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How technology is transforming teaching and learning

By Ben Lewis-D'Anna posted 03-11-2022 14:21

  

Lockdown accelerated the rollout of technology in the classroom as teachers had no choice but to embrace the use of online platforms in learning. But has that technology had a positive impact on education? 

The way in which schools have embraced digital learning and technology is one of the few positives to have come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Priya Lakhani, Founder CEO of award-winning artificial intelligence (AI) company, CENTURY Tech. 

She said: "It has been so exciting to see how institutions have augmented teaching and learning with technology. We are already beginning to see the positive impact technology can have on outcomes and reducing teacher workload."

Benefits of technology for pupils 

UKTN, the home of UK Tech, agrees. It says one of the benefits of technology is the power to transform dull subjects into interactive and fun activities. The good thing about that, is that knowledge that is acquired with entertainment helps students retain knowledge for longer. The use of technological platforms often means pupils can take the initiative and learn when they want to – with or without a teacher’s assistance. 

At its best, technology can be used to create experiences for students rather than them simply imbibing information, something that Lakhani claims teachers are increasingly asking for. 

Lakhani is also a board member of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, which has a learning programme for young people, aged 4 to 19, to inspire them with its awe-inspiring projects across science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). 

Many of the UNBOXED projects have used technology in innovative ways, making it possible for students to learn through playful experience.  

Examples of technology being used to create learning experiences 

  • Minecraft is used to enable pupils to travel through the solar system and learn about the challenges facing Planet Earth. This Minecraft experience is created by Our Place in Space, a project designed by children’s author Oliver Jeffers in collaboration with astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt. Visit Our Place in Space Minecraft World. 
  • Immerse 360º video is used to make is possible to see what it’s like on board SEE MONSTER, a retired offshore platform that’s been transformed into an art installation featuring a garden, waterfall and design-led renewable energies. Pupils can go on a journey through the platform learning through interactions at various points along the way. Visit SEE MONSTER virtual tour. 
  • Live dashboards are used to an engaging effect by Dreamachine. Dreamachine helps children to understand perception through a series of videos hosted by Newsround presenter Martin Dougan. Through a specially developed online platform, pupils can consider such questions as ‘Can I believe everything I see?’, ‘How do I know time is passing?’, and ‘Are people the same all over the world?’ and see how their answers compare with those of pupils in other schools. See Life’s Big Questions. 

Benefits of technology for teachers 

Meanwhile, UKTN recognises that for teachers, the ability to digitally distribute details in a few taps means they can quickly identify weaknesses and provide targeted support. 

Lakhani also points to the positive impacts that technology has had on teachers’ continued professional development (CPD), enabling them to attend symposiums and webinars. This supports opportunities for sharing knowledge easily at the end of a school day. And there are other important benefits, too, including sustainability and economics – teachers don’t have to drive to venues, and schools don’t need to find cover. 

Considerations 

We know that the introduction of technology will continue to have a significant impact on teaching and learning. However, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has identified several issues should be considered before technology is rolled out across classrooms. 

Firstly, schools need to consider how technology will improve teaching and learning. Technology has the potential to help teachers explain and model new concepts and ideas, but how explanations and models are conveyed is less important than their clarity and accessibility to pupils. The EEF warns that there is a risk technology will widen the gap between successful learners and their peers. 

Technology also has the potential to improve assessment and feedback. But how teachers use the information they gather from assessments, and how pupils act on feedback, matters far more than the way in which it is collected and delivered. Technology is likely to be most beneficial if it is provided in addition to other forms of feedback. 

Lakhani also urges us to think about two further barriers: affordability and confidence. Schools need to ensure all their pupils have access to the necessary devices and technology. 

She also has a challenge for suppliers. In many cases, developing the use of technology in the classroom, will mean teachers have to change the way they do some things. Suppliers therefore need to provide evidence that the technology has a positive impact, supporting educators with models of practice so that it can be effectively adopted and embedded. 

The use of technology in the classroom is here to stay. Make no mistake, it will never replace a teacher. But used creatively, it can transform a list of facts into a memorable, learning experience. 

For more information about UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, please visit www.unboxed2022.co.uk 

Research Links:  

https://www.uktech.news/top-6-benefits-of-technology-in-the-classroom 

https://d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net/eef-guidance-reports/digital/EEF_Digital_Technology_Guidance_Report.pdf?v=1635355216

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05-09-2023 09:53

Teachers beware! The subject of our social system of macroeconomics is not very suitable for teaching high-school students. In its present form this fault is due to its complexity and confusion, created from its many varying schools of thought. This is a shame, particularly when these days it can be better expressed in more logical and exacting terms that what is commonly provided.

