Monday, April 6, 2015

Happiness is a connected digital classroom

As a technical specialist not a teacher this might seem to be a bit off topic for me.  However as part of a life skills program at my school the ICT support staff ran a Computer Skills course one period a week for the Year 8 students.  The experience of being in the classroom was fantastic.  It also put into perspective the challenges teachers face with technology in the classroom.

I had no idea how effective technology was as a tool to engage students until we were supervising those classes.  The curriculum was focused on teaching the use of technology, so  we were able to have project based tasks which were fun for the students.

My enduring memory of those classes was how often we'd run late as students would get so engaged with the technology.  Often they were problem solving the capabilities of the software within the context of the task they had been set.

I have no illusions about being a teacher in a conventional classroom.  I would not feel comfortable and probably couldn't engage the students by myself.  However, when we were using technology and with my personal comfort level with that technology I found it quite easy to make things happen and could see how easily the students engaged with their technology and the tasks, despite my lack of teaching skills.

The entire experience did reinforce my belief in the value of anytime access to technology in a connected classroom.  It also reinforced my belief in the value of a solid support network for teachers in the use of the technology, the value of teachers feeling confident about the reliability of the technology as well as being competent in the use of technology.