Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. With a touch of a button we can organise our lives; stock our food cupboards and keep in touch with family and friends.
While many of us have had to become accustomed to gadgets and gizmos that, in many ways, make our lives easier, today’s youngsters don’t know any different as modern technology has always been commonplace with those who have grown up with the internet.
It is imperative we all keep up with technology, and schools in particular are grasping the nettle when it comes to teaching pupils about the technology which has become an integral part of our daily lives.
Now one local school is using it to its advantage with its English lessons literally going global. Fulneck School in Pudsey is becoming a worldwide hit after its Junior School English lessons are now being shared with pupils from other countries.
Work created by Year 6 pupils is being viewed – and commented on – by schoolchildren from more than 40 countries around the world, including France, Japan, New Zealand and Russia.
So far they have had 7,900 hits and the pupils have also Skyped scholars at schools in places such as Africa and New Zealand as part of their studies.
Fulneck Junior School teacher, Gemma Zincke, kickstarted the initiative when she introduced blogging into the ten to 11-year-olds’ English lessons.
Miss Zincke’s experience stems from blogging lessons she led while teaching at a school in Monaco.
With her help, the pupils share their school work on an educational internet site, aimed at fostering links around the globe. It also assists in boosting reading and writing skills.
“If they are doing tasks in their English lessons and if it is something we feel other children would benefit from, we post it on to the blog,” explains Miss Zincke.
When she first introduced the blogging lessons last year, she didn’t know how popular they would become.
“The lessons encourage learning and they help the children with their reading and writing,” she says.
“The pupils are now interacting with children from all over the globe. As well as their work being viewed by pupils from 43 different countries, they too are able to look at, and comment on, the work of their overseas peers.
“This is an interesting and exciting concept for the pupils and adds another dimension to their English lessons.”
Miss Zincke says it also helps to develop the children’s technological skills, ultimately preparing them for the world of work.
“It gives them the skills they will need for the future when they go into the world of work,” she says, adding that it will also give the youngsters transferable skills.
“When people go for jobs, an online presence is looked at and so much more is becoming online,” she says. “It makes them global citizens rather than confined to their home town.”
Chris Bouckley, headteacher of Fulneck’s Junior School, says blogging is bringing “massive benefits” to the youngsters.
“We did an assembly a few weeks ago and the number of hits and geographical locations are astounding and when you show the children that, putting aside the literacy and developing a knowledge of the wider world, the rest of the world is interested in them – they are part of a global community,” he says.
Mr Bouckley says the staff have also embraced it and are developing it in a meaningful way for the children. “It is really embedded here in everything we do and it is crucial staff, along with the children, have created a window into the world,” he adds.
Founded in 1753, Fulneck school was established to provide an education for the sons and daughters of the Moravian Church’s ministers and missionaries.
Its location forms part of a village community and Moravian settlement dating back to 1739 and its three schools, Pre-Prep, Junior and Senior have a strong Christian ethos.
The historic independent school caters for boys and girls aged three to 18 and has boarders from around the UK and overseas.