ICT … have we spent wisely ?

Image: D Dickinson October 2010 ‘Mellow Fruitfulness’

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Hindsight is a wonderful thing … for a long time now vast amounts of money have been spent on providing infrastructure and kit so that ICT can have a place in the development of teaching and learning. Time will perhaps show that the strategy of doing this was more than wasteful ; it was flawed … but perhaps we did not recognise it as such … and is now no longer (if it ever was) fit for purpose. Educational institutions cannot keep up with society’s rapid pace of technological change and money is draining away in the trying.

It is time to rethink.

The technologies are already there in the hands of the users (but we must make sure about the inclusivity of it all) and we need to make sure that we take onboard the proficiencies of use and the availability of these technologies. We need to concentrate the spending of time, effort and money on education not replication.

In a very recent ATL article Ian argues similarly:

Our schools are now a desert swept with the winds of yesterday’s technology; meanwhile our students can be found drinking from an oasis of smartphones, smart apps and smart interfaces. They have answers to questions we haven’t even dared to ask. They outsmart us at every turn.

Schools don’t need ICT. It’s coming through our doors every day.

The article is well worth a read and arguing about … even if it is only you that you argue with …


Have just read this in a blog post by Bill Lord:

At the same we have seen a massive rise in ICT hardware purchasing and use but to what end? I have spent the last 11 years arguing that technology should be a key driver in combatting the under achievement of boys but despite the massive investment there is still an issue. This points to  chronic problem in the use of the technology (not a new argument I know) – to be blunt we have invested millions of pounds in giving cutting edge technology in Primary schools to people who are not trusted with the remote control by their own children in their own homes.
It could be argued that we have made it worse  – for those of a certain age who remember the games show Bullseye in the 1980s – this is like the end of the show when contestants failed to win the star prize and they would wheel out a speedboat or car with the legend “Look what you could have won” coming from the lips of host Jim Bowen. We present the children with a dynamic, vertical, visual tool in class and then often leave it in the hands of people who don’t use it to anywhere it’s full potential.

I posted in some detail on the Storytyne blog post about attitudes of teachers towards children driving the technology. It is important that teachers hand over the use of the technology. I posed the question Have we spent millions of pounds on putting technology in classrooms and leaving it in the hands of people who are not even trusted with the remote control in their own houses?

In Independent sessions teachers should be aiming to use the IWB whether it be to continue from the shared session working with a targeted group for guided work or giving the access to the board to an independent group who then feed back in the plenary. (The use of the screen recorder comes in handy here)

Teachers who are not confident using specific applications should consider simply handing it over to the pupils whether it be screen capture, the recorder tool, Kodu, Photostory, Audacity, Google Maps, Podium, Voicethread etc – these are all applications which don’t get used sufficiently widely because of teacher confidence issues but all of which simply require an understanding of how they can support learning. The children will do the rest!

Chapeau Bill … also seems to follow Sugata Mitra’s research on self organised learning groups.

4 thoughts on “ICT … have we spent wisely ?

  1. Coming from a so called futureproof primary school of 12 months old, I heartily agree. 12 months in and I am looking at technologies that are available today that only a few months ago were just industry rumour. With the advent of the tablet and in particular the rise of Android and other OSs’, even the generation in KS3 and 4 will not be able to recognise some of the technologies that will be on the market when they leave school. Our school is beginning to look tarnished with it’s tech age!
    As for smartphones coming in through the door though, the paranoia surrounding e-safety, in some cases rightly stated, has made most schools attempt to ban them. The one issue that concerns me mostly is the fact that in areas of high deprevation, these devices are beyond most pockets.
    Is it in schools and tech companies interests to work together and allow access to ‘virtual’ devices as an alternative to schools forking out on massess of ever changing technology? Who knows? As head of ICT in our school, I’m up for it!
    Oh if anyone from Intel wants us to play with their 48ghz optical processors…

  2. Bill has a major point. But I’m not so sure that the teachers are not capable, it’s just that many fear using IT. Last week a BEd student in one of my workshops seemed timid with the computer. When I asked what was up they replied they were afraid of damaging the computer.
    This attitude is in common with so many qualified teachers yound and old. Without the confidence so the vision falters. This is the problem. I hope that I can address many of our staff training issues but I have to do it my time as there is no INSET or stsff meeting time. I’m OK with this because I want the staff to have an insight into what IT can do.

  3. Great addition to the post by Bill Lord. I know a teacher who spends the first ten minutes of every lesson when introducing new kit or new software by challenging her year 6s to find something that it does that she didn’t know. To date she hasn’t been disappointed.

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