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Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
Many schools recognize that bringing technology education into their offering is vital to ensuring the future success of their students. However, the practicalities of this can be challenging. Some common challenges we hear are: there is already too much curriculum to get through, staff find it challenging, and resources are too expensive.
Fortunately, there is more than one way to integrate technology learning into school life, so no matter what challenges may appear initially, you will find a way. We know all schools are unique with different objectives and challenges and, for this reason, we have outlined four approaches to integration that might work for you.
As a focused course
Technology can be taught as a stand-alone subject. This works well where a school is able to or has already carved out dedicated time, perhaps in a computing class or STEM class, with the sole objective of teaching technology. This approach ensures that students get the opportunity to focus purely on their digital skills.
In this space, we have our TechReady courses, which focus on bridging the gap between age-appropriate learning and developments in the real world, such as AI and big data.
Integrated into other subjects
Integrating technology can help make learning in other subjects more ‘real-world relevant’ or help bring subjects together to create exciting cross-curricular learning opportunities. Many schools do not have the available time to teach technology as a stand-alone subject so this enables integration without having to find lots of additional hours. It also allows you to align vital skills with the interests of your students. You can think about small or large scale technology projects and bring in different approaches depending on the topic that you are teaching. For example, why not get your students to create a blog instead of writing their next story in their textbook or perhaps you can think about using data visualization to demonstrate migration trends over time in geography.
At BSD, we have curated TechConnected projects that can be brought into any core subject. We focus on enhancing what is already happening in the classroom. This enables you to continue with your teaching almost as normal and simply bring in an activity that combines subject and technology learning. Through this approach, the subject becomes the context and the projects create a more engaging way for students to either learn the concepts of the subject or become a content vessel to present and reinforce what they are learning in the class.
After school activities
For those of you who do not have time during the school day to bring in technology learning, you can think about running an after-school activity focused on technology. In one of our previous issues, we explored why enrichment programs are so powerful and the benefits they offer students. Integrating in this way is an excellent starting point that can be built upon.
Out of school learning should be more open and exploratory so our Technovators program for after-school activities focuses on giving students the freedom to work with technology in a more creative way.
Do all three
Technology in the real world touches everything and impacts everyone. It cannot be isolated to one area or a group of self-selecting people and, in an ideal world, the school environment must reflect this. At BSD we advocate for infusing technology learning across everything so that students can make connections, follow their interests and understand how to use and apply technology to build solutions across contexts and you as a teacher can help enable this. We believe that regular exposure to technology in a range of different contexts is the best way to prepare students for using technology in their futures and to understand how to apply it in connection with their interests.
However, it is also clear that implementation across everything can rarely be the first step. Start with what best fits your school’s model and build from there. For more information about any of our curriculum offerings, contact us here.