EDUCATION – TECHNOLOGY – Technology-based learning or Technology-enabled learning?

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Technology-based learning or Technology-enabled learning?

Last month the OECD released a report about the use of technology in schools. The BBC’s headline read “Computers ‘do not improve’ pupil results, says OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)” stating in their report that children who use technology regularly had lower attainment than the children who used it moderately. This wasn’t a fair summary of what the report actually said, but it served as good clickbait and many people were discussing it on twitter.

It is clear that technology is the tool and the teacher is still responsible for the level of teaching. What the OECD report actually says is that “Technology can amplify great teaching but great technology cannot replace poor teaching”. Mark Chambers, the chief executive of NAACE (National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education) appeared on the BBC saying it was unrealistic to think schools should reduce their use of technology. “It is endemic in society now, at home young people will be using technology, there’s no way that we should take technology out of schools, schools should be leading not following.”

The same week on twitter #bettchat teachers discussed technology in the classroom. The debate raised some interesting points. Are devices in the classroom a distraction or can they be used for pedagogical gain? What are the benefits of technology and how can we ensure it succeeds in the classroom?

Schools must start with a strategy and then back that up by investing in training. There is nothing worse than a school buying iPads, because the school down the road has them, with no plan of how to use them effectively. Pedagogy first, then bring in the technology; however there is no point is choosing technology that is so complicated to implement it means half your school aren’t using it and that refers to both your teachers and students. If schools are going to invest in technology for the classroom it must be easy to use across the board.

The next thing is classroom management. How can you ensure that all the children are on task and not getting distracted? If a school has a learning platform that supports easy integration with the best of the web, such as Youtube, Quizlet, Vimeo and many more educational apps, then children can still access these wonderful resources lessening the danger of them browsing the internet and going off task. Teachers also need to get out from their desks and be moving around the classroom so they can see the children’s screens.

The cost of technology can be reduced with a BYOD (Bring your own device) but how can you ensure that all children have the same access to resources and therefore the same learning experience. The platform a school uses is key for this. Mobile apps need to work for a multitude of devices…

And finally how do you measure success? The collection and submission of work from mobile devices should be at the touch of a button ready for a teacher to mark and give feedback. If it isn’t easy for students or teachers, neither will engage and the data you have to analyse will have big gaps. Make data easy to put in and easy to get out to make it count.

Consider the pedagogy, agree your strategy, put training at the heart, think about the devices and measure success.

What learning experience are your students having?

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