BSV_14
31 October 2014

Education technology

Only a couple of decades ago we had seen the revolution of information within educational establishments thanks to the introduction of the Internet for public use. Due to this, the process of education itself has evolved throughout the world. The Internet has enabled students to have instant access to an ever-expanding world of Information. It has been a catalyst that has facilitated the rapid rate of in which communities can now educate their students.

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We are now on another verge of technological revolution that will transform the way in which we education students. From reading texts for several books, we have moved on to searching for a single piece of information online. We may now move on to educating our students through a more kinaesthetic and practical means. Much work has been put in to this at the British School of Valencia to ensure that Students are not only learning by reading from books, but are getting the chance to learn by immersing themselves in the topic. What do we mean by this? If you were teaching a class of students in Spain about historic architecture in Rome, you would use text, pictures and at best, a video of the building in Rome. Imagine if you could virtually transport your students to Rome to look at the building and experience some of the emotions of seeing the buildings that they would remember rather than showing a few pictures. This is now possible with the use of the Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality head-mounted display. The Oculus Rift immerses the user in to a virtual world in which they can explore just about anywhere and gives the user a natural and intuitive experience.

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There have been many new technological introductions that come about in the last couple of years that has been introduced in to the British School of Valencia. One of the major contributors is the introduction of 3D printing in School. It is an easy mistake to make by saying that 3D printing only allows an object to be printed. Although, you would be correct in thinking so, there are many other lessons to be learnt by the practice of 3D printing. For example, students need to learn how to design a 3D object on a computer platform. This takes in to account managing a project to analyse, design, develop, test and evaluate the object that they create using the 3D printers.

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Here, at the British School of Valencia our students have been researching 3D designs and working with their peers to make their own models. Every process is taught from the stage of inception to creation in much detail. This enable ours students to display their creativity and we have seen some amazing projects completed by our students. This is encouraging for all of us to see and puts in to perspective the advancements in technology that we are able to bring to our students.

We are continuely encouraging our students to get involved with technology through in-school competitions and have had many successful entries last year when conducting a competition in which students had to design and print a 3D keyring. From the success of this, we have now embedding 3D design in to key stage 3 teaching.

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Now we come to one of the most influential educational technology of our time, the Raspberry Pi. Of course, it is a technology that would be used in specific subjects such as ICT, Computing and Computer Science etc. The Raspberry Pi is a small credit card sized, uncomplicated computer developed with the intention of fostering programming and computer science education for Schools, Colleges and Universities. The Raspberry Pi is capable of doing many things that a normal PC is capable of such as spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It can also be programmed into a media centre that plays High Definition video.

The Raspberry Pi could be programmed by students to control robotics using simple software or by creating custom algorithms. Some other things students can do with a Raspberry Pi are as follows:
-Create a living room PC
-Create arcade games
-Control robotic motors
-Programme using Scratch
-Create a simple cloud server
-Create a usable tablet with touchscreen, etc

We are at an exciting time in which a technological revolution in educational technology is taking part. Teachers and students both feel empowered to teach and learn at a different level that enables them to prepare for real world situations. We are always keeping an eye out for the next innovative technology to implement in to our teaching.

Created by Amdad Ali, Coordinador de ICT, Applied ICT y Computing en BSV

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