Learning through Technology: A Strategic Perspective

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Last Thursday I gave the opening keynote at an event organised by the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), supported by Education Scotland and sponsored by RM Education and Microsoft.

In my keynote I tried to look beyond current projects and programmes in Scotland towards the bigger picture. I started off by suggesting that we are often too quick to select tools, techniques and technologies before we have given sufficient thought to the needs we are trying to meet.

To my mind it is about separating the means (technology) from the ends (improving learning). In the case of educational technology the tendency  has been to become fixated on the latest gadgets or chase short-term trends rather than focus on how best to facilitate deep learning.

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I then spent some time discussing the CSSC model of learning and what this suggests for the kind of technologies that would achieve the greatest impact on learning in and beyond the classroom.

If governments and schools focus relentlessly on improving learning, build capacity among teachers to extend their professional repertoire and put in place an enabling digital infrastructure then we might begin to see the benefits of educational technology. These were the three strategic priorities that I suggested were the most crucial and needed to be properly resourced:

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I ended with some parting shots drawn from my 25 years of experience in this field. Each of these merits a post in its own right … [Note: On the  ‘islands of excellence’ bullet point I did add the verbal proviso ‘that don’t scale and are not sustainable’ because we owe it every learner to have access to the best available opportunities.]

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