The use of technology in the classroom is at its best when it does more than just replace pen and paper. When students and teachers engage in learning that would not be possible without the use of technology, it becomes transformative.
The PICRAT framework (Kimmons, 2012)[i], is a useful matrix which challenges teachers to think meaningfully about using technology in the classroom. Kimmons argues that effective technology integration occurs when the teachers’ use of the tool transforms traditional practice; and allows students to be interactive and creative with the technology.
Wainuiomata High School teacher Adam Weir recently used iQualify to transform his Year 12 History class. Adam is a regular user of technology with his classes, but his experience using iQualify changed how he thought about and used technology. He found that using iQualify transformed his classroom practice and how he engaged with students. It also transformed how students engaged with their learning.
“It’s a transformative tool.”Adam Weir – Wainuiomata High School
A tool for interactive teaching and learning
When many people think about technology in the classroom, they imagine students sitting silently in front of screens for hours at a time. They wonder how on earth a teacher can maintain relationships with students in the face of this. Adam discovered that, with iQualify, this was far from the case. In fact, he had more time and ability to interact with his students.
“I am able to see what the kids are thinking through their answers in… and I’m able to tailor the next activity… to the level at which the kids are operating in their understanding. I can see where a student needs a bit more help and I can create activities that allow that kid to quickly go to the next step in their learning.”
As well as freeing up time to engage with students, using iQualify also gave Adam tools for interacting with his students. By using the discussion tool and setting clear and purposeful tasks for the students, Adam could see quickly and clearly how students were progressing, and could use this to prompt discussion and future learning. He could also use the tools within iQualify to give feedback and help students understand their individual next steps.
“Instead of teaching in a whole class fashion from the front where it’s all about me and what I can share with the kids, I’m now allowed to set up what the class is doing beforehand… and that then lets me get around the classroom… It lets me give really good feedback; it lets me help kids understand their next steps. It lets me say hi and build relationships. I now know more about where they are actually up to in their learning because I’m spending more time with each student.”
“It’s given me back my time with the students and if there’s anything teachers in New Zealand are crying out for, it’s time. And I think iQualify gives you that.”