The society in which our students are expected to succeed is significantly different from that even a decade ago. Revolutionary changes in technology, the demands of the global marketplace and significant social, political and environmental issues dramatically affect what they must now know and be able to do if they are to be successful when they leave us.
Our students are twenty-first century learners. They have grown up as part of a generation that has never known a world without the internet, without computers, video games and mobile phones.
They are ‘digital learners’ who have grown up in the information age. To our students, a life without digital technologies would be alien. Their aptitudes, attitudes, expectations and learning styles reflect the stimulating, fast-moving age in which we now live. For most of them, instant messaging has already surpassed the telephone and email has become their primary form of communication.
Our twenty-first century learners are always ‘switched on’; they are always connected and, more often than not, multi-tasking as they use several different windows to chat, play a video game and listen to their music. If classrooms don’t implement what has now become ‘everyday’ technology, we’re doing students a disservice.
As a school, we have invested heavily in a Twenty-First Century learning environment for our students. Every child in the school receives a laptop free of charge, which they bring to school every day. Every classroom is equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as seventy-inch computer screens.
By using devices, we can bring real examples of Science, History and Geography instantly into the classroom. In music they can use them as a composing tool; they can make notes in the margins of electronic books without defacing the book itself; the old school textbook can now, using online devices, be supplemented with images and video audio enhancements; we can visit many major art galleries throughout the world and examine famous works of art.
Our curriculum is both challenging and enquiry based and, as such, we will be teaching our students how to use their devices as a research tools. We also email out many of our lesson and homework content to students before their next lesson so they can arrive at lessons prepared and ready to learn. Devices introduce the concept of anytime-anywhere learning and encourage imagination and creativity. This isn’t the future for learning; this is how young people are learning today.