This guest post was written by Mat Pullen @mat6453. Mat is presenting a workshop at the OSPedagogy conference in June 2014.
We are in a time of massive change. Schools are under more and more pressure to improve results, with more and more pressure from the government. At the same time the world that students live in is evolving at a rate that has not been seen before.
The driver to that change is technology.
No sooner is something invented, it is copied and developed. This rate of change certainly demonstrates the need to have an education system that is adaptable, but also creates adaptable students.
Technology in the classroom is an essential component to this change. Technology gives students the opportunity to learn in new ways and to demonstrate this learning in fun and exciting ways. The benefit of this is that schools can take the pressure off students in terms of grades and focus instead on the journey that will lead to the grade. Giving students the opportunity to enjoy the learning process is important, too many students are switched off by education because of the relentless pursuit of grades, completely forgetting the holistic benefits of education.
So how can this be achieved?
In my own practice, I use technology to bring the world outside school, into the school. To get students being creative in the classroom and to see how the use of technology not only supports their learning but also show them how they could use it themselves in the workplace. We have made apps that support health and safety, websites to give information on coaching, podcasts to train users on fitness methods. We use video analysis to improve students sporting ability and we blog to share this with the world.
Technology is not there to replace teaching, it is there to support it. To many schools seem to fear this change and in doing so are creating a barrier between school and the outside community. Students are aware of these tools but may not know how to fully use them, most staff don’t either. In this time of change however it should be the educators that take the lead and educate others on the use, to show the impact and to embrace change.
I like to think that since embracing it myself I have more engaging lessons, I have had to learn a whole new set of skills but in doing so I take myself back to my time in school. I have a better understanding of where students are because I am there with them. We learn lots of these things together and a lot of the time the students teach me a lot. That’s what makes it exciting!
If you are new to technology or are still a bit sceptical then I urge you to embrace it, take small steps, read around how others use it and then see how you can use it. What difference could it make? Is there a particular group that nothing seems to work with? Maybe they could be a target group. Remember you don’t need to be the expert, just the facilitator.