Earlier today we heard from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, as he opened the BETT Show 2012. Here’s an excerpt that neatly summarises his speech:

We want a modern education system which exploits the best that technology can offer to schools, teachers and pupils. Where schools use technology in imaginative and effective ways to build the knowledge, understanding and skills that young people need in the future. And where we can adapt to and welcome every new technological advance that comes along to change everything, all over again, in ways we never expected
– Michael Gove, BETT Show, 11th January, 2012.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll reflect on the key messages and consider what this means for you, our customers, and how we can continue to help and support you to achieve your goals but, for now, we’ve summarised the key takeaways so you don’t have to:

  • Technology has changed our world, and us: almost every field of employment now depends on technology. From radio, to television, computers and the internet, each new technological advance has changed our world and changed us too.
  • Education has barely changed. A Victorian schoolteacher could enter a 21st Century classroom and feel completely at home. Although technology is bringing about a profound transformation to how and what we teach, we’ve not yet managed to make the most of this potential.
  • The UK has been let down by an ICT curriculum that neglects the rigorous computer science and programming skills which high-tech industries need. Schools are already leading the way when it comes to educational technology in new and exciting ways but they’re doing it in spite of the existing ICT curriculum, not because of it.
  • We need to step back and ask “what can technology do for learning?
    • Technology has the potential to disseminate learning much more widely than ever before.
    • Just as technology raises profound questions about how we learn, it also prompts us to think about how we teach.
    • Technology brings unprecedented opportunities for assessment.
  • The Government will not be prescriptive in terms of exactly what and how to teach, but rather support, facilitate and encourage change.
    • Ensure teachers can feel confident using tech tools and resources by focussing on teacher training.
    • Consult on withdrawing the ICT Programme of Study, so schools and teachers will have freedom over what and how to teach.
    • As well as choosing what to study, schools can choose how, and technology can be integrated and embedded across the whole curriculum.
  • Schools should not neglect shrewd and wise investment in technology, despite the removal of ring-fenced funding and austere times. British companies are world leaders in education technology and, as such, we should all be alive to the great promise of innovation.

You can also read the full speech (source: The Guardian).

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