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Week 1 Introduction

Welcome to Week 1 of the course! What's coming up this week?
Let’s start by thinking about how we might approach the use of technology in schools. The term education technology can encompass a number of different types of technology that can be used to support teaching and learning in a very wide variety of ways. Used well, technology can certainly have a benefit for learning particularly when we make sure that we start with a clear teaching and learning goal in mind. We know that quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor that influences pupil attainment. High quality teaching and learning should therefore be the first and foremost goal. Any use of technology should be underpinned by sound evidence-informed principles.
Feedback for example, is widely recognised as a key support for pupil learning and technology can enable new approaches to giving feedback, including video or audio commenting or instant automated marking. Review and recap of previously learnt content can be enabled with online quizzing tools and processes can be modelled or excellent examples of work shared through a visualiser. In all of these cases, the pedagogy should be front and centre but technology can also be a distraction; reducing attention on learning or negatively affecting behaviour.
There is a significant time investment in starting to use technology and in most cases a financial one too so it’s really important that we make careful and critical decisions about when technology is the right solution and when it isn’t. This relies on teachers’ expertise and their knowledge and understanding of their pupils, their subject and content, and the affordances of technology. Getting implementation right is also absolutely key to ensuring that technology actually achieves what we’re hoping for. Even perfectly conceived and designed education technology tools will have no impact, or worse, have a negative impact if they’re used badly, whilst effective deployment of very simple tools can really support teaching and learning.
To consider some of the opportunities and challenges in using technology in more detail, let’s hear from some of the experts we’ll be meeting again later in the course. Technology can give us a lot of opportunities to try things that may be difficult without it so for example, with a homework task often we’re limited to things like reading and exercises without very much scaffolding with traditional methods, whereas something like a website may be able to give a learner feedback as they’re doing a task. May be able to show them progress. It can help learners to boost retrieval. It can help learners to develop their metacognitive awareness.
It’s really useful in particular subject areas like mathematics and science because of course the visualisation capabilities and the modelling software really, really helps to support learning in those areas. It’s not actually technology per se that’s good for engagement, it’s what the technology can do and one thing it can do is to make sure that interaction between the learner and the feedback that they’re getting is really rapid so you know, we’ve designed, we’ve evolved to turn our senses into action and if you’re constantly taking in information, you’re producing a response to it, technology can do that for us. We can be producing ideas, answering questions in a quiz or something and be getting feedback all the time.
The aim in my view should be, this school is teaching well, they have a certain curriculum, they’ve got certain learning goals and some of these goals can be nicely supported with technology and that’s why we we’re putting technology in our lesson.
Welcome to Week 1 of the course: Understanding technology use in educational practice

This course will engage us with a range of practical uses of technology in education. This first week sets the foundation for such learning by addressing the following questions:

  • Why might we choose to use technology in education?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities in technology use?
  • How can we best evaluate the impact of technology use in our own context?
When you are ready, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘What is your purpose for technology use?’ to continue your learning.
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Using Technology in Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning

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