Archive for December, 2012

The gap is widening between the two kinds of schools.

December 4, 2012

That there are two kinds of school has been very noticeable in recent briefings and courses that we have run for teachers and school senior leaders. Those that understand the impact of ICT and are using it pretty well are looking to take the next step, to get even more impact. While those that are struggling with ICT are making very little progress.

In recent weeks I have heard of the following direct from teachers:
– a school that has lots of visualisers, but they are all sitting in cupboards because the school has failed to convince the teachers of their value.
– a school where a new ICT coordinator has insisted all the cupboards were unpacked, resulting in a huge pile of un-used kit including a laptop still in it’s box, that no-one knew was there.
– a school that accepted loads of desktop cast-offs when the local secondary went BSF, that just clogged up the school and were in the main completely unusable with wrong software or ancient OSs.
– a school where the ICT Coordinator does not even have a laptop of camera. ‘No money’ is the reason given, as all available money has just been spent on an ICT suite to respond to the dire situation with ICT flagged in the Ofsted report that put them into special measures.
– an infant school where the person responsible for leading on ICT is a teaching assistant. This no doubt indicates the priority the Head gives to ICT which is likely to be the main reason why the junior school they feed is having to teach ICT skills that should have been taught in EYFS and KS1.
– any number of schools that have rushed out and bought sets of iPads with very little vision as to how to use them.

I’m struggling to understand why some Heads seem to be able to grasp that ICT has huge impact on learning, while others don’t. The message obviously isn’t getting through to some Heads. Some Heads see ICT how ICT supports their central priorities while others don’t.  I strongly suspect that this is because the ICT community – those trainers and consultants who know most about ICT in education – talk about the technology and nothing like enough about learning.

We need to frame the conversation around the evidence of what works best to develop young peoples’ learning.But here also some Heads just carry on with approaches they feel are best and ignore evidence, as was shown by the recent Ofsted report into how the pupil premium money is being spent.

It’s probably time for me to try to turn all the stories and experience into a coherent narrative and to link them to the brilliant practice we are seeing in schools gaining the Naace 3rd Millennium Learning Award (for which new submissions from schools are now coming in). We’ve got to do something to engage those schools that are complacently carrying on as though nothing has changed in the world our children live in.