Welcome to part I of the School of the Future series by ONVU Learning. We’re going to use this series to look at some of the most innovative schools and educational partnerships around the world and consider the technology that is most likely to lead to change in your classroom and your school. Take a look at the others parts on this blog series, below:
- School of the Future (part I): 9 Ways to Use EdTech to Help Teaching and Learning
- School of the Future (part II): 7 Ways to Use EdTech to Help Planning and Assessment
- School of the Future (part III): 6 Ways to Use Technology in Education to Support Recruitment, Retention and Parental Engagement
- School of the Future (part IV): Implementing the Government’s EdTech Strategy
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Of course, we’re well aware that there are far too many examples of schools and school systems running away with technology without checking it works properly or embedding the use of technology into the culture of the organisation. That doesn’t mean we need to run away from technology.
This first blog looks at how the school of the future will use EdTech to help teaching and learning; subsequent blogs will look at planning and assessment, and teacher recruitment and retention.
A ‘school’ to study
Before we look at specific ideas for your school, it’s worth taking a look at an extreme example where using technology for teaching and learning is essential because it’s physically impossible to bring teachers and learners together – The School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE) in Western Australia.
While the name may throw up images of children living in the ‘bush’ at a sheep ranch, the majority of students are in townships where they can’t access specific subject specialists, while other are travelling within or outside of Australia. Technology is used by SIDE to remove timetabling constraints with students and teachers collaborating on setting up times when subjects will be taught.
9 top tips for your school
1. Connect classrooms
The British Council e-Twinning project is one of the world’s leading projects in this area, bringing together schools across Europe. While you might think this is something for MFL only, the project has been used across many subjects from history to technology and beyond.
2. Bring external expertise into your classroom
There is so much expertise available online. While you might be aware of the large-scale Khan Academy and Fuse School projects, there are so many experts out there that you can use with your school. Check out Australian maths teacher for Eddie Woo for a start!
3. Connect up your Multi-Academy Trusts
International education charity ARK have a specific person (their Head of Data and Systems strategy), who helps schools identify and share best practice. In this article, she highlights Microsoft Translator as a tool for all schools.
4. Use apps for learning journeys
Here are an increasing number of apps available in every country. Perhaps the biggest we’ve seen is Byjus, an Indian app6 that has over 3.5 million users already!
5. Take your learning journey to the next level with artificial intelligence
Century Tech is working with 700 schools in Belgium to focus learning and reduce teacher workload.
6. Explore new ways of being connected
5G connections are coming to many countries and may well remove the need for WiFi networks in many places. In Kenya, the Google Loon project will mean great Internet access via balloons.
7. Focus on the virtual reality experience, not the technology
Virtual reality has been around for many years, and every two or three there’s a major push to use it in classrooms. We’ve found that the best way to use it is to use the best content, such as DiscoveryVR.
8. Don’t rule out the potential of mobile phones
French schools have banned them10 and many UK schools are also doing this – but they have fantastic potential to support learning outside of school!
9. Use technology to reflect on lessons
You’d expect us at ONVU Learning to say this, but we believe that letting teachers video and share their lessons for reflection and coaching is a great idea. They can get the right support to ‘see things they wouldn’t be able to see alone’, while helping other peers in their development journey. This simple, but efficient technology called Lessonvu has shown great results for our partner schools in the UK and India.
As you can see, there is a whole world of possibilities using technology to aid teaching and learning. Our expert advice here is try and see how other schools and teachers are using tech, find out what kind of evidence this tech has that it works, especially if implementing it involves a certain level of investment (both financial and time). But feel free to be creative and innovative – and remember to share your discoveries and knowledge with your peers – it may help solve their problems as well.
We hope our first blog of the School of Future series managed to inspire you. Remember to sign up to our newsletter to make sure you receive the following pieces in the series as they are ready. If you are curious about what Lessonvu can do for your school, make sure to get in touch with us and book a demo.