It’s beyond question that use of ICT resources in schools has a fantastic beneficial effect on the learning experience. With the latest equipment installed and set up, every pupil will have a more well-rounded and deeper understanding of the material, whether they learn best through seeing, hearing or interacting with sources.
The potential is limitless, but better education doesn’t just happen when the right tools are in place. Rather, it’s an effort that involves knowledgeable input from educators.
While most software designed for non-specialists tends to be quite simple to use, and almost all schools have some degree of technical support, it’s still important for teachers to be sure of how to use software and hardware in their classrooms.
Plus, knowing how ICT in schools is meant to be used and what it is capable of will aid in lesson plans, enhancing the overall educative experience.
So how can schools and educators ensure that pupils can learn as best as possible?
Teachers need to learn to use the tools made available to them, so that they in turn can teach a subject. But with upheavals in public education currently taking place, budgets being slashed and targets raised, many teachers feel stretched to the limit as it is, in terms of their effort and time available to them.
But even taking a little time to explore the technological tools in place will reveal a great deal, as software made for teachers tends to be well-designed and clear in terms of what can be done.
If even a small part of staff training of the kind that takes place throughout the year is set aside to explain new gadgets or software packages, this will make a marked improvement on staff’s abilities to teach it.
There’s also a widespread notion among teachers and parents that technology is just for entertainment. Another misconception is that technology is only good for teaching computing – ignoring the massive range of software tools and applications that, for example, are invaluable in teaching foreign languages through audio recordings, or technology through 3D modelling software, to name just two examples.
Vital to destroying these myths is simple exposure to information technology in all its forms – but again, time and funding constraints are everyday realities for school authorities and teachers, and so the breakthroughs can sometimes come more slowly than would be ideal.
Ultimately, an education system is only as good as the teachers in it; the tools cannot carry a class to academic success any more than a chisel can make a sculpture all by itself. Classrooms need to be as prepared for a connected, always switched-on future as possible, but we must not allow the instructors in these tools to fall far behind.