It’s easy to assume that there is a strong correlation between technology and the quality of education. However, time and again academic research shows that the impact of technology on student achievement is highly variable – and it depends entirely on how it is used by teachers.
In its simplest form, educational technology can be used to replace traditional learning methods and materials. For example, typing on GoogleDocs instead of writing on paper, or using a Mind Mapping app instead of physically drawing a mindmap on paper. In these sorts of examples, the style of learning doesn’t change – it’s just ‘modernized’. Spellcheck, Grammarly, online dictionaries and other sorts of support tools may also be used to assist children with their learning.
In schools like GIS – which has recently been recognised as an Apple Distinguished School for 2019-2021 – technology is used for much more than typing and spell-checking. Instead, it is being used to actually transform how children are learning, and to create a completely new learning experience. Some examples?
However, being able to offer exciting experiences like this entirely depends on the skill level, confidence and passion of a school’s teachers.
That’s why our GIS teachers get regular opportunities to build their own technological skills and learn about how to apply technology creatively and effectively. They have professional development sessions every Friday and we also have a team of fantastic digital coaches who support our teachers in finding meaningful ways to incorporate technology in their classrooms. At GIS, we don’t use technology to simply replace a paper and pen, or to speed up tasks – we strive to use it to transform learning, and to offer learning experiences that mirror the dynamic, ever-changing world of work that our children will join.
Our recent Apple Accreditation reflects the high skill level of our teachers with regard to technology, and proves we are integrating technology meaningfully to enhance and support learning in creative, exciting ways. The award places us amongst the most innovative schools in the world, and for that we are truly proud.
If you’re keen to put your child’s tablet to good use this summer, there are many iPad Apps that genuinely motivate children and offer serious educational benefits.
Here are a few fantastic Apps for Early Years & Primary children that have been screened and recommended by our team of GIS Digital Coaches!
1. Reading Eggs: Applicable from reception – a great app to make learning to read interesting and engaging for kids, with great online reading games and activities.
2. Hairy Letters: Hairy Letters provides an introduction to single letters. It is aimed specifically at those who will be using phonics to learn as it does not give the name for any letters – just the sound that they make in words. Containing colourful and humorous animation it entertains while it teaches.
3. Toca Band: A fun and easy app, which encourages children to explore music in a new creative way! Choose from 16 different cool characters – each with their own unique quirky sound and musical rhythms.
4. Epic Books: Digital library with books for kids 12 and under. Epic books app contains quizzes, audio books, and read-aloud books.
5. Crazy Cursive: With this app children can practice writing the top 100 words in cursive style and can also type in their own words to practice. Letters are sounded out phonetically to allow your child to develop skills of breaking down words which are particularly useful for children with Dyslexia.