Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Maturity in the use of technology in education

I created the following Digital Maturity Index to help educators reflect where they are on their journey to successfully implementing technology into their teaching and learning.

Educational Digital Maturity Index (EDMI)
The EDMI is underpinned by an understanding of school effectiveness and school improvement, drawing reference from research by the Institute of Education on school effectiveness, linking the use of technology to school improvement.

The six domains are:

Digitally Mature Leaders – How do leaders use technology? How do they encourage others to use technology? Is the use of technology fully embedded into their vision for the organisation? How does their vision for technology support enhanced outcomes?

Digitally Mature Teachers – Are teachers confident about using technology? Do they have technology embedded into their pedagogical practice? Do teachers share their great practice between each other? Do teachers use technology to teach and work across areas of knowledge?

Digitally Mature Students – We often think of students as the master of technology but often they need as much support as everyone else. Are all students confident in using technology? Are all students able to access and use technology? Does the use of technology support students to perform better.

Digitally Relevant Curriculum – Without a review of the curriculum technology can often not be fully exploited. Have leaders and teachers reviewed the curriculum to ensure that technology is being used effectively? Have curriculum activities been specifically designed to make effective use of what technology can offer? Will the curriculum take advantage of the opportunities for out of school learning?

Robust and well designed Infrastructure – Has the infrastructure been designed to support the multiple personal devices that might be deployed? Has the connectivity been checked to see if it is sufficient? Has the active network infrastructure been configured to support the data it will need to process? Has the wireless infrastructure been designed to support the device strategy?

An understanding of how classroom spaces, buildings and campuses support the use of technology Traditional classroom and ICT sites support certain types of technology. What happens when you suddenly introduce mobile devices? Are traditional learning spaces suitable for mobile personal learning? Do classrooms have the spaces and facilities to make mobile learning successful?



Further thoughts on OECD report

Much was made of the OECD report published on 15th October on computers and technology in schools. The reporting appeared to focus entirely on whether technology improved results for the Pisa tests. Not very surprisingly technology has little measurable impact on how well a student does when they are sat in front of a paper based summative test. I assume that the share price of pen and pencil manufactures have soared as clearly the greatest impact on outcome is the pen and pencil if we are comparing tools that are used to facilitate summative testing.

But within the report, in the forward, was a clarion call from Andreas Schleicher for education systems to embrace technology, understand the potential and invest in teachers. There are so many quotable passages in the second half of the forward that I’ve simply placed them below my comments in their entirety. They stand on their own and provide the best argued and most comprehensive rationale for how technology is changing the education landscape that I have seen in a very long time. All credit to Andreas Schleicher for being so clear and concise in summing up the challenges.

Two quotes stand out however. Andreas Schleicher says:

‘To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries will need a convincing strategy to build teachers’ capacity. And policy-makers need to become better at building support for support for this agenda.’

And:

‘If we want to mobilise support for more technology-rich schools, we need to invest in capacity development and change-management skills, develop sound evidence and feed this evidence back into institutions, and back all that up with sustainable financing’

Well said and can we act on this now as a country, please. There are so many pockets of excellence where these things are happening, these need sharing.

Finally, I must say something about the comments around banning mobile devices in schools. I am clear: Just as we address issues around the misuse of drugs and provide guidance and advice on sex education to our young people we have a moral responsibility and duty to address the use of mobile devices. Simply telling young people to put them away in school will on one level remove the widely reported issues of misuse in lessons but will drive underground the issues we know exist around improper use. We should be encouraging young people to use their devices in appropriate ways, asking them to show us what they are doing on their devices, making sure teachers can look at web browser histories and challenge inappropriate use. Simply driving the use of these devices out of the classroom will have wider issues and create more problems. Schools have a role to provide advice and support for young people so that can become successful citizens. With the government driving essential services online and business rapidly adopting mobile and personal technology the duty to educate is clear.

Take a look at what the IPACA folks are doing around their UMOD scheme (Use My Own Device). http://www.ipaca.uk.com they providing advice and support for students to use their own devices to ensure that they are safe, well informed and understand how to navigate the complex online world that is now a part of our culture. They have also embraced some work we have done on Digital Maturity in education - check out Gary Sparacklen's blog for more on that.

Quotes from the OECD report:
The following text from the forward by Andreas Schleicher sets out the challenges we face in education systems in a near perfect manner. The need for coherent, country based strategies is clear but getting these in place in a way that avoids reactionary responses is maybe the single greatest challenge we all face.

