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General Chat Thread, Technology in schools: Is the clock being turned back? in General; Technology in schools: Is the clock being turned back? Can't say I agree with the whole article but this I ...
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    AngryITGuy's Avatar
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    Technology in schools: Is the clock being turned back?

    Technology in schools: Is the clock being turned back?

    Can't say I agree with the whole article but this I certainly disagree with this:

    Others believe the ICT revolution in schools has achieved its aims.
    Plenty more scope for development of ICT Resources within my school if the money was available, certainly don't think its achieved it's aim quite yet.

    Also think pulling 25% of Harnessing Technology and not making a speedy decision on BSF hasn't helped the cause.

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    The battery in our clock ran out when a small development by the name of Facebook came along...

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    For me one intruiging thing about BSF is that it promoted the 'fourth utility' should-be-like-a-light-switch idea (the only serious objection being the premise that only private-sector could do it), while at the same time encouraging all the visionary/blue sky/ICT-as-magic-educational-outcome-fairy-dust twaddle. Mutually exclusive or what ?!?

    So in my perfect world all that seriously decadent tat and the 'industry' behind it would very definitely go (never to return) and we'd just focus on core ICT provision with good architecture that works very reliably. I'd like to think that focus shift would be one positive consequence of budget cuts, but IME few could afford any of the "wow!" stuff in the first place (especially in Primary) which means core ICT suffers and makes it all a bit depressing.

    certainly don't think its achieved it's aim quite yet.
    All depends on how you define "it's aim".

  4. Thanks to PiqueABoo from:

    torledo (4th July 2010)

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    That article is either wrong or misguided on so many levels. I do like the comment from the 'one' IT manager about BECTA. It seemed to have overlooked the other 20,000 state schools out there. I must admit though, the lack of a mention towards ICT in schools is disturbing, and perhaps a letter and general laying out of positions is in order. The fact that pupils can now use search engines, type resonably well, navigate the internet and use Office is no excuse for binning a subject that is very, very important for all school leavers. The UK especially has huge technology based industries, a world leading games industry, and a further education system that requires it's new arrivals to be totally conversant with computer based technologies. They will not get this from Facebook, World of Warcraft, and Limewire. ICT should be one of THE main focusses of any government that cares about the future of British industry and emerging technologies.
    Admittedly we do need to overhaul the curriculum and actually bring the teaching of ICT kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It needs to be more relevant, more engaging, and more importantly, taught by teachers who actually know their subject matter.

    *I'm writing this from Denver airports departure lounge and would love to rant further!

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    torledo's Avatar
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    i think there are several points raised in that article. Maybe the govt. think becta has gone as far as it can/should. and that now they maybe want to see more being done with what was bought for those years where the huge spending was done made before deciding on new and improved? funding strategy for ICT in education.

    The comment about becta being a nulab totem or whatever, doesn't fully explain why labour themselves were going to give the org a no.2 haircut as far as the quango's budget. As much as the work such an agency has done can be appreciated, i don't think anyone has fully explained why it needed such a vast budget. albeit a lot of it seemed to be the result of fulfilling the latest nulab ICT giveaway brainwave....but nonetheless difficult to justify the rest of the multimillion pound budget in the current financial climate.

    anyway, leaving becta aside, it's clearly a significant financial undertaking to make the investment in IT, both from an infrastructure delivery point of view [internet connectivity, security, energy, wifi networks, IT staffing] but also the hardware and software licensing to keep renewing. And the last govt. still wanted to pursue the blue skys thinking of how to integrate ICT in teaching and learning. It's understandable in my view if a new govt. feels it needs to reevaluate previous attitudes toward spending in this area.

    the idea of a fourth utility did, and still does make sense....but really it now has to focus more on practical implementation to get best value....rather than make grandoise plans for which the political investment may not be forthcoming. At the moment, i don't think this localism agenda of increased budgets and control for schools and school heads with ideas like the new academies sits with the previous track of managed services and private sector involvement in things like ICT provision.....then again there's still BSF [and the not inconsiderable number of projects under that initative] for that kind of big IT, economies of scale, manages services thinking.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    I've seen Mike's and Merlin's attempts to get a straight answer out of the Govt about the direction for ICT in education and they, like so many others (including unions) get stone-walled. The article raises the important point that ICT is not the be all and end all ... and I do disagree that we have reached a turning point yet. We have lots of schools that are doing well with it, and those who take part in things like EdTech chats, Teachmeets, OpenSourceSchools, Apple Teacher Institute, MS Innovative Teachers Network, Google Teacher Academy ... and yes ... EduGeek ... it is a bit self-selective of where you get to hear a lot about the good things.

    Not every child is a digital native (a phrase that gets debunked nowadays actually) and those that struggle get left behind. We have the same with teachers and the same with schools. We will be going into a two-tier world of technology in schools soon and unless people switch on to having to tie in the education and the technology it will be the kids who lose out.

    Localism is fine for some things ... but only when people know the direction they should be going in anyway. We now need, more than ever, to collaborate in local groups ... but school politics often means people are left out.

    My advice to you all ... get in touch with the schools near you, both primary and secondary. Find out how they do things, what systems they run, who supports what, where they purchase from, what their curriculum is like, any specialisms there are at the schools (both educational and technical) ... don't just ask about what people have found to work ... ask about the stuff that didn't work, what lessons were learnt.

    Don't exclude teachers in any of this. They are the people who have to make sense of what is out there ... if they say that they need to look at software x then fine ... don't just stone-wall them because you think you know better (even when you do). There will be times when they know more than you in return.

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    Localism is fine for some things ... but only when people know the direction they should be going in anyway.
    It's the movement I'm against. Yet again my focus is largely Primary and there I see schools which have failed to get a great deal of value out of IT because they're too busy trying to keep up with What They Should Do Next[tm] to make any really effective use of What They Have Now[tm]. Same kind of deal as National Curriculum - just when they're getting their heads around it, everything changes.

    The last really significant concept that's been repeatedly rammed down their throats: Your (perfectly decent) ICT suite is bad=>use netbooks/gadgets whipped out in class mid-lesson instead, has driven me close to incandesence in recent years because whatever the virtues, most simply could NOT afford the infrastructure to do that seriously i.e. the managed wireless pragmatically required to make it reliable enough to maintain their confidence in the system. Even assuming they could do that and simultaneously afford the inherently more short-lived gadgets, there's the not insignificant (for them) extra costs of managing/maintaining those gadgets.

    Stability is cool too - I don't want frozen in time and MS et al. life-cycles don't permit it, but I think a little consolidation, stepping off the hamster wheel where you can for a while, would go a long way.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 5th July 2010 at 12:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    I do like the comment from the 'one' IT manager about BECTA. It seemed to have overlooked the other 20,000 state schools out there.
    It was certainly an unbalanced view, but in my opinion not entirely inaccurate - I would agree that some of Becta's advice was "patronising and out-of-touch". However, there was plenty of it that was useful to offset that.

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