First published in ACCESS Summer 2017 magazine
Learning technology: Developing professionals of the future
Technology in 3 to 18 education offers exciting possibilities to support and enhance meaningful learning opportunities. However, technology alone, or access to it, doesn’t automatically engender great learning. So, how do we make it work?
Students engage best when technology activities link to topics, which give projects an extra dimension. In Year 2, students at the BSN explore "Favourite & Traditional Tales", such as Robin Hood. As part of the English curriculum, they learn about story settings, structure, vocabulary and they engage in role-play to understand how characters and story elements connect.
Once the stories are familiar, alternative digital versions are created. Via iPads and PCs they learn how to combine digital tools such as pen, text, image, video and sound recording. Combining original ideas and media brings a magical dimension.
The use of mobile devices allows them to record their own voice or sound effects, insert acting film clips of their class, design artwork linked to the story, and ultimately, to become a published author!
Technology topics for Year 7 onwards increase in complexity using real-life experiences to promote understanding. The BSN’s India project, a cross curricular topic, enables students to become virtual travel agents; Google-mapping travel routes and distances, budgeting transport via key websites, culminating in students capturing their learning to teach their peers.
Movie trailers are used to explain science topics, virtual game design, where characters are transported into a historical setting through the use of a green-screen. There’s no boundary to the creative means by which students can exceed expectations and author ideas to show us what they think and feel.
The future is bright
Today’s learners will become the professionals of the future, and recently we have begun to focus on the projected skills required for the 2020 to 2030 workplace. The World Forum’s Top 10 Skills for 2020 cites problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity as the top three, swiftly followed by emotional intelligence, negotiation and cognitive flexibility. Educators have a crucial role to play in modelling behaviours and attitudes. By learning to make good choices and build social skills, BSN students will be well equipped to play key roles in designing the digital landscape of the future.
The British School in The Netherlands is an independent British international school with three Junior School campuses in The Hague and a Senior School in Voorschoten. With around 2,000 students, the BSN is the largest provider of International education in the Netherlands for children aged 3 to 18.
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