Education Technology – From the blackboards of the 1800s through to the AI headsets of today, classroom tech has had a rich and varied history. So much has changed about the way we teach our primary school pupils in such a short space of time, and with no sign of the technological juggernaut letting up any time soon, it is important that modern teachers remain abreast of latest goings on.
Here at Third Space we are honoured to be able to teach almost 4,000 pupils per week using our platform, but with such a large number of young minds relying on our 1-to-1 interventions for a maths boost, it is crucial that we ensure our technology is at the cutting edge of what is possible within a school environment.
We know that schools are working within very tight restrictions including budgets, time and resource, and that is why we are passionate about using technology as a way to make teachers lives easier and help pupils gain confidence and results in maths!
The DfE Is Getting Serious About Education Technology
In August of 2018, the team at the Department for Education (more specifically the education secretary Damian Hinds) issued a five-point challenge to the tech industry to launch a “revolution” in schools.
The DfE listed five key opportunities where the tech sector could “create a steep change in education, improving teaching and slashing workload.” Those five opportunities are:
• Teaching practices to support access, inclusion and improved learning outcomes for all;
• Assessment processes, making assessment more effective and efficient;
• Methods for delivery of teacher training and development by upgrading educator support so they can learn and develop more flexibly;
• Administration processes to reduce the burden of “non-teaching” tasks;
• Solutions to lifelong learning to help those who have left the formal education system to get the best from online learning.
These five opportunities form the foundation of our goals and aims here at Third Space Learning, and to achieve them we have carefully considered how our technology should be used in the classroom.
Technology’s Role In A 21st Century Classroom – Leveraging Our Platform To Make A Difference In Schools
Ever since the handheld calculator was introduced into classrooms in the 1970s, there has been a debate over whether or not technology should have a place within schools, and if so to what extent.
Whilst there is, and probably always will be, an aversion to education technology as a teaching aide by some teachers, the vast majority of studies show that when used correctly, technology in the classroom can lead to a more productive classroom environment. As Joyce Waddell said in her post for Michigan State University, “Technology can… be seen as both a tool and catalyst for change”, and this is something we are very passionate about here at Third Space Learning.
Due to its vast and varying nature, technology can result in a positive change in the classroom in a wide number of ways. They include:
Improving Engagement Amongst Pupils
By introducing technology into the classroom, no matter which form it comes in, pupils are far more likely to be engaged with the topic they are learning. It provides you as a teacher with the chance to make learning fun in new and alternative ways, from gamification through to taking students on virtual school trips using the interactive whiteboard or projector.
By using technology, something which the current generation of primary school pupils have grown up with in all of its varying forms, you may be able to encourage more active participation in the learning process which can be difficult to do in a more traditional educational setting. For extra reading on this topic, take a look at how students’ attitude towards maths can affect their confidence in the topic and lesson outcomes.
How TSL Uses Education Technology To Do This: Our tutors are trained to encourage engagement with pupils and they do this through a combination of 1-to-1 conversation and by utilising the interactive platform. Pupils are asked about their favourite topics (outside of maths of course) at the beginning of their sessions and are then rewarded with images of football players, cakes or whatever else they may be interested in as the lesson goes on. This small gesture encourages them to engage with their tutor as they feel that they are not only learning maths, but having a discussion with a friend as they do so.
Improving Knowledge Retention Due To An Increase In Engagement
Students who are engaged in what they are learning have a much better chance at retaining knowledge compared to their peers who are not as engaged. The adaptive nature of technology means that it can be used for pupils of all ages and abilities to help them get the most from their education.
Once you have found that golden bullet, the thing that helps that one target pupil retain knowledge and truly learn it, you should embrace it whether it came from a technological source or not.
How TSL Uses Education Technology To Do This:The methods we use to engage pupils in the lesson means that they will retain the knowledge to a much better extent then they otherwise might. With the opportunity to speak to the pupils on a 1-to-1 basis, our tutors are able to make sure that the ordinary distractions that can come in a classroom such as friends and external factors are removed, and full focus and engagement are with the lesson.
Encouraging Individual Learning Through Personalised Experiences
One of the things we are dedicated to here at Third Space Learning, and at our parent facing platform Matr, is giving pupils the chance to learn in the way that best suits them. As all teachers know, no two pupils are the same, so we believe that the way they learn should match this.
Our tutors are trained to personalise lessons to get the best results from each session, and although this can be much trickier to do in a classroom with 30 pupils in it, if you find a way to bring a small element of that child’s personality into the way they are taught through a gamified computer task, a personalised maths adventure on the computer, or highly personalised 1 to 1 maths lesson, you will reap the rewards.
How TSL Uses Education Technology To Do This: Each and every lesson we teach is personalised to the pupil that is taking part. If a child is taking slightly longer to learn something than their peers, the tutor will adapt the lesson to ensure that they have secured that particular piece of knowledge. Every pupil learns in a different way, and thanks to the individuality afforded to us by the types of educational technology we use, we can ensure that we find the right way for every pupil every time.
Freeing Up Time And Providing Support For Some Of The Busiest People In The World …Teachers!
