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How schools keep up with the technological age

Sponsored: The processes of education have never been more dynamic, so it's an exciting time to be an educator

Posted by Joe Lawson-West | February 28, 2018 | Technology

The last four decades have seen a revolution in how schools approach technology, not just in terms of the tools they use but how they help their pupils navigate the wider world and prepare for the workplace. Keeping pace is challenging when new technologies are continually emerging, but at the same time the technologies are creating new ways of enhancing the learning experience. The processes of education have never been more dynamic – it’s an exciting time to be an educator.

Computers in the classroom

Many of today’s teachers will remember the days when a whole class would be huddled around a single BBC computer that took 15-minutes to load a single program. Today things couldn’t be more different. Most schools provide tablets or laptops for every pupil during relevant lessons, managed through a network so teachers can easily direct the pace of study. Although the rise in access like that hasn’t corresponded with a direct improvement in exam results, there is evidence that it helps pupils who find it difficult to engage with other ways of working. It can also help to make standard lessons more accessible for those with special needs. The focus now is on helping teachers to use the computers in their classrooms more effectively, something that is beginning to happen naturally as younger generations of people who have grown up using the internet throughout their lives emerge from teacher training.

Keeping IT education relevant

Because software is constantly being updated, it’s important for schools to ensure that pupils learn skills that will still be relevant when they enter the workplace; that requires keeping teachers up to speed across all departments. Sponsorship arrangements with tech companies can make it easier to obtain the latest software without breaking the bank, and it’s also important to teach transferable skills. In addition to that, pupils need to be prepared for a changing work environment where traditional employment models are changing and a basic understanding of business practices and administration is vital. Some students might choose the world of self-employment in the tech industry after leaving education, so it is good to know about help that is available with financial matters, and an understanding of HMRC’s IR35 rules is useful. An understanding of the role of umbrella PAYE companies is also helpful.

Enhancing learning using virtual reality

Lessons of all kinds can be enhanced using modern VR technology. The last living Holocaust survivors are currently recording their stories in this way so that children can benefit from an experience that’s the closest possible thing to meeting them in person, and it has been getting a great response. History isn’t the only subject that can benefit: children can get virtually close to exciting science experiments too dangerous to conduct in the classroom, meet exotic animals or even explore the interior of the human body.

A fresh approach to homework

One downside of mass internet usage is that it creates problems with plagiarism, with children as young as 11 copying and pasting material they find online. That means that schools need to use plagiarism checkers, but it’s also useful to change the way homework assignments are structured to put more focus on comprehension and less on memorisations, which is less necessary in today’s world.

Keeping up with technological change helps children prepare for a world where learning is more important than ever. It helps to inspire them to keep on learning all the way through life.

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