Oscars Techie Teachers – Using Technology to Improve Student Experience

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One of the most important features of Oscars International is the use of technology in our classrooms. Each classroom at our Dame Street campus is fitted with interactive whiteboards which allow students to experience language in a new and highly stimulating way. As a result student – teacher engagement is enhanced resulting in better outcomes and smoother progression for students. Oscars International also use social media to engage their students and help them with their everyday practical English.

Earlier this week we caught up with some of our academic staff and teachers to ask them about the technology they use at Oscars and how it helps them to create really dynamic and intellectually accessible classes.

Different colours allow teachers to highlight different points

Different colours allow teachers to highlight different points

Engagement

Rachel Kavanagh, Teacher

“I love technology and what I love about the whiteboards is the fact that you can use different resources really easily, like videos or song lyrics, and it keeps people engaged.”

“My students really like that they can’t miss anything because we save everything we have done in class, upload it and they can access it remotely and if they want to do extra work on it or use it as a resource they can download the notes as a book or a PDF.”

“For grammar it’s great for creating timelines with lots of different colours and the fact that you don’t have to erase anything means you can make great comparisons and of course, you can split the screens.”

“Another thing I like is the interactive games. We play Cahoot in class quite regularly. It’s a word game that people log into remotely using their smart phones and answer questions – the results come up on the board and the students love it. And what you’re doing with a game like Cahoot, which involves reading and speed of thought, is enhancing their language skills in a very subtle but strong way. Even things like the dice, getting people to come up and roll the dice and be part of the class. I love the tech we have at Oscars.”

 

“And what you’re doing with a game like Cahoot, which involves reading and speed of thought, is enhancing their language skills in a very subtle but strong way.” – Rachel Kavanagh

 

Reflecting Daily Life

Aidan O’Shea, Group Academic Director (click to find out more about Aidan)

“Digital platforms are now the primary method in which our students communicate. As such, it is imperative that they learn in a digital environment which reflects their daily lives. Social media, search engines, apps and media  rich content therefore play a key role in our syllabus and daily lesson objectives.“

Storage

Emma Burke, Director of Studies

“One thing that’s great about the technology we use here is the storage aspect. Everything is uploaded onto our drive and it means we don’t have to keep CDs or other hardware around the office. When I started teaching years ago in other schools, teachers would forget things or things would go missing and it could really impact on your lesson. That just doesn’t happen as much anymore because you can access material at the touch of a button.”

“We have interactive whiteboards, books and we can access the internet so we can use media or supplementary material to get your point across. Take for example if you want to illustrate prepositions of movement, that can be difficult to do on a static whiteboard but with the interactive whiteboards it’s really easy. I know one teacher who starts a lesson on prepositions of movement with a six-minute Peppa Pig video. It works really well.”

Macs in our Library

Macs in our Library

“I tend to use the keyboard a lot because it’s quicker and clearer…” – John Silva

Revisiting Material & Real Language

Neil Davison, Teacher & Head of Testing (click to find out more about Neil)

“An interactive whiteboard is like having lots of different static boards in one place. So instead of having one board and rubbing out the content on that to make space for your next point, you can just skip the page forward and build up the number of boards that you have. It means that if you want to revisit something you don’t have to erase anything. You just move back.”

(Press Play to hear more from Neil – and that wonderful Scottish accent!)

Speed & Colour

John Silva, Teacher

“I use the whiteboard a lot. I tend to use the keyboard a lot because it’s quicker and clearer but if I need to use the markers (there are four with several different colours) I can use them to underline a point or highlight differences.”

“We have access to Google, Google Images and we can use You Tube videos so it really helps because it keeps things interesting and people interested. It’s great to have that avenue. Sometimes they choose the video which gives them the sense of being involved.”

 

Vocabulary Building with Images

Ana Maria Tropotei, Teacher (click to find out more about Ana Maria)

“The whiteboards are very easy to use and good fun. They are very fast and particularly for lower levels they are really great because images are just a click away. Most people are visual learners and it really helps with vocabulary in that sense. Some of the course books we have have extra interactive material that we can access too. They are tailored to underline whatever lexical or grammar point the chapter is making.”

“The tech at Oscars definitely increases levels of engagement. Everyone is using smart phones and touch screens now so this is really the future.”

Present Continuous Observation lesson using a YouTube clip of Mr. Bean

Present Continuous Observation lesson using a YouTube clip of Mr. Bean

 

Helping Students through Social Media

Johnny Butler, Social Media  

“Like most places, we use our Social Media to tell our students about events and parties that we have at the school but we also use it as a platform where students can learn. It’s nothing too heavy. Every week we post a short video called The Tuesday Tip Clip which is a video of real English that focuses on a real life situation like Getting the Bus, Hanging Out the Washing or Going to the Library and the language around those activities. Every Wednesday we post the Grammar Guru’s Wednesday Wisdom which focuses on a small grammar point or a lexical group. So we use social media to educate as well as promote the school’s social activities and we usually get a very nice response.”

Wednesday Wisdom is posted every week on our Facebook & Instagram accounts

Wednesday Wisdom is posted every week on our Facebook & Instagram accounts

 

Clean & Clear

Conor McAuley, Teacher

“From a teacher’s point of view that is very useful because it saves a lot of time and means you don’t have to worry so much about board management. They’re also cleaner than the old chalk boards which is nice but from a students point of view you can give them a bit more of an in-depth experience. They are able to see a greater variety of things and so you can make yourself clearer as a teacher.”

Clean & Clear

Clean & Clear