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Rise of the Machines

Rise of the Machines 2021: ‘Bring Your Own Devices at Warwick School’

Sir Antony Seldon in his book, ‘The Fourth Education Revolution’ predicts that Artificial Intelligence will replace tutors in the next ten years. It’s certainly headline-grabbing stuff and despite one’s initial shock, it is easy to see the benefits: artificial intelligence will allow us to adapt learning to the precise needs and motivations of each student.

Personalised learning software will mean students move at their own pace, pursuing their own interests and realising their potential. At Warwick School we are asking all pupils to bring their own devices to school next year (with the exception of our new year 7) and parents might be wondering if this is because we are intending to replace ourselves with machines. I thought it was worth explaining that this not quite the case! In this changing world where knowledge can be easily obtained from a google search then the most pressing need for us is how to make sure our children are adaptable, creative and collaborative. The thought-leaders and highest earners in society are likely to be those who are able to think creatively, lead teams and work collaboratively. We believe that pupils having devices in school is the easiest way to achieve the sort of dynamic learning that we need to prepare them for the world they will inhabit.

Adaptable

The advantages of boys having their own devices is that it allows them to be adaptable by seamlessly weaving in the appropriate software from a range of different platforms. In having their own devices, boys will have access to all the different types of specialist technology. Whether this is reading software for boys with specific needs, technical software for map reading in Geography, or analysing soundwaves in Physics, boys can get to everything at the click of a button, rather than needing to go to a specific area of the school and log on.

Creative

Technology gives the boys the ability to compose on Sibelius or create and edit a video or design a chair. By having access to all of this on their own devices, boys can continue their creations at home without having to be in the music or DT suite to do their work. We can give the boys the opportunity to create and reflect on their choices in so many different projects.

Collaborative

We want boys to work in teams on collaborative projects and technology allows so many ways of sharing and working on documents together that it keeps them communicating even beyond the school day.

It is perhaps a counterintuitive point but one of the main reasons why we want the boys to have their own devices in school is precisely because it allows us to not use technology when it is not appropriate. In the traditional set up of ‘going to a computer room’, teachers have to make the decision as to whether the lesson will be a technology lesson or not: boys are either handwriting and discussing in a traditional classroom or facing a screen and working online. The very best lessons are ones where technology is used only when it improves the quality of learning and we intend that lessons will continue to have everything that makes a lesson important: discussion, reflection and analysis. Boys will do all of these in the traditional manner but if there are ten minutes of a lesson where the best way of analysing the data is using a spreadsheet then this is available to them for that ten minutes and then the devices can go away again for the discussion that follows. It is the seamless integration of traditional methods with appropriate technology that makes for the best learning experience for the boys. We certainly do not intend that BYOD will involve boys staring at a screen all day. There is plenty of evidence that handwriting is still cognitively linked to better learning and all the time that exam boards still require boys to handwrite an essay in an hour then we still be preparing them for this.

Uploading handwritten work

We are currently asking boys to upload a lot of handwritten work to make sure that they spend more time away from the screen and Mr Colliver did a very helpful video for the boys on this. Dave Coplin, one of our Warwick School dads, also produced this video for Parent Zone which parents may find helpful if boys are still struggling to do this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcjAipnoWBA&feature=youtu.be

Our staff have learned a great deal about what technology is best for learning in lockdown but they are also equally aware of what we will not lose when we are back in the classroom where we are all longing to be.

Many parents have already purchased devices for their son but for those who have not then do please look carefully at our website for details on what to buy with some recommendations: https://www.warwickschool.org/bring-your-own-device

There will also be three parent Q & A sessions for those who want to ask our technology specialists and find out more on 4th March, 4th May and 8th June. Further details will be sent out separately.

Mrs Wyatt, Deputy Head Teaching and Learning - Warwick School