Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Students and Technology

The recent BBC report on Steve Beswick's (Director of Education, Microsoft) interesting comments on students not fully using their technology skills in schools at the BETT show, highlights a problem that many of us have been saying for ages.

Many young people are so much more expert in the use of technology than schools give them credit for, or allow them to utilise in schools. Frankly, many schools are holding students back from learning in the way that they want to learn. As Steve says - they have so much potential that is being untapped.
I am currently working with a number of new school build / refurbishment projects - the integrated ICT conversations are far too often still being based, at least initially, on "what we do is..." or "how our students learn is...." or is just not a priority at all.
It appears that much, in reality is about teacher confidence in:
  • the use of technology in 'public'
  • uncomfortable about students knowing more about it
  • not being comfortable with students co-teaching peers or helping them plan lessons to include technology
  • not wanting to change an approach that they consider works for them
Equally there is some pressure to revert back to teaching methods of the past - but surely, it is all about balance. The use of technology should be seized as a real opportunity to engage the widest range of students, not as THE way of learning, but as a tool that the vast majority of students like to use for a wide variety of tasks.
Whilst I accept that there is concern by some Heads about the use of things like, for example, social networking, for example, there are schools that can and do make it work very effectively in some most challenging locations. We are planning learning spaces for the next thirty forty years- looking only 'at the now' is actually not helpful.
Those schools that think lessons do not need to fully integrate technology really are still not accepting the present context, let alone the future!
To read the article in full - click here.

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