The digital classroom creates opportunities to motivate and engage students, says teacher Kjartan Moe Hustvedt. Kjartan teaches 22 fourth graders at Skjold School in southwestern Norway and his classroom is equipped with an Internet connection and a Smartboard.
As an active itslearning user and a proponent of e-learning, he sees the advantages of digital learning every day. Students take more pleasure in writing and have a better understanding of teaching material. Another advantage is having access to more relevant, varied teaching resources. “Teachers must dare to use digital tools. Once they venture to do this, it usually goes well,” he says.
Grade school teacher Kjartan Moe Hustvedt says that more teachers must dare to make use of digital teaching methods. The rewards include more engaged students and more varied teaching materials, he says.
For Kjartan Moe Hustvedt the classroom of the future is already here. How much students benefit from what the 33-year-old teacher calls “the new method” depends on how much teachers use the digital tools they have at their disposal.
“The opportunities exist. We have to teach students to use computers and the Internet in a subject-related context, not just for things like social media,” Kjartan says. “We have to provide them with links to film clips, have subject-related discussions online and stop handing in assignments on paper. itslearning makes all this possible, but the digital classroom consists of much more than that. More and more books are being digitized and there are a multitude of pedagogical Internet sites. The extent of interactive content is enormous!”
The classroom of the future is characterized by the use of IKT, he adds. “I force myself to use the new teaching and learning methods. I upload assignments and schedules onto itslearning. That way I can work wherever I want. I’m not dependent on having a physical document, only having an Internet connection. This is the future,” says Kjartan.
At the same time, he understands teachers who think it can be hard to use IKT on a daily basis. “Any new computer system takes a little getting used to, but itslearning is quite user friendly so I got the hang of it after a while. After the initial setup it doesn’t take much time at all. Now it saves me time.
Digital tests increase student engagement
Kjartan encourages teachers who want to start using itslearning to begin with simple exercises. For example, he chose to record sound samples and upload them onto the class’s itslearning dashboard. Students were asked to guess the sound, be it a car starting up or coffee brewing. "It was a way for all students to get to know itslearning and it succeeded,” he says.
Today his use of itslearning is more advanced. For English class he records himself reading texts. The students have to listen to the recordings for homework. “This way I’m sure they’ve heard the correct pronunciation,” he explains. Afterwards the students take tests in itslearning comprised of multiple choice questions or matching (pictures with words) questions. This method generates enthusiasm among students, he adds.
“Students like working on the computer when it involves colors and patterns. It’s a bit more exciting and fun for them. Sometimes they have competitions to see who can get the most answers correct or finish the tasks first,” he says.
Messages from the teacher reach home
itslearning affords Kjartan many advantages as regards organization. For example, he doesn’t have to make any copies or keep mounds of paper at school or home. "We live in a paperless society. I used to give paper messages to all 22 of my students. At lease four or five of them were sure to lose them. Now all messages are on itslearning, which ensures that information reaches parents. It is much easier to send messages digitally.”
The majority of Kjartan Moe Hustvedt’s teaching is supported by digital learning tools in the form of itslearning. “It’s much easier to go digital even though it takes some time to get started with a new system,” he points out.
Kjartan’s digital classroom entails much more than just using itslearning. He also uses his mobile phone. When he makes appointments for parent meetings, he sends text messages to parents and sets up timeslots in a table on itslearning. The platform functions as a meeting point between Kjartan, his students and their parents. He uploads pictures of class trips to itslearning and encourages students to send messages to each other in order to increase their enjoyment of writing. He also uploads weekly plans in content blocks on each subject’s dashboard. “My students complete assignments on itslearning so it’s easy to give them feedback. itslearning gives me an overview so I can easily see who has delivered their assignment and who hasn’t. I use it all the time and it motivates the students. The possibilities the platform offers are endless. When you are an active itslearning user, you discover new ways to use it all the time”.