Recently, one of the teachers at the school sent me a text message inviting me to their classroom. Attached was a picture of a student leading the learning. Shortly after another member of staff used her phone to email me during a staff meeting for URL of a site I just mentioned. Both these events have made me reflect on our journey with the use of technology in the classroom.
A few years ago technology, especially computer technology was not used a great deal in classrooms. The school had two computers rooms. Data projectors were used by some teachers.
It was necessary to move the school to embrace technology as a tool for teaching and learning. There were many reasons for this change. These include:
- technology engages students in the learning process,
- technology assist teachers do their job better,
- technology provides an avenue to overcome geographic isolation, and
- technology provides opportunities for students to create, collaborate and communicate.
Today there is greater access to technology for staff and students. In addition to the two computer rooms there is an interactive whiteboard in every classroom, every classroom is connected to the Internet via WAN and wireless, every student from year 9 to 11 has a net-book, students from kindergarten to year 8 have access to to the net-book in their classroom, kindergarten to year 6 students have access to a class set of iPads and each teacher has a net-book.
Today students and teachers use Web 2.0 tools within the classroom these include EDMODO, Prezi, Glogster, Storybird and Wordle. Teachers have access to social media (Twitter and FaceBook) and YouTube.
Teachers have been supported in the use of technology in the classroom. Professional learning in both hardware and software has supported teachers. This year we have introduced a “technology coach” a teacher who works with teachers inside and outside the classroom assisting them integrate and reflect on technology, software and Web 2.0 tools in their teaching practice.
I have found that social media has become an increasing important tool over the past year. Twitter allows me to connect with other educators and to form powerful learning networks. Facebook has provided another avenue to connect and communicate with our parents and local community.
We are still on our journey. We continue to work on:
- assisting students become 21st learners. Developing citizens that fully paricipate in our society (now and in the future). Helping them to be responsible digitial citizens.
- Individualise learning
- Investigate how games based learning can enhance learning.
- providing engaging learning opportunities for all learners
Technology by itself does not mean 21st century learning. The interaction between technology, the teacher, the student and the curriculum provide these opportunities. technology does make it easier for students to create, collaborate and communicate within and beyond the classroom.
In many ways we have only just began our journey. It is an exciting journey: this may be the most exciting time to be involved in education.