The personal learning network for educators
Given that the Reception children starting at our school in September 2010 will be looking for jobs in the summer of 2023 or around that time depending on the course of their lives beyond 16, what will they need to gain a foothold in the workplace and be successful?
How do we create the right conditions for the future Richard Bransons, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs to rise to the surface?
I don't think any of us would disagree that at least a basic understanding of maths and English is critical.
Richard Branson would probably tell you that EQ (emotional intelligence) is more important than IQ and has a greater bearing on your ability to succeed.
But not far behind these critieria for success will be the ability to understand the potential for technology to support learning and life. The way that particularly Apple products such as the Ipod Touch, the Iphone and the Ipad allow creativity to flow naturally through their intuitive interface stimulates creativity, imagination and inspiration.
Creative and imaginative schools are embracing technology to solve problems and enhance learning and we are getting to the point already where there is a huge divide in our state education system between those schools who use technology creatively and in many cases intuitively without Local Authority insistence, and those schools who still feel that interactive whiteboards are cutting edge technology and use them because they are told to. These schools tend to be those who just haven't seen the light in terms of how technology can promote independent learning and personalisation. They haven't yet made the connection.
I don't mean to sound patronising but with BECTA going and a somewhat limited ICT national curriculum and in many cases a Local Authority approach to ICT which can be just about using technology without fully understanding the links to teaching and learning, the omens for the future are not good.
Our children's future is not just about the ability to use technology of today but to have the creativity and imagination to be able to vision the technology of the future and how the future's problems can be addressed through technology. I fear that many of our schools, supported by the government, educate pupils for today's world and not the world that they will encounter in 2023.
China, India and Brazil have already proved that they can make products cheaper than we can so our future is about creating fresh and new ideas that stems from a creative spirit.
We currently educate for our present not their futures.
So where do we go from here?
Well if 70% of schools are not using technology well to support learning now with the support of all of these mechanisms and the major unprecedented investment we have had over the last ten years, what chance do we have into a future without investment or BECTA and maybe without LA's?
There is no doubt that the work that was caried out by BECTA nationally needs to continue whether that be through another body such as NAACE or SSAT. However at a local level we need to build the capacity at a local level with schools networking to share good practice and innovative ideas. The ICT register is a great example of this. I honestly feel that OFSTED need to get a grip on ICT and look for innovative and creative practice as they currently are part of the education for our present not their future, culture.
Ultimately individual schools need to take responsibility for the future lives and well being of their learners.
If education becomes about discharging a duty as a teacher to deliver lesson plans, about inspecting schools for evidence of results and league tables it becomes about the here and now, our kids need future proofing and we run the risk of missing this crucial point which denies them the birthright of a future.