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Responsibility for using ICT lies with teachers, student says

Author and education technology enthusiast Haakon Bakker, a Grade 11 student at Sandvika secondary school.

Haakon Bakker is not an average student. His interest in technology has secured him a job as a technician repairing Apple products. The Grade 11 student recently spearheaded a class book project on the digital classroom that culminated in June, when he and his fellow students published 'Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom'. Here, he explains the crucial role technology, including the itslearning learning platform, plays in the modern learning experience. He also argues that the key to advancing the so-called 21st Century classroom lies in teachers’ willingness to embrace education technology.

Bakker: “As our teachers become more and more tech-savvy and integrate the itslearning platform into their workflow, students will get more out of it as well. For me, not having a learning platform would not be an option at this point,” he says.

What is your favourite itslearning feature?

My favorite itslearning feature is the ability to use the RSS-feeds that itslearning provides and put them into my calendar and RSS-reader applications. The feed notifies me when teachers update the itslearning calendar.

You recently contributed to a book about the digital classroom. What role do learning platforms play in the digital classroom?

I think the learning platform is a vital part of the digital classroom. Without a learning platform you can forget the digital classroom.

I think the Khan Academy is a great tool in the digital classroom. They have grown from just a few simple YouTube videos into a full-fledged modern learning/content delivery platform.

It is not a complete learning platform in the traditional sense. It is a place where students can get feedback not only from their teacher, but also from the website itself. Another interesting point to make here is that built into the site is a way for the teacher to see how the students do on the different subjects. That way the teacher can focus their time on the students that struggle. I think we can call that a more transparent classroom.

If we could merge an education website like the Khan Academy, which contains an enormous amount of material, together with itslearning, which is more focused on delivering class info, delivering assignments and taking tests, that would be amazing!

What do you use itslearning for?

I use itslearning for a variety of school tasks. For example, delivering projects, contacting teachers, getting files, looking up tasks and, as mentioned earlier, getting the RSS-feed.

I would use it more, but my teachers do not see its full potential!

What was the strangest place you logged on to itslearning from?

I logged on to itslearning while on a business trip to California, USA. I logged in from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) because I had to deliver some documents for a task that was due.

Try to imagine your learning experience without itslearning. What would that situation look like? In other words, is it better to have a learning platform or better not having one?

I can't imagine not having a learning platform.

As our teachers become more and more tech-savvy and integrate the itslearning platform into their workflow, students will get more out of it as well. For me, not having a learning platform would not be an option at this point. Again, the RSS-feed that notifies me when my teacher updates the calendar inside itslearning is integrated into my school day.

Why do you think your teachers ask you to use itslearning?

I would like to turn the question around: why do you think we students ask our teachers to use itslearning?

Firstly, when all the teachers and courses have their own place within a larger site, finding info and delivering assignments becomes much easier. If one teacher used itslearning while another used a different program or site or just gave you information on paper, following along would be difficult. The information you gather would scattered over several places.

My second point is that itslearning easy to use. It makes my days much more productive! Delivering schoolwork on itslearning is much easier than waiting to submit work for a specific class on a specific day, or finding the teacher and delivering the work on paper. That´s time earned!

About Haakon Bakker:

Haakon Bakker (@HaakonHBakker) is a Grade 11 student at Sandvika secondary school in Sandvika, Norway. Bakker was project manager of a class book project that ran over the winter semester of 2013. Under the guidance of teacher Ann Michaelsen, Bakker’s English class released the book ‘Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom’ in May 2013. The book gives examples of how teachers can use elements of the 21st century classroom, which is characterized in large part by the use of technology, in their teaching. In his spare time, Bakker works as an iPhone repair technician at iCracked, where he combines his love for technology with his passion for business.

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