The following blog post first appeared on the Scottish Government's 'Engage for Education' website. I am really pleased to have been asked to contribute to it on a regular basis: To read it on the site please click here.

"It surprises me how often I get asked, at the start of a new school build or refurbishment programmes, as to when they should consider ICT (Information Communications Technology)
This is such a wrong question!

Schools should be reviewing it’s approach to learning and teaching continuously. Many are. Wise schools are also consulting with students, staff and the local business community. Even wiser schools are letting students contribute to the planning and development of learning. This is especially true when it comes to the integration of new technologies – many students really do know it’s potential and capability so much better than the majority of teachers. Schools really should embrace this knowledge. How many do?

So the question is really how do we design learning spaces that will allow staff and students to work in a variety of ways now and more importantly, in the future? Robust flexible technology integration is an absolutely vital part of this.

‘Book free – technology rich’ schools already exist; ‘e books’ sales are rocketing; the future really does look like…… and THAT’S the problem. Many people cannot envision how fast technology is developing in everyday use, it’s impact on learning in the future, let alone what technology looks like when fully integrated into learning for the Third Millenium.

We cannot be designing new learning spaces, (which may take years to actually be delivered), without taking into account future learning needs. This just has to be supported by a well planned professional development programme which gives staff and learners confidence in new approaches to learning with the full integration of new technologies.

When everyone starts thinking about approaches to learning, then we can talk about the design of spaces to support them. The conversations become different, focused and better… if students are involved, they tend to be better still!"

The Scottish Government has recently started to consider the development of a Technologies for Learning Strategy.