Teaching in a Digital Age - Tony Bates


Let's say you're a teacher, and you want to know what all the fuss with education technology is all about. You don't just want to know what to use, but you want to know why you should use it, and what it can actually do for your students and for your teaching practice. You want to know the history, the theory, and some guidelines too. Where do you go for that sort of thing?


You go to Tony Bates' Teaching in a Digital Age - Guidelines for Design, Teaching and Learning! That's where you go. Personally, I'd call it the edtech bible! ...




Until fairly recently programming teachers were confined to software packages that had to be installed on every computer in their computer rooms. This meant that they were at the mercy of their network administrators for installation and management, as the teachers usually didn't have administrator privileges (if you did, then you are one of the lucky ones!). 


There is now a wealth of coding tools online that can be used for teaching and learning, which totally eliminates this reliance on other people, such as IT technicians. It also allows the students to freely and easily access the same classroom materials outside of the class and allows a larger range of hardware to be used, like Chromebooks and tablets. This is a huge benefit, which is rarely replicated with software that needs to be installed. Many of them are good and some are fantastic. But how many of them can actually be used in the classroom in a way that will not have you clicking a million times to try and mark your students work? How many are practical in a classroom setting? 


Well, I'm going to review 5 good ones here and will discuss how I have found using them in a classroom setting, managing student work and monitoring student progress with them. The 5 are Turtle Academy, Repl.it, Code Academy, Code.org, and Scratch. I will be looking at 5 criteria for each, which will be logging in, work deployment, marking and feedback, special teacher functions, and classroom usability. So onto the first...

Visualizing 21st Century Classroom Design 

Classroom design is one of the most important things in teaching. Unfortunately, many educators don't really consider it enough. The most many schools concentrate on is wall displays and maybe table layout. However, there is so much more that can be considered when designing a learning environment. Lighting, space and colours are just a few things that can have a huge impact, but what else is there and how much of an impact can it make? 

Department for Education logo 

The following post is based on research I am working on. Education policy in the UK changes very often depending on the political climate of the day. So the details below are likely to change. In a nutshell, I'm explaining how little guidance there is on education technology policy right now. Is this a good thing?  Please let me know what your thoughts and experiences are.


evil cell phone


Is technology evil? Are we losing our lifeskills because we are becoming too lazy? As a teacher of technology, this is a concern of mine. I don't want what I teach to be a barrier or a cause for loss of important skills. So what am I supposed to think when people say that because of technology... 


"We don't talk to each other anymore."

"We don't look people in the eye anymore. "

"We can't do mental maths anymore."

"We can't remember phone numbers anymore."

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