Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A digital approach to blended learning

From flipped classroom teaching to Kagan and flex learning, technology is helping teachers blend their lesson strategies in new and more integrated ways.

Teachers will often work along a continuum that sees them tailor and tweak the degree of online learning in relation to offline, face-to-face sessions. The purpose of this is to combine online resources that personalise the learning instruction with facilitated, collaborative and project work, in effect blending the teaching methods to raise engagement.

The key to any effective blended-learning approach centres on raising and maintaining effective learner engagement. While for many teachers mobile learning and the use of digital resources will naturally raise students’ interest through its appeal and relevance to them, this will not be enough to sustain their focus and interest over time. Fortunately, within the blended learning model, digital technology is used to complement and not replace the role of the teacher. There is still a strong demand for face-to-face, bricks-and-mortar learning, offering a unique opportunity to test and maintain engagement.

But how can you make the most of your time with your students?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Using free iPad apps to create stunning classroom presentations

Free iPad apps to help create stunning classroom presentations

Creating epic, visually stimulating presentations is a goal I definitely set myself whenever I’m preparing a new lesson plan, and I’m sure it’s something many of you do as well. It takes time: tweaking, reinventing and reviewing each presentation slide, whether they’re created using PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote.

But do they have to be so time-consuming? And what alternatives are there to save us time while injecting creativity?

I’ve been experimenting, simply by using an alternative presentation, and found that learners became more reactive to the content. It seems that this slight deviation from the way I usually deliver my lesson was successful in raising their engagement levels.

If you’re fortunate enough to teach using an iPad or have a mobilised classroom of iPad learners, you’ll be surprised at the availability of high-quality apps for use in lesson delivery.

Here’s a round-up of our recommended free iPad apps that both you and your learners will want to add to your list of must-haves!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The transition to Open Education Resources (OERs): A teacher's perspective

The transition to Open Education Resources (OERs): A teacher's perspectiveSince the Ancient Greeks, society has relied on the use of textbooks to educate and inform. While the likes of Socrates were accustomed to reciting knowledge and stories aloud, the introduction of compulsory education led to the standardisation of academic textbooks and worksheets. Up until recently, the reign of printed resources has gone relatively unchallenged but with the advances in digital technology, we’re starting to see a rapid change.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Flipped classroom explained: why it works

Earlier this year, ExCel London played host to the Bett Show 2013. I attended the show, like many passionate about the transformational power of learning technology, to get an insight into the development areas new technology suppliers have been concentrating on over the past year and what this could mean for teaching and learning.

This year’s three-day conference focused on the recent changes in education and the escalated need for schools to strengthen their provision of teacher training and information. Web-linked coaching, turbo-charging professional development and plenaries on what head teachers need to know about the high impact (but high-risk) world of mobile learning – these were just a few of the sessions on offer.

Yet, while teacher training had a rightful place in this year’s agenda, it was difficult to ignore the discussions taking place in conference sessions, in social lounges and around the many coffee bars outside the main hall and on the exhibition floor. The ‘flipped classroom’ for me was the real focus of attention and drove many of the conversations I had with delegates.

The interest around flipped learning has not just happened overnight. The evolution of classroom resources and mobile applications has primed our behaviour, but it is only since senior leaders have identified the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies that we are starting to see real traction.

But what really is a flipped classroom, what isn’t it, how is it achieved and why does it work?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Rise in mobile learning: Apple’s 2013 report makes it difficult to ignore

Last month, Apple and Cisco gave the clearest indication yet that mobile learning is gaining traction at a pace faster than analysts had previously expected.

In this article we’ll look at the two recently published reports: firstly, Apple's annual report that concentrates on the direct impact of mobile learning within education, and secondly on Cisco’s more generalised, yet equally surprising annual forecast report.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Alternative teaching methods: freedom to learn

Alternative teaching methods: freedom to learn
Student-centred education, where students have their say on what they learn, is a more open approach to learning that is gaining steady support from centres around the world. It also encourages teachers to think outside of traditional teaching parameters, creatively engaging with their students.

Students making up their own rules may sound like a recipe for mayhem but in a report by euronews, the staff at Summerhill School in south-east England argue that it can have a considerable and positive effect.