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3 Core Principles to consider when using Tablets & Office 365

Technology must not cloud the pedagogical intent.

Having made a start at explaining how I use Microsoft in Education in these three posts here (Learning to teach with Microsoft in Education, First steps with OneNote and Tags & Templates) I want to take a step back and outline my thinking behind using this technology in the first place.
I am teaching at a school where a decision has been made to commit to using Microsoft Surface Pro and the suite of Office 365 tools and although this has meant learning about a new set of tools essentially I am in favour of the decision and all its implications.  In fact, use of technology to enhance what pupils are able to learn and achieve in the classroom very much fits in with my intrinsic teaching methods and my ideology.  I have posted on many occasions about technology use.  This post from last June clearly outlines how technology can have an impact on the different stages of teaching.  

As I embark on my second term with my Surface Pro and Office 365 tools, there are a number of principles that I wish to keep in mind to ensure that I am not guided by the technology itself but by pedagogical intent. I have listed three, of what I believe to be, the core principles below:

1. A tablet is just another tool.

Like a book, a pen, or a folder, a tablet should be used as part of the teaching and learning process.  The ideal is that the tablet sits alongside these other tools to be picked up and used at the relevant moment in order to support curricula goals and learning objectives.

2. Collaboration.

Access to Office 365 allows my students to collaborate more effectively in a way that they are not able to do using pen and paper.  Office 365 facilitates the collaborative process both in and out of the classroom and allows for many benefits to the students themselves including a deeper understanding of material through simple discussion.

3. My tablet can take me to infinity and beyond....

This may be going a little far (literally) but with Office 365 and a tablet - or any similar tools and device - students can create and develop, construct and build their own knowledge.  A tablet gives access to lots of information of course, but so do books.  My role is to enable students to take this information and use it, for example, creating infographics to explain what they have learnt and imagine what the next steps could be or using information to hypothesise via a stop-motion video or using a green screen.

So, those are just three core principles that I will follow.  At the heart of these principles is the main idea that technology in itself is not the key to a successful classroom - pedagogy is.  Remember - pedagogy first.

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