Week 4: Moving on with the conundrum and using digital tools

This weeks session was all about digital resources and as teachers and learners both have access to SMART boards in a classroom (and at the request of participants the previous week) I thought it would be interesting to look at the way we perceive SMART Boards. Would we get better use from them if we called them 'Giant Classroom iPads' instead? I show cased some great web browser apps for the participants to investigate, that were transferable from the 'Giant Classroom iPad' to smaller mobile devices to get everyone involved. I also thought it important to look at the SAMR model of effective technology use in education. This week really was an 'eye opener' to current teacher and student classroom technology practice.

We started off with a “food for though” activity

The staff and trainees immediately began to reflect on their own practice and concluded that at present they spend a lot of time demonstrating and promoting the use of different digital resources when teaching and leading sessions, but afford little time in class to their learners using these digital resources. It is when the learners are “doing” and tutors are “embedding” that digital literacy skills of learners can be improved. I think it was quite an “enlightening” moment for many of the participants and a great start to this particular session.

  • This weeks lesson is all about the way we perceive SMART Boards. Would we get better use from them if we ca

This was not the only “enlightening” moment in this session, we also investigated the SAMR model

I already knew at this stage, that staff and trainee teachers would be at the bottom half of the model. The majority using technology as a direct tool substitute and few using it at Augmentation level with fewer actually including learners effectively at this point. But with this model in mind, I looked to shake up their classroom a little and investigate some digital tools and analyse them with regard to SAMR model.

So we investigated the SMART board again, looking back a previous practice a few weeks earlier, then some google chrome apps and curation sites to take digital tools to the next level and eventually I showed them some examplar Xerte content just so they had an awareness of it. It seemed to go OK and when comparing tools with the SAMR model they could see the potential of Xerte being a tool that could “redefine” practice and learning. Obviously, we need a few more sessions to get the staff and trainees exploring Xerte more but I see this as being a spiral curriculum and aim to scaffold their skills with Xerte as we go along. Today was just the first step.

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