My grandchildren are 9, 6, 4, 3 and 1. They are fortunate to be born in England and have the educational opportunities that this country provides for its children. They leave school between 2025 and 2032. Having spent most of my career working in education I would like them to have their educational chances enhanced by technology as they prepare themselves to become effective workers and citizens in an increasingly digital world. But will the schools and colleges they attend be able to provide the digital environment for learning they are used to in life outside the classroom?
Unless we have a significant “paradigm shift” in the way we invest in, and utilise fully, digital technology, the answer to the above question could be No?
Some may think me alarmist but as I spend a lot of time in schools and with young people and have been heavily involved in the reform of the ICT curriculum in schools, am Chair of Governors at a school and college as well as having read many horizon scanning reports in my advisory role at Toshiba and I am concerned.
We need to develop some “paradigm pioneers” who will challenge the current “analogue” mindset which permeates to culture education policy and practice at all levels.
My prediction is that my grandchildren will leave schools with no paper, no pens or pencils, no chalk or whiteboards ,no hard copy text books, no projectors, no libraries, no lines of desks and no hand written exams!
They will expect touch screen technologies, gesture based computing, voice to text and text to voice software, learning analytics (not that they will know what they are) personalised learning, immediate formative feedback and on screen summative assessments, virtual and augmented reality. It is probable they will be wearing their computers and will expect to access learning whenever and wherever they want to learn and be assessed when they are ready to be assessed.
That is why the acceptance of the 35 recommendations of FELTAG report in July 2014 were a step in the right direction.
My FE Week article on FELTAG is a reflection on progress to date
And BIS have recently published a review of progress.
Also the establishment of the Education Technology Action Group by Education Minister Matthew Hancock at BETT is an exciting opportunity after a few years of policy drift.
You might also find the recent House of Lords report on Digital Skills of interest?
Come along to The UKFEchat National Conference and we can explore this journey together.