Spend wisely as the pace of edtech increases

Schools and technology have a strange relationship, for any teachers that have worked outside of the public sector you too may have realised this. Most schools have rules that specifically deny teachers and students access to information. I notice a change in this coming…

Youtube is blocked because it contains inane or inapproapriate material, schools are now recognising the wealth of information available for the students with a few well chosen search words. With a search for “mrbrouse” you will find my channel where I am steadily accumulating a catalogue of maths based videos for my students to use. So as we grant schools access to youtube and khan academy we no longer need to pay for video streaming software, but schools still do. BETT took place earlier this month, allowing many companies to display wierd and wonderful technological innovations schools can break the bank to aquire, only to fill a cupboard unused and gathering dust. I was not able to attend BETT but thanks to twitter I did follow the comments from those educators that did. The most inspiring and useful aspect of this was Teach Meet@BETT hosted by Tom Barrett where teachers presented and discussed some of the innovative ideas they are developing to inspire the learners lucky enough to have been placed in their class. Teach meets take place regularly around the country and cost nothing and involve inspiring teachers sharing ideas.

Could the best use of technology money be hiring a minibus and taking teachers to these events, maybe throw in a meal too?

There seem to still be pots of money flying around that are designed to bring technology to schools but via my interactions with my PLN on twitter the best resources seem to be free, and most reliant on having the right people using them.

Education is starting to get very excited about ipads, not yet tablets in general. This trend has merit and I can envisage a time when every student enters their lessons with their individual device whether it be tablet, notebook or “phone” (don’t use the phone much myself). There is a danger that schools repeat a previous mistake and invest in technology before people. A large spend on ipads will only bring the benefits if the teachers are champing at the bit to use them for learning. I know of many teachers who are worried about this invasion of their classroom, and if the students have the technology and the teacher doesn’t understand it it will be used in the wrong way.

With tablets evolving and the nature of technology in education being less about which products to get, but more about having easy access to resources as and when you need them; it seems to me that the a change of approach is required.

I don’t want someone else’s interpretation of what they think education needs, I want to create my own content with my colleagues and the students. I want to create applications and surely it won’t be long before the students can too as Michael Goves’s first proposal of any merit develops the study of computing in schools.

Just some thoughts on edtech. Hope to read your feedback.


Ben Rouse

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