Data solutions gurus SISRA Limited have announced the launch of their very own educational blog. These blog posts are written by SISRA’s experienced, passionate data consultants, each of whom have first-hand experience of working with data in a school environment. The purpose of the blog is to discuss current issues in the educational world.
Three years ago, when the government announced the new linear A Levels, I began looking for ways to help students meet the challenge, both at this level and at GCSE. In History and Politics these changes promised courses would be more rigorous, content heavy, and demanding. While I support the shift to a knowledge-based curriculum, I did share many colleagues’ concerns about the feasibility of adding the demands of this new curriculum to an already incredibly demanding working environment.
Imagine Mr Jones, an urban schoolteacher who has been teaching eight-and nine-year-olds for the past five years. The few times he has introduced his students to a learning app or digital game, they have nearly levitated off their chairs with excitement. But he couldn’t get past the gee-whiz factor. The feeling that edtech was entertaining, but not germane to his teaching.
In celebration of Finland’s centenary year in 2017, the team behind Finnish edu-innovators HundrED are looking at the future of education worldwide. A global, non-profit project, HundrED is aiming to bring together a vision of education for the next 100 years, collecting 100 innovations from Finland and a further 100 from around the world, along with commentary from global thought leaders. The findings will be documented as a book, a documentary, a series of international seminars and a toolkit for teachers, all to be shared with the world for free.
We are living in the era of innovation where innovative minds are the determinants of their nations’ futures. 21st century learners should acquire the needed skills for the projected innovation era that is emerging. Education nowadays is confronted, like never before, by the challenge that is how to prepare learners for a relatively unpredictable future. With the ubiquitous impact that technology has, educators hold hope that this impact will be the silver bullet for the aspired education reform. However, the integration of technology in learning is still undergoing a renovation process.
Today The Edtech Podcast announced a strategic partnership with Innovate My School. Launched in May by Sophie Bailey, the programme includes edtech interviews, trends and news, and is downloaded in 69 countries, including the UK and US, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia. This strategic partnership will see the podcast published and shared via Innovate My School.
After spending twenty years of my life working with educational technology and seeing how people utilise it in a number of different global markets, I’ve learnt that schools across the globe are worlds apart when it comes to the application of technology in the classroom. This is most apparent when we look at schools in the UK compared with schools in the US. Teachers using IT in the classroom in the UK are likely to feel frustrated when looking across the pond where technology has become truly integrated in the classroom. So, what can we in the UK learn from our friends in America about incorporating edtech in the classroom?
For a generation that did not grow up with the Internet, it is fascinating to watch small children today intuitively handle a touchscreen mobile device with such ease. Indeed, modern pupils are growing up in a world where digital technology touches every facet of their lives, from the toys they interact with, to how their health care is managed, to how education is delivered. It is important that we look at not only how but what today’s young people are learning in terms of technology, as digital skills are becoming increasingly crucial for succeeding in the workforce, and will continue to be so in years to come.
Innovation to teachers is usually something that arrives via INSET or a day jolly out to a course. If it is well done, there is nothing wrong with being introduced to new ideas in this way - but if it is done badly it can cement pedagogical inertia and make real change in schools very difficult to effect. A top down approach of ‘you must always’ very rarely sits well with a profession that can be highly (and rightly) critical of change for its own sake. Real innovation, the grass roots stuff, is much more powerful, and can have much more meaning to the children in the classrooms of the innovative teachers.