Digital technology has transformed every facet of our lives, including the way that we communicate with each other, and can even be found inside our classrooms. Nowadays, it’s difficult to imagine a Spanish curriculum that doesn’t benefit from the use of modern technology.
In order to digitise a classroom, it’s not enough to merely supply classrooms with IT equipment and Internet connections. Schools must also take advantage of all the digital educational resources they have at their disposal. This calls for teachers who are willing to quickly adapt to the changes that these new tools require, as well as an investment in continuous digital training that furthermore adds value to their lessons.
Motivational tools in digitised classrooms
The integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) into classrooms provides benefits for all of those involved. Teachers can better prepare their lessons, organise content, locate material faster and easier, and share their work with their co-workers. Students are also provided with access to content and resources from their homes, and in this way can continue to expand upon the knowledge they’ve already acquired in the classroom. Parents can also monitor the work done by their children and follow their progress in real time.
The creation of an online community
Currently, we work with a number of online learning platforms that establish an interactive environment between students and their teachers. In this online community, teachers can easily create groups, assign homework, and manage their students’ progress. What’s more, students can keep in touch with their classmates as well as access homework and lesson plans. In this way, a sense of community is maintained outside of school through the use of tools often used inside the home such as smart-phones and tablets. Platforms such as Edmodo, foster a safe and responsible discourse in a virtual classroom that educators can manage and control.
Educational field trips have always been a great complementary activity to classroom learning. Students can benefit from cultural activities as a way to reinforce what they’ve learned in class. However, this option doesn’t always provide access to all the topics learned in each program. For example, classes are normally limited to taking field trips that are close in proximity to their schools. Thanks to tools like online streaming, such as Periscope, students can take virtual tours of monuments and museums in countries all around the world, with native teachers as their guides. Students also have the opportunity to partake in master classes taught by experts who can broadcast their research from all over the world.
In the era of massive video consumption, the use of videos is one of the most preferred digital resources in classrooms today. Platforms such as Flipgrid allow teachers to create a virtual classroom, add new topics and open up debates. Additionally, students can initiate dialogue by sharing their responses in short videos. This is a simple, yet effective practice that reinforces the concept that content that is learned visually and orally is better learned and retained by students.
Podcasts are a powerful tool that keep students motivated, as they require students to create recordings and then share them with friends and family members on sites such as Ivoox. And even though students are already accustomed to writing down their homework and reading it out loud in class, the act of recording and listening to their voices on a digital platform adds a whole new dimension to the task. Perhaps it’s because it makes them feel like radio presenters or actors who do movie voiceovers, but students tend to react very positively to this type of activity. The best part is that they can create podcasts about almost any subject taught in class, or any topic that the teacher has suggested for further reflection.
Use in social networks
Social networks are without a doubt a part of older students’ daily lives, and for this reason we shouldn’t avoid them but rather integrate them in our classrooms and teach students how to use these networks properly.
Some examples include creating a video as a final project and uploading it to Youtube, starting a debate that creates a systhesis of ideas via Twitter, documenting a school trip on Instrgram stories, and so on. These are tasks that promote creativity and boost imagination. Doing these activities in groups also improves communication and encourages collaboration amongst students.
Development of an online presence
If teachers want to be listened to, there is no better place to be present than on websites that students area already interested in. Teachers who have become Youtubers or Twitter users have captured the attention of their own students as well as students from other parts of the world. By having a presence in the digital world, teachers can keep students motivated, and have their message heard by more people and have a more lasting effect.
The schools at Best Schools in Spain have integrated these digital tools in their classrooms as a pedagogical support system, utilising techniques that appeal to students and involve their families. In a world where students have easy and continuous access to technology, it is undeniable that an educator’s role includes teaching students the about technology’s beneficial and effective uses.