Tech in the Classroom - Worldwide!


Digital technology has been actively used in classrooms for many years now, from the humble BBC computer to interactive whiteboards, a wide range of devices and a growth in UK schools using iPads as part and parcel of lessons.  Much of our work over the years has involved developing interactive resources for schools to be used as part of extended engagement in UK classrooms.

Here’s a few things that are happening in classrooms across the world.

In this recent blog Bill Gates highlighted 3 key areas where software and technology is supporting teachers in schools in the US. Firstly as he points out, there’s simply more pupil data available now and better ways to assimilate it. Teachers are able to use data programmes and predictive analytical tools to better monitor pupil performance. As he points out developers and software companies are more conscious of beta testing digital solutions with teachers in real situations and working directly with them to develop final products. One of these includes a new piece of software, Newsela which translates news topics into articles which are then pitched at different reading levels. This means the entire class can keep up with the same subject matter, whilst learning at their own pace and taking part in group discussions.  As Bill pointed out the internet has made it possible for teachers to share lesson plans, ideas and best practice more so than ever before which in itself is leading to more international collaboration.

Over in Canada some schools are implementing what’s known as the ‘flipped classroom’ idea. This means that instead of using devices to enhance learning in the classroom they are doing things the other way round. Pupils watch a video of the lesson at home, use the guided lessons to help them make notes and then discuss in the classroom the next day. Basically they are doing their lessons at home and their homework at school! Videos can be downloaded via custom made sites, YouTube or Vimeo.

Over at the fantastic Mobile World Centre in Barcelona, the innovation centre have just launched their own school, whilst not tied to the curriculum the school provides free workshops to everyone, from the young to the elderly and professionals as well as school children. Some of the basic classes include ‘digital photography for children’ to more intensive sessions on robotics and programming. Teachers can recommend these sessions to children who show promise and interest in these areas. They can also up-skill to take the knowledge back to the classroom.

In terms of computer and tech usage China is taking over America with nearly all areas of the set curriculum utilising digital technology in China, where teachers are thought to be more ‘tech savvy’ than their American counterparts. There’s also a strong focus on teacher training to ensure they are up to date with the technology their pupils grow up with.

Over in India Dell Giving (the CSR arm of tech giant Dell) run a computer hardware and literacy programme for young people with a complete package of lesson-plans, teacher training and support services so their products can be implemented in the classroom.

Of course we can’t overlook the fact that access to technology is a major consideration for developing countries. This report from ICEF reinforces some concerning stats around digital inclusion which focuses on some of the differences in EU countries. There’s some way to go to ensure children across the world have access to digital technology to support their learning but it’s good to see technology in learning becoming more embraced globally.