Welcome to part two of our Academies Show 2018 coverage. The second session UKCBC attended saw Paul Hutton and Tom Able-Green talk about the future of classroom studies. Both presenters work with Apple’s education arm to promote new technologies in the education sector. Throughout the talk, both Paul and Tom emphasised the need for teachers to stay flexible and to always look for ways to improve the learning experience.  

Mr Able-Green’s opening remarks highlighted some interesting and troubling statistics about the current and future state of the education sector: “60% of school children [currently in education] will do a job that does not exist due to technology…[and] 30% of new teachers will leave their profession in the next five years.”  

It’s no secret that retention rates for teachers are problematic for schools and the broader education sector, but how can it be rectified? For Mr Hutton, the answer was simple: “Do less, and do it well.” The focus of teachers’ energies should be on improving engagement in the classroom yet an increase in marking and data entry often take up much of their time. 

Significantly, technology has a place for both teachers and students, as it has the potential to shape the profession around students’ “engagement preferences,” said Mr Hutton, and significantly reduce teacher workloads by automating the paper trail. 

Transforming Traditional Learning Methods   

Mr Hutton drew the audience’s attention to several learning models to highlight how we have progressed in the sector, starting with Bloom’s Taxonomy: a learning framework created by Benjamin Bloom and collaborators in 1956. In the model, “creation is [the skill and ability] given the least importance.” Mr Hutton questioned whether we could improve topic engagement and learning by “making creation more important” in the learning process. 

Mr Hutton then introduced several alternatives to the more traditional methods, including the TPACK Model– a framework created for the integration of technology in education, or “tech-integrated learning by design.” In TPACK, what you teach and how you teach must be the primary driving forces behind the introduction of technology into the classroom.  

The final model introduced by Mr Hutton was SAMR (or substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition). According to Mr Hutton, to gain the full benefits of tech-learning integration, tasks should move through a continuum that begins with substituting tech for traditional tasks, and eventually arriving at redefinition in which “tech drives a new way of learning.” Instead of writing an essay, students would be tasked with using technology to create something that fulfils the learning outcomes, such as a documentary or video essay. The final project combines student collaboration and can be shared among the class. According to Mr Hutton, under such a model the role of the teacher is transformed from “the stunt at the front, to the guide at the side.” 

Apple Education   

Apple appears well prepared for a tech-integrated classroom thanks to their investment in the area. Apps that allow teachers to “cast [information] and collect [work]” help streamline processes while giving teachers a wider variety of resources to integrate into their lessons. However, such projects will not be possible without investment: “future-ready teachers will need CPD [continuing professional development],” said Mr Hutton. The benefits of such an investment appear significant, but as with every good project, schools must “start with why.” Indeed, as evident in the SAMR model, we must question why we are substituting old technology for new if it’s unlikely to improve the engagement and learning outcomes. 

The presenters finished by urging the audience to ask themselves how and why technology will improve children’s education (and teachers’ working lives). 

Tech will be making a huge impact on how children learn soon, and Apple has positioned itself to be an essential player when tech platforms hit the education mainstream; likewise, early adopters that plan to transform the learning process through technology are sure to be rewarded. We look forward to ushering in a new era of learning, and we will be assessing how and where technologies can be integrated into UKCBC’s curriculums.  

Looking for more on the 2018 Academies Show? Check out our other posts here.     

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