 ‘Technology can amplify great teaching but technology cannot replace poor teaching’ and ‘If we want students to become smarter than a smartphone, we need to think harder about the pedagogies we are using to teach’

 ‘We need to get this right in order to provide educators with the learning environments that support 21st Century pedagogies and provide children with the 21st Century skills they need to succeed on tomorrow’s world.’…….‘Why should students be limited to a textbook that was printed two years ago, maybe designed ten years ago, when they could have access to the world’s best and most up-to-date textbook.’

‘Perhaps more importantly technology can support new pedagogies and collaborative workspaces. For example, technology can support new pedagogies that focus on learners as active participants with tools for inquiry-based pedagogies and collaborative workspaces.

‘To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries will need a convincing strategy to build teachers’ capacity. And policy-makers need to become better at building support for support for this agenda.’

‘……….technology can enhance experiential learning, foster project-based and inquiry-based pedagogies, facilitate hands-on activities and cooperative learning, deliver formative real-time assessment and support learning and teaching communities, with new tools such as remote and virtual labs, highly interactive non-linear courseware based on state-of-the-art instructional design, sophisticated software for experimentation and simulation, social med and serious games.

‘If we want to mobilise support for more technology-rich schools, we need to invest in capacity development and change-management skills, develop sound evidence and feed this evidence back into institutions, and back all that up with sustainable financing’

‘…..it is vital that teachers become active agents for change, not just in implementing technological innovations, but in designing them too.’









Tuesday, 15 September 2015

OECD Report on Students, Computers and Learning

I picked through the OECD report this morning. I pulled out the comments below as being interesting from the forward by Andreas Schleicher. 

‘Technology can amplify great teaching but technology cannot replace poor teaching’
‘If we want students to become smarter than a smartphone, we need to think harder about the pedagogies we are using to teach’

‘We need to get this right in order to provide educators with the learning environments that support 21st Century pedagogies and provide children with the 21st Century skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s world.’

‘Why should students be limited to a textbook that was printed two years ago, maybe designed ten years ago, when they could have access to the world’s best and most up-to-date textbook.’

‘Perhaps more importantly technology can support new pedagogies and collaborative workspaces. For example, technology can support new pedagogies that focus on learners as active participants with tools for inquiry-based pedagogies and collaborative workspaces.

‘……….technology can enhance experiential learning, foster project-based and inquiry-based pedagogies, facilitate hands-on activities and cooperative learning, deliver formative real-time assessment and support learning and teaching communities, with new tools such as remote and virtual labs, highly interactive non-linear courseware based on state-of-the-art instructional design, sophisticated software for experimentation and simulation, social media and serious games.'

‘To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries will need a convincing strategy to build teachers’ capacity. And policy-makers need to become better at building support for this agenda.’

‘…..it is vital that teachers become active agents for change, not just in implementing technological innovations, but in designing them too.’

I think these are useful and thought provoking comments.

Full report here:


http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/students-computers-and-learning_9789264239555-en#page1

Friday, 26 June 2015

It's Broad, Deep and Important

I was heartened by two pieces of writing this week. Firstly this excellently argued article reflecting on the implications of curriculum reforms. The balance between the need for academic rigour and creativity has never been more important. I won’t rehearse the arguments again here as the article makes the points very well.

The second is a blog post by Dominic Norrish. His reflections on the implications for technology and the new OfSTED framework are worth a read. Dominic teases out the links between what highly effective teachers do and the need for technology to support that practice, arguing therefore that technology sits at the very heart of what OfSTED is aiming to achieve. An excellent and well argued piece.

This strikes a particular resonance for me. OfSTED was created in 1992 and one of the first things it did was commission research from the Institute of Education on what makes effective schools. The IOE did a review that looked at the UK and abroad. They published a paper that highlighted eleven things that highly effective schools did. That research was further codified in a set of papers on school effectiveness. This approach to creating effective schools still underpins the OfSTED framework, so making the link to how technology supports these characteristics is highly important in my view. In 1999 I wrote a piece on all this in a book called ‘The Empowered Citizen – Growing Up In An Information Society’ and continue to share this belief that technology is at the heart of what highly effective teachers do every day because teachers adapt their practice, reflect on what makes great learning and are highly tuned to what their learners need to be successful.

Drawing together the need for a broad curriculum that promotes creativity with the application of technology to high quality learning and teaching the following advert will clearly attract a lot of attention and applications.



Add to that the excellent work going on around EdTech startups here, innovative education start up companies here AND the push on coding, we see an exciting landscape emerging that opens up a wider definition of what education needs to achieve in the 21st Century. The importance of depth as well as breadth, the essential need for Character Education and belief that the whole person is important.

As to the technology debate - I would urge all those in teaching and education leadership to continue to reflect on the role of technology to support high quality teachers and leaders. There is excellent work going on in the health sector where there is a real focus on technology and data to improve outcomes. Worth a read in my view.