Sunday, November 18, 2012

Investment in Technology in Education a waste of money?

Bit of a long one this but here goes......

Nesta in the Uk have produced a pretty wide ranging study on the use of IT in Education.

The report argues in favour of increased use of technology but is critical of much that is being done in many schools. The more critical parts are highlighted in this article in the Telegraph.

The full report is here

My reading of the report is that it boils down to an argument that investment in technology without training for both teachers and students and without a change in teaching methods will be a waste of money as it will have little beneficial impact but that technology in education used well is very promising.

Food for thought


Report abstract & conclusion

In the last five years UK schools have spent more than £1 billion on digital technology. From interactive whiteboards to tablets, there is more digital technology in schools than ever before. But so far there has been little evidence of substantial success in improving educational outcomes.

Something is going wrong.

Nesta commissioned the London Knowledge Lab (LKL) and Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI), University of Nottingham, to analyse how technology has been used in the UK education systems and lessons from around the world. Uniquely, we wanted this to be set within a clear framework for better understanding the impact on learning experiences.

Decoding Learning finds proof of technology supporting effective learning, emerging technologies that show promise of impact, and exciting teacher practice that displays the potential for effective digital education.

November 2012

Rosemary Luckin, Brett Bligh, Andrew Manches, Shaaron Ainsworth, Charles Crook, Richard Noss.

We looked for proof, potential and promise in digital education.

We found proof by putting learning first. We have shown how different technologies can improve learning by augmenting and connecting proven learning activities. This approach gives us a new framework for evaluating future innovations in education.

The numerous examples of good practice identified in this report show that there is also
a great deal that can be done with existing technology. it is clear that there is no single technology that is ‘best’ for learning. We have identified technology being used effectively to support a variety of learning activities and learners across a wide range of subjects and learning environments. rather, different technologies can be used to support different forms of learning, either individually or in conjunction with others.

There is a growing body of invaluable evidence that demonstrates how technology can
be used effectively to support learning. however, if that evidence is going to be useful in practice it needs to address the contexts within which the technology is used; and it needs to be presented in ways that are accessible to industry, teachers and learners.

We found clear potential to make better use of technologies that are widely available and that many schools have already purchased. but this potential will only be realised through innovative teaching practice. Teachers may require additional training that enables them to use technologies in new ways.

There is enormous potential for further innovation in digital education. success will come from commercial developers, researchers, teachers and learners working together to develop, test and spread imaginative new technologies.

We also found many areas of promise; that is, areas where technology is currently undervalued and underused. We found relatively little technological innovation in some of the more effective learning themes we considered in chapter 2. for example, the market is saturated with drill and practice games (particularly for maths) to support Learning through Practising despite being regarded as one of the less powerful learning themes. meanwhile, there has been relatively little technological innovation aimed at supporting Learning through Assessment – which can be a powerful aid to teaching and learning.

Over recent decades, many efforts to realise the potential of digital technology in education have made two key errors. collectively, they have put the technology above teaching and excitement above evidence. This means they have spent more time, effort and money looking to find the digital silver bullet that will transform learning than they have into evolving teaching practice to make the most of technology. if we are to make progress we need to clarify the nature of the goal we want to satisfy through future innovation. much existing teaching practice may well not benefit greatly from new technologies. as we continue to develop our understanding of technology’s proof, potential and promise, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve learning experiences in the classroom and beyond.