On Friday 4th November, our very own Dowshan Humzah and Andrew Davis were Visiting Lecturers on the potential of digital and social media in the classroom to students taking the English PGCE course at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Dowshan and Andrew showcased the results of classes that they have delivered to GCSE students at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School in east London and the lessons they have drawn from this experience.
Dr Vicki Obied, the PGCE Course Director was on hand to encourage her students to take advantage of this presentation and workshop – which they all did enthusiastically. We were impressed by the PGCE students’ inquisitiveness regarding the techniques and technologies that were discussed.
There was also a good deal of healthy debate. Of course teachers need to equip their students with the basics of language, maths and core curriculum subjects. However, the reality of the social web has significant impact for young people coming through the education system and entering the work-place. TWKS are determined to ensure that both new and current teachers understand and are conversant with the possibilities they have for opening up learning for the new generation of ‘digital natives’.
Andrew and Dowshan certainly hit a nerve with these trainee teachers as over half reported back to us that the all too brief timetabled session would be beneficial and impact their teaching. There was also a demand for more insight on ‘monitoring, social gaming, privacy, inappropriate classroom use and safety and the use of content’. Again from the feedback, we can see that teachers are keen for specific lesson plans that can be delivered into classrooms.
By and large these are young teachers who are ‘digital natives’ – the same as their students. Despite the potential of digital and social media, Dowshan and Andrew emphasised that these technologies and techniques sit alongside and do not replace traditional methods. As Dowshan said: “A ‘tweet’ can be an ‘extreme précis’ – with the correct use of language and grammar please!”
Dr Vicky Obied said: “It has been great to see the student-teachers put these ideas from TWKS into practice when I go out into schools and the creative ways that they have started to incorporate the use of social and digital media into the English classroom.”
Dowshan continued: “The traditional principles still must be taught but we must take the time to educate the young about the reality of digital and social media technology. Some say that students today do not need educating in these areas as they are aware of this. But that is like saying that if you are born and live in England – why should we educate you in English language, literature and spoken English! The focus is to use digital and social media to bring the curriculum to life – producing engaging lessons, helping students to understand the true potential of these social tools and take these skills into their professional lives.”
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