What was your BETT highlight?

Having returned from my annual pilgrimage to the BETT Show I was asked by numerous people to share my BETT highlight. The show was dominated this year by a wide array of tablet devices, computer programming resources, data analytics and much more besides. Though it has moved down to the Excel arena it continues to attract teachers and vendors from all over the world. Though I found the exhibits and the talks of interest down at the arena my two highlights of the week occurred elsewhere. The first centred on a workshop with Bruce Dixon and the second was a visit to a school in North London. For today I will just share some reflections from Bruce’s workshop and I will share my observations of the school in a separate blog post.

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I think this is worth remembering in the current climate when many in education appear to be overestimating the impact of tablet and other devices in 1:1 programmes. They are almost viewed as magic, something dropped from heaven, and yet the evidence is clear that their introduction alone will not have a significant impact on learning. Bruce cautions against such an approach and urges us to consider our vision for learning in today’s global society.

Ultimately schools should start by considering what their vision is for learning in today’s society and the role powerful digital technologies might play within it.

Follow the link to an  activity to carry out on your own and with colleagues…

Such an activity should help you and your colleagues to create a vision and to consider the potential role of a 1:1 programme within your school. It should be noted that Bruce sees this as the first step within a process that consists of 21 steps. However, he is very much of the view that it is worth spending significant time and effort to consider your vision as this establishes a solid foundation. All too often schools begin by asking the question “What device should I buy?” Though this is an important question it is well down the list and should not really be the first consideration. So if you are considering investing tablets or laptops or some other devices consider your vision and visit the AALF website and Bruce’s videos on YouTube to help you on your journey.

Ultimately this should lead schools to ask questions, such as:

· How will the curriculum be organised?

· Who will decide what students learn and how they should learn?

· How will student learning be measured?

· What will assessments look like?

· How often will students be assessed?

· Who will determine the quality of student work?

· How will ICT support these changes?

By engaging in such discussions schools can establish their priorities and commence their journey in the knowledge they have articulated clear goals and priorities. The following video might also help in this regard.

Final Word

Schools are in the business of ensuring that their students are learning and this is their core function. Therefore the integration of ICT into a school needs to begin by focusing on what teaching, learning and assessment might look like. By having a clear vision as to what teaching, learning and assessment will look like in a school is an essential first step that all schools should engage in.

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