Friday, 28 November 2008

Students using technology... when THEY need it, not when they are being told they need it!

For any school in the BSF programme, being forced to undertake a 'decant' period is not easy at any stage. Whilst old schools are demolished and new schools built, staff and students end up in modular 'villages, or 'part in part out' of existing buildings with swapping around as parts are developed. Occasionally they are slightly more fortunate are going into empty buildings, such as old primary schools. I am fortunate to visit a variety of sites and really admire the resilience, ingenuity and determination of students and staff in these situations.

Visiting such a school recently was a really pleasant surprise, with a few odd quirks. Temporarily in a primary school building, despite the older students having the stair handrails nearer their knees than waists, the way the staff had livened up their learning environments was refreshing. Of course, for these students this is the only chance they have - and the school had really done a great job in ensuring it is the most positive experience possible.

Particularly impressive was the use of ICT (often a real challenge in a temporary situation) in one of the design technology rooms I visited... exactly how it should be. Students working on a variety of tasks, individually and collaboratively, were totally engaged in their learning. They had a pile of laptops and other devices available to use, if and when they needed it for the work they were doing. Ah - at last!

This was not a lesson controlled to the stage of ' Right now this is the time for a bit of ICT' - this was the students being given initiative to be responsible and decide on how they wanted to approach their own learning and what resources to use when. Of course, they were fantastic and everone was so motivated by the projects they were doing that no one even noticed us enter the room.

Whilst it could not be said for every lesson, this really was a great example of how using technology as a part if the learning process could / should be done. And this was in a decant situation with a less than ideal environment. Really exciting to see! If only everyone.........

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