Harnessing pupil power

Young people love their technology – mobiles, iPods, Wiis, PS ones, twos and threes, computers, Game Boys, PSPs, PDAs… – and they can all be used to help them learn effectively.

In future, rather than power residing just in teachers, it will move more into the learner’s hands.

A revolution is coming in the next decade, which means that pupils themselves can have more influence on the curriculum, and how and where learning takes place.

The four key elements to this are

  • Choice
  • Skills and knowledge
  • Location, such as school, home, online environments
  • Feedback

For these new strategies to succeed, pupils and teachers, and possibly parents too, need to look at the way they will bring change about, and give pupils more say.

And it is crucial that pupils learn enough about themselves to be able to make choices, with the help of their teachers, parents and peers.

They need to think about, again with help, what resources would fit with the way they learn. This might mean going out and researching new digital technologies, and giving them a trial run at school.

Online questionnaires can help focus on what pupils’ interests are, and databases, websites and search engines will also have information about this.

Making views known through school councils is also an option for making sure the pupil voice gets heard.

It can also be a case of expanding someone’s horizons so they are aware of other opportunities through books, films, magazines and newspapers.

Ideally, pupils could design their own curriculum to fit in with what they want to learn and the way they learn it -but will need support to do that.

As well as giving young people more control, gathering information about education choices will give them social networking and communications skills.

They should also be able to choose the most appropriate resources that will allow them to learn outside the classroom if that is appropriate.

Schools need to be sure that all the pupils have equal access to the technology they need. Making sure disabled pupils are catered for and have a say is also very important.

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