficult to get the room on your side. For me, this is something I enjoy, in fact changing mindsets is one of my favourite tasks when it comes to delivering training, as this to me is real progress.
When walking into situations where change is needed but blocked, there is no real amount of preparation you can have. Knowing your resources is very important, but above all, reading the room is the best skill you can have to give those educators. Just like when teaching your own students, developing the work to suit the needs of those in front of you is your most important super power.
So, what does all of this boil down to? Why does it come under the “Overflowing” heading you might ask?
The biggest part which I find as a barrier, not only to student progess, but also their own progress is the sheer volume of apps and programmes which are being used. Sadly, it is not just in the school I am reflecting upon, its is across a range of institutes, across, I would assume the world.
A shiny new app comes along and people want to use it. Which is understandable. We are sold the educational reasons for using it and are now inspired… Please do not get me wrong, this is wonderful that we can see the benefit of using technology in the classroom.
But imagine this…
Every teacher in your institute asks the same thing, asking for one or maybe two brilliant apps which we cannot live without.
Now, imagine the student in your classroom, who has come to your lesson, perhaps it is the third or fourth lesson of the day.
To them, this is the fifth or sixth new application or programme they have used already. How much of the actual learning are they able to take in, around remembering what to do, where to login and how to use the tools?
The answer is, not a lot.
Now, if in addition to this you are talking to your students in a non-native language, very common in lots of schools not just international schools, then they are also trying to de-code all of the terminology you need them to know for your subject.
So how do we over come this? Keep it simple.
What do students need to know? How to use EdTech which will help them succeed in lesson, but also in their future
What is the best way to do this?
Use programmes native to the device the students use. Apps can be here today, gone tomorrow, however Numbers, Keynote and Pages have been around since iWork was launched in 2005, only getting better and more advanced in their ability. Students need transferable skills, things which will hold relevance to their daily lives now and also in the future.
I am not saying all apps are irrelevant, they defiantly are not. However, complimenting a core understanding of one range of software, develops a mastery level for students (and educators) will allow learning to happen in your classroom every day, with ease.
Embedding some core apps to support assessment or theory can still happen, but slowly allowing everyone to have confidence. Especially if EdTech is new to your classroom. It also allows you to share information quickly and easily with one another as well as your students.
How can this be instilled?
- Chose your software
- Train all staff in the school on that specific platform, have non negotiable elements with staff to ensure it is being used and implemented effectively.
- Have core “whole school apps” things which can help more than one department or subject area
- Get leadership to use the same platforms – consistency and modelling of the systems by leadership show staff that you are working together
- Have a whole school ethos about meaninful EdTech
Personal recommendations would be Apple, once you have the device, all you need is in there. I could teach all elements of learning in a lesson using the iPad native software alone, it allows for so much development and creativity.
Apple have guides on how to develop curriculums, as well as rubrics. They even support CPD within their #AppleTeacher program, relevant to all staff in your school, not just the educators. https://www.apple.com/ae/education/apple-teacher/
- You are Embedding real-world skills into students
- Apple platform allows for creativity within all subjects #EveryoneCanCreate
- Ability to design simple work flows for staff
- Assessment tracking (Integrated very well with external apps via SchoolWork)
- Students work portfolios; In Pages, Number or Keynote #ElementsOfLearning
- SchoolWork you can send documents and assignments to students with deadlines creating a diary for the student which allows you to track progress
- Clips or iMovie can allow collation of evidence
- Sketch and annotation avaliable on all their software
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