As Digital Education Consultants, we meet with many Teachers and Principals in schools across the country to understand how they have used Digital Education to improve learning for their pupils. We frequently hear the same concerns being raised, concerns that when addressed enable Teachers to go ahead and make Digital Education a core learning tool.
Where do I start?
Teachers and Principals that we speak with are on board with Digital Education. They understand that our pupils today must be equipped with the skills to survive in a world that is becoming increasingly technology driven. These skills are obtained by using technology in the classroom today.
Our advice to schools is:
· Find a Digital Education Champion within your school who is passionate about Digital Education and support this champion to use Apps within their class
· Develop Strategic and Operational plans that define where your school wants to go with Digital Education in the long term, and in the short term how your school can support your Digital Education Champion
· Other Teachers will learn from this Champion’s experiences, learning that they can apply in their own classroom
I’m already overworked. How can I find time to learn Digital Education?
With the demands on Teachers already at an all-time high, how will Teachers learn about Digital Technology? This is our most asked question, and our research has shown that while there will be a short-time learning effort required, the long-term benefits are worth the investment. Using Digital Education, on average Teachers will have 1-2 hours more available time each week, time that can be used to work closer with their students.
What we have found effective to help these Teachers are:
· Provide access to PD that is meaningful to what the Teachers are doing. This is not PD that describes what could be done, rather hands-on tools and techniques to reduce workload today
· Allow your Digital Education Consultant the time and resources to share their knowledge and learnings with their fellow Teachers
· Do not be scared by the technology. We have technology all around us; wearing glasses, your mobile phone, your vehicles. Digital Technology is just another technology that can be learned, and once learned will give you more time.
Does Digital Education make a difference?
Before a six-month trial working with FEDD’s Digital Technologies, eighty remedial students were assessed for their standard reading age, then reassessed at the end of the trial. The results were outstanding:
· Average percentage change in reading age of all year 1 – 7 students increased by 25% or in reading age by 15 months
· Average percentage change in reading age of all year 5 – 7 students increased by 35% or in reading age by 21 months
· 50% of all students increased their reading age by more than 50%
· 14% of all students increased their reading age by 24 months
· Maximum increase in reading age achieved by a student was 3.9 years
Does Digital Education make a difference? Absolutely!
Will our school IT systems cope?
To be successful in using Digital Education, your school’s IT systems need to be reliable and secure. What you never want to hear is that a Teacher has planned a lesson using iPads, only to find that the network is down. Our advice to schools is:
· You need to be smart about scheduling work in the school. If the Teacher gets a class of 30 kids to watch a high-definition, 1080p Youtube video all at the same time, you can be sure that it’s going to be slow. Rather, get the kids to watch a low-definition version – try 240p or 360p instead.
· Think long and hard about a BYOD policy. While on the face of it, BYOD’s a good idea in that the school doesn’t have to fund laptops or tablets, the downside is that your Teachers become de facto IT technicians. Teachers will be trying to fix iPads and all different varieties of Android’s, and unless they are trained to do so, they and the students will be frustrated. We recommend using Department or School supported devices only
· Teach your students about being safe while on the internet. DQ World is an excellent and free resource for this (https://www.dqworld.net/)
There are thousands of Digital Education apps out there. Which ones should I be using?
Yes, there are thousands of Digital Education apps available to Teachers. At FEDD, we have assessed the apps and selected a small number of the best that are aligned to the Australian and State Curriculums.
Our advice on which apps to choose is to keep the list as small as possible, and that is backed by solid Professional Development, reduces Teacher workload, are backed by empirical evidence demonstrating how they improve education outcomes and are supported and supportable by your IT systems and schools.
Registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ABN 57 608 797 744), FEDD is a member-based organisation specialising in digital education.
Our mission is to provide a complete digital system for teachers that engage today’s young people, inspires learning, and improves educational outcomes to prepare them for tomorrow’s world.
We do this by providing teachers and school with support in the form of:
· Research and professional development
· Tools and Techniques
If you like to know more about how we help schools to implement Digital Education, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1800 34 FEDD.