I was recently encouraged to read the American National Education Technology Plan 2010 by a colleague. This is a clear call to change education to meet the needs of a new century and to recognise the role of technology to help us to do that. In the absence of anything similar coming from our own Department for Education, I would recommend we take up the vision that is set out by Obama’s Administration:
We want to develop inquisitive, creative, resourceful thinkers; informed citizens; effective problem-solvers; groundbreaking pioneers; and visionary leaders. We want to foster the excellence that flows from the ability to use today’s information, tools, and technologies effectively and a commitment to lifelong learning. All these are necessary for Americans to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.
To accomplish this, schools must be more than information factories; they must be incubators of exploration and invention. Educators must be more than information experts; they must be collaborators in learning, seeking new knowledge and constantly acquiring new skills alongside their students. Students must be fully engaged in school—intellectually, socially, and emotionally. This level of engagement requires the chance to work on interesting and relevant projects, the use of technology environments and resources, and access to an extended social network of adults and peers who support their intellectual growth. – page 1
There is a very brave call for change in this document from the American Department of Education:
Technology can enable transforming education but only if we commit to the change that it will bring to our education system. For example, students come to school with mobile devices that let them carry the Internet in their pockets and search the Web for the answers to test questions. While such behavior traditionally has been viewed as cheating, with such ubiquitous access to information is it time to change what and how we teach? Similarly, do we ignore the informal learning enabled by technology outside school, or do we create equally engaging and relevant experiences inside school and blend the two? – page 4
Once there is a recognition that we need to change we can move quite quickly, because of the affordances made through technology, to make those changes happen.
There are all sorts of exciting examples of how schools are embracing this change, here are a few of my current favourites:
Alex’s Class – amazing blog from a primary school class
Heathfield’s Year 6 blog – another amazing blog from a primary school
Self Organised Learning Environments – new ways of teaching coming from the research of Sugata Mitra
I hope our own Department for Education will:
If you want to hear more about the American policy on education technology, watch this talk from Karen Cator from the US department of Education: