The Interactive Classroom

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Beth Hartwell

Beth writes for the Teacher Toolkit site from a secondary perspective. She is currently a Lead Practitioner of Teaching and Learning at a school in York with a specialism of teaching secondary Science. She is currently teaching in a iPad school and is interested sharing...
Read more about Beth Hartwell

How do you view technology? Is [technology] an aid to learning, or is [technology] bolted onto learning?

Technology should enhance all learning, rather than just adding it as an extra resource to use within the classroom. Using technology on paper sounds simple, however, it is hard to integrate it into learning smoothly. Extra activities such as quizzes and exit tickets are useful assessment tools, but the most powerful way of using technology is to embed it into all learning in the classroom – and to be used when needed, and not to replace the teaching.

4. Let’s collaborate:

It is critical that our pupils have the skill set to collaborate effectively with their future workplace colleagues. Collaborating using technology is the closest way of simulating how teams will work in industry. By utilising the co-author features of Microsoft Office 2010, documents can have multiple users simultaneously editing the same presentation. Irradiating a huddle of pupils surrounding one laptop and allowing pupils to collaborate is how scientists/writers/designers work. Employers are looking for leaders, collaborators and drivers of success; using collaboration tools via group work can develop the skills needed to succeed.

Top tip: allowing the pupils freedom to choose how they present their material allows for independence and choice – another step towards how employers work in industry.

3. Let’s chat:

See Three Before Me (C3 B4 ME) is such a useful tool to use in the classroom – can we enhance this by utilising technology? TodaysMeet have created a chat platform (specifically for schools) which allow pupils (and teachers) to have open and honest conversations about their learning. It nurtures an atmosphere of peer tutoring within the classroom – something that the EEF Toolkit have stated to be highly effective.

If a pupil is stuck on a question I would encourage them to ask the class for guidance through TodaysMeet.

Top Tip: Peers should be trained so that they coach pupils to the correct answer. They need to understand to reply with a constructive comment such as “have you tried…”.

2. Let’s feedback:

Showbie can be used as a powerful tool to create a dialogue with pupils. Verbal feedback can be given through uploading a voice note on to their website. This verbal feedback is enhanced by technology. The voice note can be played back to the pupils at any time, allowing them to revisit the feedback during revision. It can be slowed down or replayed to check all improvements have been made.

In my experience, praise via a voice note is received better than written  comments and I am always surprised by the amount of feedback you can give in a short clip. The pupils then can upload the amended work on the same page and the dialogue can continue on to the next stage of their learning.

Top Tip: The more timely the feedback is more effective it is. Advise all pupils to turn on notifications so that they can hear you feedback as quickly as possible.

1. Let’s revise:

Revision is a very personal topic and different pupils find their own natural way of revising. Quizlet enhances revision flashcards with technology. Using ready-made flashcards or pupil made flash cards, pupils can test themselves and take interactive quizzes.

Top Tip: If you’re mind-map crazy? Try Popplet

Beth Hartwell writes for Teacher Toolkit

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