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They’ve been at it again in the TES – being nice about the things we do, and especially about some of the clever things that schools do with some of the technology we’ve created.


Brave New World

This week, Saturday morning’s post brought me cheer when they wrote about the Innovative Schools programme – the series of detailed case study videos we created earlier this year, exploring what four schools have done with to bring about change, and how they have achieved it (and, of course, the role of ICT). I especially liked the first quote from the headteacher at Broadclyst Primary School, because it’s something I really believe

FirstquotesPeter Hicks, Broadclyst’s headteacher, believes that technology plays a central role in achieving this goal. “We’re moving towards a fully global economy, so academic qualifications no longer guarantee success,” he says. “Today’s children will trade on their human capital, their ability to collaborate with other people around the globe. It’s technology that will help them learn those social skills.”Endquotes

The article, Brave New World, is online, or pop down to the staffroom and go to page 4 of Friday’s TES Magazine (it’s okay, that’ll still be on the table in the staffroom – it’s only the jobs section that’ll have gone).

And you can hear the schools’ stories in their own words on the Innovative Schools website – there are loads of useful videos and documents that would make an ideal kit for an INSET day.

Keep Plugging

The same author, Steve Hastings, wrote a long article last week too, about the digital divide between teachers, based on Becta’s view that only 1 in 5 primary school teachers are confident with ICT, and only 1 in 20 secondary teachers are confident. In it, he talked about how some schools have looked at the technology pupils know and like, and then find ways to make use of it.

FirstquotesA similar tactic has worked wonders at Twynham School in Dorset. When the school was designing its online learning resources, using Microsoft’s SharePoint technology, it began by thinking about how pupils use the internet. Pupils were involved in every stage of development, disclosing the secrets of their surfing habits and owning up to their blogging addictions.
The end result was a learning gateway that they enjoy and find easy to navigate, and which reflects the kind of websites they use in their spare time.Endquotes

“Blogging addictions” sounds a little worrying doesn’t it? I think the message is that “Build it and they will come” doesn’t always work, and that you can move faster if you link in to the ways students are already using technology.

Some of the interesting statistics from the article:

The Divide The Statistics The Source
The class divide 86% of ABC1 houses have internet access, compared to only 63% of C2DE houses. Ofcom 2008
  £300m - The amount the Government has pledged to spend on giving computers and broadband connection to the poorest families.  
The school divide More than 40% of schools say their provision of desktops and laptops is not sufficient to deliver the curriculum successfully. Becta 2008
  An increasing number of schools have a 100% wireless network, yet 41% of secondaries have no wireless network at all. Becta 2008
  6:1 Average pupil to computer ratio in UK primaries. Becta 2008
The age divide 79% of 12 to 15-year-old girls have at least one profile on a social networking site, compared with just 20% of adult internet users Ofcom 2008
  5% of schools use social networking as an educational tool. Becta 2008
  95% of 15-year-olds use a mobile phone. Ofcom 2008
  1% of primary schools and 11% of secondaries allow mobile phones in lessons. Becta 2008
  82% of children regularly play video games, but only 30% of adults. Futurelab 2006
  87% of 12 to 15-year-olds are confident of getting the internet to do what they want. Ofcom 2008
  33% of teachers feel they don’t have the technology skills to exploit the technology available to them. NFER 2008

The article, Keep Plugging, is online (or in the TES magazine from 21st November)