Top five digital developments for the school classroomWednesday, 09 November 2011
The simple mechanics of school life have been revolutionised in recent years. Overhead projectors, blackboards, chalk and the annual school trip are just a few elements that have received a major facelift. While digital technology has had a major impact on us as consumers, it has also entered the classroom, paving way for greater creativity and interactive learning opportunities than ever before. Here are our favourite digital classroom developments that are impacting schools:
1. Green screen field trips: In these post recessionary times, parents and schools alike may struggle to finance school trips, however help is on hand. A growing number of schools in the UK are tapping into green screen technology. Green screening has become increasingly affordable. It works by enabling students to role play a particular situation or explore a specific environment in front of a green screen. After filming your chosen scene, a backdrop can be added. Trips to Tutankhamun's tomb or the battleground of Waterloo can be brought to life, transforming learning experiences by tapping into the imagination and creativity of students.
2. Digital textbooks: Forget lugging dog eared, cumbersome tomes; digital textbooks are starting to emerge in our schools and colleges. As we recently reported, it is perhaps unsurprising that in 2009, California, the US state that is the birthplace of Facebook, Google and the iPad, started to roll out a programme introducing more widespread use of online learning tools to its 6 million public schools. More recently, South Korea has announced its plans to digitise its entire curriculum by 2015. Both California and South Korea are geographic areas famed for innovation in technology. Furthermore, both have an 'early adopter' approach to technology and South Korea in particular has an enviable reputation for its education system. Introducing digital technology into the classroom is one of the most exciting areas of digital development for the school classroom currently underway.
3. Online cultural exchange: While green screen technology is enabling students to better understand the past, other online platforms are creating the opportunity to experience the richness and diversity of the present. Free services such as Skype in the Classroom are enabling teachers to connect with other teachers from across the globe, creating exchange projects that would not be possible without digital technology. School Twinning is another great example of the opportunities on offer and a wide range of support is available to help schools looking to partner on a cultural exchange project.
4. Online learning labs: Lessons can be learned from the popularity and success of many distance learning providers that have tapped into the opportunities presented by digital technology. The Open University is a champion for distance learning and has achieved staggering results, thanks to the way in which it has embraced and experimented with online learning techniques. Creating a school website that enables students to use their homework time to explore and develop the themes and issues exchanged in the classroom is as affordable as it is engaging. Uploading and saving projects online can also improve learning activities for students involved in ongoing project work and in the run up to exams.
5. Integrated school websites: Gone are the days when parents might feel one step removed, or on the periphery of their children's education. An integrated school website can provide a linchpin for communications. From keeping in touch on the development and learning activities of pupils, to sharing those all important sporting results and inclement weather updates, a school website which is integrated with your wider school community and curriculum is a vital communication platform. We believe that a school website should be run for and by the school itself. This is why we ensure that every school website we build is supported by a fully functional, easy to use content management system, which can be administered by parents, teachers and pupils alike.
To us, the future of the classroom has never looked more creative or engaging. For more information about how we can help your school tap into these exciting digital technologies, please contact a member of the team.