Review: IMPACT magazine January 2019
Currently, news outlets are full of stories of social media influence (some positive, most negative),medical concerns regarding screen-time and fears over online safety and security. Amidst all of these news stories, the world of teaching is continuing its quest to find balance and order within the maelstrom of online resources, revision tools, games, blogs, twitter feeds and iPads that pervade modern schools. The use of technology in classrooms and at home is a topic which causes much debate across departments, schools, phases and leadership levels. With technology at the forefront of so many minds, The Chartered College of Teachingturned over its January issue of IMPACT magazine to ‘Education Technology: Understanding the role of digital technologies in supporting effective teaching and learning’. We have read the edition closely and offer our summary of its findings from this section below:
Technology to support teaching and learning
Fergal Moane begins this section by proposing a ‘blended learning approach’, combining quality, face-to-face teaching with online learning experiences. He cautions other professionals to consult research (e.g. Jabr, 2013; Mueller and Oppenheimer, 2014) which directly supports the importance of book-learning and hand-written notes before creating a blended approach in schools. In his own school, the Samr Model of Pedagogy was used to consider exactly what purpose the technology was serving in any given lesson, in order to ensure that technology was used to enhance learning and not replace invaluable face-to-face teaching. Oppenheimer himself presents a balanced research paper into how ‘paper and digital media require and engender different ways of thinking and therefore produce different educational outcomes.’ Another argument for making use of both traditional and digital teaching methods as one does not simply replace the other. This is an argument supported further by Lauren Singer Trakhman as she explores ‘the effects of prints and digital texts on comprehension’ and notes how important it is to consider desired learning outcomes before choosing print or digital reading methods for pupils and classes.
Beyond comprehension and academic learning, Parsons and Karakosta make an argument for using digital games to promote inclusion in primary classrooms, in a move away from the ‘possible negative aspects’ of such games which they believe skew the debate. They note how ‘studies into the early teaching of prosocial skills have yielded positive findings’ and therefore that, in the current digital age, ‘it is worth considering the role that prosocial digital games could play’ in this learning.
Moving on to technology as a leveller, Maria Kambouri and Helen Simon explore the valuable ways that ‘using speech recognition software with students with writing difficulties’ can dramatically improve their writing skills and confidence, whilst also noting that it is vital to encourage ‘technology-confident teachers’ in order for such approaches to be effective. Williams and Kilty go on to promote ‘using iPads to support learners with English as an additional language’ with practical suggestions such as translation, speech selection and instant audio/video feedback. In a similar vein, Jules Daulby advocates ‘using assistive technology to give SEND learners independence’, with a now-familiar exhortation to provide staff with proper and appropriate training to go along with access to new technologies.
In an innovative article, Mari Chikvaidzemoves away from the (potentially tired) question of the best revision methods, websites and apps, and instead reports back on her own research into using technology and algorithms to produce a revision timetable that works. In her research, technology is used to find the optimum level of interweaving topics and repetition of content in order to maximise pupils’ chances of remembering what they have learned.
Finally,Paul Hopkins tackles the tricky subject of electronic books, and considers how, when used carefully, ebooks can provide opportunity for exploration, feedback and independence when reading a text. He is quick to remind readers that his conclusions are and will continue to be based upon extensive research.
All articles are available in full in IMPACT, published by The Chartered College of Teaching. Keep checking our blogs for our summary of each section.