IT in the Classroom: Looking Backward and Forward

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Four years ago I discussed the IT forthcoming innovations in our school and expressed my worries about some of these changes. In hindsight it is interesting that I was mainly wrong on the issue.

The school has tried different digital work environments but the ‘perfect’ tool is yet to be found and we do not use the one we have as much as we should have done when the new scheme was announced.

On the positive side, we fill in online term reports for each student, can read what colleagues have written and I now have a computer in my room.

Yet the digital school attendance system does not work, which is a shame since I could now do it at the beginning of each period from the classroom computer.

I have created and provided the dreaded email address. Contrary to what I had anticipated, I have received no email from angry parents – and none from ecstatic ones I am sorry to add! However a pupil sent a Thank You email after the latest Swedish exchange.

What I had not foreseen is that for my pupils email is the new snail mail; in other words, some of them have no email addresses and use their parents’ to write to me. Others have an email address but hardly use it, which means that if I write back the email is not read.

However what I had feared concerning constant connectivity is still a problem. Even if I use a different email address for work, it is difficult not to have a look at what fills this email inbox during my free time.

I now ask the pupils to record themselves and send me oral homework (or task) – the latest was an oral presentation where the year 11s were supposed to convince an audience that they were the best candidate for the TV show of their choice.

The next challenge is to make myself understood when I explain the technical side of the task. In other words, I need them to remember that mp3 is the only format that I can easily listen to on any of the device I use. This may sound pretty simple to you but, believe me, it is not that straightforward for all teenagers; only this morning I received an audio file in 3ga!

So if you have any tip, please share and you will make my day!

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9 thoughts on “IT in the Classroom: Looking Backward and Forward

  1. It sounds like some of the technology works well for you, but others can be a pain. Not sending the file in the proper format is similar to old-fashioned writing in poor handwriting, maybe. It’s too bad you can’t just charge the student more money like one might do with a client. There are free online converters, but they are a pain and time-consuming to use, and they don’t always work well. I supposed there needs to be a consequence for not following instructions.

  2. I have a system of penalties for tardiness but what can I do if I can’t open the work at all? I agree that online converters are a pain and do not always work. Sigh…

  3. It sounds as if it is becoming a major issue. Did you stress (I’m sure you did) that the format needs to be mp3? Maybe you need to give them a warning and initiate a penalty for not using the correct format. After all, following directions is part of the assignment. MP3 is not unique, and it is a common and popular format, for goodness sake!

  4. Jewaicious: Don’t worry, it is more frustrating than anything else and just highlights that teenagers are not as comfortable as we think with the IT world; not all of them anyway.

  5. I’m afraid I don’t have a tip for you… But this post chimes with something I was discussing with a colleague only yesterday… Sometimes, wouldn’t it be easier if there were, say, only two choices for IT options? I’m beginning to understand how my grandparents must have felt when computers arrived on the scene! I’m not even technically illiterate either!

    PS. There are more options than mp3?!! Eek!

    • I totally agree that standardisation would certainly come handy with regard to IT options.
      And yes, there are more options than mp3!! At least I have learned something new: 3ga (Samsung’s smartphone format) can be converted into mp3 by just renaming the extension.

  6. Pingback: Of Books, Mosque, Schools and Divrei Torah – a Weekly Review | Ilana-Davita

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