Creating a digitally challenging space for kids

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am

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Jennifer Fenton (below), Grade 6 leader at the Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CISHK), aims to create a classroom environment which supports and challenges pupils. Central to this is giving them the skills and awareness to make the best use of technology. She talks to John Cremer

In this area, what is your basic approach?

We live in a digital world, where our students are immersed in technology, and our classrooms need to reflect this. I think it is more important to consider the essential skills our students must have to be successful in such a world, so my first thoughts have more to do with learning needs than the actual tools of technology.

What do you see as the key skills?

A number of organisations have identified these 'skills for the 21st century'. We must consider how to develop spaces for learning where students collaborate, question, challenge, create, and participate.

With this in mind, essential technologies include tools that allow students to develop these skills with access to the internet via computers, tablets and other mobile devices.

How have students responded?

Due to this shift, I believe my students feel that they have ownership over their learning. They have choices about what to do and how to share it. They maintain blogs and create amazing videos to share personal interests.

What other benefits do you notice?

Technology has enhanced my effectiveness as a teacher. Working in a 1:1 laptop environment with my Grade 6 class has enabled me to do so much more with students working on very different tasks - informed by need, learning style and interest. I have also become a more consistent and effective communicator with parents and the wider school community.