During the question and answer session at the 2010 RM Strategic Forums I suggested to the audience that they needed to think about how products could be used differently to really add value to learning.
I am a big believer that ICT can provide engaging experiences for children and that ICT can also provide engaging learning experiences for children. The second thing requires good pedagogy from the classroom teacher. I don’t like it that some teachers still think that good learning will take place just by putting children in front of computers and I also don’t like it when teachers use ICT as a reward or just to keep children occupied.
ICT is expensive and only some ICT is worth the investment. The challenge is to get teachers and school leaders thinking about how they can get the most out of any resource that they procure.
I gave the example of Microsoft Surface Globe that was being used being shown on one of the multi touch products and tried to get the audience to think of the globe as more of contextual hub for learning rather than as just a tool to teach place.
The links to use a 3D globe in geography are obvious, but why do so few teachers think about using a 3D globe as an immersive environment for creative writing? Or as a way to reinforce numeracy by measuring distance, scale, direction and orientation? Or doesn’t it make a great way to study shape and structure – you only have to zoom into the London Eye in the UK for a perfect example and a ready made lesson.
Next I spoke about the flasma Floor, there seemed to be a lot of people interested in it at the conference. I agree, its impressive, younger children in particular would love it. But how much value does it add apart from improving the aesthetic of the learning space and the obvious value that it would add to the early years and SEN environment?
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the flasma floor, if used in the right way, can add real value. Why? because it has a Software Development Kit (SDK), which means that children could develop games for the flasma Floor. Games development provides obvious curriculum links and also the development of more soft skills. But the floor also then becomes a way to showcase student work in an innovative and creative way. Lets face it; it’s a lot more of an impressive way to showcase student achievement at the entrance to the school in comparison to a small plasma screen.
By thinking about products as I have described above they become part of the curriculum and then also part of the learning.