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Looking ahead to 2020 (Bradon Forest Article)

Strategic ICT and the clc at Bradon Forest School: Looking Forward to 2020

Background
ICT has been a significant driver of change in schools as initiatives, training and resources have allowed teachers, pupils and support staff to teach, learn and work more effectively. From the NOF training at the turn of the century through the introduction of our School’s Learning platform right up to the planned Parental Engagement,  all ICT change has impacted on the whole school.

Recent articles by ASCL(1) and Becta(2) predict that the pace of change in ICT in schools will continue to increase. This will put increasing demands on school budgets that are likely to reduce in future years due to economic circumstances and demography.

However I believe our use of the UniServity clc shows it to be a flexible tool to address these future trends.

Six Technology Trends and their Potential Future Impact on Education

Trend

What is it

How the clc will be used at Bradon Forest

Web 2.0 and Social Software

Web 2.0 is when pupils and staff participate in the web rather than being passive users. The applications such as blogs. Wikis and forums on the school’s LP are examples

The clc provides a secure and user friendly range of web 2.0 tools to allow pupils to use them in their learning. Learning journeys can be recorded in blogs such as My Learning Space, forums can allow everyone in the class to have their say such as our Is the Internet a Good or Bad Thing? debate and wikis such as the BCS Key Words mean that learning can be shared.

Increasing Mobility

The performance and affordability of mobile devices such as notebooks, tablets, smartphones, media players and game consoles are growing all the time. Small, basic notebook computers can now be bought for as little as £250. As they have wifi they can access all on line applications (see Cloud Computing below). Laptops are falling in price too and are generally more robust

The perception is that pupils
de-skill as they come into school. Many teachers feel that we should harness the technologies in the pupils’ bags and trial the use of these devices in a learning environment. As the clc is available on any internet device pupils can access their work in a way that suits them.

Emerging display and interface technologies

New developments such as voice, handwriting and even gesture recognition will allow a very different computer interface

Many pupils are brilliant verbally but can’t/won’t get their ideas down on paper.  These technologies are still emerging but the voice recording resource on the clc allows teachers to record instructions and pupils to record their responses. The Listening Zone in German has many examples

Consumerisation of IT

The consumerisation of IT is about a shift in the way technology is adopted and used. Now, many technology innovations are aimed at the consumer market and knowledgeable users are adopting these technologies in their work

Many schools tightly control their school system but we need to be flexible to introduce a range of applications both free and commercial. We need to involve our pupils in suggesting new ways the school system can be used. E-safety is important in all this but Ofsted’s recent report found more open systems actually encouraged better practice (3). Surveys can be used on the clc to find out what the pupils want. Where the pupils are owners or editors of pages their sense of ownership means they understand how the web should be used as seen in the tutor pages.

New approaches to delivering IT

‘Cloud’ computing is where programmes are accessed and data is stored and retrieved via the internet.

Cloud based solutions are already helping us to organise our social lives (Facebook), our entertainment (iTunes), our travel and our communication (Twitter): all being driven by individual needs choices and decisions. Life by Uniservity, to be released in September 2010, combines the best of these technologies with it’s clc.

Green IT

As we have more and more computers in school our energy use increases too but collaborative working can heighten awareness and reduce the need for travel.

Collaboration on the clc encourages pupils to think more globally.  By working with pupils from the USA, Hong Kong and Ghana through the clc, there has been a greater understanding of global issues

 

Next

These trends impact on all aspects of school life – not just how many computers you have in school but how we teach, how pupils learn and how we all work together. Some of the trends are upon us and need to be addressed in the 2010/11 Development plan but others are still emerging and will need to be monitored.

By using the UniServity clc schools like ourselves can look forward  and future proof themselves from what might be uncertain times ahead.

 

D Wright, Head of ICT and Business, Bradon Forest School
Feb 2010.

 

Bibliography

(1)    ASCL 2020 Future: Briefing Paper 4 The impact of ICT
http://www.ascl.org.uk/MainWebSite/Resources/Document/The%20impact%20of%20ICT%20WEB.pdf

(2)    Becta. Emerging Technologies for Learning.
http://emergingtechnologies.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=etr&filter=ArtTec_003

(3)    Ofsted Report. The safe use of technologies
http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Publications-and-research/Browse-all-by/Documents-by-type/Thematic-reports/The-safe-use-of-new-technologies