In light of the school’s change of policy over the use of iPads, smartphones and laptops, today I am looking at the impact of new technologies on the way teaching and learning is being enhanced. There has been reams and reams written on the subject and it is something we will return to a few times this year as the school embraces new technology when there is a clear educational advantage, especially iPads. The technology that BISS Puxi is investing in is helping create and inspire the exciting learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom and smooth the running of the school and communication with parents.
Understandably students and parents see the classroom application of technology as the forefront of innovation in the school. Things have moved on rapidly in the last few decades with interactive whiteboards, desktops with DVDs, speakers and internet connectivity linked to projectors, making the classroom experience far mare up to date and engaging.
Still things move on apace and now tablets and laptops for each student is the big debate. Recent research around the use of tablet PCs, like iPads, has shown that innovative use of this technology can further support a student’s learning. An individual’s tablet wirelessly connected can encourage classroom debate verbally but also for the shy students who can write down their thoughts that can then be projected to their peers onto the board. Connectivity means students will soon be issued with individual voting controllers, small remote control like devices that give instant feedback on pupil’s ideas or whole class ideas based on questions teachers set on the board. This use of technology increases the way that teachers can quickly assess learning and give feedback to classes or individuals.
All our teachers will soon be issued with iPads so that they can record and interact with the board and with students during lesson time in a way that gives them far more freedom to wander the classroom, science lab, playing field or performing arts spaces. This freedom aids them in their assessment of student learning and in making the lesson more engaging. For example, students can use the teacher’s iPad to take photos and scans of good work, write on the tablet which then gets projected onto the board and it even allows students to instantly see films of themselves. Students can then instantly analyse with peers and teachers their own work like never before. Great work can also be quickly sent home via an email to parents to ensure students get the praise they deserve.
Behind the scenes the school has invested in a single data management system that is web based and therefore compatible across all platforms so that we can keep records and assess student performance in a faster way. This also allows us to communicate with parents and students more effectively as all devices are linked to a central information hub. New reporting software is also being trialled at Christmas. New technology will make it more accurate and easy to give targeted feedback to students and parents about their performance in individual subjects.
Innovations beyond the tablet and PC now mean we have digital video and editing software that allow our students in media and performance to create films, posters and make music electronically in a professional manner. However the easy to use software on iPads and laptops means that students can now create their own documentaries, adverts, films and blogs that helps diversify the number of different skills that a student can provide evidence of learning.
Teachers themselves are using digital video to record lessons on our cyclops remotely operated (and unobtrusive) camera stands. Teachers can now individually or in collaboration with their peers across the school “video” their lessons and analyse how effectively their teaching techniques are being implemented. This will help us develop a library of interesting best practice and will allow for better teachers development.
Please don’t forget that our innovation reaches beyond school and our Global Classroom has something for everyone to be engaged in via internet access. This virtual learning environment encourages individual research and skill development within our international community of Nord Anglia Education schools around the world, as well as encouraging collaboration and competition. The Global Classroom can be accessed via moodle, please ask your son or daughter to give you a tour when you are at home one day at your computer.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg. As we move towards iPads we will give you more updates on apps and recommended educational software, but for now rest assured we are investing in technology that we do not think is a fad. All the technology in the school is designed to enhance learning and be to everyone’s advantage: a good investment for all.