New ways of learning, same people.

I have enthusiastically embraced new technology this term. So far I have tried

  • Jing videos to explain algebra to my year 9 Maths class
  • Blogs and Wikis for my A-level Physics (year 12)
  • A good practice blog for staff

I just finished preparing an online unit for GCSE Physics for students to learn about sources of energy/power stations and help prepare them for a debate on the future of energy. It’s all exciting.

Sometimes though, despite being a great advocate of there not being any miracle answers in education I still get carried away with these things. So I guess I was just a little crestfallen when:

  • Half of my year 9s failed to log on to see the videos or had difficulties with Flash.
  • 5 staff put some entries on the good practice blog and the rest haven’t seen it as enough of a priority to do anything yet.
  • Some of my sixth formers found the wiki inspired them to write crazy things, but not a great deal of content.

So, amazingly, I discovered that:

  • Not everyone is enthusiastic about the same things,
  • That some students can be lazy,
  • And that sometimes computers don’t work.

In this brave new world of technology, which I still find ridiculously exciting, despite this, it’s rather reassuring to know that just as many things can go wrong with new ways of doing things as with old. I suspect, just like any good teaching, that perseverance, enthusiasm and patience will get my students and colleagues there in the end.

If you have encountered some of the above problems and have suggestions, I would very much welcome your comments below. Come on trusty Twitter and Blog – you won’t let me down now, will you?

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2 Replies to “New ways of learning, same people.”

  1. Hi David,

    I was wandering the edusphere and came across your post. Your concerns about (particularly) student use of online resources are valid, but in some ways I think you didn’t go hard enough.

    By that I mean that we are (endlessly) told it is a requirement of modern society that students be tech-savvy and computer-literate. The “Digital Native” metaphor is often put forward, claiming that current younger generations are ICT-centric thinkers because they use social media such as facebook/bebook/myspace/twitter, yet when they are provided with the opportunity to use such techniques within their own learning, there is a very poor uptake rate.

    I have been given the same reasons why it is impossible/ difficult/ problematic for students to interact with digital resources. My response has evolved to (almost universal) refusal to accept such excuses. My rationale is that in a few short years these students will be required to use these technological tools in their own employment, and not compelling them to develop the necessary familiarity with them during their schooling is failing them.

    I inform my own students that my blog is part of the class, and material on it is assessable during tests/ exams. I require them to submit comments and interact with others on it, as their use of technology is reported on. I assign projects which require them to produce and share digital resources with each other. Go hard; demand that they use their skills and don’t accept what amounts to laziness from your charges.

    In closing, I do recognise that some students have problems with computer access for a variety of reasons, and I arrange different opportunities for them. I require them to complete the same tasks, but provide greater in-school IT access (using school laptops during class hours, lunchtime and after school).

    Antipodean best wishes

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