FAR from the teachers pressing chalk on to blackboards and pupils scribbling notes into dog-eared exercise books so familiar to previous generations, today’s classrooms are increasingly becoming fully digital domains. We find out how Salisbury Cathedral School embraces the latest technology courtesy…
At Salisbury Cathedral School we provide a Chromebook for each pupil in Year 7 and 8 for use in school and for study at home. This enables the pupils to have a continuity of access to technology so that they can rely on having access to learning materials and their own work wherever they have access to the internet. Every teacher and pupil has an account with the school G suite platform with the Google classroom as the central feature. This mean that teachers can set work and provide support materials that are available to the pupils in the classroom and beyond. Equally the pupils can complete tasks and get feedback in the classroom and beyond. In effect the technology allows the (filtered) world into the classroom and gives access to the classwork across the world.
Has technology had an impact on school life outside of lessons?
The impact outside the classroom has been to give the children more flexibility and responsibility for the organisation of their studies across the week; no longer are they tied solely to the input received in a class session. Revision guidance, support materials and alternative approaches to learning, such as online quizzes and short instructional videos, mean that pupils can revisit their work when required. Equally they can feedback to their teacher using the same technology. One quite new aspect of all this has been the facility for collaboration where appropriate. Project groups can study together wherever and whenever they they wish.
How do you teach children to use technology safely?
Internet safety is taught specifically in computer science lessons and in PSHE throughout the school. Each topic in computing science starts with a briefing about the relevant safety issues that may be faced, anything from copyright issues to cyber bullying. Now that the technology is available in every class and at home there is a larger group of adults who reiterate these themes. A supportive but persistent and repetitive approach seems to be most effective.
What’s your most exciting or novel use of technology?
Sometimes it is the simple things that excite most. The maths teacher, for example, has started to enthuse her pupils by sharing parts of her lesson online. Using an app called ‘Loom’ to capture her computer screen (no cameras required!) and a usb microphone, she records the part of her where she uses the interactive whiteboard to introduce new concepts. She then shares the clips in the google classroom. To her surprised she has been applauded in class now hears that mathematics is ‘cool!’ The pupils are now being encouraged to produce some of their work in a similar way and this is also being received with great enthusiasm. The novelty lies in the integration of the normal classroom into the google classroom on the chrome books, and this combination of traditional teaching with innovative methods of presentation is central to the success of the whole ‘technology in the classroom’ project.
The teachers are as excited as the pupils!