How do you envision your teaching changing over the next five years?
I have on the shelves in my office an analogue record of my teaching going back over the years.
Before contemplating what might happen to my teaching over the next five years I thought I'd look back and reflect on what has changed in my teaching in the five years since 2009. Sure enough, I have a record.
Looking back through my teaching notes for that year I see that I had begun the process of digitizing everything. I was scanning things in, saving them to .pdf and printing them out again for distribution to pupils. A typical planning page looked like this:
I was teaching in a big room at the time, with the ability to project onto the wall with a data projector, use an overhead projector and write on a big whiteboard all at the same time. This was quite a luxury and I exploited it to the full. My teaching notes show that I was using powerpoint (.ppt files) and printing out handouts (H/O) that I would also project onto the board as I discussed them with pupils. I was also scrawling diagrams and key terms onto the whiteboard. All my teaching notes were stored in ring-binders - binders that have followed me to my current job but are now essentially defunct.
My teaching, especially at 6th form level, was traditional - lots of teacher talk, with pupils making notes. This is not to suggest that I didn't delve into the more progressive forms of teaching from time to time, but as a general rule that is how my lessons ran. I was also using text books then, some of which had been published pre-1999. Some of the generalisations they made about the world were beginning to look rather out of date, but they served a purpose in giving pupils a framework for understanding the world (modern textbooks tend to treat things rather more superficially, I've found). There was also an absolute gem of a video I used to show, made by the legendary Bernard Clarke in the early 1980s about deindustrialisation. It was so good I copied it from video to DVD and continued playing it until 2011 when I arrived in Oswestry. By then I felt I'd better retire it and find an alternative.
Fast-forward five years and my teaching notes now look like this (I've found an example of exactly the same topic being taught):
In fact there is no distinction between my notes and what I share with the pupils. I've taught these topics so many times now that I don't really need prompts for myself any more. I use RealtimeBoard as a repository for all my teaching materials. I teach in a much smaller room, but it doesn't matter. With RealtimeBoard there is almost endless flexibility over what can be done with resources that I want to show to pupils. There is much more scope for pupils to be active participants in the lesson, right from where they sit. RealtimeBoard works particularly well with small sets - things can get a bit messy if you have too many on the board. Everything is digitized now - I've virtually stopped using the photocopier for all my sixth form groups.
So, how might things change further in 5 years' time?
- I imagine (and hope!) that the devices pupils bring with them into class will be cheaper, more robust and faster to boot up. This will mean less wasted time at the beginning of lessons. My lessons will be slicker, with few low-order tasks and more focussed high order ones. I'll be flipping the classroom more too.
- I would hope that it will become possible for pupils to move seamlessly from group work to individual work from within one platform (RealtimeBoard?). This will be without the need for the clunky work-arounds this requires at present. Again, less dead time.
- There will be a premium on having owning and maintaining an impressive portfolio of digital work. Helping pupils build up such a portfolio will be an important part of the teaching process in the future. Teachers will need such a portfolio too. The files will have long since gone to the skip...