Session 277: Using Technology Across the Curriculum

Thursday 5th November 2015, hosted by @ICTMagic

Questions
1) Tech can be a double edged sword. What are the disadvantages of using it across all subjects?
2) How can tech be used to develop a collaborative teaching and learning environment for both teachers and students?
3) Should we expect every teacher to use tech in lessons? What are the barriers to full engagement with tech?
4) Share a moment in your own teaching when tech enhanced the learning experience for your pupils.
5) How can individual teachers (yes you… starting tomorrow) help colleagues develop their digital prowess?
6) Share your favourite tech/software/apps for:
– A) Humanities
– B) Sciences & Maths
– C) The rest of the curriculum and beyond


Summary:

Using technology in education can sometimes comes across as being a gimmick, especially when colleagues are urged to integrate technology within specific subjects. With quite a lot of prior interest, the session wanted to explore the above questions.

In response to the first question (Tech can be a double edged sword. What are the disadvantages of using it across all subjects?) MisterETeacher started off by claiming that the use of tech can have, “a positive effect providing teachers don’t show fear of it. And used appropriately, not just for technology’s sake!”, with Gail Abbitt agreeing, “the disadvantage is when tech is used without purpose!” and concerns that tech fatigue being evident if used in any lesson (Joe W), Ryan Harwood reacted by adding, “mental and physical fatigue. It’s hard on the eyes to stare at screens all day”!

More reservations included: “A curriculum which relies too heavily on tech could prevent free-thinking & common practical skills” (EES for Schools); “in some instances, it may be used solely for substitution with little meaningful impact on teaching and/or learning” (James Gibbons); “an obvious disadvantage is pupils may become too reliant on tech & lose art of spelling, grammar & research” (Cherryl-kd), and; “People use it as a box-ticking exercise and it’s used poorly because it ‘needs to be embedded across curriculum’” (Leah Sharp).

On the other side of this double-edged sword, Philip Coulson noted how, “reluctant students can become more involved in lessons when tech is used effectively”.

The next question asked, ‘How can tech be used to develop a collaborative teaching and learning environment for both teachers and students?’ A few suggestions included:

  • blogs are an obvious one here – a great way for teachers and students to share with each other. Twitter too. (Ben Hall)
  • Children who are class experts can go around the classroom to give help and help fellow students (HP)
  • Can’t look further than GoogleApps. Has completely changed how my school uses IT. (Winston Park)
  • Technology provides a platform to connect & collaborate globally- instantaneously.Oft neglected use! (Julian S Wood)
  • GAFE offers some fantastic collaborative opportunities for learners. Social networks fantastic for free CPD. (Neil Dix-Pincott)

Clive Buckley aptly observed that it, “Amuses me that we struggle to find ways of using technology for collaboration when students use it all the time for that.”

The next part of the session asked, “Should we expect every teacher to use tech in lessons? What are the barriers to full engagement with tech?”

Ben Hall highlighted one major area, “technical problems, once people lose faith in the technology it takes a long time to win them back” with Gary King adding, “we need variation to keep learning and teaching fresh and exciting, if we insist, tech will simply be used to tick a box”. It is critical that time is allowed for staff to, “familiarise themselves with technology, focus on core basics and the rest will follow” (Jennifer Wilson). In response to the question, Joe W argued, “No Ss need consistently good, innovative, motivated teachers. Tech is a tool all should be capable to use only if needed.” The dangers of using tech for passive learning or as a filler were also identified, being important that teachers don’t fall into this trap, for the sake using it. Simon Bradbury concluded that he, “Think(s) all teachers need to keep up to date with all things teaching and learning, technology included.”

Oh, and the poor wifi in some schools was strongly highlighted as a frustration to many contributors – when was the wifi in your school installed, and when was it last updated?

Question 4 wanted chatters to Share a moment in your own teaching when tech enhanced the learning experience for your pupils. Some responses:

  • Using padlet for our homework to share ideas which I am going to use for our upcoming English units (HP)
  • When students use my blog to access to teaching materials. Supports them in being independent and boosts confidence (John Mitchell)
  • Use of @DoInkTweets Green Screen to create adverts, Padlet for interacting across the world and @BookCreatorApp for everything (Graham Andre’)
  • Y9 pupils used Apple Maps flyover 3D tour of Paris to inform their French writing today. Great results! (Neil Dix-Pincott)
  • A4 Made aliens appear out of a book using Aurasma App with Y2, really enhanced their engagement with the story & prompted ideas (Tina Watson)
  • have used explain everything to retell stories in y1 and also puppetpal (Pablo Mayorga)

The penultimate question asked, “How can individual teachers (yes you… starting tomorrow) help colleagues develop their digital prowess?James Gibbons suggested, “modelling simple ideas that can be used straight away. Staff seeing the impact for themselves can be very powerful!” which was followed by Joe W’s idea to, “Model, invite Ts into your class to see how you are using it, run after school/lunchtime drop in sessions”, but Gail Abbitt summed up perfectly, “model good practice – share resources and ideas, showcase what you are doing – remove the silo!”

Finally, the community was asked about their favourite tech/software/apps for a variety of subjects. Let’s finish with a list:

  • google classroom, Socrative (Chris Eyre).
  • Toontastic is fab. I use it all the time with KS1 & KS1. Y 1 made maths animations (Tina Watson).
  • for primary doodle maths! Just like daily reading you can do short daily challenges that the teacher can track the result of! (Ryan Chidler).
  • Across all subjects I love to use @plickers to assess progress & quiz in lessons. Ss love seeing the graphs come up (The Hectic Teacher).
  • early bird times tables, barefoot world atlas, essential skeleton, lego movie maker, oh no fractions, partake AR, wilder quest (HP).
  • love using Popplet to summarise ideas for students (John Mitchell).
  • essential skeleton is fantastic for science, really brings a skeleton alive (Ben Hall).

Read more interactions from the session by scrolling through the Storify archive below.

Tweet of the Week:

Via Jennifer Wilson:

Technology use needs to be purposeful, not superficially engaging. Be wary of ‘tech will engage disengaged students’ arguments.


About @ICTmagic 501 Articles
Martin Burrett is the editor of our popular UKEdMagazine, along with curating resources in the ICTMagic section, and free resources for teachers on UKEd.Directory

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