As ever, there was a lot to take in at Bett 2022. The Oriel Square team spread out across the show to cover the top sessions from the week. Here are the emerging trends, key talking points and recommendations that stuck with us.
Practical takeaways and links
- An area where technology has transformed teaching and learning is retrieval practice, which can be much more effective using digital tools.
Cornerstones of the teacher toolkit included apps such as Socrative, Blooket, Gimkit, Kahoot!, Quizlet, Nearpod and Explain Everything. One advantage of these tools is that they can be used flexibly to support learning, both synchronous and asynchronous; and of course, they are very helpful in times of remote learning.
- What’s best for inclusion is tech that can be used by everyone.
- Colour splash lets you emphasise the most important parts of an image by converting the rest to black and white.
- Shadow puppet allows your students to create simple videos in the classroom. We love this innovative way for students to tell stories, explain ideas, or document their learning (currently only available to Apple users).
- With Chatterbox you can bring inanimate objects to life by making them ‘speak’! Use the app to give them a mouth and record what you want them to say (currently only available to Apple users).
- Tech can be a great tool for improving literacy and building a reading culture in schools – when it takes off!
Librarian of the year Kristabelle Williams (Addey & Stanhope School) makes the point that new tech or apps have to be promoted effectively within schools to take off. They won’t necessarily be used unless teachers, students and parents are really encouraged to have a go! But if you can make that breakthrough and it works, they’ll love it and use it regularly.
Kristabelle’s top picks:
- Microsoft Sway (for giving your presentations an upgrade)
- Show my homework (for homework integration with Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams)
- Canva (for quick and easy design)
- Sora (for SEND students)
- RNIB talking books (for visually impaired students)
- Bedrock Learning (for vocab improvement)
The top trends
Accelerating learning with a selection box of tech
Using a range of new and varied tech solutions has helped engage students, and some schools have seen outcomes improve as a result. Tools such as Reflect on Microsoft Teams helps quieter students speak up, as well as enabling the school to easily find out how every student is doing. Similarly, Flipgrid, a browser-based video tool, helps open up discussions between teachers and students, and students and their peers. Students can use it to share achievements, showcase work, perform, practise or rehearse.
The incredible builds happening on the ESports stage showed how Minecraft can be used across the curriculum to transform an everyday lesson into something more creative and engaging. Some examples include using Minecraft as therapy for PSHE, or using it to develop teamwork, social and communication skills.
Using tech with purpose can encourage creativity, engagement and excitement. For example, if students write a book review in their notebooks, it often doesn’t go anywhere. But if you use tech to link a student’s review to a library book via a QR code, and make it available for others to read, the sense of purpose will encourage students to take ownership of their work.
Celebrating and understanding neurodiversity in education
Diversity is seen as an advantage in nature where variation is essential for survival – it should be the same in education and should be celebrated. Where approximately 1 in 3 people are neurodiverse and require support in education, this is especially true.
However, this doesn’t mean that one size fits all – even two learners with the same diagnosis may have very different needs. Supporting neurodiverse learners starts with identifying and understanding these needs. This free handbook from Cognassist details some of the small changes that can help recognise and support neurodiverse learners across eight key cognitive domains.
Supporting mental wellbeing
With elevated levels of stress and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic, wellbeing is increasingly impacting academic progress and emphasising educators’ ability to support this. And wellbeing doesn’t just mean feeling good; it includes living according to your values and reaching your full potential. As a result, we’re seeing more solutions like GLUU eduu.school integrate mental health and wellbeing support as part of the core curriculum.
Adults and children alike want to be heard and validated and tech can allow them to do that. While not everyone wants to put their hand up and talk to the teacher, or speak up in a staff meeting, we’re seeing more tech solutions that can make that easier by opening up alternative ways of responding.
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