Best practice for the connected classroom - page1

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Best practice for the connected classroom

Sharing, showcasing, extending learning journeys and providing individual learning experiences. We discover how digitally collaborative learning is supporting pupils up and down the country.



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When it comes to using the latest technology, many schools are playing catch up with digitally well-provisioned households. There’s a steady influx of tablets and other technology devices into the classroom to complement the interactive whiteboard, but the connected classroom is still evolving. And the whole school, including headteacher, classroom teachers and students, is discovering together how smart technology can transform learning.

Samsung recently conducted a study in conjunction with education specialist consultancy EdComs to look at digitally supported learning as part of its citizenship programme with six pilot schools in the UK. The conclusions provide some valuable feedback about how tablets are transforming learning, particularly in their power to motivate and engage pupils, boosting confidence and even attendance levels in some schools. Teachers meanwhile reported an overall positive impact on pupil performance.

Pupils’ ownership of their learning was a key benefit of using tablets, cited by several teachers involved in the pilot. “Having a tablet in the classroom and having the ownership of that tablet makes them feel important and valued,” commented a class teacher at Plymouth Grove primary school, Manchester. The ‘it just feels special’ aspect of tablets is difficult to measure, but easy to see, agreed participating teachers (further feedback on opposite page).

Certainly in those pilots and other forward-thinking schools across the country the tablet has turned the traditional classroom on its head. The model of the teacher standing at the front and delivering a lesson to pupils, which they ingest in a uniform and passive way, has been inverted. Children equipped with their own tablet are free to explore learning in a style that suits them, whether through an app, a quiz or a piece of audio, explains Graham Long, Vice President, Enterprise Business Team.

Long compares how a lesson about the Titanic may have traditionally involved students working from identical handouts to create their own PowerPoint presentation. Now, with the help of a browser and Google, a rich source of information located across the globe is at their disposal. “Children literally create their own mind map and children can pursue the line of enquiry that interests them”, says Long.

“It’s more collaborative, they naturally talk to friends and work out solutions together,” adds Long. Another upside of the tablet is in the conversation that develops when they are connected over the network to the touch screen large format display. The teacher can move easily from individual or group work to a classroom discussion by simply displaying an individual pupil’s work on the screen at the front of class.



Feedback on the Connected Classroom


Engagement
“I know that the success has been through the engagement and the interest and the pupil involvement has gone through the roof. They absolutely do love using them and it is a fantastic tool to engage children.” (Baden Powell, headteacher)

Instant learning
Schools are battling constantly to hook children into education, and to make it relevant to them. Children don’t want to sit and listen for hours and hours so the Digital Classroom has been a way to get the children interested and to invigorate the learning experience again. It’s more like everyday life: everything is instant now, and I guess learning needs to be too. (Henwick, headteacher)

Fun learning
“My children respond really well to anything visual and snappy, and I guess I do too, so anything where a child thinks they’re playing a game but they’re also learning at the same time is a huge bonus.” (Carlton, class teacher)

Focus
I’ve noticed that tablets really help them to focus very quickly. Children just seem to thrive using this technology, they’ve grown up with it, it’s all around them. (Henwick, class teacher)



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