Yesterday I presented at the Inside Government conference. It was a fantastic day and here are some of the highlights – this is not quite a ‘live’ blog but I did try to blog as the day went on :
Lord David Puttnam started of the day he spoke about the fact that the world of education is about 10 yrs off the pace of where we need to be we have no choice but to embrace power of digital techs at every level. Life in uk has been transformed in last 20 year – reshaped ways that we have connected and live – rightly or wrongly we expect a new relationship accessing old but also creating learning that does not have to happen in one place – there is a fantastic knowledge resource one click away.
The teachers role in this is as a trusted learning guide schools have a central role. Young people may be smarter in using new technology access to this not confined to small elite – anyone can set up blog twitter – distance no longer an obstacle – too often loudest voices drown out most reasonable choices – digital lynch mob that needs to be guarded against. Our digital society should be a society thoughtfully balanced rights for respect and learn from each other – librarians crucial role to play in this.
For our children they will begin work in 2025-2030 – retire 2070 cant predict what world will look like in 2-3 years time never mind when they will begin work. One example pace of change – FB 850 million daily users paying 1 billion dollars that employs 13 people that has not existed for a year – this is the pace of change. We need to prepare students for risks to equip them with skills that involve co-operation, agility and compassion to deal with challenges and changes. Careers for young children will now be varied no longer just one career – but more than one.
Average is over today – every one today needs to find their extra! Digital technology – needs a framework and vision – so that every policy decision across govt is able to compete with others - we are not living in victorian era our immediate task is to explore and harness these new opportunities. We are in difficult financial circumstance - the question should be how can uk up its digital game? Change is the only certainty .
Oracy strong feature of learning we need a quality quality discourse, teachers have to become better at listening and pupils more articulate it is fundamental to life, it requires pupils to talk more and teachers less -traditionalists dont lik this goes away from 3 rs. Technology can help with assessment gives us an insight into how and why things have been learned – simply have to know more about e learning potential of each child!
If all you do with tech is to use it to support existing methodologies – why are we doing it ? We need to look at the whole of the education system, no education system can ever be better than the quality of teachers that it employs and finally the undisputed role of education of women across the globe.
Next up was Ian Livingstone:
Ian is the co-author of the Nesta next generation he spoke about how he had been involved in games form World of warcraft to Lara Croft – he spoke about the fact that games have moved from the niche to more mainstream. We are the creative nation in the world? The Uk is celebrated around world for its creativity but do we empower tour students to create? Despite growing market the UK has dropped from 3rd to 6th in the global league why? Making games not easy it is a combination of art and technology and in the past we have made pupils choose between the two – it should not be a case of STEM but STEAM we need coders and animators. Problem with ICT- kids now know what computers are – creative learning outside the classroom. Historically from the 1980s children used the bbc micro it was the c cornerstone of computing within school with the zx spectrum at home. If we do not teach coding and programming skills we are effectively locking down computers and teaching children to read and not to write. We can not build a digital society without digital skills. It should also not just be about games – these skills are relevant to all creative industries.
Ian spoke about the next generation report – looking at all 11 year olds using scratch to create 2d animations in scratch and computer science becoming more of an integral part of the curriculum. All the recommendations of the report an be followed by using the link above.
Matt Clegg spoke about procurement and used the case of Dudley as an example of what ‘good’ procurement should look like this was followed by the head of Roding Valley high School who spoke about their work with Precedence in creating an IT solution that worked with them and for them as a business.
I was next up talking about use of games within the classroom – just for a change! I will embed slides from this at a later date.
After lunch we had Valerie Thompson from the e-learning foundation this is a national education charity – focus on digital divide and attainment gap so far they have helped over 1000 schools overcome barriers to 1:1 provision. A lot more about their work can be found on their web site. She spoke about the need for 1:1 provision to overcome the digital divide and to help overcome the attainment gap . Finding solutions to fund this that suits school – leasing and subscriptions/parental donation approach/.pupil owned devices and finding a solutions that works locally making the most of pupil premium within schools to achieve this. Every March e learning foundation conducts a survey from parents they found that parents say they struggle with homework, welcome more support from schools and are prepared to contribute towards the cost if….. they can see skills growing and that they siblings don’t need to share. They resent paying for it if schools have poor track record of maintaining and do not explain fully to the teachers what their use is.
Neil Selwyn – Insitute of education academic researcher spoke about digital literacy he mentioned the london knowledge lab . He mentioned the need to have a sense of history and that there aren’t any simple solutions. What is digital literacy and why does it matter? There is a big danger that we take for granted that everything that we are talking about today is a big issue – in the real world most of that stuff does not matter. Rose review – 2009 – lots of interesting proposals of bringing digital literacy – a lot of the press were against mainly from the daily mail – “exit winston churchill, enter twitter, yes its the new primary school curriculum” but also the head of NUt saying the same thing and michael gove – moaning replacing soldi knowledge – a lot of hostility towards was shown at the time towards the Rose Review proposals.
Another argument is that digital literacy not an important technology because children pick it up as they go along – another argument that digital natives are born into this and therefore do not need to be taught – young people know more about tech that adults – digital natives a good example of why we need to continue with digital literacy – because we don’t live in simple world where technology is ubiquitous.
Digital natives are a myth - when we actually look at it – most students use of tech is low level sporadic not the creative c – oxford internet survey 16-24 research shows that the largest t group are the normative – use facebook, wiki but nothing more that that.
We do need digital literacy- but we have had every type of literacy competency that you can think of it is an area that is very messy and can be very woolly – very little changing on the ground – we need to be critical of digital literacy. He recommended reading the following paper by Ivor Goodson – Computer Literacy as Ideology this can be found here.
We also need to look what are the values that are driving the current debate – obvious ec focus – but does need challenging – what skills are we talking about? Idea of critical digital literacy – ideas of social justice help people be critical consumers – particularly popular in Scandinavia – Dutch refer to it as digital wisdom.
4 points to consider in conversations
1 – what are the problems that we are trying to solve?
2 – there is no one size fits all solution – danger of finding one
3 literacy’s not literacy
4 the need for better debate and discuss – getting people in real world to care about it – involving people
if we ask general public what are the real issues that they are worried – what about the students?
Up next were Professors from Herriot Watt University who spoke about their Scholar programme – more information about Scholar can be found here: http://scholar.hw.ac.uk/England/
Next up was Miles Berry - who was representing Raspberry Pi his slides can be found here it was a fascinating talk. I recommend that you do go and have a look at this Prezi.
Up next were CC4G they are an after school/lunch time IT club for 9-14 year old girls – e skills uk - reason behind CC4G is that IT is seen as a boys subject – to do with gaming – gaming focused on boys games, it a solitary lack of girl friendly materials lack of role models.
Girls career aspirations – girls start thinking about careers from age 8 they understand that all careers are open to them but they aspire to traditional female roles – things that change these are personal encounters, mentoring activities and meeting professionals.
computer clubs for girls – aims to solve this – 8 islands that contain a different topic – designed specifically for girls aged 8-14 – designed by Aardman – used by schools as extra curricular activities. schools like it – club in a box
why it works – high quality content – guarantees time on the hard ware matches girls preferred ways of working bite sized and reward heavy and is seen as a treat, it has been around since 2005 – 3,8000 schools have run clubs with 135000members – 80% of members more likely to consider ITrelated careers. This used to be a free resource but sadly has had its funding cut so is now a paid for service.
Finally Chris Binns from 21st century skills – spoke about the need to prepare students with skills and recommended the following book- the world is flat by Tom friedman http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat the competitive bar for students is raised and we need to think about skills that we are giving them.
All in all a great day.