Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Technology - at Our Fingertips: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Technology - at Our Fingertips: Resources

Article excerpt

Open up learning by using wi-fienabled devices in class.

Not long ago, giving children access to information was considered to be all that was needed to provide them with an education. But today the information we once so carefully drip-fed our pupils is available on demand. What is the population density of China? In what order did Shakespeare write his tragedies? What did people think about Henry VIII in his lifetime? The first step towards finding the answer is always the same: Google it.

At least, that is what children do until they step into the traditional learning environment of a school. Then it has been a case of locking away technology and learning the way we have always done. If you want to use the technology that dominates every moment of your out-of-school time, you have to go to a special room where that is the only thing you can do.

At my school, however, we have launched a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative: pupils can bring in any wi-fienabled device and have access to the school wi-finetwork. From a technical perspective, you need to ensure that the network can cope with high volumes of traffic and that your filtering policy is up to date. But from a teaching and learning perspective, BYOD could herald a revolution.

Constant access to the internet means that pupil-led research is more frequent and requires less planning. If you hit upon an interesting thread of discussion, pupils can immediately look into it - and give feedback on what they have discovered - without leaving the classroom.

At the same time, pupils can coordinate their classwork and homework as they are using just one device - one that they are familiar with, which makes them more independent. …

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