VIEWS & OPINION
Technology can impro pupil engagement and a school’s’s bott
Comment by DAV Director, Vestel
rove ttomline AVID FLINTOFT, Sales &Marketing
Concerns about the impact of too much screen time has driven much debate around the use of technology in schools. Research released by Microsoft at BETT this year, demonstrates that some education professionals still harbour doubts; in particular, 34 per cent think students spend too much time on devices already, while 28 per cent worry that classroom tech could prove a distraction.
Yet technologies which enable collaborative and interactive learning – such
displays – may help to negate such concerns, while al range of additional benefits to pupils, teachers and schools.
Transfo forming the learning experience for pupils
Platforms like YouTube and TikTok, as well as gaming consoles such as Xbox and Nintendo Switch, give children access to worldly experiences on demand. Information can be accessed instantaneously, anywhere and through any device. For a pupil born into this digital age, the traditional “copy-off-the-whiteboard” learning method can be uninspiring.
Interactive displays encourage learning-by-doing, but they also provoke teaching in a visual language that generation Z understands. For example, you could point to Rome on a globe when discussing the Roman Empire, or you could use Google maps to zoom into the Colosseum, to show students a taste of Ancient Roman culture. The latter helps bring history to life, and this can be applied across the curriculum.
Interactive displays also allow students to get involved by touching the screen to zoom in and out, as well as working in groups - up to ten at one time - to complete tasks collaboratively and in front of the class. They’re also available in different sizes for other uses, such as workshops or assemblies with multiple classes.
Removing the admin burden for teachers
Engagement is an important factor for lesson plans, but technology has another vital function for teachers: reducing admin. For example, a traditional whiteboard requires constant cleaning, as well as the purchasing of new pens, cleaning products and a new whiteboard once it becomes ink stained.
With the swipe of a palm, interactive whiteboards allow teachers to erase writing with minimal effort, and the absence of ink pens removes the risk of stains. Additionally, having a digitised whiteboard enables teachers to sync up their personal devices, as well as leverage apps, browsers and other screens, to improve the ease of visual teaching. Ultimately, technology can help teachers mitigate the time- consuming admin tasks, so they can focus on what they do best.
Improving school resources
It’s no secret that schools are under-resourced, working to strict time and financial margins. Technology has the potential to dramatically improve both. For example, printed textbooks are not only at risk of damage and loss, but they can also become dated very quickly, requiring the purchase of new copies and editions. The internet, however, enables free or cheap access to a wealth of resources which, at an operational level, will improve a school’s bottom line. Products such as interactive displays bring the online world into the classroom in an engaging and streamlined display.
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The digital skills gap can’t be solved simply by teaching childre to start
Comment by PAT RAT ATH, Education Technology Strategist at Text xthelp
Much of the debate around the role of technology in prim education often fo
‘21st century skills’ advanced skills suc
h as coding and so called cuses on improving ary and secondary
.What is often lost in
these discussions - either at a school or policy level - is that unless we can improve literacy outcomes and get the basics right, we’re not giving children the best chance of succeeding in the digital economy. These basic fundamentals (reading, writing and
arithmetic) underpin the more complex digital and thinking skills that are becoming increasingly important, but unfortunately when it comes to effectively using technology, the current strategies in schools may have leapfrogged the basic fundamentals.
Edtech tools are just as important for improving outcomes in the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and preparing children for whichever career path they may choose.
Don’tmake students run before they canwalk While the efforts of schools across the country to integrate technology into learning should be encouraged, there is a huge disparity in the way certain skills are prioritised.Man
y schools focus on tech solutions that help students to develop complex skills that are seen as a gateway to success in the digital economy, yet approaches to literacy haven’t evolved at the same pace.
In 2019, two-thirds of primary school children left primary school without reaching the required standard in the three Rs. At the moment, the focus on coding in schools is about building the digital . Children need to learn in confidence in their ntal to pursuing any
maths skills because these remain fundame how to articulate themselves clearly and ga workforce rather than the wider workforce
Particularly given the rate that technology is developing, there needs to be industry-wide recognition - as well as at a governmental level - of the role that digital tools have in closing the gap for essential life skills like literacy and numeracy.
Digital tools aren’t just fo for digital skills Digital tools can make learning personal and bespoke. A
comprehensive suite of these tools can provide equity of access for students and an individualised approach that will help them learn better in their own unique way.
In a report we commissioned, 66%of students that used our Read&Write tool showed an improvement in their reading age over the course of a year, compared with 27%of non-Read&Write users. These results are an expression of what can be achieved if we apply the same attitude to literacy as we currently do to the so called ‘21st century skills’, and offer a personalised learning experience that supports every child’s progression.
With so many children operating at different levels within a classroom, teachers are required to focus on differentiation. However, in practice, it is very difficult for them to implement this and teacher-led learning simply can’t address the differences as effectively as technology.We are seeing the emphasis shifting from teaching to learning, and creating a pupil-centric learning environment that focuses on the fundamentals is both more efficient, and more effective in preparing children for their future career.
ren to code – you’ve got rtwith the basics ATRICKMCGRA
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