The changing landscape of ICT education in schools – Anne Casey, EFA #eduict2013

Photo 14-05-2013 10 00 09 (HDR)

“The current climate is probably the most exciting time in ICT I have seen.”

In the schools she is working with, Anne is seeing ICT spending on the up, but she thinks people are now looking much harder at how the money is spent. She urged school leaders to look in cupboards and find the technology that isn’t being used. If such technology is there we need to ask some hard questions about what impact they could or could not be having on children’s learning.

“This should not be the work of hobbyists.”

In the schools she is working with she is seeing a reduction in ICT suites. The change is towards mobile technologies and social networking, but this requires a change in culture and behaviour not just technology.

She described how children being ‘criminalised’ for mobile phone use, and how this has led to them having dummy phones which they can hand over when someone tries to confiscate their phone.

The ‘Mosquito‘ was set up to emit a high pitched sound to move on groups of teenagers; older people cannot hear this sound but young people can. Anne described how you young people have subverted this technology by recording the sound and using it as a ring tone that their teachers cannot hear when they go off in class…

She talked of discussions she has with schools about iPads, and the fact that the discussion usually quickly turns to asking schools what they actually want to do with them. She argued schools need to concentrate on children and what they need to enable them to do and then find the technology to facilitate that, not the other way round. She argued this has the danger of leading to a repeat of the interactive whiteboard situation, where all the investment has been in the tools and not the people using them.

Her message was similar to Stephen’s earlier; evaluation of the use of learning tools is paramount, and a concentration on the impact they have on learning, not simply putting together classrooms that look like they fit in the future for the sake of it. Showing some augmented reality ciphers she urged us to ask ‘so what?’; there are some technologies which look very impressive but have little value for real learning…

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