Emergent Issues & Expert Recommendations from The Future of Technology in our Schools:
I am sure some, like myself have had opportunities to work at Government, even Ministerial level. These people are the ones who MUST get the most balanced picture. In order to ensure this from our point of view, we MUST be at the point of information, or talking to the right people, the people who make the decision.
I attempted to obtain a place on the following conference through my membership of NAACE - but was too late.
On the 8th September, in London - not far from Apple London HQ there was, what might be, a one of the most important meetings that could influence the future of Technology in the classroom for a number of years to come. An expert group (see list) were brought together for a day at Policy Exchange to discuss the very future of Technology in Schools, and under the heading: "What Next?"
The impact of ICT in Schools has come under greater scrutiny than ever as the financial pressures mount from political circles; while disruption and the evidence of problems on the street are observed; while results from examinations show marginal improvements and evidence points to varied outcomes between sexes. These and many factors have raised numerous questions, and politics is playing a bigger role in the fight to get back to the roots of traditional education. This is all very worrying...…however here we see an opportunity like no other to get our messages heard.
Greater access to technology than ever before, has helped raise concerns, and many are asking whether this capacity is being used to best effect, as well as what the future direction will be of the role of technology in education.
In the UK the Coalition Government appears to have lowered its perceived value of technology in Education and from the Department of Education there have been ministerial statements, policy announcements and budget cuts that point to ICT being seen as a simple commodity, not a valuable education tool.
Our Government focuses on structural school reform through the Academy and Free School programmes, and while this is understandable, it fuels speculation and fears that they a lack of clear policy direction, especially given the transformative effect great ICT in the hands of great teachers can have.
What follows is a Press Release from today (12th September 2011). Text (bullet pointed) and Recommendations (highlighted bold and large) are all directly from the text of the release. Text and links in blue are added by John Rudkin
12 September 2011: For Immediate Release
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 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.
Research may already exist from a number of sources, and should be explored before new research is commissioned. It is sometime amazing what is out there if you spend a little time looking around. Of course, remember to talk to others in your circle. A thought shared attracts value!
- 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 from consumer profiling practice, in order to make education technology realise corresponding benefits with consideration for pupil data protection issues.
Research may already exist from a number of sources, and should be explored before new research is commissioned. Sometimes the accuracy of predictions made 10 years ago can provide a real sense of “correctness” in direction.
- 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.
Some schools are making a great effort to share their knowledge about the smartphone technologies “out there”. Teachers took it in their own hands in Blackpool, where ICT didn’t want iPhones accessing the push email. The blocking went on for a while (for no really good reason), until teachers were suddenly found to be making use of it on mass. How? Was it poor security? Indeed, it was a god send, and now many teachers have the facility. Now we all need to share the best practice of how to make the best devices work for us.
- 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.
Parents might be unsure as to what they can actually do. The hurdle here may well be schools worries about opening up the communication channels so completely. Believe me, this is no issue - or if it is, the problems will be short lived if dealt with.
- 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.
The arrival of the “Cloud” technologies has heralded a wonderful opportunity for schools to rethink their strategies. Yes, the technology is young, but it is based on sound principles well founded in ICT. The important thing here is having trustworthy infrastructure. It you cannot trust yours, hold on a little longer. Get good advice (me…me….me) That is the most important thing. Reducing costs, while nice to do, should not be a priority either - and certainly not a reason to go “Cloud” for instance. This boils down to an attitude in your school. Buy “cheap” expect cheap. Look for great customer reviews, the ability to deliver the requirements you have, good quality, high value, long lasting, easy to manage, simple to support, minimal overhead and maximum usability.
- 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.
This is a wonderful time for schools, although many may be fearful of taking steps into the unknown. Autonomy brings with it some risk, and a great deal of responsibility also. Heads should look around them and seek out proven solid advice, while being aware that the fact they have money may attract some initial approaches of lass value. Get together, know you friends. Where are the consistent messages? Has the LEA listened to you in the past? Are they suddenly your “best friends”; does the company who were preaching one solutions suddenly seem to be doing the opposite? LEA Advisory staff were usually good, open and balanced in their approach - so think carefully and get what you need to feel you can emerge over the next year or two with solid, trustworthy advice (me…me&hellip
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”.
