Monday, 7 July 2014

Education ICT

The education landscape is experiencing radical change which is re-moulding the infrastructure of future learning environments. Technology is a high spend consideration for most schools yet smarter spending on the right equipment and infrastructure ensures that learners are engaged and motivated and that every pupil reaches their potential. With this in mind the Education ICT Conference took place on Tuesday 10th June at the QEII Conference Centre, London – attendees joined to explore new ideas and innovations in the curriculum, teaching and resources and to properly equip pupils both in school and in their future careers.

Over the course of the day influential speakers focused on how schools can make ICT investment count, nurture digital skills and creative computer science, upgrade ICT infrastructure to make learning environments fit for the future, safeguard devices and explore BYOD.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Co-Author, NextGen Report, Chair, NextGen Skills Committee, Government Advisor on ICT Curriculum Reform kicked off the day with a motivational speech on the future of computing in schools and highlighted the ways games skills can help children to develop life skills. Next was Peter Hughes, Head of Schools ICT Procurement, Schools Commercial Team, Department for Education with a presentation on what factors add up to effective and best value ICT. Peter highlighted the following exciting statistic:

“By 2015 schools anticipate 53% of pupil-time being exposed to teaching and learning using ICT”

This indicated education ICT will be a huge part of the teaching and learning environment in the future, but what ICT and technology should be used, at what cost and how should it be procured? Sarah Hurrell, Commercial Director – Technology, Crown Commercial Service aimed to answer these questions in her presentation on G – Cloud and central government procurement.

Simon Peyton-Jones continued the morning’s discussion with a session on creative computer science and the new national curriculum. His session received excellent feedback from the audience and offered insights on how to use technology to teach other subjects. He also focused on how teachers can use subjects to prepare our children to solve problems that don’t yet exist:

Next on the agenda was cyber safety and protecting children online presented by David Wright, Director, UK Safer Internet Centre who noted e-safety is a child protection issue not an ICT issue and 72% of children feel the need to be available to friends online.

Kevin Tansley, Head teacher, Ty Gwyn Special Needs School, Wales offered an inspiring presentation on supported learning for children with special educational needs using technology. Kevin went on to explain how Ty Gwyn went from adequate to outstanding in six years and how a new school was built for £16million with outdoor access for every classroom. The morning’s session came to a close with a presentation by Dawn Hallybone, Deputy Head, Oakdale Junior School and Children’s Centre. The last presentation of the morning offered insights into the development of digital leadership and networks in schools and how digital leaders can help teachers, promote the new curriculum and allow children to develop their digital skills.

The new computing curriculum was a major discussion on the day and Rob Belli, Standards Division, Department for Education presented on:
  • Why do we have a new computing curriculum?
  • What is new about the computing curriculum?
  • What the Department for Education is doing to support teachers in implementing the new curriculum
  • Gaining the involvement and support of parents
  • Examples of good practice
BYOD in Schools was another hot topic of the day and Mike Gunn, Head of Creative Arts, Finham Park School offered excellent insights in to Finham Park School’s BYOD experience. Mike was quickly followed by Drew Buddie, Head of ICT, Royal Masonic School, Junior vice Chair, Board of Management, Naace whose presentation comparing ICT teachers to Game of Thrones characters proved to be very informative. 

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