Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
The technology-savvy students of today are digital natives — meaning they grew up using technology that we could scarcely have imagined just twenty or thirty years ago. Given that using computers, tablets, and resources like the internet are second nature to today’s students, it’s hardly surprising that tech is starting to play such a key role in how they learn.
The impact of technology in the classroom is a hotly contested topic. The OECD says that students glued to tablets all day perform worse and that “more technology doesn’t guarantee better outcomes”, which is true to an extent, but partly due to the fact that they’re no longer getting a classroom experience. Research has shown that top-level classroom success grows by 36 per cent when the right approach is taken to technology.
Technology is completely transforming the learning experience. In recent years we’ve seen the proliferation of mobile devices and educational applications in the classroom. Education technology charity Tablets for Schools found that as of last December, 70% of primary and secondary schools in the UK now use tablet computers, and this is increasing at an exponential rate.
A basic understanding of scientific concepts, processes, and ways of thinking is critical for students to succeed in the world of today and tomorrow. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 2014 report on the results of the international PISA 2012 science assessment, “An understanding of science and technology is central to a young person’s preparedness for life in modern society.”
Being able to monitor progression throughout pupils’ academic career is essential in ensuring that all gaps in learning are addressed, but I’ve often been asked ‘how can schools achieve this without being overwhelmed by tests?’
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