An often-raised question in primary and secondary education is whether the most is being made of digital technology in giving children an education fit for the modern world. There are two issues here. One, is the standard of skills and competence being taught in ICT as a stand-alone subject preparing children for what is likely to be required in 20 years? And two, is the most being made of digital technology as a tool through which learning takes place in all subjects?
To free or not to free?
The second issue focuses on how technology can improve the experience of education, and perhaps make it more relevant to the world our children will be living in. Digital technology has already started to transform traditional models of learning in further and higher education; approaches like Blended Learning use digital content and communication platforms to free the learner from the classroom, providing choice as to when and how learning is accessed.
There are understandable reasons why such approaches have been slower to take hold in education for younger children. Would they have the maturity to organise their own learning in this way? Do younger children not still need the personal touch of a teacher who is on hand to show them new ideas, rather than the arm's-length style of distance learning?
But some of the barriers schools sometimes feel they face in making better use of technology in education need not be barriers at all; moreover, technology itself provides the answers. One issue raised in staff rooms all over the country with children completing more work digitally concerns storage. Often there is a sense of 'what do we do with it now?' when children complete work in the ICT suite. There's no easy way of returning the work to them in the classroom, so marking and improvement become an issue. With access to the suite limited, ICT work begins to fall outside the usual cycle of task completion and feedback which exists for all other subjects.
Introducing an online file sharing network, making use of cloud technology, solves those issues. As well as a easy-to-access central storage point for all digital work, such networks allow teachers to provide feedback on the work and update it with comments.
Because the network is cloud, or internet, based, children can access it from any device with an internet connection - a tablet in the classroom, their PC at home, even from a mobile phone. They can then respond to the teacher's feedback away from the ICT suite - a little piece of Blended Learning.
Octagon Education's ICT experts can help you find the right solutions to integrate digital technology into day-to-day learning in your school. If you would like more information about online file sharing, cloud services or any other aspect of ICT in schools, please get in touch today.