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Practical plans for the digital future

Two decades of teaching has done wonders for my sense of irony, it is true, but I know that many others will also raise an eyebrow at the prospects for science and technology teaching implied by some recent reports in TES.

"Pen and paper exams 'short-change' students" (25 October) revealed the support of Dr Siva Kumari, the new International Baccalaureate head, for computer-based exams, a vision shared by many other eminent figures. In the same issue, "A world where learners never meet their teachers" discussed the inexorable rise of digital learning.

Both these reports highlighted the burden that technology will come to bear in education. I am certainly not suggesting that such foresight is misguided (on the contrary), but these future scenarios do not seem to pay much attention to the need for practical and experimental science and technology, the very disciplines on which these methodologies will depend.

With so much of the future of education riding on practical science and technology, it is vital that we move this issue up the educational agenda not just nationally but globally. What greater evidence for this do we need than an appreciation of the technological processes and the very apparatus through which these words have made it on to this page?

Dr KAP Walsh, London.

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