Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
The technology-savvy students of today are digital natives — meaning they grew up using technology that we could scarcely have imagined just twenty or thirty years ago. Given that using computers, tablets, and resources like the internet are second nature to today’s students, it’s hardly surprising that tech is starting to play such a key role in how they learn.
But, the digital landscape is always changing, and keeping up with the latest resources can take a lot of time and research. So, we’ve looked into three of the most innovative technologies that are set to change the way you teach. Just read on to learn the influential new software and equipment that could soon be appearing in a classroom near you.
Recent years have seen an increased focus on individuality in education, with teachers now accepting that those with different learning styles need to be taught using different methods. But, virtual reality software could be about to transform the way we target those with more specialised learning styles.
Ben Bennett, Managing Director at virtual-reality software specialist Luminous Group, thinks that VR technology software is the key to reaching those with visual or kinaesthetic (hands on) learning styles. “Many learning models emphasise auditory and text-based modes of teaching,” he says. “But individuals with a visual or kinaesthetic learning style aren’t catered for nearly enough in education, as quite often schools just don’t have the resources to facilitate this. Virtual reality can break down these barriers by allowing users to recreating different places in the world or events in time that can’t be visited in real life. It also allows educators to carry out hands on technical training in safe environments.
“As the user is fully immersed in a 3D environment, they need to apply their full attention to the learning process. This really focuses the user on the application, meaning that not only is knowledge absorbed faster, but it’s also more likely to be retained.”
Ben also suggested that VR software will increase student engagement and participation, especially for complex or intimidating subjects. “Perhaps most importantly, virtual reality makes learning an explorative journey that students really want to engage with,” he says. “It’s the equivalent of having a practical exercise or field trip in every lesson.”
Ten years ago, if a student had an issue with an assignment or deadline, they would have no way to seek help from a teacher outside of school hours. But the increasingly widespread use of digital resources in schools is changing that.
Online file sharing software, like Google Classroom, has seen schools switch to paperless homework assignments, creating a system which is both more environmentally friendly and which allows for faster marking and feedback. It also eradicates the issue of forgotten or misplaced assignments — so no more “the dog ate my homework” scenarios in the classroom. Teachers are also able better equipped to track their student’s results, with collaborative documents like Google Sheets enabling multiple educators to share and analyse student data in real time.
Student-teacher email accounts have also opened up the channels of communication between pupils and educators, meaning that help and guidance outside of lesson time is much more accessible. Giving students the chance to access and manage their own digital accounts gives them a taste of what will be expected of them in the professional world, and it gives them a grounding in basic email etiquette.
In recent years, schools have been quick to cotton on to the learning potential of portable electronic devices, such as tablets. The introduction of them to the classroom has given teachers a whole host of new methods and resources. This is particularly true in the creative arts, as tablet devices have given students a new way to create art, music, films and journalism, all with a truly professional, authentic feel.
The potential of tablets doesn’t stop there, either: these devices are also a great way to get students collaborating with one another and sharing their hard work. Software such as SeeSaw allows students to upload their own creative assignments as a digital portfolio, which they can then share with their peers and parents. For older students, apps such as Padlet allow children to collaborate on digital projects together, and facilitates easier sharing of notes and creative work.
With so many new resources on the horizon, it’s an exciting time to work in the education sector. The technology available to educators is constantly changing, evolving and improving, so your teaching methods will need to adapt, too: you can keep up to date with the latest developments here on our newsfeed.
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