Making Macroeconomics a Much More Exact Science

Today macroeconomics is treated inexactly within the humanities, because it appears to be a very complex and easily confused matter. But this does not give it fair justice, because we should be trying to find a viable approach to the topic and examine it in a way that avoids these problems, and for us to better understand of what it comprises and how it works. Suppose we ask ourselves the question: “how many different KINDS of financial (business) transaction occur within our society?” 

The simple and direct answer shows that that only a limited number of them are possible or necessary. Although our sociological system comprises of many millions of participants, to properly answer this question we should be ready to consider the averages of the various kinds of activities (no matter who performs them), and simultaneously to idealize these activities so that they fall into a number of commonly shared operations. This approach uses some general terms for expressing the various types of these transactions, into what becomes a relatively small number. Here, each kind is found to apply between a particular pair of agents—each one of which has individual properties. 

Then to cover the whole sociological system of a country, it requires only 19 kinds of exchanges of the goods, services, access rights, taxes, credits, investments, valuable legal documents, etc., verses the mutual and opposing flows of money. The argument that led to this initially unexpected result was prepared by the author. It may be found in his working paper (on the internet) as SSRN 2865571 “Einstein’s Criterion Applied to Logical Macroeconomics Modelling”. In this model these double-flows of money verses goods, etc., necessarily pass between only 6 kinds of role-playing entities (or agents). Of course, there are a number of different configurations that are possible for this type of simplification, but if one tries to eliminate all the unnecessary complications and sticks to the more basic activities, then these particular quantities and flows provide the most concise yet fully comprehensive result, which is presentable in a seamless manner, for our whole social system and one that is suitable for its further analysis. 

Surprisingly, past representation of our sociological system by this kind of an interpretation model has neither been properly derived nor formally presented before. Previously, other partial versions have been modelled (using up to 4 agents, as by Professor Hudson), but they are inexact due to their being over-simplified. Alternatively, in the case of econometrics, the representations are far too complicated and almost impossible for students to follow. These two reasons of over-simplification and of complexity are why this pseudo or non-scientific confusion has been created by many economists, and it explains their failure to obtain a good understanding about how the whole system works. The model being described here in this paper is unique, in being the first to include, along with some additional aspects, all the 3 factors of production, in Adam Smith's “Wealth of Nations” book of 1776. These factors are Land, Labour and Capital, along with their returns of Ground-Rent, Wages and Interest/Dividends, respectively. All of them are all included in the model, as a diagram in the paper. 

The diagram of this model is in my paper (noted above). A mention of the related teaching process is also provided in my short working paper SSRN 2600103 “A Mechanical Model for Teaching Macroeconomics”. With this model in an alternative form, the various parts and activities of the Big Picture of our sociological system can be properly identified and defined. Subsequently by analysis, the way our sociological system works can then be properly seen, calculated and illustrated. This analysis is introduced by the mathematics and logic, which was devised by Nobel Laureate Wellesley W. Leontief, when he invented the important "Input-Output" matrix methodology (that he originally applied only to the production sector). 

This short-hand method of modelling the whole system replaces the above-mentioned block-and-flow diagram. It enables one to really get to grips with what is going-on within our sociological system. It is the topology of the matrix which actually provides the key to this. The logic and math are not hard and are suitable for high-school students, who have been shown the basic properties of square matrices and the notation of the calculus.

By this technique it is comparatively easy to introduce any change to a pre-set sociological system that is theoretically in equilibrium (even though we know that this ideal is never actually attained--it simply being a convenient way to begin the study). This change creates an imbalance and we need to regain equilibrium again. Thus, sudden changes or policy-decisions may be simulated and the effects of them determined, which will point the way to what policy is best. In my book about it, (see below) 3 changes associated with taxation are investigated in hand-worked numerical examples. In fact, when I first worked it out, the irrefutable logical results were a surprise, even to me! 

 Developments of these ideas about making our subject more truly scientific (thereby avoiding the past pseudo-science being taught at universities), may be found in my recent book: “Consequential Macroeconomics—Rationalizing About How Our Social System Works”. Please write to me at chesterdh@hotmail.com for a free e-copy of this 310-page book and for any additional information.

09-12-2022 01:10

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05-11-2022 08:04

Thank you. 
A very thought provoking article.
Technology can make for very creative and supportive learning and give us the most amazing experiences.
As technology continues to evolve so quickly and spectacularly, I feel strongly that we must guard against virtual learning taking over completely.