In the modern curriculum, learning appropriate technology skills has become as important as learning to read, write, and maths. Technology is here to stay and schools should embrace it to prepare their pupils for the digital world of the future. It is not enough to teach IT as a separate subject.
The world we live in is full of technology. We are able to connect to the internet at any time. Most children own devices such as phones, tablets and games consoles. In the future everyone will rely even more on technology.
Therefore, access to digital technology should also be integral to everyday teaching and learning. Schools should teach pupils how to take advantage of the opportunities of using technology to solve problems, support their learning, present their thoughts and collaborate with people beyond their classroom. All schools teach pupils to be critical of the information on the internet and how to be a good digital citizen when interacting with others, including online bullying. This goes across all subjects as they are vital skills for life in the future. Isn’t it also education’s purpose to prepare the pupils for life with tech in the future?
Sadly, most children have access to better equipment at home than at schools in terms of technology. In schools, pupils often have to share devices that are old, networks are slow, teachers lack confidence and stuff just doesn’t work. When teachers dread to use the IT equipment because it is unreliable and when pupils’ devices struggle and lessons fail, the pupils miss out and no progress is made.
In Lockdown Learning, IT suddenly became key to providing education at home. Luckily, at Borrowdale School's IT has always been important and the governors of Borrowdale School had already recognised the importance of having excellent IT facilities so we were able to adapt quickly to the new way of working.
In recent years, the school made it a priority that pupils have their ‘own’ iPad. These are now connected to 300Gb fibre into the premises (Gigabit Project) so all devices can be connected at the same time without losing speed. All our teachers use their Apple machines to support their teaching and the system just works seamlessly. By the end of February 2022, the latest upgrades to our internal network (upgrading all equipment to the newest WiFi6 standard) will be completed (DfE’s Connect the Classroom programme).
The result is that pupils are carefully guided on their journey to become ‘digitally literate’ from a young age. Access to iPads in class is normal, and pupils use devices as an everyday tool for learning and presenting information, rather than a once-a-week lesson in an IT suite. The iPads also work from home when needed!
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