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ICT in Education

Archive for September 2011

Government believes technology can help raise educational standards

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Gove’s Office responds to Naace recommendations after Policy Exchange event:

Quote: “I can assure you that the Government believes that the effective use of technology can support good teaching and help raise educational standards. It is critical to effective learning in the 21st century.” The full response is available at http://bit.ly/okrsVT .

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Written by Paul Heinrich

September 28, 2011 at 7:46 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Emergent Issues & Expert Recommendations from “The Future of Technology in our Schools: What Next?”

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A crucial meeting on the future of ICT in schools was held in London last week where experts  reviewed emergent issues and made expert recommendations. The following is the press release from Naace.

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On Thursday 8 September, a highly expert group gathered  to discuss the Future of Technology in Schools: What Next.

While both schools and students have a greater access to technology than ever before, concerns remain over whether this capacity is being used to best effect, and over the future direction of the role of technology in education. Since the election of the Coalition Government, technology has not featured prominently either in ministerial statements or in policy developments emanating from the Department of Education. Given the Government’s focus on structural school reform through the Academy and Free School programmes, this is understandable, but it has fuelled fears in some quarters over a lack of clear policy direction in this area, especially given the transformative effect it can have.

The discussion addressed a number of issues related to these points. Of particular note were a number of emergent issues that require a policy response:

Research into neurology is showing that children and adult learning approaches, and how they interact with other people, are changing as the use of technology in our lives becomes ever more ubiquitous. There is even some research indicating the possibility y that existing educational approaches may become less effective as a result. This implies that continuing with existing good teaching approaches is not sufficient and that schools need to explore how technology can maintain the excellence of teaching and extend it. Further to David Cameron’s speech warning of the dangers of ‘coasting’ schools, this is a matter which needs to be urgently addressed in order to continue to lead the world as an economically competitive workforce.

Recommendation: Research is required into how Teaching & Learning strategies, and thus workforce CPD and Standards, need to be shifted in order to address the current mismatch between human web-influenced behaviour, and educational practice.

Consumer use of technology is being increasingly used for semantic and behaviour analysis; for example consumer profiling by supermarket loyalty cards, in order to more effectively target advice, and influence future purchasing behaviours. Educational use of secure technology can benefit greatly from these 21st century automations, with benefits to be found in automated resource differentiation, confidential formative assessment analysis, and semantic recommendations for teaching materials, learning resources, and parental guidance materials.

Recommendation: Research is required into ways in which lessons can be learned d from consumer profiling practice, in order to make education technology realise corresponding benefits with consideration for pupil data protection issues.

Developments in technology mean that it is now common in schools for the majority of students to have their own smartphones. With internet capable phones now reaching the second hand market and phone companies giving unlimited bandwidth in phone packages, student ownership of such devices will rapidly extend. The impact of enabling students to use their own phones and personal technology devices in their learning has been shown to be high.

Recommendation: Facilitation and support is required for the sharing of practice between schools of how to effectively and safely use students (and other stakeholders) own devices as part of their everyday learning practices.

Parental engagement through technology is growing rapidly in the schools that are espousing the use of technology for this. This impacts very positively on students’ engagement with school and on their behaviour and is much appreciated by parents. There now seems little excuse for schools not to use technology to keep parents much better informed about their children’s work and achievements, or for parents to enquire about this when they are selecting a school for their children.

Recommendation: Facilitation and support is required for the sharing of practice between schools, of how to effectively engage parents in meaningful ways, through the use of technology, which directly support and impact student standards.

The possibilities for schools to save considerable sums of money and make processes more effective through the use of technology, online platforms and cloud technology are now clearly proved through the actions of a substantial number of schools. The value for money of the investment in educational technology can therefore be enhanced further if schools share these successful strategies together.

Recommendation: Facilitation and support is required for the sharing of practice between schools of how to use technology effectively to reduce costs, emissions and workload.

Since schools have been given greater autonomy, many have shown that they are committed to use of technology to support excellent teaching and learning and are acting accordingly. However others are not generating their own vision and appear to need some leadership in this from government. The issue of government leading in promoting the vision that some schools lack was seen as clearly distinct from government directing or regulating, but will require some action if the developing digital divide between technology-aware schools that are creating extended
learning and those that are not is to be managed and minimised.

Recommendation: A single, clear, overarching Vision should be articulated by Government that positions the centrality of technology as a vehicle for achieving much broader educational success.  For example, “Why should… where I live, which school I attend, where I work, who I know, where I am, or what I can afford, define the boundaries of my learning, and therefore my chances in life? This Government believes that the use of Technology, embedded in educational practice both within and beyond schools, removes those traditional boundaries and constraints  from individuals, and facilitates every citizen to contribute to our globally competitive British  workforce”.

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Excellent stuff! Now what response will be forthcoming from government?

Written by Paul Heinrich

September 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized