There has been a phenomenal tech transition in UK schools over the past two decades. Gone are the days of a single desktop computer shared between a class; pupils now have individual and regular access to the latest technology during lessons.
UK schools invest approximately 900m every year on new technology, according to figures from the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA). These stats also show schools have bought more than 1.3 million desktop computers, 840,000 laptops and almost 721,000 tablets, with the latter figure expected to rise to 939,000 by the end of 2016.
With all this investment in technology within schools, it’s vital to ensure that students are engaging with it to the best of their ability. Below we have outlined five ways to drive student participation via technology:
1. Technology isn’t a privilege for students; it’s second nature
Generation Z has grown-up with technology; for them, it has always been available. Students expect technology to be accessible in the classroom as a necessity, not a privilege. With pupils so keen to learn with technology, schools should utilise this active interest and be willing to encourage students to participate in learning via tech, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Technology isn’t a privilege for students; it’s second nature tweet
2. The classroom layout should work around technology
Return on tech investment is minimal if classroom space isn’t suitable. Consider the actual layout of each classroom, to make sure students will get the most from the technology available. These changes to layout ensure that both the room and technology are working together to support a range of learning styles – which will further increase student engagement with technology.
Return on tech investment is minimal if classroom space isn’t suitable tweet
3. Consider technology use with teaching styles
Technology only has a place in the classroom if students are learning from it. Otherwise, it’s a heavy investment for little reward. To engage students with technology, both teaching and learning styles must be taken into account. It is the role of a teacher to alter their teaching style to the needs of the pupils. Therefore, technology available must support student needs and their preferred styles of learning in order for them to engage with it.
Technology only has a place in the classroom if students are learning from it tweet
4. Maximise learning with different technology
Schools should not limit themselves to just one type of technology. To maximise student learning, schools should research other technologies available and understand how they can be used with existing equipment. Technology must benefit students and their learning styles; for example interactive flat panel displays work well for collaborative work across an entire class, whereas tablets have been shown to inspire creativity, so are worthwhile for individual tasks.
Bring different technologies into the classroom, but ensure they all work together to achieve overall student learning outcomes tweet
5. Software enhances learning
Software can enhance education for both teachers and students. How? It provides teachers with useful tools to plan and deliver lessons and students are able to complete tasks to further their learning. Free learning platforms, such as ClassFlow, save teachers’ valuable time, with real-time assessment, a chance to focus on the performance of individual students and the ability to adapt to student learning styles quickly. This type of software is key for encouraging collaborative working and for engaging students via technology.
Software can enhance education for both teachers and students tweet
Tech for teaching continues to evolve
Technology offers schools the opportunity to boost student engagement, which leads to increased quality of learning. With the breadth of technology available today, including real-time collaborative software and educational gaming, teachers should choose the right tools that benefit both their teaching styles and their pupils’ learning goals.