Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Spending, benefits and reality hitting home

Well, it seems that IT in education will be high on the political agenda in the UK. After blowing budgets on all kinds of splendour of promising new technologies in the classroom, questions are being asked about what we actually invested in. Do you know? From BBC News Blog dot.Rory:

Are we building schools for the future?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010, Rory Cellan-Jones

In the last decade there's been a technology revolution in schools. Billions have been spent on computers for teachers and pupils, on installing wireless networks, on putting electronic whiteboards in just about every classroom - and on the IT suppliers who run school systems. But now there's mounting disquiet about this huge investment programme - and questions are being asked not just by politicians but by teachers about whether it's delivering what children need.

"But when you throw in projectors, electronic whiteboards, a wireless network and a swipecard electronic registration system it all adds up to a lot of money - £1.5m for the initial fitting-out, and then big running costs every year."

"A common theme was of over-ambitious new building schemes that were so inflexible that the technology was out of date or not fit for purpose by the time schools opened. I heard of huge frustrations about contracts with IT suppliers which head teachers felt did not deliver what their schools needed."

"Nobody I spoke to wanted to go back to chalk and talk, dump the computers, and leave children to make their own way in the digital age. But there was a growing recognition that spending big sums on kit did not necessarily deliver better education.

The symbol of the school IT spending spree is the electronic whiteboard. But I met plenty of teachers who were not convinced that an interactive board costing several thousand pounds was essential, especially in an education system where a teacher standing at the front lecturing silent rows of rapt children is now seen as old hat."

Read and listen here

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