‘Immersion’ – chances are that anyone who has ever taught or studied languages will have heard this word a lot! In the realms of language education, ‘immersion’ refers to being in an environment in which only the language being learned is spoken. ‘Immersion’ in technology, meanwhile, refers to blurring reality and the digital. Through immersive technologies, it is possible to simulate the real world, and real-world situations, without the need to travel.
From virtual reality (VR) field trips to virtual campus tours to aid recruitment, the future of education is one filled with exciting and untold possibilities. The Innovation Index survey, carried out by an independent party and commissioned by Bett, consisted of extensive research into the UK and EU education market, with responses from over 1,700 educators. There was a strong consensus on the benefits of edtech among 87% of the educators surveyed. Findings revealed that VR is not only here to stay; it’s set to become the ‘next-big-thing’ in the classroom, with headsets being considered by nearly a quarter of institutions.
Over the first half of 2018, 21st century skills have come to the fore of the education sector debates. Identified as a series of learning dispositions that are crucial to the future success of our children, these skills include communication, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, but also digital literacy and adaptability and flexibility.
Digital leaders can be a great way to raise the profile for the effective, creative and safe use of technology in schools. It can be a great way to equip children with the enterprising and life skills needed in the future. Not only could the role of being a digital leader build their confidence and self-esteem - it would also be of benefit to teachers across the school.
Exploring student futures is imperative to developing a successful education system. It is a crucial part of answering the question: “What is education for?” - a question which, against all reason, often seems to get neglected. This is bewildering to me; after all, how can there be a hope of providing quality education to children and young people without being very clear on the end goal? This is akin to asking Usain Bolt to compete in a sprint race, without giving him an indication of the finish line or the time he is expected to complete it in.
In 2008 I was in my NQT year and teaching at South Rise Primary School. I had just been appointed as shadow ICT coordinator and given my first project. The ICT coordinator had applied successfully to the Local Authority for funding to start a community project with parents. We had written the application form, asking for money to buy five digital cameras. These would be used as part of a project to reach those parents whom we felt needed more of our support, or were “harder to reach” for whatever reasons. When we were granted the money, it fell to me to then run the project.
Computer Science educator Mark ‘Urban Teacher’ Martin has become a big name in education, and can be regarded as a true edtech expert. During London Tech Week 2018, Mark won the Diversity Champion Award at the TechXLR8 awards. Here, the South Bank UTC Computing lead - and Tech City UK digital business academy mentor - discusses favourite resources, representation, the people who inspire him, and more.