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New technologies: why all schools should get onboard

Technology is intrinsic in today's modern classroom; in fact, it is estimated that our schools are investing around £900m per year on technology

Posted by Craig Daykin | August 29, 2017 | Primary

Technology is intrinsic in today’s modern classroom; in fact, it is estimated that our schools are investing around £900m per year on technology. However, when implementing new technology into the classroom we shouldn’t assume educators automatically know how to make best use of it to improve teaching and learning outcomes. This is why sufficient training needs to be encouraged across our schools, so that staff know how to integrate technology into classrooms successfully.

Research by Elementary Technology in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield has highlighted that one in five teachers has never received training on how to use their most vital teaching tool and 43% only use the basic functions of their classroom display equipment. This means that schools are investing money in new technologies which aren’t being used to their full potential; therefore, it is worth encouraging staff training because in the long run, it means that schools will get the most out of their investment in technology.

So, what can we do to help educators get the most out of their investment in new edtech? The first port of call should be to speak with their reseller or the manufacturer to find out what training programmes they offer. As a Platinum accredited Promethean partner, Elementary Technology provides inclusive training as part of the installation service, while Promethean also has its team of ‘on-boarding’ professionals who are able to support educators with the new technology too.

Education technology is constantly evolving and being developed to enable schools to provide the best possible education settings for their students that they can, however, it’s important that they are supported and encouraged when introducing technologies, so that everyone benefits.

Short-term, schools should encourage staff to be proactive in learning about the key features for themselves. While we all understand and empathise with how stretched their daily work lives are, there are social media support groups for ed tech to bounce-off new ideas and even YouTube videos which can help. This short-term investment in watching training videos and speaking with peers can have long-term benefits in making the technology work to the schools’ advantage.

Beyond being a front-of-class display for example, the ActivPanel acts as a hub allowing other devices to connect to it, provides access to the App store, and supports ClassFlow; which can provide teachers with real-time insight into how well students are understanding a topic – right down to individual pupils. There are also downloadable lesson plans, the opportunity to have teacher – parent communication via an online discussion, teachers can even set tasks for students to complete at home – and in return students can submit their work back to them online. With ed tech the possibilities are almost limitless, the decision lies with individual schools on how best to use it to enhance teaching and learning for them.

Finally, when supporting staff with the introduction of new kit, ultimately technology training should be incorporated into everyone’s long-term professional development plans, and schools should have a point of contact in place, such as a staff development co-ordinator who staff can ask for advice. Larger schools such as secondary schools could even encourage virtual learning areas, where staff can meet to swap ideas.

Education technology is constantly evolving and being developed to enable schools to provide the best possible education settings for their students that they can, however, it’s important that they are supported and encouraged when introducing technologies, so that everyone benefits.

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