First things first, you might be shaking your head at the phrase ‘digital skills revolution’. But we’re talking about an actual thing, not just buzzwords! Digital skills are core competencies in the use of computers, digital teaching aids and VLEs. What we want is to bring about a revolution in how these skills are learned and put to use in classrooms. Read on and you’ll see what we mean.
What are the problems we’re facing?
We won’t go in depth on all the issues facing the education sector right now, not in these few hundred words! There are clearly though a number of problems- although we would like to call them opportunities- that specifically relate to digital skills and classroom management that we think are more important than most teachers realise.
First, we’re facing a dire lack of digital skills for teachers. Present company is, of course, excepted; but in the sector more widely there are far too many teachers who struggle with projectors, let alone white boards, tablets and laptops.
At the same time, a virtual learning environment for schools has been put in place, but not understood by management, teachers or students. Rather, software for online teaching isn’t engaging students. In fact, software for online teaching is being used for little more than posting summaries of previous lessons, and that has to change.
What can we do to change?
The first thing we have to do is to grow our own skill sets. We have to become better acquainted with our VLEs and the physical tech we use every day. Improving digital skills for teachers through training can be as simple as reading the manual, spending some time practicing, or even receiving training, which these days can include the plethora of uploaded YouTube how-to films on just about any skill imaginable.
What next? We have to dramatically improve how digital skills for teachers are then implemented in the classroom. This takes a bit of creativity. Teachmag has some great ideas on classroom management that you can find here [http://www.teachmag.com/archives/3574], which cover things as basic as classroom organisation.
We also have to reach out to the students themselves, and let them know that VLEs are not an optional extra, but an essential tool in their learning. Software for online teaching is, let’s face it, not as entertaining as YouTube; but accessing it and using it should be as serious a task as physically going to class. The end goal should always be a virtual learning environment for schools that reaches out to students and improves their time in school.
What’s our end goal?
It’s our firm belief that online teaching platforms that aren’t used effectively; online teaching platforms that aren’t taken seriously by either students or teachers are more detriment than learning aid. But their benefits are so obvious [http://www.quickclass.net/virtual-learning-environment-for-teachers/]!
The time that educational software saves for teachers, and the improved results that it can help students achieve, aren’t just our end goal: they should be the end goal of every teacher.