How much technology do we need in schools?

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This is something that Russell Hobby, the general secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers, has given his opinion on this week via the NAHT blog.

He writes that it is expected that by 2015/16 “the total UK school spend on ICT provision [will] be £716m” which is “equivalent to over 20,000 teachers or 140 medium size secondary schools.”

His question is simple:

“Can this possibly be justified at a time of austerity?”

When it comes to the use of technology in schools Mr Hobby splits it into two “dimensions”: teaching children how to use technology & using technology to teach children.

He believes that teaching children how to use technology makes sense as it will help them in their careers as well as their understanding of the world around them.
I agree with Mr Hobby & believe that children should be taught good habits when using technology as well as language & etiquette.
Mr Hobby goes on to say that children shouldn’t be taught specific software packages because these may well be out of date by the time they leave school. Instead children should be taught “to control technology rather than be controlled by it, to be creators rather than just users.”

In order to do this schools will need to spend a certain amount of their budgets on technology but Mr Hobby feels that too much money has been spent on technology that teachers use to teach children in non IT classes.

He recognises that for some, “transformative uses of technology” in the classroom are “genuinely exciting” but he is addressing the “average state of affairs” when he says that he thinks “we’d be better off spending the money recruiting & training great teachers.”

“I love technology as much as anyone”

Mr Hobby writes in his blog that he is a fan of technology & that his conclusion “disappoints [him]”.
He goes on to say that it is still early days & that although he expects technology to improve & become more efficient schools should try to stay clear of “fads”.

So what do you think?

When most of us were at school we sat in front of a teacher writing on a blackboard.
Does a whiteboard offer any more than a fancy way of doing the same thing?

Do schools need to invest in technology to help their teachers teach in non IT lessons, does it take away from the skills that teachers have?

I’m sure children would love to have an iPad in every classroom but is it a revolutionary teaching aid or just a distraction?

Should schools bypass the use of technology & invest more heavily in their teachers?



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