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 St Lawrence College embraces the latest technology courtesy of Will Scott, Deputy Head (Academic)…
How do you utilise technology in the classroom?
Technology has crept into many areas of teaching at St Lawrence College, most visibly with interactive screens and classroom devices with specialised software for technical and creative subjects, but also significantly with pupils’ ownership of hugely powerful and sophisticated smartphones with a wealth of useful applications.
The resources available for enquiry-based learning have never been greater; the challenge is in developing the skills to use them so that they enable greater depth of learning and engagement rather than acting to distract. At St Lawrence College we retain tight control of pupils’ devices to ensure that when they’re in use, it’s to the benefit of learning.
Has technology had an impact on school life outside of lessons?
Yes and in almost every way imaginable! Every form of communication has been changed by the universal availability of technology.
How do you teach children to use technology safely?
At St Lawrence College, we see the need for a system-wide approach to education in safe and appropriate use of technology. Without engagement and consistent messaging from parents and teachers, it is hard for pupils to understand the potential consequences of their behaviour before it is too late. Beyond our programme of regular parent and pupil e-safety sessions, we deal with this as part of the mainstream of our education provision and safeguarding – technology just provides space and channels for existing problems to manifest and spread, albeit more quickly and far beyond the school walls.
What’s your most exciting or novel use of technology?
At St Lawrence College we’re at the stage of moving from tried and tested systems into a more integrated electronic learning environment using Office 365 applications and devices. As part of curriculum development involving a more enquiry-led approach, this move will facilitate exciting changes and improvements in the way our pupils experience the joys and overcome the challenges in their learning.