For hundreds of years, pedagogy has formed the core of teaching and learning. Learning outcomes and results have become the narrow view of education stakeholders that fuel the re of league tables and grades. There are aggressive parents living out their dreams through their children, or schools delivering a cookie- cutter education, so the children can leave and live lives that replicate their parent’s footsteps. Whilst I have nothing against the many typical ‘professional jobs’ out there, I do worry that education is failing our children.
Schools talk a lot about ‘educating the whole child ’, and ‘giving them opportunities beyond the curriculum’ to thrive in what they are good at but are we missing the point?
Teaching practice needs to evolve to match the changing world around us, but unfortunately we have not evolved at the required rate. Humans are lazy by design, and will revert to the easiest path, as long as it delivers an acceptable result. Technology has played a huge part in making knowledge more accessible, and when used correctly, can make learning more immersive, engaging and fun. However, these are the exceptions. Why? Schools tend to focus on buying technology, without considering the human impact.
Technology gets wrapped up with simple labels promising to be the answer to everything (VLE, Portal, MIS, LMS, etc.). These all invariably fail after the point of implementation, because the users have not been considered enough, nor trained adequately to make the most out of them. We must consider this both in terms of management (someone needs to manage the data/content going in), and also in terms of the consumer (accessing this data/content in their personalised way).
So schools are left with these technology silos – slowly becoming digital graveyards. The trouble is, once people give up using a system for the intention it was once brought in for – the entire platform is doomed to fail. Data becomes inconsistent and untrustworthy. The point at which the users access this information, also becomes confused, duplicated across multiple systems, and lacks data integrity. The true foundations to a sustainable and scalable technological infrastructure need to be revisited and challenged.
For this to work, a #FutureSchool needs to align technology, data/content, the environment, and human behaviour in perfect harmony. Successful technology integration is invisible. It has been weaved into the fabric of the environment and our everyday lives. It is easy to use, and easy to manage.
Most importantly, we must start to put people in the centre of all our IT decisions. We must understand the innate behaviours that people have for using technology, and what they wish to consume. Schools can then deliver great user experiences.
This requires transformation within schools. We are probably at the only time in history that our children know more about the technology around us, than the teachers. This is true especially when it comes to social media. We must invest in more staff training, as well as parent training events to help them support this huge change happening with the next generation of students.
If we are to educate our children for a #FutureWorld, then the #FutureSchool needs to correlate to this, and not just attempt to introduce technology into a classroom and hope that it is enough. Let’s start with people first!
By Simon Noakes
Simon is the CEO and Founder of Interactive Schools. A father of 4, he founded Interactive Schools in 2006. He utilises his experience and passion for strategic marketing, thought leadership, social media, brand values, technology and innovative thinking to assist schools in telling their unique #SchoolStories. Tweet him @SimonNoakes