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Six steps to beat the ‘technology trap’

More and more teachers are using technology in their classroom – but are they using it effectively? Auckland teachers Saunil Hagler and Brandon Laurenson explain their unique and successful methodology that they believe is a way to avoid the ‘technology trap’ facing schools.

We have worked with many teachers who are enthusiastic about technology yet lack the knowledge of how to use it effectively; students appear ‘busy’ with technology but are under-utilising
its potential.

This ‘technology trap’, as we describe it, is a dangerous situation which can lull a school into a false sense of security with their use of technology. What might on the surface look to be effective e-learning is merely the haphazard application of a few ideas, rather than a coordinated strategy to transform learning. We explain it as emerging from a lack of support and professional development for teachers, which if delivered at an appropriate time can save schools time and frustration later in their e-learning journey.

New technologies, new pedagogies

Most often, we see teachers using new technology to do the same old things they’ve done before. However, to harness the full potential of technology, teachers must do new things with it as well. Attempting these new strategies relies on them developing their understanding of not just new technologies, but new pedagogies as well. Commonly referred to as ‘pedagogy 2.0’, this new theoretical framework – strongly supported by evidence and research – is not just a buzzword bandied about by educational enthusiasts. Rather it’s a method educators should embrace to open new doors in their students’ education, breaking down the walls of the classroom and creating truly personalised learning experiences. It views students as ‘prosumers’: digital citizens who use new and emerging cloud-based technologies to both consume digital content and produce it as well.

One of the benefits of employing this sort of approach is that students are the ones sharing online; they’re the ones who are teaching each other; they’re the ones who are communicating and collaborating around making meaning of their world. That’s how learning happens – allowing students the opportunity to change their world, and hence their perception of it.

Drawing on personal experiences

To combat this ‘technology trap’ and help teachers develop their understanding of pedagogy 2.0, we have developed a six-step approach to blended learning, which assists teachers and schools in using technology in truly effective ways. Drawing on our personal experiences as classroom teachers and e-learning co-ordinators, as well as postgraduate studies into e-learning in education, we’ve launched CloudPal.

It’s drawn the interest of HP New Zealand, who have kindly provided us with a range of devices to use in schools. This gives the teachers we work with an opportunity to trial exciting new devices with their students, such as the HP Chromebook 11. When we see students on Chromebooks, we see engaged, enhanced, excited learning – all the things e-learning stands for.

Our aim is now to work with schools and teachers to effectively integrate cloud-based IT for better communication, collaboration and coordination within their education setting. We know that our unique step-wise approach will help to get the most out of their e-learning initiatives.  

Brandon Laurenson and Saunil Hagler are e-learning consultants at CloudPal. For more information contact contact@cloudpal.co.nz

For more information on HP Chromebooks, see page opposite and contact nzeducation@hp.com


Access teacher Professional Development

cloudpalWant to learn more from Brandon and Saunil? CloudPal is running a selection of PD courses.

24 June: Coordinating Learning Using Google Sites
Build your own class website which will engage learners in blended learning activities.

1 July: Blended Learning in the Cloud – Delivered in conjunction with HP, this presentation will involve you in a discussion of how technology is transforming learning.

Coming up in August …

Collaboration Using Google Drive – Use Google Drive effectively with your students to manage workflow and get them collaborating.

For more information visit cloudpal.co.nz/events

Categories: Article, Issue 56

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