Success in the classroom can be improved with technology
The impact of technology in the classroom is a hotly contested topic. The OECD says that students glued to tablets all day perform worse and that “more technology doesn’t guarantee better outcomes”, which is true to an extent, but partly due to the fact that they’re no longer getting a classroom experience. Research has shown that top-level classroom success grows by 36 per cent when the right approach is taken to technology.
Too many schools have fallen victim to rushing in, spending money and then not getting the results that they want. It’s because they’ve overlooked some vital steps. Further research has shown that top-level classroom success grows by 36 per cent when the right approach is taken to technology.
The first one is that technology will never overcome poor teaching standards. Research from Filigree Consulting shows that the level of outstanding outcomes increases by 36 per cent when appropriate technology was used to complement strong teachers. It doesn’t replace the teacher though.
The appropriate technology is one implemented with a software-first approach. When technology is thought about in this way, and in conjunction with established teachers, it can increase the top end of results.
Not only does this research tell us where technology is most effective, but our own experience has also shown how it creates positive outcomes. Teachers need to identify the processes and software that will help them the most first, then you add hardware on top.
Don’t simply implement iPads, screens or other kit without thinking how it’s going to be used. Imagine if you received a new computer at work without the right email software or you haven’t been trained on how to use it. You would be confused, challenged and more likely to give up than if you hadn’t received the hardware at all. That’s what’s happened in many UK classrooms.
Collaborative technology encourages group-working, communication, recall and collaboration with peers in the classroom. It doesn’t replace excellence in teaching, which the research is clear on. In the absence of any technology, poor teaching causes outstanding results to drop by more than 50 per cent against those of excellent teaching.
It’s not a one-time solution though. The software is constantly evolving, as are teachers. Continuous professional development means that teaching styles and practices will evolve. Whether this means learning more about technology, or the role of tech in the classroom, teachers will adapt. The thing that needs to remain constant is that the technology is walk-up-and-use easy.
Combining hardware and software helps create more positive outcomes, more often. By making the technology mobile, simple, bespoke and ‘walk-up-and-use’ simple, it’s possible to reach the levels of outstanding success in the classroom.
by Peter Claxon, Senior manager, Education solutions SMART Technologies