Home' Teacher : December 2010 Contents FEATURE -- INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY 45
interactive whiteboards through to mobile
phones. A key part of our solution is some
software we've written ourselves, Monash
MeTL. MeTL integrates the teacher's slide
deck with a collaborative environment that
encourages students to comment and con-
tribute. Essentially, every slide becomes a
whiteboard on which students can write
privately or publicly, for their peers and
teacher. Teachers can run multiple-choice
quizzes or ask students to, say, draw the
chemical structure of caffeine, circle the
hypothalamus or sketch a landscape gar-
den. An undulating 'worm' provides visual
feedback on student interactivity.
Eighty per cent of students say the
approach helps them to focus, 85 per cent
say it helps them to understand and 80 per
cent or higher on average say they prefer
tablet-based teaching. Eighty per cent of
teachers feel positive about the approach
and feel students are engaging and learning
better. In some cases, staff have reported
students learning faster -- more in four
weeks than a whole semester -- and deeper --
providing richer and more insightful assign-
ments than previously. Students also report
improved engagement, motivation, ability
to keep pace, depth of thinking and reflec-
tion. This positive feedback is also reflected
in formal subject evaluations.
Implementing the sorts of changes I've
mentioned require significant resources.
Teachers want to feel confident about the
technology, but also understand how to bal-
ance covering core material with increased
interaction and review of difficult concepts.
With typical implementation cycles of three
to five years in most educational institutions,
we need to consider today what the 2015
environment might look like and design our
approaches, professional development and
infrastructure to support that future.
Teachers need to engage with commu-
nities of practice that are exploring these
issues. I found the ELH and SchoolTech
Conference to be an excellent foru m in
this vein. It was full of active practitioners
talking about their experience, but it also
looked beyond the technology into transfor-
mational education that empowers students
as the leaders of their learning.
If we collaborate, within schools and
between schools, we'll find a fantastic
opportunity to harness our students' pas-
sion for changing the world to make a real
impact. And what better way is there to
demonstrate the value of our educational
approaches than having our students being
active agents in changing the world, before
they've even graduated? Let the collabora-
tion begin! T
Nathan Bailey is the Associate Director
of eEducation at Monash University.
He presented a keynote with Sean
Tierney from Microsoft Education
on 'Teaching toward 2015: Preparing
students (and schools!) for the future' at
the Expanding Learning Horizons and
SchoolTech Conference in August 2010.
James, R. , Krause, K.-L. & Jennings,
C . (2009). The First Year Experience
in Australian Universities: Findings
from 1994 to 2009. Melbourne: Centre
for the Study of Higher Educ ation.
Available at w ww.c she.unimelb.edu.
au/research/FYE _ Report_1994_
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