Is your organisation planning on developing an online resource for schools?
Designing and developing an education resource for schools can be a tricky business. What will teachers use? What do students use in the classroom? How long will my resource be relevant? Organisations can run the risk of spending enormous amounts of money developing the most high tech resource only to find schools cannot access it or it is inappropriate.
When developing online resources for schools there are some fundamental points to remember.
- Ask the experts. Talk to teachers and students as well as curriculum developers about the most appropriate pathway and platform for your resource.
- Develop a resource that works across platforms or chose one and do it well. With options such as bring your own device, laptops, mobile devices, apps, tablets, electronic whiteboards and video conferencing, define what you are trying to achieve and your critical audience first, then develop accordingly. Keep it simple – particularly if you are new to working with schools.
- Bring them back to your site. Create opportunities for teachers to encourage students to self discover and learn things that are important and relevant to them, but always provide them with a reason to return to your resource for discussion and recording. For example, if your organisation is promoting health and fitness for school age students, get them to research different options online then provide a template on your website resource for them to populate and present.
- Make your resource challenging and appropriate for the age group you are trying to target. Beware, students may be a lot more tech savvy than you think!!
- Collaboration and sharing. Is there an opportunity for students and teachers to share their discoveries with each other? This is one of the richest learning experiences technology has presented to modern day classroom environments. An opportunity to share, collaborate and present – across classrooms, states and internationally. Social media such as twitter, blogs, Facebook, Google Classrooms and other sites are structured to encourage collaborative discussion and creative thinking. Whilst some students may not be able to access these social media sites – their teachers can facilitate discussions using these platforms.
- Currency. With technology changing so rapidly it is unclear what the next phase will be. What we do know is that students and teachers are interacting with content in a different way to what has been done in the past. Seize the opportunity to develop a resource that accesses information and learning that is student focused rather than teacher directed. Teachers provide the framework and facilitation for learning and provide the support to students to make judgments on the content they are viewing.
- Safe and Secure. It is always important to provide a platform that is safe and free from advertising bombardment. Teachers will be more inclined to support your resource that is for ‘education purposes only’ not an avenue to sell products and services to students.
This can be a fun and exciting environment for students and teachers, as well as those organisations building resources. Do your homework and the rewards can be astounding.
Director Education Partnerships (Schools)