Okay, I admit, this post should have been part of an earlier one but, somehow, I managed to delete this part when publishing the rest. One day, I shall learn how to use technology properly!
The other day, I was visiting a school and was asked to sit in the library until the teacher had finished his lesson and could come to see me. Which is fair enough, I have had this a few times before and so thought nothing special of it.
Apart from staff members, there was only one other person in the library at that time. he was a student sat in a corner with a tablet computer on his lap and a set of those ubiquitous white earphones in his ears. I couldn’t hear what he was listening to, of course, but i did notice that every now and then, he seemed to start tapping away on the tablet device. It wasn’t hard to deduce that he was using the onscreen keyboard to do some typing. I also noticed that, on a couple of occasions, he seemed to stop and think with a vague look before then doing some of his typing.
I was quite intrigued by what he was doing and would have liked to have asked him, but the teacher I was meeting arrived. As chance would have it, though, the teacher and the student, obviously, knew each other and exchanged a few words before the teacher came across to me. This gave me the opportunity for me to say that I was intrigued by what the student appeared to be doing. So the teacher asked the student over and introduced me. I asked the student what they had been doing, his reply was very interesting.
He said that he had been listening to a recording of a history lesson he had attended this morning and was making notes from it. Naturally, my first response was to ask why did he not take his notes during the lesson. He replied that he found when taking notes during a lesson, he could only take very superficial notes, found it hard to keep up with the teacher and had to stop when the lesson became practical (yes, I know, who’s ever heard of a practical history lesson!). By making notes from a recording afterwards, he felt he was able to make better notes, add his own thoughts to them and make a point around anything he wasn’t sure about. He also felt that come revision time, he would have not just his notes but also the lesson recordings to help him revise.
All of which struck me as being a very good and innovative use of technology for learning and, driving home afterwards, I did wonder why more students didn’t use a similar technique. I guess that the technique might not fit into every student’s style of learning and perhaps that’s part of the beauty of what I’m beginning to call Personal Learning Technology; it can be adapted to fit the needs and style of different learners.
Oh yes, I did also ask the student about talking into his device, he said that sometimes he liked to add voice notes but admitted that I may have caught him surreptitiously leaving a voice mail for his girlfriend to arrange a study date tonight. “Oh”, I said, “so your girlfriend studies history too?” ”No”, was his reply, “tonight we’ll be studying biology!”
Then he blushed and grinned like teenagers do. “I didn’t mean it like that!, he added. So I guess he and his girlfriend might actually have been really planning to study biology rather than … well you know what I mean!