The right tools for the job


I’ve had a very productive day in school today, and one of the best things that happened was that I collected my new laptop! It was ready at the start of the holidays but I didn’t manage to collect it in time.

It makes such a difference having decent equipment to use! This new laptop is fast, light and quiet, unlike my old brick. I’m really looking forward to using it. I do have a bit to get used to though as all the keys I’m used to using are in different places! I keep trying to delete and hitting the * key instead.

I’ve also found out that my year group will be getting new short throw projectors because our projectors were the first to be installed, therefore are the oldest. They should be arriving in a few weeks’ time. Excellent! For the last few months of term, the bulb was so dim that you could barely see the whiteboard screen even with all the lights off and the blinds drawn. With a new bright bulb the children should all be able to see clearly even with the blinds open. It makes no sense having all this expensive technology unless it is in a usable condition.

It’s definitely really important to have the right tools for the job. There was a short discussion on Twitter this morning about advice for student teachers when using ICT. I said that it’s important that learning comes first and that we use ICT that will improve the learning. I must remember to keep this in mind when I am trying out all these new web 2.0 technologies I have in mind. It’s not just about “this is cool”, but how it will help the children’s learning. That has to come first. So when selecting the ICT I want to use for a lesson, I have to choose the right tool carefully.

I think that the more familiar you become with the tools available to you, the easier it is to select the right one you need. Because I have been playing mental maths games as warm-ups for many years, I can quite easily think of a good one to match the learning objective. However, literacy games do not pop into my head as easily so I need to take my time reading my “Jumpstart Literacy” book and planning them into my lessons carefully. The same goes for drama and ICT – I know a few tried-and-tested techniques but I need to extend my repertoire. I’m looking forward to doing that.


3 responses »

  1. One of the few things we got criticised heavily in an Ofsted inspection was the poor quality of our data projectors. They sound like they were in a similar state to yours and, as you have said in this post, the Inspector commented that it was pointless using technology if it the means of displaying it was inadequate.

    I have to agree that there is a lot of temptation to use technology because it is cool without necessarily considering whether it improves the learning of the children beyond any traditional methods. Identifying the benefits takes familiarity with the tools, and this takes time. That has always been my problem with moving forward with new technology in the classroom – I never seemed to have enough time to research what was out there. However, developing a PLN is giving me access to ideas and advice in a much quicker and much more effective way.

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