We Have The Technology

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Does your school fully embrace technology? 

We have the technology! Do you? In my experience the quality of technology infrastructure and teaching varies wildly in our primary schools.

We are all preparing our children for the same big wide world where technology is vital and everywhere, but some schools embrace technology, some address the issue with tokenism and others completely ignore it.

For a school to embrace it there needs to be someone with financial authority, usually the Headteacher, championing it and prioritising it at every opportunity. Without this it is very easy to ignore technology. There is always something ‘more important’ to invest the money in. Technology in the classroom still takes many headteachers, who probably only had a BBC Micro when they were in primary school, out of their comfort zone. Also, some teachers still don’t trust it and see new technology as extra work, probably because of bad experience in the past.

Access All Areas

This isn’t fair! All children need to be well prepared for their future which will inevitably require them to use technology and possibly control or program it. So how do we make sure every child has access to technology, not just for the sake of it but as a tool to improve teaching & learning across the curriculum?  With funding being squeezed, this question is particularly important. We must ensure that technology is given the importance it deserves.

Firstly, we need the infrastructure.

Working ‘in the cloud’ with 30 laptops doesn’t work if you only have 8Mb broadband speed. Surely, in the interests of the education of our children, an agreement can be reached to subsidise broadband provision for schools or insist when new superfast connections are given to homes near schools then they are also given to the school free of charge.

… some leadership from the Government would be helpful. At the very least, they need to force headteachers to act.

Ideally, I would ask them to set up funding for a minimum entitlement system which would ensure that all children in primary school had access to a device on a minimum 1:2 ratio. However, I realise this would be difficult and finding is an issue so it is unlikely. Therefore I would suggest that it is announced now that in 2020 a proportion of the Year 6 SATs will need to be taken on an internet enabled device, perhaps this could be linked to the much discussed x table test?

This would be a good solution for a number of reasons. The obvious is that it would force schools to invest in new technology and make sure they were up to the spec required for the test. It would be in the interests of schools to make sure the children were completely comfortable with the technology and therefore encourage them to embed its use as a tool across the curriculum. However, it would also save money. The cost of testing; printing, couriers, marking, etc would all see huge savings.

To Have And To Hold

Is your school a ‘have’ or a ‘have not’? If you are in the second group, how can you move things forward? You need to use whatever technology you have to dispel some of the issues other people have and show everyone that technology is no longer a hindrance, it is a time-saver for teachers and it enhances learning for children.

Why not take some of the free CPD provided by your technology corporation of choice? Apple, Google and Microsoft produce easily accessible courses with certification aimed at helping you to use their products in the classroom. Could this be a personal target on your performance management? It will not only help your own practice it is likely to inspire you to champion the cause of technology in your school and demand that things improve.

Every child should have access to the technology they deserve and need. Unfortunately, this seems to be an impossible dream as the schools embracing technology pull further ahead of those who ignore it or treat it as a stand alone subject.

We all need to make sure our children are not left on the wrong side of the technology divide.

Martin Curtis

Martin is a primary school teacher with almost 20 years experience, having held senior leadership and local authority positions. He spent a number of years out to set up his own business, but has always maintained an interest in education through tuition and supply teaching. Martin is now teaching Year 4 full time whilst being a part of a school's leadership team, leading assessment and computing across the school. He champions the use of ICT in the classroom and efficient use of data to inform teaching and learning. Outside of education, he has 3 boys who occupy most of his time and is also a governor at his children's school.

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