Technology in schools can be great. We’re not just saying that because it’s what we do. We truly believe that technology has the ability to improve engagement and connect with students in ways that enhance learning and drive school progress.
We’ve visited schools for the first time where ICT definitely needs some TLC. We have seen first-hand that when technology doesn’t work well it interrupts lessons and administration time, it robs teachers of their confidence and student behaviour can go awry because broken ICT is distracting. Yet in many other schools, we have also seen that great ICT facilitates:
With personalised learning students can learn at their own pace, in ways that best suit them and where they prefer. This is great for those keen to speed ahead and also for those who prefer to work at a more comfortable pace, so no-one gets left behind. Read the pros and cons in this Financial Times article.
Interactivity and engagement
E-learning offers numerous ways to engage students actively. Technology can simulate real-world experiences with virtual tools like multi-player simulations or role-plays. Research has shown that those who use a computer/laptop for just one hour or less per day for homework or non-homework purposes are likely to not achieve five A*–C grades at GCSE.
Skills for the future
Research shows that technology in the classroom supports a range of hard and soft digital skills, such as creativity and innovation, research and information fluency online. Technology, therefore, can help equip every child with many basic digital skills needed for future employment.
The days of standing at the board and talking at students are well and truly over. New (and sometimes free) technologies make lessons more interesting and interactive. As well as many other tools there are also free apps that teachers can use including SoloLearn: Learn to Code and Duolingo for language learning. Immersive learning environments too, for example, can transport students to other worlds and completely immersed virtual realities, bringing lessons to life and inspiring them.
The above are just four ways ICT can support school progress. There are many other ways of course, including supporting administrative functions and helping office staff to get their jobs done far quicker.
Yet how do you get there? How do you get to that point where you have ICT that supports learners and staff, and also inspires students through deeper engagement?
It’s a tall order, particularly so for schools trying to balance the books or those lacking expertise. Plus, who really has the time, strategy, skills and vision to get all of the above implemented?
This is where external ICT support provides schools with the skills and vision required to take your ICT from average to fantastic, without overspending and without investing in technologies that won’t last. Many schools may consider third-party ICT support as expensive but there is a good bank of evidence to show that this model can save schools money, whilst overhauling their technology.
Just make sure that the provider you choose works with you on your terms. From full management to hybrid ICT support, the team you work with should simply complement the expertise you have now, listen to your requirements and create a plan to help you reach your end goals.
An external ICT support provider will bring greater control to your school, which in turn will support whole-school progress including driving attainment and engagement. It should also minimise any disruptions caused by technology, and support your school in running like clockwork every single day.