“Lectures delivered in the form interactive presentations in classrooms; Gamification applications to provide learning opportunities to students; Online quizzes and platforms to help teachers assess their students.”

 

We have all heard about it, we have experienced it, and as educators, we can relate to it: the digital transformation in schools.

The concept of digitalization is not novel, and has existed for a while. However, with time, it has evolved. At least, that is what my experience tells me as I have been actively associated with the profession of teaching for some time.

What digitalization meant for students, back in 2005, now looks obsolete as a reference when talking about a present-day classroom.

  • Today, you have students bringing their own devices, a laptop or a tablet, and accessing the lectures through an online portal, while they sit in the library.
  • Now, there are classroom sessions, which focus on providing immersive learning experience, thanks to the developments in virtual and augmented reality.

This, and many more.

New elements have been integrated, which has contributed to the evolution of the concept of digital transformation in schools.

This presents the right opportunity for me, to discuss the elements that form the fabric of digitalization in schools, in the support of which, every day, new technologies are being introduced and present technologies are being revamped.

The Elements that Make Up the Fabric of Digitization in Schools

When looking at the elements that support the idea of digital transformation of practices in school, one must look from a holistic perspective. You need to consider what teachers need, what students need and what school administrations need. This understanding helps the educators to design and deploy a comprehensive digital program.

I aim to do the same here.

Improved and Effective Learning Experience: Students need a learning environment, which boost their engagement and attainment. Digitalization has made this possible:

  • Gamification and virtual and augmented assisted learning sessions serve as effective modules, by providing a highly engaging learning environment in this regard. And, with engagement, comes attainment.
  • The use of beacon technology is another important tool that is helping educational institutions shape up effective learning environment for their students. With beacon technology, students get delivered personalized content as they enter a particular area of school. By ensuring the delivery of personalized content, students’ learning experience is improved. The Bryanston School in Dorset, has successfully integrated this technology as part of its digital program.
  • By deploying cloud assisted learning, students can access educational content from anywhere, at any time. This has allowed for an improved learning experience, for students that are studying from remote locations.

Improved and Effective Teaching Practices: Teachers, the educators, form the lynchpin of every educational system. It is the teachers, who primarily determine the effectiveness of a classroom session; everything else is secondary. Digital transformation allows teachers to improve their teaching practices and make them more effective:

  • Today, teachers are leveraging the use of skype, to take their students on virtual school trips, right from their desks, to effectively communicate their teachings. A teacher, delivering a class on the subject of solar system, can transport the students to a virtual galaxy. A teacher trying to explain the workings of a cell, can shrink down the whole class and let them virtually walk through a cell.
  • Through collaborative video sessions, teachers can communicate with their peers and seek for suggestions to help improve their teaching practices.
  • Several online lesson planners have been introduced, which are being used by teachers to resolve the problem of lesson planning. These online platforms can be seeded with different lesson templates, which teachers can access, modify and deliver to their students, without spending hours in planning. These lesson plans can be shared with peers through the same platform, helping to build new effective curriculum in real time.

Improved Recording and Assessment: If educators want to ensure the delivery of quality education, then the way we record and assess students work is important. But, assessment should not be seen as unmanageable and never-ending task  confined to teachers only. Students should be able to assess themselves. Parents of the students should be able to assess the academic progress of their children. Digitization is helping achieve, all this.   

  • There are many online quiz creators and quiz takers available, that allow teachers to structure a comprehensive and interactive assessment test for students. These online software, help teachers evaluate even the higher cognitive levels of their students. Some examples include Quizlet, Showbie, Socrative etc.
  • Schools have developed online information portals, which allow parents to log in and keep track of their child’s academic progress, helping them to remain in close loop with all the developmental aspects.
  • With technology platforms, like Class Charts, educators can assess the classroom environment, establishing links between different seating positions and time of day. The artificial intelligence being used in these platforms, help teachers to identify patterns of disruption and productivity.

Another tool, worth mentioning (I would say this), that is increasingly being deployed across schools in UK is the Kapture8. For those who attended this year’s, BETT 2017, may have come across the exhibit, showcasing the benefits of Kapture8 in helping with the recording and assessment process. It is basically a platform and app, that allows students to present their learning and understanding in the format that they want. The format can be text, illustration, video or audio – enabling the students to choose a format through which they are comfortable (and what is available in their school or lesson at that particular time) in showing off their learning journeys through experimentation, collaboration and thinking. So, let’s say if someone is more adept at practical assessment, they can record their learning in the form of video or audio and recording it immediately not only helps keep students organised but also means you are not relying on memory to regurgitate information into different format. The platform is based on building evidence of learning and providing features for unobtrusive assessment. The work is instantly shared with the teacher to improve the feedback loop and aid progression. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning. There many other features that reduce time in assessment also – take a look by booking in a demo!

 

Improved Administrative Decisions: Effective administrative and management decisions are required for schools to operate efficiently and productively. When we talk about digital transformation in schools, the process also covers administrative practices, since digitization can help schools make improved administrative decisions.

  • Schools are digitizing student records, which improve accessibility, storage, management, organization and retrieving of the records convenient, quick and less hectic.
  • By analysing the data, school administrations are now looking into what’s working and what area of school management needs to be improved. With data becoming digitized, the process of analysis becomes easier.
  • Digitization helps ensure that important information and record are kept secured and safe, which is otherwise not possible.

 

These are the elements that I believe form the fabric of digitization in educational sector. And, talking from my own personal experience, some of which I shared in this piece with you, it is good to see our country’s educational system embracing the concept of digital transformation.

A great amount of work has been done and the future looks even more promising, prompting me to keep a close eye on the developments. My advice is to really get out there a look how much a little change could save you in the long run, think about what work for your school, your teachers and slowly start making changes to improve the experience of students in your classrooms today!

Till the next update – goodbye!