The global classroom – engaging the students – exploring the possibilities #Bett2016

Anything short of a vision of educational technology use that allows students and teachers to inquire more deeply, research more broadly, connect more intensely, share more widely, and create more powerfully, sells short the power of these tools—and more important, sells short the promise of learning and of school for our students. Chris Lehman, Building School 2.0

Students working on their film project

In this session, we will look at different ways teachers can utilize technology to allow the students to become more creative and innovative. I will show you how we can change what goes on in the classroom and trust the students to take charge of their own education. I will share examples of how we can make the learning more interesting and relevant for the students.

We will explore different approaches to establishing a personal learning network, highlight how this can help teachers, and at the same time benefits students in their learning. Not every teacher has peers to turn to for creating unit plans or engage in conversations around pedagogy and technology. This is where the digital network should come in. Through connections with other like-minded teachers and educational experts, teachers can build networks of professional development. These are networks of people who can work collaboratively in a document or share links to the perfect resources for helping students access learning.

When teachers trust the students to ask the questions and explore the topics from the curriculum goals, we are slowly changing the classroom to meet the requirements of 21st-century learning.  If teachers take the time to reflect on “what are the students curious about?” and start the teaching as close to that as possible, we will have moved a long way towards creating the schools we need. The work that we do in the classroom should be about asking questions to which we do not know the answers. Any school’s goal should be to prepare the students for future jobs and to change the classroom, making it more relevant for the students. If we want our students to be thoughtful scholars and citizens, don’t we owe it to them to teach them how to think for themselves?

After presenting at BETT in 2014, BBC wrote an article about our use of technology in the classroom, and School Reporters Olivia and Mary from Burntwood School traveled all the way to Norway to report for BBC Click.

Many teachers struggle to figure out how technology best can be used in class. Many worry about their students using technology off task, like spending time on Facebook, games and movies.  In this seminar, I will share how I use technology to get in contact with students and teachers in different parts of the world, using Skype, Twitter and writing blogs. I will share many examples from the classroom to provide the teachers with an easy guide to model this in their own classroom. If you let your students in on the decision process, they are less likely to be distracted by the technology.

Signing up for different roles in the video project

At Sandvika high School, we have arranged our day with block scheduling, meaning the students for the most part only have one subject each day. That gives us more time to focus and dig deep. My students do not have textbooks, but e-books on their pc/mac or tablet pc. This way they have all their notes, videos and instructions, neatly stored in the same place online. Wherever they log on, they will find their books and their notes from class.

When discussing topics like the Scottish referendum, or environmental issues connected to the curriculum, we contact our network and invite students and experts into the classroom. When you stream the conversations to YouTube, the students will be able to go back and listen to the conversations as many times as they need, take notes and write about the topics on their blogs. The result is that the students are more engaged in their writing and eager to correct mistakes if they have any. It is also highly motivating for the students to monitor their site states and see how many have visited their blog, and where they are from. Writing blogs gives students the opportunity to enjoy a wider audience for their writing and to engage in interesting conversations concerning topics they are studying. This fall my first-year students have been discussing; “technology in school” with students in South Africa, Australia, Greece and Alaska.

Twitter in class provides easy and quick access to information and answers to questions you or the students might have. Remember to add a #hashtag to engage in the conversations. Start by joining in here: #Bett2016

Learn how to do this in your own classroom by joining me on January 22.

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