Today’s students are ‘digital natives’; they have grown up surrounded by technology and they instinctively know how to use it and gravitate towards it. As ‘digital immigrants’ who have adapted to using technology later in life, adults often see it as a distraction from learning or as a gimmick rather than a learning tool. At Dr Challoner’s Grammar School we see it as part of our job to help overcome this perception. Digital technology and the internet provide infinite possibilities for learning and the skills that students develop during their time at school will provide the basis for using it in the real world effectively and efficiently. With this in mind, we have developed a Digital Learning project which aims to empower both students and teachers.
Starting in Year 8, students bring in their own iOS devices. They use them in a variety of ways both in class and at home in order to enhance their learning, for example, live internet research in class and mind mapping apps at home. Google Drive and Google Classroom are used to set and complete classwork and homework. This allows for a much more personalised learning experience. Some classes are trialling an entirely paperless approach.
The safety and security aspects of these devices have not been overlooked. The school has incorporated a detailed online safety element into PSHE lessons and we have a robust sanctions policy for students who misuse their devices. We also support parents to understand the device so that they can effectively monitor their sons’ use of it and make sure they get the maximum learning benefit from it.