I was delighted to be able to attend BETT 2014 in London this past month and, just as last year, have come back inspired and renewed with ideas as to how to engage and inspire students through using technology mindfully; with purpose and taking a balanced approach. Reflecting on BETT this year these two words, mindful and balance, are what spring to the forefront. I believe being mindful and finding balance are going to be fundamental in moving forward with how we enrich student learning through use of technology.
At present, I have, quite literally, maxed out the memory space on my iPad with the number of apps I have downloaded, however, I know that my first step post BETT will be deleting apps and reflecting on the tools I will use and introduce to teachers and students now back at ISM. That is not to say that all the apps on my iPad aren’t brilliant in their own right, but what is relevant, suitable and going to be effective right now at my school?
Being mindful, I believe, is going to become a term that we will hear more and more in our everyday lives, it is actually something that we actively now have to draw attention to, as evolution has pulled us away from doing just that, from being aware in the present. We are so ‘busy’ and ‘connected ‘ all the time that we quite simply have forgotten to be present in the here and now.
I think being mindful can also can be applied to our use of technology as educators; we must be mindful when introducing new tools and experiences to students, and whilst embracing the innovation we must also evaluate and reflect upon its use. Here are some questions I will be asking when deciding what tools and apps to share with teaches and students.
Is it serving a true purpose in this moment?
Is it enriching the message or learning that I would like the learner to engage in?
Is it delivering or conveying information in the most effective way?
Is it helping to provoke questions and engage the learner in deeper thinking?
I also believe that balance is going to be something we must consider in both our teaching and learning. I certainly have come away from BETT with a determination to be more mindful about the tools I use, and, how they impact learning. Finding balance, well that, as always is going to be a constant tightrope walk!