Burning Question: Does the IT investment made by schools match the skills of their learners?

ASKED BY: Shaun Eason, assistant headteacher and ICT teacher, All Saints Catholic School, Dagenham

Globally, students have evolved into tech savvy and connected individuals who work best in an engaged, participatory learning environment. They have been born into the technologically advanced age and are entering school with a heightened digital acumen. Each day, rows of students sit in front of me, their tablet computers complete with 16GB of internal memory, dual core processor and Android platform at the ready. Welcome to the classroom of the 21st Century!

Today’s students are fully aware of the technology available to them; they know how to manipulate and adapt it to serve their needs, and how to use it to extend their worldly learning outside of the classroom.

But, is this IT savvy and know-how a true reflection of how technology is actually used in the classroom across the country? Does the IT investment made by schools match the skills of their learners? Not always. While IT investment in schools is crucial, technology alone will not be enough to educate future generations. To match the skills of today’s learners, we need to couple innovative technologies with a change in our strategies and approach to the curriculum.

Teaching staff across the board need to ensure their knowledge base and skill sets are up to date and that they keep up with the most recent changes within IT that directly impact upon the curriculum. The rate at which technology is updated or indeed becomes obsolete is phenomenal, therefore there is a real need for those who deliver ICT to regularly update their skills.

Technological advancements and having students that have grown up in the age of information means increasing pressures on teachers – not only must they continue to ensure students pass tests and drive engagement, they must now be au fait with the latest technologies and proficient in teaching ICT so that lessons live up to the expectations of Generation Y. Shows like Bett help teachers to meet all these requirements.…or at the very least, they provide the perfect platform from which educators can dip their toes into the vast ICT pool.

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