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Blue Skies Thread, Technology behind the times from Which? in General; Why is technology in schools so behind the times? | Which? Conversation Rushing off to lunch - feels like I'm ...
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    gwendes's Avatar
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    Technology behind the times from Which?

    Why is technology in schools so behind the times? | Which? Conversation

    Rushing off to lunch - feels like I'm posting in the wrong place - feel free to move!

    Thoughts?

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Why? Apart from the funding aspect, I would say the chief reason is that the curriculums are so out of date and irrelevant. I was talking with the Head of IT here the other day about why he decided against the Computing GCSE, and he said the controlled assessment part involved spending 12 hours with a deliberately broken database identifying and repairing problems, without internet access. To say this is unrealistic in the modern era is putting it calmly.

    It's a habit found in job interviews as well... "answer these problems on paper without access to a computer" - but I would never be without a computer or the internet here. If the internet was down I'd probably be trying to sort that out before what ever daft printing problem you've described to me. Searching online now is such an integral part of every day life that removing the facility just invalidates the assessment, in my eyes.

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    lmsg2011's Avatar
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    I think schools are always going to be 'behind the times' to a certain extent, when compared to the technology that people buy into their homes. For one, the amount of testing needed before new technologies can be uesd in the classroom slow the process down. I've heard, plenty of times, from students in my schools saying " our computer at home is far better than these ones at school" or " why can't we have X because we have it at home". Having said that, with competent ICT staff and a good solid structure in place for replacements and progression then schools should never be too far behind.

    The part about teachers struggling to keep upto date with the technologies is something, in my opinion, that can be combated by how the change in technology is done. When new systems are put in place, be it new versions of office or new versions of Windows, they should be done correctly. Allowing for training, allowing for schemes of work to be changes and allowing for staff to get their head around the new technology before it's pushed out for use in lessons.

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    I can only speak from experience at this school, but the reasons the USER-END technology is 'so far behind the times' is the fact that;

    a) Funding: The school failed, every year for the past 4 years, to invest properly in ICT despite what I advise them to do, leading to me having to keep kit that is 7+ years old going in our ICT Suite / Classrooms (the new management has rectified this though )

    b) Whenever things are brought in, there is never any allowance for me to do training, it doesn't get introduced properly, teachers don't get to see it in action and think about how it could be used and what they can change in their plans, so it sits in the store room un-used because 90% of people have forgotten (or didn't read) the email saying 'We have a new X in school"

    c) People don't like new and scary things forced upon them. I know that a good deal of the staff here are not going to be using the iPads they are being given soon. They just won't, either through 'fear of technology' or lack of training, not seeing how it can be used in the curriculum or just plain not wanting it. If they were *asked* if they wanted something new and only those who wanted were given, they could then introduce the new thing to the staff who didn't like the idea and gently bring them around to the idea of the new thing.

    d) Yes, a bit of a cop-out excuse but schools simply can't be at the forefront of technology all the time - it costs too much and changes too fast, and the hardware&services we provide to effectively enable teaching&learning have to be tried, tested, reliable and (without meaning offense to anyone) almost idiot-proof. New technology is none of these things!

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    It seems to me to be either a filler article or one deliberately to cause discussion. The few examples he names he then says aren't subjects he says should be included. He is mostly talking about hardware, which from a teaching perspective shouldn't really matter. It's like he is saying PE is out of date as teachers aren't teaching wake boarding, kite surfing or hot yoga.

    Parents complain of their children frittering away the hours on the internet, but it gives them a good understanding of how to apply their technology skills. And as a result I wouldn’t be surprised if many teachers see teaching IT as a daunting event – how can they speak with authority on a subject that some children may know better than them?
    This whole paragraph annoys me as how can playing the latest Friv.com game/farmville clone/or finding the latest youtube vids of xyz winner be helping to apply their technology skills? The nearest is using search terms but the likelyhood they are using boolean terms is slim to none. I don't doubt there are a portion of kids doing useful work out there, but then that wouldn't frittering away hours on the Internet (unless he counts any task on the internet as frittering). Then to say IT teachers can't speak with authority on the subject because of this is just odd. There will be the odd hard core kid that can probably speak in routing tables or machine code but the huge majority only have a real superficial grasp of how most of the stuff they use works. I was fairly surprised at the general lack of knowledge when I sat in on the first lesson they did about taking a PC to bits. Any decent IT teacher should be able to talk about the workings or have a stab at how the latest fad site works, unless they are really a business studies teacher in disguise which brings me to a whole different conversation for another day. Any other will only need to know how to apply IT to their area and can't disagree that this is lacking.

    Laptops with 10GB of RAM? For a Uni student? 10 years ago? Really? His final section, "How can IT teaching improve?" really doesn't say anything either. About the only bit I agree with is his final sentence "What’s needed, however, is more consistency, and more opportunities for teachers to develop their skills and benefit from specialist training." but that will never happen, go look at the thread about training for examples.

    I also think he is probably confused between DT and ICT as they both have technology in them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    <SNIP>
    Laptops with 10GB of RAM? For a Uni student? 10 years ago? Really? His final section, "How can IT teaching improve?" really doesn't say anything either. About the only bit I agree with is his final sentence "What’s needed, however, is more consistency, and more opportunities for teachers to develop their skills and benefit from specialist training." but that will never happen, go look at the thread about training for examples.
    Yeah, this was the bit I read that made up my mind that the article was a complete waste of time. And that last sentance could be applied to all subjects not just technology. I could go on, but techmonkey has pretty much summed it up.

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    Gibbo's Avatar
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    <sigh>, someone else who hasn't set foot in a school and based his article on a bit from OFSTED and a bit of web browsing over lunch. No doubt he knocked this article out in 20 minutes and went home.

    He also needs to think about whether he's talking about Design Technology or IT.
    Last edited by Gibbo; 7th April 2011 at 03:48 PM.

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