Technology is the marmite of the education world: some couldn’t live without it, while others would gladly take a chalkboard over a tablet any day. Love it or hate it, it's increasingly becoming part of what goes on in the classroom.
Here are some top tools and tips that you can use to kickstart your use education technology:
- Have a plan
When it is implemented correctly, technology can have a great impact on engagement, assessment and workload. But, before you reach for your nearest device and start downloading apps, it’s important to remember that any use of tech in the classroom should be rooted in pedagogy. You might try using models such as TPACK or SAMR to ensure you have a clear plan. Another option is the brilliant 5D model from Jim Tuscano.
- Make marking digital
Consider using a digital mark-book or digital notebook. This will keep you organised and means that you can have all of your information in one place. You could use an “all-in-one” app such as iDoceo, or create your own journals with something like Noteshelf or the beautiful Moleskine app.
- Use multifunctional resources
Look out for technology tools that are multifunctional. This means that there will be less for you to learn and you can focus on really good implementation of the tool. ClassFlow is a free resource which has some brilliant features. It allows you to easily share content with your students’ devices, use your own assessment rubrics for digital marking and set assignments and homework.
- Make your content dynamic
Technology is great for upping the ante in terms of what we are asking students to produce. Explain Everything is an excellent tool for creating interactive videos or texts for both you and your learners. Don’t be afraid of using high-quality readymade materials as well. BrainPop is a superb resource with masses of interesting and engaging videos to explain a plethora of subjects. With built-in games and quizzes, it is an effective and efficient way to spice up your lessons.
- Encourage creation, not consumption
Your students should be creating, not consuming and your materials should be specifically tailored to the class you are working with. iBooks Author allows students to become published authors by collaborating to create multi-touch books and then publishing their work. It is also a brilliant way for you to create bespoke materials for your class. Greg Hughes has incredible examples of superb iBooks.
Sarah Wright is a senior lecturer at Edge Hill University in Lancashire. She tweets as @Sarah__wright1.
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