Tag Archives: government

Looking ahead, which technologies are forecast to be an increasing part of our classroom environment?

Caroline Wright from BESA offers insight into their recent research on school budgets and expenditure

Another year has passed and in this time technology has continued to become increasingly ingrained in our students’ lives and in their future careers. Despite the removal of ringfenced funding for ICT, schools now recognise that they
must continue to invest in technology to avoid a digital divide. At Bett 2012 an unprecedented number of educators came to keep up to date with the latest learning technologies and more importantly, to ensure they were investing wisely. However, do schools still have the budget to invest in technology?

There had certainly been a perception by schools that there was a significant declinein funding, but our ‘Resources in English Maintained Schools’ research released earlier this year showed that this was far from true. Yes, schools which had thrived on government funding increases of, on average, 3.5% every year, over the previous decade, were, for the first time, faced with budget cuts. However our research showed that in 2011/12 the reduction was by just 1.8% in primary schools and 2.7% in secondary education; they were, in effect, as well off as they had been a year earlier.

So schools still have money to invest and the need for ICT to be embedded across the curriculum is ever present.

Added to this, the move away from local authority control, makes it even more important for schools to visit Bett, to ensure they are seeing all the available product options and of course, having the opportunity to negotiate the best price! So many new responsibilities have been placed on schools and the need for on-going professional development is paramount to a school’s success. Bett’s increasingly popular CPD programme is the ideal platform for visitors to source this.

Looking ahead which technologies are forecast to be an increasing part of our classroom environment?

Our research has shown that 75% of primary schools and 68% of secondary schools currently use visualisers and 85% and 66%, respectively, forecast their use by the time of Bett.

Further research announced in May revealed an increasing focus in the adoption of tablet computers. Our findings showed that 6% of all pupil-facing computers in schools will be tablets by the end of 2012. The schools surveyed forecast that by the end of 2015 the percentage of tablets will have risen to 22% of all pupil-facing computers. Unsurprisingly, 82% of all teachers also said that their pupils have an interest in using tablets.

So once again Bett is set to offer visitors the most pertinent CPD sessions, coupled with a display of the very latest technologies, supplied by over 600 exhibitors. We will be on the BESA Information Point (stand area E250) throughout the show to answer any queries you may have.

We look forward to seeing you there.
Caroline Wright | BESA

For more news and views from Bett visitors and exhibitors, download 2013’s Bett Update

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The tide is turning

Valerie Thomson is Chief Executive of the e-Learning Foundation, a UK charity that aims to reduce the effect of the digital devide by working with schools, parents and other stakeholders.

The scale of the capital budget cuts that schools have suffered in the past year could make BETT 2012 a challenging show. Yet increasing demand for technology to support teaching and learning continues to grow apace from learners, parents and many teachers. The tide is turning for Government policy too as Ministers at the Department grasp the importance of technology in terms of parental engagement, closing the attainment gap and employability skills. Watch this space for announcements!

So where will the money come from?  The truth is that the options for schools are limited. But there are solutions out there, and schools have to bite the bullet on their priorities and be prepared to do things differently. Here are 5 things schools can do to make sure their ICT investment doesn’t go backwards:

  1. Consider leasing or subscription based arrangements (e.g. Google Chrome)
  2. Involve parents in an e-learning programme where pupils get their own device part funded by the school and part funded by the parents via a voluntary donation
  3. Deploy some of your Pupil Premium where parents are unable to make a contribution
  4. Apply to the e-Learning Foundation for a small grant
  5. As more pupils have their own device, start closing down your ICT Suites and transfer the savings into 1:1 provision and a network upgrade.

And in answer to your questions:

Is it hard work?  Yes, but the e-Learning Foundation can take some of the administration burden away by collecting the donations for you and handling all enquiries from parents

Will it make your school budget go further?  Yes, typically by a factor of 500%

Is it sustainable year after year?  Yes, and there are schools that are now in their 10th year of working in partnership with their parents to provide pupils with the ICT resources they need

Will it help you close the attainment gap in your school?  Yes, ICT and parental engagement are proven approaches to improving the academic achievements of children from low income families (check out the recent Sutton Trust report on the “Pupil Premium toolkit”)

Can I use my Pupil Premium to make up for budget cuts elsewhere?  No, this money is for the most disadvantaged children in society and it is their right to benefit from it. Schools are required to make public what they spent this funding on. A school that deprives these children of the benefits that this funding can bring because of their reluctance to tighten their belt elsewhere will be accountable to their parents and the wider world.

Who can help us?  Becta is no longer around, and your Local Authority may only have limited capacity to support you. The e-Learning Foundation is a small charity but keen to help as many schools as possible so get in touch and tell us what you have in mind.

Visit the e-Learning Foundation’s website at: http://www.e-learningfoundation.com/

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The changing nature of BETT

Tony Parkin, an educational consultant and former Head of ICT Development at SSAT (and, as he describes himself, a disruptive nostalgist), ponders the many reasons why people go to BETT.

So we are into the autumn term, with weather to match, and thoughts turn towards Christmas, and its immediate follower… the BETT show. Which means time for the annual debate about this show, its role, purpose and value to school leaders and practitioners. In fact Ray Barker’s first entry on this blog was undoubtedly the starting pistol for this discussion, as he extolls BETT’s virtues as free CPD… one of its many dimensions.

I have been going to BETT since its inception… one of the exhibitors erecting a stand in that first year, bumping his head on the amazingly low roof of the original Barbican exhibition space (only amazing until you realised it was originally designed to be a car park). I have been almost every year since – and admit to welcoming each opportunity and seeing it as a high point of the education technology year. I even attended when not working in education, and met others doing exactly the same!

Current BETT attendees who see it as an ICT showcase would be surprised at the number of furniture and fittings suppliers, training providers, stationery manufacturers and book publishers that were there at the early events. BETT has been changing and developing annually since those early days, and these changes have invariably been accompanied by a background mix of approving and disapproving comments. The BETT show represents so many different things to many different people. For every teacher seeking free CPD there is a supplier seeing BETT as their opportunity to get a carefully-nurtured educational product in front of the eyes of potential purchasers. For every politician and government agency keen to get an opportunity to extol and promote their current policy, there has been a practitioner keen to meet up with and exchange ideas with other practitioners without having their ears bent or wallet raided. Given these different expectations and needs it is hardly surprising that there is this annual debate.

Trade show? National conference with an exhibition attached? International showcase and exhibition with a conference attached? BETT is expected to be all these things and more – and problems only arise when people expect it to be focussed solely upon one, rather than catering to all. The debate, often heated, is nonetheless often useful and constructive… and can be a useful catalyst for new developments. Everyone now welcomes and benefits from the new season of practitioner events, such as Teachmeet BETT, Teachmeet Takeovers and Collabor8te4Change that grew out of practitioner criticisms.

For me BETT is a wonderful opportunity for an annual coming together of a wider community, where teacher meets manufacturer, supplier meets consultant, and bureaucrat actually gets to see some (albeit sadly too few) children using technology. Our shared faith in the value of learning technologies is reinforced. Old friendships are renewed and new ones made. New technologies are encountered for the first time – even during one of those apocryphal ‘nothing new at BETT this year’ years. Perhaps most importantly, UK plc gets to show the world it is a leader in the development and use of learning technologies, and an amazingly large number of international leaders and practitioners come to learn, admire and buy into that vision. And the buying matters…

You can follow Tony Parkin on Twitter @tonyparkin

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