Naace is the ICT in Education association and is open to all educators, technologists and policy makers who share a vision for the role of technology in advancing education. Naace members include teachers, school leaders, advisors and consultants working within and across all phases of UK education.
As a professional association, Naace represents the voice of the UK education technology community in the schools sector at a national and international level, as well as supporting professionals across the sector through conferences, courses and the dissemination of resources, research and reflection. Naace plays a key role in both members’ professional development, through the challenge and support of a community of practice, and the development of the profession as a whole, through the sharing of innovation and expertise.
Full Agenda + Film Coverage of Presentations & Discussions
All enquiries to Bernadette Brooks on 07753 911436 or email@example.com
Kevin Brennan MP Shadow Minister for Schools; James Groves, Head of Education at Policy Exchange; Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwall, Conservative Peer; Vanessa Pittard, Head of Technology Policy Unit at Department for Education; Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth, Former Minister for Schools; Ollie Bray, National Adviser Emerging Technologies for Learning at Education Scotland and Senior Technologies Policy Adviser to Scottish Government; Karine George, Headteacher of Westfields Junior School; Dr Peter Twining of Open University & Vital CPD; Fiona Aubrey-Smith of UniServity; Ray Barker of BESA; Miles Berry of University of Roehampton; Roger Broadie, Independent Education Consultant and Bernadette Brooks of Naace; Stephen Fahey of Pearson and Danny Arati of Intel.
- Allison Allen, Naace Board
- Richard Allen, Naace Board
- Danny Arati, INTEL
- Fiona Aubrey-Smith, Naace Fellow
- Duncan Baldwin, Association of School and College Leaders
- Ray Barker, BESA
- Miles Berry, Naace Board & Naace Fellow
- Ollie Bray, Teaching and Learning Scotland
- Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Minister for Schools
- Roger Broadie, Naace Board & Naace Fellow
- David Brown AI, Ofsted
- Tim Bush, Microsoft
- Bernadette Brooks, Naace General Manager
- Leon Cych, Naace Fellow
- Len Daniels, Toshiba
- Dr Oggy East,The Inclusion Trust
- Keri Facer, MMU: Education and Social Research Institute
- Steve Gater, Walker Academy
- Karine George + 2 children from school, Westfields Junior School
- James Groves, Policy Exchange
- Ian Halpin, Microsoft
- Representative, Deloitte
- Bob Harrison, Independent Consultant, Commentator
- Bill How, The Schools Network (SSAT), Head of Learning Technologies
- Sion Humphreys, National Association of Headteachers
- Merlin John, Merlin John Online Ltd
- Rachel Jones, Steljes
- Aga Kelly, Naace
- Patrick Kirk, Naace Fellow
- Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth
- Stephen Lea, The Hundred of Hoo School
- Lord Lucas of Crudwell & Dingwall
- Adam Mawson, Primary Technology Ltd
- Adam McEvoy, Primary Technology Ltd
- Niel McLean, Buywire, TSL
- Ruth Merrett, INTEL
- Bill Mitchell, BCS
- Phil Moore, CEO of Yorkshire Grid for Learning
- Steve Moss, Partnership for Schools
- Dale Peters, RM
- Vanessa Pittard, Department for Education
- Chris Poole, Lookred Ltd
- Christina Preston, MirandaNet
- Lord David Puttnam, Labour Peer
- DominicSavage, CEO of BESA
- Michelle Selinger, Cisco
- Representative, Edison Learning
- David Summers, Espresso Education
- Dr Peter Twining, Open University
- Dr Albin Wallace, United Church Schools
- Crispin Weston, SALTIS
- Richenda Wood, Livewire PR
- Dr Sarah Younie, ITTE