Article by Using Technology Better
Windows devices have an enduring popularity in the classroom for how they allow educators to use them to further their teaching goals.
Adrian Francis, Paul Hamilton, Mike Reading are former teachers who have become trainers at Using Technology Better, an organisation that provides training services to schools on how to make the most of the technology available to them in a teaching context.
They drew on their insights from years of teaching to describe what they found most effective about working with Windows devices in the classroom.
Igniting creativity within
Using Windows devices in education provides a perfect springboard for student creativity in and out of the classroom.
Paint 3D is a native application for Windows that allows students to create three-dimensional objects and content. Students can create text, art, models that can then be viewed in mixed reality.
With Augmented and Virtual environments becoming more prolific in education, there has never been a better time for students to create. For example, students can create a 3-dimensional digital prototype that addresses a sustainability problem and can be layered in the actual physical space using Augmented Reality. This has provided an opportunity for me to teach in a way that was almost impossible just a couple of years ago.
We used to work hard to connect the digital and physical environments in an authentic and purposeful way, now with technology we can do most of this virtually. This hasn’t replaced hands on and tactile lessons, but has complemented them nicely with design elements and prototyping.
Another aspect of teaching that I have seen come to life with Windows programmes such as PowerPoint is creative storytelling. Often seen as purely a piece of presentation software, PowerPoint actually has powerful creativity tools that allow students to create stories through animation and effects.
Students can create interactive choose-your-own-adventure stories, with original artwork utilising inking and advanced formatting tools. Add the fully integrated screen recording tools that exist within PowerPoint and you allow students to explain their thinking. When you combine the PC with Microsoft software in an education setting, the possibilities for student creativity are limitless.
Growing self-directed learners
Being a maths teacher, I always looked for ways in which I could incorporate technology into my teaching in a way that was seamless and added value to the learning in a classroom and saved me time. The frustration with writing mathematical formulas and drawing graphs were always a pain point with technology for me. This is where Windows devices and especially OneNote changed the way I was able to deliver maths lessons and create content.
OneNote and the Maths Tool have increased student agency by allowing them to hand write a formula, convert it to text, and be shown the steps to solve the equation all from OneNote. It is also possible to create a self-marking form to build understanding all on a OneNote page.
As a teacher, this form can be used to provide a formative process so that students can master the concepts, or even better, the students create the form and drive their own learning. So simple and yet powerful!
Always on the same page
I loved being untethered from the front of the room. I used a Surface device and I could quickly and easily remove the keyboard from the screen and have a versatile tablet (other teachers in my school had a clamshell device that simply flipped back on itself.
This was perfect for teaching moments where I wanted to be amongst the students, seeing what they were working on, and demonstrating concepts live. This really helped in terms of behaviour and engagement.
We would generally will be in a OneNote page that was being live synced to their devices, plus they could see me work on the board. I love the inking functionality where I could write my comments in any Microsoft tool such as Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc. which helped me illustrate my thinking, underline and circle text, draw arrows to connect contexts etc.
Students could easily display their work on my screen at the front because we had Screenbeam technology set up across the school. The best part of this was that the students could only join on the big screen when I invited them to do so.
How would your school benefit from deploying Windows devices in your environment?
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