Technology has changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined thirty years ago. In schools, it is transforming learning to the point where the classroom is becoming virtually unrecognisable from when we were children.
Some schools are adopting technology more than others, of course – but for those who are yet to really embrace the change, here are five ways technology is improving learning.
More Resources – Greater Knowledge
The internet is an almost limitless supply of knowledge for the young mind. Now, you don’t want children exploring the internet without guidance or supervision (see our e-safety white paper for more information on safeguarding your school) but you can use the internet as a resource for classroom activities, homework and pupil research. With guidance, using the internet in the classroom can improve their learning experience and introduce them to new things without even having to leave their home town.
More Interaction – More Collaboration
Technology allows people to stay in touch more often, and wherever they are. You can harness easier interaction in schools to allow children to work together, more often. The best learning platforms have messaging systems, allowing children and teachers to talk via messages. e-Portfolio systems encourage children to message each other, comment on each other’s work and help each other out with projects – in a similar way to social network systems, but in a safe, secure environment. More interaction and collaboration like this improves social skills and allows children to discuss ideas and welcome suggestions more willingly: vital for their future growth, like when moving into employment.
Schools interested in keeping up with technology are now finding ways to replace books with games. Why? Because they want learning to have the same effect on children as playing on a games console. In other words, those elements of a game that make them irresistible to children can be applied to learning. Which makes learning more fun, and ultimately more rewarding for children.
Gamification can range from simple online games that ask the user questions relating to a particular topic, to full virtual environments that simulate real-world situations. Placing learners in these environments gives them an experience that they can never be given in the traditional classroom environment with pen and paper. It gives them real-world skills – rather than merely being able to answer questions regarding a topic or problem.
For a range of easy-to-use online games, check out Zondle.
No More Excuses
Using an ebook rather than a traditional physical book brings more advantages than you may first think. There’s the obvious advantages, of course: there’s no longer the need for the space to store the books in the classroom, you don’t have to worry about children having to ‘share’ a copy of a book or wait until another child has finished with it.
But in addition to that, there’s no more ‘I left my book at home.’ eBooks are accessible anywhere, anytime – and if the child always has the book on them (as long as they have access to the internet, of course – via smartphone, tablet computer or laptop/desktop computer) they can always be learning.
Better Assessment – Less Admin
Technology allows for better and more accurate assessment of learners’ skills and achievements. It’s quicker, too. Rather than submitting work to a teacher – and then waiting days to get your mark back – technology can give you an instant mark. Better assessment means pupils’ needs can be catered for more accurately, and less time spent marking work means more time spent creating fun, tailored learning activities for your class, or giving them valuable one-to-one time.