Technology in the classroom

Technology in the classroom: developing professionals of the future

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The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) places learning technology at the heart of its provision. Rachel Iles, Learning Technology Manager (LTM) at the BSN’s Junior School Leidschenveen, shares why it is important for all schools to adopt technology in preparing professionals of the future. [Contributed by the British School of the Netherlands]

Technology use in education is a vibrant and continually evolving story. All the LTMs across the four campuses promote how technology, when used effectively, offers an exciting wealth of possibilities to support, enhance, and expand meaningful learning opportunities.

That said, it is important to note that technology in the classroom alone does not automatically engender great learning. So how do we do it and what does that look like? 

Engaging learners

Students engage best when technology activities are open-ended and linked to topics, providing an extra dimension that brings learning alive. Let’s start with story building as an example.  

In Year 2, students (5–6 year olds) explore ‘Favourite & Traditional Tales’, e.g. Robin Hood. As part of the English curriculum, they learn about story settings, structure, vocabulary and engage in role-play to understand how characters and story elements connect. Once familiar with writing stories, they create their own alternative digital versions. Via iPads and PCs, they learn how to combine digital tools such as pens, text, images, video and sound recording. Combining original ideas and media brings a magical dimension.

The use of a mobile device allows them to record their own voice or sound effects, insert film clips of their teams acting out the plot, design artwork linked to the story and ultimately become a published author!

Alongside this, being able to export in a variety of formats provides the means to share their work with a wider audience. 

Increasing complexity

Technology topics for 7- to 11-year-olds increase in complexity, using real-life experiences to promote understanding. The BSN’s India project, a topic that is covered as part of the Geography curriculum, enables students to become virtual travel agents; they Google-map travel routes and distances and budget transport via key websites, culminating in students capturing their learning to teach peers.

The tricky translation of Shakespeare in English classes is assisted by collaborating in teams to design backdrops, clay characters and staging to animate scenes from famous plays. Other projects include movie trailers to explain science topics, virtual game design and being transported into character in a historical setting through the use of green screens. 

There is no boundary to the creative means through which students can exceed expectations and author ideas to show us what they think and feel. In our international setting, technology supports students’ personal learning preferences by allowing them to select their own tools to create a range of media, record different language versions, or express ideas visually. 

Technology use in education

Continually evolving technology and education

Children’s experience with technology outside school is continually changing; within school, for a curriculum to remain exciting and challenging, it needs regular refreshing. On an annual basis, I introduce new resource pilots, e.g. programming in JavaScript or social media research, while core areas (e.g. online safeguarding, Office, blogging, 3D design with Google Sketchup) are embedded to build in progression across year groups to maintain continuity for teaching teams.

The future is bright

Today’s learners will become the professionals of the future, and in recent years we have begun to focus on the projected skills required for the 2020 to 2030 workplace. In January 2016, The World Forum published the Top 10 Skills for 2020, which featured problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in the top three, swiftly followed by emotional intelligence, negotiation and cognitive flexibility.

As educators, we have a crucial role to play in modelling behaviours and attitudes that underpin positive behaviours, alongside helping young people develop as people. By learning to make good choices, build social skills and develop personal and social capital, they will be well equipped to play key roles in designing the digital landscape of the future.

The British School in the Netherlands welcomes applications all year round and is accepting applications for September 2017.  For more information about our Admissions process please visit our website or call +31 (0)70 315 4077 or email admissions@britishschool.nl.

 

 

Contributed by the British School in the Netherlands

The British School in the Netherlands

 
 

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