is to ensure that students leave Oryx International School enabled, confident and ready to face the challenges that their next stage of life will bring. They will have developed effective behaviours that will enable them to thrive and succeed as global citizens of the 21st century.
We have many strategies in school that will enable us to reach our vision. These include good old fashioned teaching where teachers face the students during a lesson and give instruction, ask questions, set tests, praise, reward and mark books. We also have the addition of digital technology which will enable us to deliver our vision. When I was in school my learning was limited to good old fashioned teaching. In fact, my teaching was also limited to these strategies. In recent years technology has developed in education as well as other industries and walks of life. Today, digital technology has a major role to play in education.
By Digital Technology, we mean the use of computer and technology assisted strategies to support learning within schools. Approaches in this area vary widely, but generally involve:
- technology for students, where learners use programmes or applications designed for problem solving or open-ended learning;
- technology for teachers, such as interactive whiteboards or learning platforms; and
- technology for parents, such as DOJO and the Parent Portal.
At Oryx we have talented teachers who use traditional methods of teaching, but today they also use digital technology. Teachers combine the best of both strategies and we refer to this as Blended Learning
Blended Learning is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some elements of student control over time, place, path, or pace.
At Oryx we have invested in Digital Technology and students use Interactive Whiteboards; iPads; Microsoft Surface Pro Tablets with keyboards and Google Chromebooks. In addition we have computer rooms with PCs and Apple Computers, a Green Screen and Be-bots that are programmed by the young students. Along with the hardware and devices we have subscribed to many programmes and platforms. See below:
MFL, EAL and Arabic Language
Classroom behaviour and communication with parents
Nessy Reading and Spelling
Reading and spelling needs
Nessy Writing Beach
How effective is Digital Learning?
Digital Learning can certainly help students engage with learning. In terms of impact on academic progress, studies consistently find that digital technology is associated with moderate learning gains: on average, an additional four months’ progress (Education Endowment Foundation), which I feel is fantastic. For some students, without digital technology, learning would be extremely difficult.
One of the applications we have introduced this year is Mathletics and next week Mr. McGinn, our Digital Learning Leader will share some of our findings with you regarding the impact of Mathletics.
I recently shared some information with you regarding developing Digital Citizenship and responsible use of the internet. As well as being a positive influence on our lives, we also need to be careful of the internet and the dangers it may present to our children. This year we will be supporting Safer Internet Day. Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by the joint Insafe-INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, with funding provided by the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF).
This year's Safer Internet Day (SID) celebrations will take place on Tuesday, 5 February 2019. The campaign's slogan, "Together for a better internet", is a call to action for all stakeholders to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, and especially for younger users. I have attached some resources you can use at home with your children, which will support what we do in the school, that way our children can see both parents and school looking out for them.
Like anything in life, a balanced approach is usually the safest and most efficient way to approach things and the same with digital technology.
Mr. Jarlath Madine