Having completed most of my learning through the 1980s and 1990s the use of technology in the classroom and at home has changed immensely. I remember fondly my first interactions with educational games on the BBC computer that would be wheeled into our classroom from time to time. Move forward 40 years and the landscape of using technology to support learning has changed.
On Tuesday, I spent some time at the Junior School in classrooms looking for tasks that may need to be completed over the holidays for the eServices team. I witnessed amazing learning taking place. One that caught my attention was a young boy using the classroom interactive smart board to learn different shapes. The joy and the happy jumping that was taking place upon every correct answer was reinforcing the learning that must have taken place earlier. I would have loved to sit down and work with the students in a Year 3 class who were totally engaged with their spark Lego creations and busily programming and testing them.
Recently, in Year 7 maths we have completed a unit on chance. I love practical activities and we completed many dice rolls looking at how theoretical probability differs from experimental probability. However, with limited time it is difficult to complete many rolls. In my days, simulation software was not available, but with a quick search of the internet we were able to find an excellent site that enabled us to complete larger numbers of rolls. Then as a class, we discussed the trends we were seeing and how they differed from the lower ones we had completed.
At the College, we utilise many different technologies to support and enhance the learnings that take place in and out of the classroom. These technologies can be broken down into different categories:
- Collaboration and Communication
- Programming and data
- Reinforcement of learning
- Virtual reality and simulations
- Supporting personalised learning
These types of technology are used to support and enhance the amazing learning that occurs in all parts of College. This is achieved through the provision of hardware and software that students and teachers have access to daily.
Late last year we received a request from the senior art department to trial new technology. The devices have been provided this year and incorporated into the Artscope Launch Pad project, where students devise a visual response to a chosen stimulus word. They determine the theme and subject matter they wish to explore, after researching the work of artists who can help them develop their ideas. Students are able to create their artwork in a medium of their choice. This student chose to create their artwork on the iPad, drawing in the Procreate app. The design is a visual response to the word ‘brink’.
In the example shown above, after successfully developing her understanding of how to use the Procreate app, this student then used the platform to design another artwork that will be produced as a reduction linocut print.
Using digital technologies in this creative way can allow students the ability to quickly test multiple design alternatives such as colour schemes, textures and the variation of scale of elements within a design and this can aid a more adventurous and fluid approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Digital technology can become the medium of the artwork or can be used as a planning tool.
This is just a small snapshot of how technology is supporting students at the College.
Head of eLearning and IT Services