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hey!Education: Breaking Classroom Communication Barriers

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Say hey! for digital education the right way

Education is undergoing a process of digital transformation the world over. An EU-funded initiative offers an online solution to overcome barriers to the use of technology in the classroom.

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Budget is often touted as one of the biggest problems in realising education’s digital transformation. Yet, as HeyEducation project coordinator Miguel Garcia Manchado notes, “we are realising that, also and sometimes, more importantly, it is the lack of confidence of many teachers to use technology in the classroom that is hindering adoption.” To overcome these and other issues, such as monitoring learners’ devices, assessing ICT use and evaluating educators’ digital competences, the project launched the educational platform hey! An animated video sums up the issues and approach in audiovisual form. An important feature of this online tool is that it uses real-world elements. One example is hey!U, a second screen connected to each student’s device. This helps teachers to visually, and immediately, identify students’ responses to a task as well as their current screen activity. Garcia Manchado elaborates: “For a period of time these teachers feel safe and see the immediate benefit of using hey!U detecting the students’ doubts, making the students get more involved.” The teachers also feel more secure as, with the application detector, they know that students are ‘on task’. An added bonus, the system works without internet or wifi and also without the teacher using a device during class. Practical benefits A natural progression is for the teacher to want to keep using feedback and have statistical and detailed data on the progress of an individual student or even class as a whole. This is where hey!C comes in, providing teachers with the information they now know they need. The project coordinator further explains that a more tech-savvy teacher can start directly with hey!C and choose whether or not to use hey!U at the same time. hey! provides content-rich reports for teachers, principals, district managers, regional managers and even national education managers. This visibility, available in real time, allows these stakeholders to take corrective actions on problems that could be hindering the use of costly educational tools. International impact In practice, the solution is for use from Grade 3 to high school. It has been put to the test in one Madrid province with 20 primary school Grade 3 classes. It assisted in the preparation of a set of exams and evaluation of the province using past papers. In Nicaragua, to get feedback, 700 schools are being integrated with hey!U and hey!C in local servers with curricular questions banks. “This project caught us by surprise due to the magnitude of the implementation … and also marks the first great project of the system hey!,” Garcia Manchado exclaims. Future potential Project efforts are slated to offer benefits beyond the classroom environment. “We are working on a version for business in collaboration with a worldwide tech consultancy company that could use it for their internal use and for their customers,” the coordinator reports. The team plans more school pilots and to present HeyEducation to more governments. “We will go at the speed we can with the resources that an SME can give to a project like this,” Garcia Manchado notes, “but we definitely would need extra help if we want to ‘conquer the world’.”

Keywords

HeyEducation, hey!, teacher, education, student, classroom, school, technology, feedback, digital transformation, Grade 3

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