Teaching and Learning: The Place Of Digital Technology In The Classroom

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What Is Digital Technology?

There will be many different answers to such a question and I believe that the most common answer is anything to do with computers, correct? however technology has moved on from just being about computers and especially in the classroom there is much more than just computers. In my experience digital technology within the classroom includes the use of computers, interactive Whiteboards, Ipads or other tablets, Cameras and Visualizers. There may however be others that I have not considered.

What Is The Place Of Digital Technology In The Classroom?

I started this by finding an article titled ‘Preparing today’s learners for tomorrow’s world’ which discusses how learners will succeed by using technology. The full article can be found here

The govenment have produced an article about technology in schools, it speaks about the power of technology in the classroom, how technology is advancing and what this all means for the school environment. To view the full article follow this link

Why Should Technology Be Used In Schools?

Technology today is helpful for teachers, using the interactive whiteboard as a tool for teaching has the ability to bring information that could be found in books to life, it can show real life pictures or videos which children relate to and the range of programmes available can be aimed at children of all levels.

Technology as tools for learning, using computers children can research topics, communicate with each other or other teachers using emails or the schools’ VLE. Computers can be used to enable children to research topics and have instant answers. Children can  also use programmes such a Skype to communicate with other children from around the world. Camera use in the classroom can encourage everyone to take pictures of their work to share with others, instantly upload onto a computer and discuss.

Teachers can also use technology as a tool for assessment.

The BBC published an article which discusses why schools should embrace digital technology.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using Technology In Schools?

Gone are the days when schooling was based around a blackboard, chalk and books for research. Interactive whiteboards are now prominent in classrooms, they are an excellent resource if used effectively as suggested above but I think they should only be used as an enhancing tool and not the only tool. In my placement school technology is always being used, mainly the interactive white board which is used to display the teachers inputs for the lessons, show lyrics for songs or for playing games in phonics to name just a few but is this just a bit too much? Here are some examples.

I have also seen in schools posters highlighting the dangers of using the internet. We should not be afraid to show these to children as the more they know and understand the safer they become. E-safety is a big topic that we need to highlight to children and adults.

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Technology As An Enhancing Tool

I believe that technology used correctly will enhance  learning for all but should be used to enhance and not be the only option. Below is a video which I think helps to show effective use of technology. This is a Canadian school using ipads and an interactive whiteboard alongside kinaesthetic learning.

It seems that even Pearson Education, who have been creating and supplying textbooks for years have been rolling out digital textbooks and have now set a target ‘for 70% of sales to come from digital and services by 2015’ which highlights there is no shying away from technology, it is the future and we should embrace it.

After all this discussion here is my blog post which discusses in a bit more depth the use of  digital technology in the classroom.

The New National Curriculum & Developing Our Subject Knowledge

As of September 2014 we will be working with the new National Curriculum and in computing we will be required to teach children how to create and debug simple programs, among others. This starts in Key Stage 1 and will require us to understand terms such as algorithms and coding.

Programmes such as ‘Scratch’ are avaliable for children to develop games using coding, we have been using this programme, which has been a good experience as it has helped me to deepen my pedagogical understanding and  getting me ready for teaching.

CodingThis picture shows the coding involved in creating my own program on scratch, you can follow this link and choose see inside to have a closer look.

An interesting article discussing coding was published in the Daily Telegraph on 4th November 2013 titled ‘Teaching our children to code: a quiet revolution.’ Having read this it is clear we as teachers need to be deepen our subject knowledge ready for September 2014. To read the full article click here.

Conclusion

Technology is advancing and is becoming more prominent in the classroom, teachers are using it as a tool for both teaching and learning. Whether us as teachers are confident now or having to further develop out own pedagogical understanding, we need to embrace it and use it to the best of our abilities.

Resources

http://newteachers.tes.co.uk/content/making-technology-work-you-classroom – Article about technology in the classroom.

http://www.ioe.ac.uk/newsEvents/80537.html – Article from London Institute of Education about digital technology going hand in hand with learning.

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/a00201823/digital-technology-in-schools – Article from the Govenment about digital technology in schools.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7828904.stm – Article discussing why schools should embrace technology.

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/13043928/#player – Scratch project to help develop subject knowledge on coding.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239033/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Computing.pdf) – Link to the 2014 National Curriculum of Computing.

http://www.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/news/todays-learners-tomorrows-world/ – Article from the Cambridge Schools Conference in Singapore.

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