Jisc, the organisation that works for the UK education sector to champion digital technologies, have put together a portfolio of case studies exploring the ways in which different institutions are integrating technology into their curriculum, helping to enhance both teaching and learning.
We’ve focused on one case study in-particular, from Reading College, and developed a handy Top Tips for how you can use digital technology to your advantage in the classroom.
- Allign your technology with the students’ – In order to get students to embrace technology, it needs to align with how they use technology out of the classroom. Do they use Google Chrome? Then use Google Chrome. This can lead to less frustration in the classroom and smoother integration.
- Give students ownership of the technology – Move content to the cloud. This can allow students to more easily share ideas and resources with one another and be able to learn and share anytime, anywhere and with any device – taking more ownership of their work.
- Develop the confidence and skills of your teachers - Continued professional development (CPD) delivered online, face to face, peer to peer and through mentoring is essential. Reading College aligned their CPD programme with staff appraisals to ensure consistency.
- Keep Staff up to date with technology - ‘Modelling of technology, bite size sessions, on-line CPD, open classrooms and technology mentoring are all offered to staff so that the experience for them is just as personalised as it should be for their students.’ - Hannah Tyreman, Learning and Development Manager, Reading College
- Offer a variety of communication and sharing methods – Staff and students at Reading College now use Gmail, Google Classrooms, Google Hangouts, Google Plus communities, and Google Docs to communicate, share information and resources, set and submit assignments and provide summative feedback to students.
- Use Technology of the future now - Google Glass has proved especially valuable for demonstrating the achievements of students in vocational areas such as plumbing and catering. Students upload footage to their learning space for reflection and assessment, and as a record of what they have achieved.
- Bring your own Device (BYOD) - In Google Classroom, staff have found a platform that allows them to share resources with students, manage assessment hand-ins and provide formative feedback to students in timely manner. The automatic email notifications ensure that students are kept up to date with what is being posted and the app that is available for both Android and Apple means it is easy to access it on a range of devices.” - James Kieft, Learning Technologies Manager, Reading College
- Set up learning spaces for those without access - Set up access for those who do not own their own devices or are unable to bring them to school. Reading College have a learning space, with laptops and iPads available to borrow if needed.
What difference will this new approach to learning have?
Reading college believes that the move to cloud-based learning has delivered transformational change by:
- Harnessing the learning preferences of a born-digital generation
- Empowering students to take greater ownership of their learning
- Changing the way students share and interact with each other, their teachers and employers
- Enabling students to access work beyond the classroom via any device
- Facilitating collaborative peer-to-peer learning and assessment
- Improving student retention and achievement through more rapid feedback and support