A year in Ed Tech – a reflection
As a school year closes, I thought to take the opportunity to reflect on what I've learnt this year working in busy primary schools primarily and with Ed Tech! It has been an interesting year – everyone is talking about coding – the curriculum is changing – assessment has gone – and budgets are tighter than ever! But for my own 'ed tech' journey it is the second year of a two year project with the schools!
A few key items stand out:
Bring staff with you!
This was the second year I had worked with the schools and it was clear that the value of certain tools was increasing. Particular the sharing and communicating aspect. From parent questionnaires on google drive to staff meetings with a Padlet running in the background. Staff were able to suggest, use and even advocate these simple collaboration tools. Interestingly, last year was about the technology and the paper way – this year seemed to be more about the tech way. Why this was the case seems harder to answer. Perhaps staff were getting used to tools? Perhaps they were genuinely beginning to feel useful rather than something I had pushed on them?
It's not all about iPads…
A glance through this site and you would be forgiven for thinking I worked mainly with iPads. (Though I think that's improving!) It's true that I did, at one point, but now the tools are everywhere. From deciding to get laptops for the younger year groups to the many, many coding applications on PC it became clear that we didn't want to ditch Windows just yet. Interestingly my attention is now turning to the many android options around…
Things can go wrong ..
And they have! From failed projects, broken tech and curriculum plans that just didn't work. What I've realised is that as teachers we put ourselves under a huge amount of pressure. Sometimes there just is not time!
Projects can always be deferred, budgets should include some losses, and teachers should be cut some slack. After all, there is nothing wrong with high aspirations!
But children always love the effort…
Any extra projects, any additional work put in and the pupils always, always, love it! Teachers embrace the use of tech because it (should) make things easier – it should take something complex and simplify it. Some things which were not possible become possible and the 'wow' factor never gets dull! Highlights? Tweeting astronauts… Visiting Digital art galleries… Skype with other schools across the globe… But for teachers, realising the value a class blog can bring can make all the difference.
It's easier with friends…
I'm lucky, I have met and worked with amazing teachers over the years. They work so hard to make things work, and often with ed tech advocates, they work to make things work for others! But along this year i've worked with Apps4Good, Code Club, various design studios and some brilliant volunteers. After all, it should all be about collaboration….