Time is one of the most precious things in a primary school classroom, and with distractions, questions and queries coming from all angles throughout the day it can be tricky to even catch your breath as a teacher.
Fortunately, the implementation of technology in the classroom has enabled teachers to have a chance to catch up on marking, speak to individual children or simply grab a much needed cup of tea. If used correctly technology should benefit both your pupils and you.
How TSL Uses Education Technology To Do This: Weekly and long-term progress reports mean that teachers will be kept up to date with how their pupils are progressing through their Third Space Learning sessions, all without them having to mark anything. With reports going straight into teachers inboxes on a regular basis, the marking pen can be left in the pot! Education technology definitely saves the day here!
Teaching Useful Skills For The 21st Century
Whilst most primary school ages children are more than adept at using technology by the time they arrive in the Year 3 classroom, perfecting these skills is crucial to ensure that they are adaptable to the working world later in life.
Primary pupils may take being able to use spreadsheets and tablets for granted by the time they leave for secondary school, but without learning how to make the most of them in their formative years, they could be playing catch up!
How TSL Uses Education Technology To Do This: Alongside the maths skills Third Space pupils will be able to take with them into their futures, using computers to communicate with people in a safe manner is another important skill that will be developed throughout use of the platform. Speaking to people who are not in the room and may be some distance away is a good skill to have as this is becoming more commonplace in businesses, so by being introduced to this concept now it is preparing pupils for what it to come in later life.
Looking for more detail on our 1-to-1 maths interventions?
If you want to review how we can help you bring more technology into your classroom and find out how we achieve 28 weeks progress in 14 weeks for Year 6 and lower down the school, book a demo with our schools team today. It takes 10 minutes over the phone and they’ll be happy to show you how we can help raise maths attainment in your school using our platform.
The Magic Behind The Scenes: How We Use Our Education Technology To Bring Maths Teaching Into The 21st Century
Over the last 6 years, we have been constantly improving our 1-to-1 maths tuition to ensure that whilst it is engaging and fun for pupils, it also helps build up their confidence in maths and support teachers in the classroom.
To do this we have used technology in a number of ways, some of which our Third Space Learning pupils see everyday when they login to the platform, and others of which are hidden in the behind the scenes, enabling us to do what we do so well!
Using Technology To Create An Engaging Platform For Pupils
One of the most important elements of our maths interventions is their 1-to-1 nature. We have brought together the worlds of technology and face to face teaching, and combined them to create a product that is loved by 1000’s of teachers and primary school pupils across the whole of the UK.
Rather than simply having pupils work their way through a series of questions on any given topic, our tutors are there with them every step of the way offering encouragement and incentive to solve the maths problem on their own. The importance of education technology in this regard can not be underestimated.
In their weekly 45 minute session, pupils share an interactive screen with their tutor, communicating through a headset and working their way through the specially selected lesson. Rewards are evident throughout the journey, with effort points and images of their favourite sports, animals and more shown by the tutor.
The interactive nature of the lessons is something that pupils thoroughly enjoy as it brings their love of technology into the classroom. Teaching one pupil gives us the chance to personalise their learning experience and encourage individual learning, and this is a fantastic way to plug any gaps and cement learning amongst targeted pupils.
Saving Teachers Time Using Technology – Helping To Find A Work/Life Balance
Marking, at least for Third Space Learning sessions, is a thing of the past. Our intelligent platform generates progress reports on how each individual pupil is doing in their sessions, and these are a great way for teachers to check and judge progress at a glance.
These reports are sent on a weekly basis alongside longer-term progress reports and overviews, so as a teacher you will have a view of how TSL sessions as a whole are progressing, not just single sessions at a time.
On occasion, if the lessons are not producing the results we want them to in terms of pupil attainment we make the appropriate changes to ensure that they do.
The power of the huge amount of data we have at our fingertips enables us to do this at a level that is unmatched by individual schools and other tutoring platforms, and it is this data that presents us with an opportunity to analyse, adapt and improve the platform to ensure that we remain at the cutting edge of education technology.
What Is Coming Up – Our Plans To Further Use Education Technology To Constantly Improve The Third Space Platform
The goal for everyone here at Third Space Learning is to create an intuitive platform that is not only affordable for schools, but also easy for them to use. Whilst we like to think we have achieved this, the work that has gone in behind the scenes to get to this stage has been anything but!
Monitoring such a vast number of 1-to-1, unique maths lessons each week is a challenge, and it is one that we are tackling with the help of Artificial Intelligence. The system behind the platform that schools see learns how to improve from each and every session that takes place, and this has resulted in 1-to-1 maths interventions that you know will always be improving.
As well as an A.I system that can automatically pair each pupil with their ideal lesson, we pay close attention to our tutors and the way they teach the lessons. Voice recognition software will soon be helping us prevent one way conversations between tutors and pupils, and to ensure that our tutors continue to engage each and every pupil in every session.
We are always working to improve the way we use education technology to support teachers and pupils, and the things discussed in this blog are only the tip of the iceberg. There is plenty more to come from the Third Space Learning platform, so keep your eyes peeled for our latest updates!