In a world where technology has become an integral part of one’s life, the academe is also searching and sharing ways to enhance learning. I spent a late afternoon in Xavier School to be part of the get-together of tech integrators from different schools who came together to share how different apps they use are integrated with the subject matter they teach.
Xavier School has the distinction of being the first and only Regional Training Centre (RTC) in the Philippines. On its website, Apple describes their RTCs as follows:
The Regional Training Centre programme was born in the UK in 2005 to provide teachers with training, expertise and access to best practice to support their use of Apple technology in the classroom. The programme brings together a wide community of experienced educators and experts who provide free and easy access to Apple’s creative learning technologies through local learning-hubs.
It’s not surprising that Xavier School holds this distinction. The school has always been at the forefront of using technology. Here is an article I wrote on Xavier School way back in 2009 that already showed them moving quickly into integrating tech into the academe.
Millennials are totally different from the kind of student we probably were way back when. Today’s youth were born into the digital age. They are digital natives. Tech does not intimidate them at all. They are very comfortable using it and it is almost like second skin to them. The age of Google Search and instantaneous results also make them more impatient. They want answers right away and want lessons presented to them in a way that keeps their attention (their attention span is much shorter than ours). “Deadpan” presentations just won’t cut it anymore. They need to be stimulated by what they see and hear. Multimedia keeps them attentive.
This is the challenge to educators today – how to keep up with the latest technology, identify the useful applications, and weave these apps into one’s lesson plans in a way that is creative, imaginative, visual, and incorporates movement and sound as well. This first of planned get-togethers by tech integrators is definitely one way of sharing such technologies and their academic applications.
To kickstart the get-together, everyone was asked to type into several iMacs in the room what their definition of “tech integrator” was. Using an app called BaiBoard, an interactive whiteboard for online collaboration, everyone typed in their definitions with all of them showing up simultaneously on all the screens. This illustrates what can be done in a classroom, with each student typing in inputs on his own device and with everyone’s inputs reflecting on just one interactive whiteboard. A cool collaborative technique!
Some teachers from Xavier School and other schools gave lightning talks to share what they were doing with apps to integrate them into classroom learning.
I was fascinated, in particular, by the use of two apps, an animation app called Tellagami and a chroma app (green screen), which when combined, created a talking avatar (using one’s own voice) in the foreground of a subject matter photo.
An educator from another school shared how they superimposed the heads of their school administration onto superheroes just to catch the students’ attention. And the students loved it! Yes, it’s nice once in a while to see our teachers make fun of themselves, right?
This get-together, they say, is just the first of many more. Some of the participants probably are not yet as advanced as Xavier School’s educators in terms of tech integration but it is precisely this kind of inter-school sharing and collaboration that will help level up their way of teaching.
I was schooled the old, traditional way – via lectures, library researches and quizzes on pad papers. The way kids now are being taught is so much more fascinating and exciting and brings the knowledge of the world quickly into this space we call SCHOOL. I can just imagine how much more exciting learning can really be once tech integration in the academe goes mainstream.