Sky Caves is a Learning Technology Apprentice at Basingstoke College of Technology working as a part of their in-house digital team, BCoT Digital, to curate, research, train and assist with the implementation of digital tools throughout the college. She also works closely with Specialist Provision and, as of this year, has been curating self-directed learning resources for the Level 1 Future Pathways students’ blended learning.
Sky believes that technology saved her after her own challenging school life which included attending a Pupil Referral Unit.
How do you think we should be using Educational Technology to engage learners more?
Sky believes that Edtech should be used as an aid, not a replacement. It can be a great time-saver and that’s one of the main focus points of her team’s work at BCoT. She works a lot with video resources which can free up teacher time for 1-to-1 interaction. Technology can also help differentiate for different learners, for example in how they can record their learning.
Some teachers need more help than others to integrate technology into their practice and that’s why Sky thinks it’s really important to have teams like hers to help. They can help guide teachers with what works and why it works – rather than just throwing masses of technology and resources at them.
What can teachers who are not yet using technology extensively do to get started?
Sky recommends that teachers take part in social media to see what’s going on in the use of technology in teaching. There are many blogs which specifically try and spread the word of how to integrate technology into teaching and provide reviews, for example.
What impact can technology have for learners?
When Sky started college herself, she wasn’t confident about joining in class conversations. Technology allowed her to contribute and grow in confidence through techniques such as the use of Twitter hashtags and Padlet virtual note boards.
She is also very strongly in favour of the use of cloud-based software and services. This can allow students who have to be absent from lessons to access the content remotely and catch up.
Skye has noticed the growth of social media contact between students and staff with staff creating additional accounts for interacting with students on a particular course. She sees this a great way for teachers to adapt what they do to suit the learning styles and preferences of their classes.
Is there a danger we are removing the human element from education and depending too much on the technology?
Skye agrees there is a risk but not if we are doing this for the right reasons. If we are trying to replace interaction with technology then this is going to be negative but if we are using it as an aid then it can be very positive. She gives an example of a self-directed learning scenario in use at BCoT which is fully supported by facilitators but where the work is set on Google Classroom. The facilitation is there to support the students to develop their own self-directed learning skills.