We are all aware of the potential of ICT to transform teaching and learning. In many schools teaching styles have changed and ICT has become an integral part of whole class or part class teaching. As the levels of devices available in schools has increased in numbers and improved in quality and the availability of on-line resources continues to grow pupils have been presented with a wide variety of possibilities to both enhance and improve their learning.
Why then when I talk to pupils in many schools do they still say that they rarely use ICT and are hardly ever given the choice of using ICT when they feel it would be helpful? Surely after years of investment in both infrastructure and devices we should be reaching a point where, not only are teachers using ICT on a daily basis to enhance the learning experiences of children, but children themselves should be making choices about when, where and how they use technology to aid their own learning.
It is still possible to see interactive whiteboards in schools not switched on and ICT suites, where they still exist, empty. Is it the age old problem of teachers not having been given the right amounts of training to increase their confidence and skills in the use of the equipment? Is it a lack of technical know-how or support in schools that ensures that when a teacher decides to use technology that they are not frustrated by equipment that doesn’t work? Issues like this were highlighted by Becta years ago when their TCO study highlighted the need to ensure training and support costs were built into all schools ICT budgeting. Has that advice gone unheeded?
In an era when we all know and understand the power that ICT can bring to the learning possibilities of all children these are questions that still need to be answered. If we don’t address these issues quickly we run the risk of falling behind other nations, where ICT is emerging as a key element in the improved levels of attainment and achievement of children. We have seen recently how our own government has been quick to compare the performance of schools and pupils with other countries but the real question is, what are they going to do, in real terms, to help our schools reach those levels?
Author: Pat Mainprize, Education Lead, EducationCity