Technology in the classroom

Bedford Girls’ School is an Apple Distinguished School. Our responsibility in being granted this award is to share with specialist ICT teachers and Heads from both local and global schools how iPad technology has transformed the teaching and learning at BGS. I am very proud that we have been recognised as an Apple Distinguished School but I am more excited to be able to share with fellow educators the difference using 1:1 iPad technology has made to our classroom.

What is this difference? Perhaps most of all I feel this technology has liberated the teacher. Freed them from being the font of all knowledge at the front of the classroom where they deliver the same message in the same format to all the girls in the class at the same time – to becoming the guide by the side, working with individuals to ensure they understand the work, tailoring the work to the pupils’ needs and personalising their learning experience.

iPads are able to liberate the teacher because the knowledge pupils need is shared with them before the lesson. Pupils can access this knowledge from a variety of mediums, teachers can give the information in a pre-recorded video which the pupils can stop and start at their leisure (known as a flipped classroom), teachers can give them links to informative websites or direct them to our newly designed BGS e-books allowing them to arrive at the lesson with the knowledge pre-delivered. Teachers are then liberated from knowledge dissemination and instead can use the lesson to test their understanding and application. Problems and questions are posed, higher order thinking is demanded allowing pupils to work independently and at their own rate freeing up teachers’ time to work with individuals on their specific problems.

Equally pupils are liberated. They can communicate their ideas in a variety of ways. From writing in the traditional exercise book to using the App Explain Everything, they can record work creatively by the use of iMovie or collaborate with other pupils using Google Apps. Work can be marked in the traditional way with comments written on the piece of work or comments can be recorded by voice over on the piece of work allowing pupils to hear the teachers’ feedback or the teacher can have their comments translated into text on the piece of work. The feedback chosen is dependent on the nature of the work.

Once the teaching is transformed the learning spaces also become transformed and the advantage of the traditional Victorian set up of classrooms is minimal. We are preparing pupils not for an industrial age (as they were in Victorian times) but for a technological age. Collaboration, problem solving, independent thought and flexible thinking are the characteristics desired for the modern work place. iPads have enabled us to better prepare our pupils for this 21st century workplace and this is why I am so keen to share what we are doing with others.

We would like to share what we have learnt, and continue to learn, with the wider educational community and are hosting our first technology conference on September 1st 2017. Entitled The Future Proof Summit, we will explore how technology is transforming the way we teach and look forward into the future to examine what we should be doing in schools to ensure our pupils are best prepared for the opportunities ahead. We will be joined by a number of renowned technology experts and futurologist. Please click here to find out more and join us for an insightful day.

 

Jo MacKenzie, Headmistress, Bedford Girls’ School

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