Using technology in the curriculum

The big challenge facing ICT leaders in schools is often not to do with providing the facilities, but in encouraging teachers to use those facilities – and to do so in a meaningful way. We’ve all seen examples of where students are allowed to play on the computer if they’ve finished their “real” work, or where students whose regular teacher is not in school, and for whom no work has been set, get to do the same.

That’s partly a matter of school culture, persuasion, leadership and other factors. But it’s also a matter of finding something useful and relevant to do with technology – not from an ICT point of view, but from the perspective of the subject in question. If you’d like to hear a somewhat different perspective on this issue, why not join us for an online discussion tomorrow (Tuesday 4th January 2011) for a talk by, and chat with, Ashley Allain?

Ashley actually brings two different perspectives, so you get two for the price of one (it’s free, by the way)! Firstly, she lives in the USA. Secondly, she educates her children at home. That means she has to figure a lot of this stuff out for herself – and figure it out she has. She contributed two  projects to the Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book, and had some very incisive things to say about assessment, such as:

I feel schools often focus too much on assessment and overlook whether students are actually engaged in the learning process. Schools are taking great strides towards welcoming new technologies and are beginning to embrace new teaching methods, however, they are still too wrapped up in traditional measures of assessment.

If making technology relevant to teaching in general is something that interests you, or you're in a new job, or a new envionment (such as a free school), do join us tomorrow. Here are the details:

Join Vital, which is free, and take part in the discussions there. Interest declaration: Drew Buddie and I run the secondary ICT Co-ordinators’ Forum. As part of that we also run a weekly online discussion every Tuesday at 7pm UK time. The next one is on 4th January, and features a guest speaker called Ashley Allain, a homeschooling mom in the USA who uses technology across all subjects. It should be very interesting and enlightening. You can join that discussion here. (All sessions start promptly at 7pm UK time unless otherwise stated, although you may enter a few minutes early if you wish. Here’s a world clock for colleagues who will be outside the UK at the time. The session will be hosted until 8pm, but the room won’t be closed until 9:30pm for colleagues who wish to continue the discussion.)

Drew and I look forward to “seeing” you then!