How schools in Europe are transforming teaching using technology
5 February 2016
3 min read
Where once children would go to school with pencils, notebooks and ring binders, the backpacks of today are weighed down by tablets and laptops. Technology has reshaped how we live and work - and in the most innovative schools across the world, it's transforming how students are taught.
The Ørestad Gymnasium is a secondary school in Copenhagen, Denmark built in the shape of an expansive glass cube. There are no classrooms - rather, learning zones throughout an open-plan setting customisable by movable walls and bookshelves. Students spend half their time in teacher-led learning and half in independent learning, facilitated by a 100% digital curriculum, where lessons are taught on computers and tablets.
Technology in the classroom can also help resource-strapped teachers conduct engaging lessons and streamline admin. In Eastleigh, Hampshire, Crescent and Norwood Primary Schools have implemented a cost-effective, end-to-end HP solution that gives pupils access to HP ProBook 600 notebook PCs and HP 650 laptops, while teachers use HP ElitePad 900 tablets, all over a high-speed HP Wi-Fi network. Students and staff can access lessons and coursework from anywhere, while teachers can connect their devices to interactive whiteboards, replicating the classrooms of yore.
Other schools in the country are considering the future workplace they will send their students into. With the growing trend for Bring-Your-Own-Device offices and remote working, Eggar's School in the town of Alton, Hampshire wanted to create a future-proof network and tech setup. After consulting with IT service provider Medhurst, an HP partner, the school now boasts internet speeds up to 20GbE between school sites, 1GB/s connectivity to desktop PCs and up to 900MB/s on wireless devices. Teachers can deliver lessons from anywhere in the school through any of their preferred devices, and students can manage interactive media work easily thanks to the high-speed in-school internet.
As offices evolve towards tech-centric online working, it is essential that schools do too. Students who are tech-savvy are much more likely to find satisfaction and growth in the workplace of the future. Educational technology such as HP's range of solutions offer virtual spaces where teachers can track progress and assign work, as well as budget-friendly, reliable devices for students to work and learn on.
Today, students as young as five years old are comfortable using smartphones and tablets, and their native ease with technology can be used to inspire learning and discovery. Earlier this year, the North West Two Maths Hub, led by Ashton on Mersey School in Manchester, held the nationwide competition "Design Your Own Maths App". The contest asked year five and six pupils to design the ultimate mathematics app in an area of maths that students generally struggle with, and the winning app will be professionally developed and distributed.
The initiative noted that a key objective of this competition was for students to not only get an insight into app development - another burgeoning career choice - but also to boost their creative and problem-solving skills by allowing them to deeply consider and identify their own weak areas in maths as well as those of their peers.
But educational technology isn't necessarily labelled as such - the world-building computer game Minecraft is played by millions of children across the world, and many classrooms are now using MineCraftEdu, a school-friendly edition of the game, in classes such as primary school maths, where students may calculate perimeter and volume based on structures created on Minecraft. At Derry's St Joseph's Boy's School in Northern Ireland, year nine pupils are using Minecraft to construct and label a plantation bawn from the early 17th century.
As individual teachers and schools pave the technological way forward, entire educational bodies are starting to follow. Schools in Ireland that best integrate technology in learning are awarded by the nationally recognised Digital School of Distinction programme, which also provides tech resources and support to its community of digital schools. And across the UK, the traditional ICT (Information and Communications Technology) curriculum has been replaced with a new “Computing" curriculum that includes coding lessons for students from primary school onwards.
Whatever the classroom of the future becomes, integrating technology deeply into how students learn will equip them to thrive, post-graduation, in an increasingly digital world.
Discover more at HP Education.