More kit-focussed wrong-headedness

Aaargh. Articles like this from UKAuthorITy make us want to scream, not because they don’t, underneath it all, have a bit of a point, but because of the constant harping on the theme of hardware, when all the kit in the world won’t make a blind bit of difference while the IT curriculum remains so moribund and entirely focussed away from teaching children anything about real computing.

The article focusses on the costs of providing “learning technology devices such as laptops at home and at school”, specifically that schools are not using the pupil premium to good effect. Valerie Thompson, chief executive of the e-Learning Foundation, is quoted in the article as follows:

“there is no reason why schools should not be deploying some or all of the pupil premium on devices like netbooks, lower-end laptops and tablets”

Well fine, of course children should become familiar with current technologies, and there’s always a lot to be gained by working with what children find fascinating. We agree with her remarks about technology being a strand that should run through all the teaching a school does rather than a dedicated and isolated subject, but how can any article on provision of technology, especially from a charity with the aim of ensuring all children have access to learning technology, not talk about Open Source or tackle the issue of current IT teaching and how it’s letting down a generation of students? There needs to be a whole new approach to deploying IT to the best advantage of everyone in a school, and providing flash new technology is just one part of that. In our opinion no one aspect of this uphill task can be discussed in isolation, or not if we’re going to achieve anything.

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