There’s an interesting article on the BBC site that debates with itself about the impact of having an abundance of technology in the classroom. One side argues for the need to change the way we educate to accommodate the modern digital native and the other claims that all this electronic wizardry is expensive, unreliable, truculent and, frankly, not as productive as we all think it should be.

“There’s always this awful thing when you have planned that lesson on the IWB (Interactive White Board) and something goes wrong because there is something wrong with the system. You either have to be extremely organised and plan two lessons – one on paper and one on the white board – or you have to depend on all your resourcefulness as a teacher to pull something out of your hat.”

I imagine this happens more often than we think. Now an IWB is not going to increase the quality of learning any more than a blackboard. Or even an empty book. It’s the vitality of the content that makes it come alive.

She says if the students were doing a project on spiders – they would have a picture of thousands of spiders running across the board. What they really should be doing is going outside and putting their hands in the dirt.

Yes they should. The dirt option should not be ignored, but the 1000’s of spiders running across the board has only recently been available as a teaching aid, as a piece of digital content, literally in the last few years.

What should be happening is a combination. Let’s be honest, unless you’re a fly, or have been bitten and now have a head swollen like a balloon, spiders are pretty static and dull most of the time.

But if you can augment the reality of hunting round the school playground for a real one with the BBC Archive clip of a Trapdoor spider pouncing on it’s prey or a time lapse video of a spider building it’s intricate web…well, you’ve enhanced the experience for the learner.

ode will place these elements well within reach of the teacher so they can build enhanced learning experiences around the bits where you get your hands dirty.

PS: Don’t watch this if you don’t like MASSIVE HAIRY SPIDERS.

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