Damian Hinds’ edtech future for schools: putting the vision into practice now

Last month we wrote a response to the government’s announcement that it was putting education technology at the heart of education, welcoming the initiative and arguing that it must be led by teaching and learning needs rather than the ed tech industry.

Bob Harrison has also responded to that ‘vision’ in a no-holds-barred article, Don’t look back in anger? Really? in SecEd. He reflects on the past eight years of policy in this area, commenting that it is marked by

“neglect and a failure of political leadership and vision, driven mainly by an ideology which resonates more with a 19th-century view of teaching, learning and assessment than one that will prepare our children for the challenges of a digital world”.

He urges Damian Hinds to listen to teachers to find out what works rather than passing the buck to the ed tech industry. He also points to the spending gap between words and action:

“Mr Hinds has been very quick to find £50 million to fund the expansion of grammar schools, but not a penny for ICT. That speaks volumes for his priorities so forgive me if I am somewhat sceptical when reading his August epiphany about technology.”

However, Bob also points to some of the great work that’s being done in schools and the technologies that will become the norm for pupils: screen-based technology, touch and gesture-based computing, voice-to-text and text-to-voice software, augmented and virtual reality, blended learning and instant feedback, online formative and summative assessment, along with a familiarity with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

At London CLC this is a vision that we’re living, breathing and working every day. Bob’s prescription for schools is exactly what we offer. Drop by our centre in Clapham and most days of the week you’ll hear the excited buzz of children programming robots, learning about encryption via Julius Caesar, problem solving with ScratchMaths and discovering how artificial intelligence is changing the world. And because teachers need the digital skills and knowledge to be able to support children in their 21st-century learning,  you’ll also find groups of teachers absorbed in our CPD, whether that’s learning to use the iPad creatively and effectively, getting up to speed on online safety or taking part in one of or subject specialist workshops, such as the creative arts or English forums.

History will tell whether Damian Hinds is to contribute more to the future than visionary words but meanwhile the future is rushing headlong towards our children, irrespective of policy, and it is up to all of us to ensure they can meet it with the right knowledge and skills. Forward-thinking teachers know this and know that they need to equip themselves to help their students. London CLC is here – now – to help.

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