Schools in Helsinki and Rovaniemi are actively using student’s own smart phones in the classroom. From being restricted, schools now encourage students to use their smart phones during classes. Changes are being made as schools have acknowledging the changing learning systems.
“It would be a waste of resources not to use such an efficient work tool, since many students have one” says Sirpa Jalkanen, headmaster of Helsinki language high school.
According to the headmaster of Suutarila secondary school the most important information schools can teach their students is to be able to learn different skills and to understand every complicated phenomenon in the world.
”In teaching every single way should be taken advantage of. Not using students’ smart phones can be considered a very old school way of thinking.”
Headmasters of Helsinki high schools decided a few years ago to work according to the BYOD-principle. Bring Your Own Device got students excited about school. In Rovaniemi the BYOD-principle is a part of a new education strategy executed by the Board of Education information and communication.
As some students do not own a smart phone, students are encouraged to either work in pairs or groups. According to teachers students are happy to help them who do not have a smart phone.
“Making something prohibited as a smart phone part of the education is something that seems to be working. Students are more relaxed as phones are accepted in schools and the phone is additionally conveniently near the student, so that they can use it for information retrieval, task-solving, calendar entries and for emailing.”
This new way of teaching differs vastly from the traditional way, where the teacher lectures and the student tries to memorize as much as possible.
“Constructive learning has been the goal of the new teaching plan for a long time, however new technology brings it automatically to the classrooms” Heikki Ervast explains.
For example during a history class all students were divided into groups of three, every group looked for information about the same historical event. Every group worked indivudually on a document saved into the same cloud service. However, all students could follow in real time what other groups were doing, such as notes and conclusions being made upon the material.
“Every student edited, handled and shared information from their own perspective. Through dialogues and interactive learning students were able to analyze the material and therefore study the material more in depth, than if every student would have only worked on the material by themselves”
Teacher’s new role is to plan the learning situations, get the students to work, guide them as well as comment and support the students in their school performances.
”High school is changing. We need to trust that students use technology for learning purposes. Technological guidance is now a part of schools and teachers education mission.”
During the few past years big changes have taken place on teachers and schools attitudes towards technology. Still at the beginning of this millennium schools were offered technology and applications that were originally meant for people working alone. Office application were not pedagogically suited for school systems. However, this way of thinking has seen big revolutions also in offices, as the way to work is now to work cooperatively and were decisions are made more as a team. This cooperative culture in the work world has therefore also transmitted itself to the school system.
“Technology is not the main thing, the main thing is that constructive understanding of learning is supported by new tools and applications.”
Originally posted by: Suomen Kuvalehti