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.