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A teacher with his head in the Cloud

Published on 04/03/15

Having your 'head in the clouds' is not normally regarded as conducive to either studying or teaching. However, within the digital classroom it is the opposite - having not only yours but also the heads of your colleagues and students with you 'in the cloud' i.e. (the cloud service) can be a highly effective means of facilitating learning and the delivery of teaching material.
In addition, it has the capacity to transform our understanding of the term 'classroom' in the 21st century and allows for a wider, more collaborative, more cooperative, more active and more rapid learning environment.

Wider


Using a cloud service I can operate a 'flipped classroom' i.e. material is posted on the cloud platform prior to and in preparation for a lesson. The periods in the physical school timetable thus become a moment of reflection and action upon the previously shared ideas or concepts in the virtual space. The virtual nature of the class also means it can go beyond the confines of a physical room and reach other departments, schools and countries.

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More Collaborative


Students can team together to work on an assignment, in class or from their homes if they need to contribute more ideas that came alive outside the lesson. A shared assignment can also be tackled together with students from other schools over the internet. All contributions are thus valued and the diversity of approaches, ideas and backgrounds are celebrated.

More Coooperative


This approach enables each individual student to be held accountable for their own work and as part of a group. E.g. In one Spanish A2 lesson based on the pros and cons of nuclear power a group of 5-6 students had to work as a team to divide the workload, gather information from a number of different sources, correct each others work and respect and discuss each others stances. Each contribution was visible on the cloud platform.

More Active


Everyone is actively participating in a shared document uploaded in the cloud. A task which challenges individuals and allows them to be both independent and part of a team makes them more eager to participate.

More Rapid


Fast is the input of each student who can or wants to contribute to the discussion or document shared with the class. Fast is the feedback I can give to the whole class or individual student by marking or commenting on the document which is available outside of the physical lesson space. I just need to highlight a paragraph, a sentence, a word and leave a comment.

So, to summarise it's good to have lots of heads in the cloud because teachers can teach in a more active way, responding to the individual and fast changing needs of learners. Learners can in turn inform, experiment and contribute to what they are being taught and understand better the content being presented to them and take ownership of their learning. In this way both parties share their strengths and improve on their weaknesses.