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Building Resilience Using Technology – Channelling our students’ newly developed digital communication skills – By Lindsey Davis, Integrate AV

Technology use in the classroom had been rapidly increasing well before the COVID-19 global pandemic. Schools were adopting interactive flat panels and portable devices, such as tablets or laptops, in a variety of ways and encouraging their use at home for homework and digital organisation, such as emails, calendars or digital learning management systems. 

After two years of relying on technology use at home from a vast range of devices, all needing to be used independently by our youngest students through to our final year secondary and Higher Education students, it is safe to say we have built levels of resilience in using technology we never needed before.

Students, families and teachers became experts in basic troubleshooting of their internet connections, device operation and software use, out of sheer necessity.

“Miss, I can’t find the email.”
“Check your junk folder or recently deleted folder.”
“Found it!” “Mum, the internet’s not working.”
“Have you checked the Ethernet cable is properly plugged into the wall and the laptop?”
“Oh yeh!” [click] “It works now!”
“Dad, Zoom’s not opening.”
“Have you clicked on the little pop up blocked icon?”
“It’s ok, it’s good now.”
And so on.

This resilience and determination to continue with quality teaching and learning regardless should not only be celebrated, but maintained in the classroom and at home, wherever possible. These digital communication skills are what teachers are hoping to achieve with their students through cross curricular capabilities and learning outcomes in key subject areas.

As a High School Technology and Mathematics teacher with four years in the Education and Corporate Technology Industry, I deeply value digital communication skills. My team needed to deliver the highest quality online professional development to our teachers and schools, and my students needed to learn digital communication, organisation and independent learning skills. The levels of capability my students achieved during their lockdown home learning periods was incredible and I aim the nurture those skills and value them in my classroom teaching as much as possible.

As a Training and Professional Development Specialist with Integrate AV, I work with a fabulous team of technology integration specialists, whose knowledge and skill sets support schools and teachers, in addition to corporate and government organisations, with a range of technology solutions and support services to meet their individual needs.

To support building and maintaining student and teacher levels of resilience, we need to keep channelling their digital communication skills. Here are some suggestions to do exactly that:

• Provide students work via email or your learning management system, which they have to access on a digital device themselves, so they maintain the ability to locate files in a digital space independently.
• Encourage students to take photographs of work using portable devices and upload those photos to your school’s LMS or cloud storage so they can access them from home or at school on another device. This is excellent practice for creating digital portfolios of the work they are proud of.
• Create calendar invites and attach classwork to the invite. Encourage students to respond to the calendar invite and download the attachment to access their work.
• Enlist some students as “Tech Support” each lesson or day. These students can support other students in accessing lesson content, connecting to devices and managing the interactive whiteboard content delivery. 
• Many organisations developed virtual excursion programs during lockdown, most of which are still available. Book a live virtual excursion through DART Connections https://dartlearning.org.au/ or liaise directly with organisations and allow students to manage the video conference connection and etiquette during the session. • Have a day or lesson without any current technology. If your school still has any overhead projectors, see if you can borrow one and teach the way classes were taught 20 years ago. Discuss the skill di!erences required in using technology in the classroom today and how beneficial it might be for modern living, study and employment. 

These are just a few suggestions of ways to continue to develop students’ resilience using technology in the classroom and building on their developed skills from their time during home learning.

For more support and guidance on classroom or school technologies or integrated solutions in general, contact the team at Integrate AV on 1800 742 748 and they can provide you with tailored solutions for your needs and to meet your budget.

Lindsey Davis is a Technology Integration Specialist and Technology Teacher at a Sydney High School. She has been in the Education industry for 20 years, including working in the education technology industry delivering and managing teacher professional development. She began her teaching career with Teach First in the UK and moved to Australia 6 years ago. Working with Integrate AV as a Training and Professional Development Specialist, she is keen to support her fellow teachers with their use of technology in the classroom for developing a wide range of skills in our students of all ages.