provides an example of best practice - nothing revolutionary or transformational, just lots of good ideas, applied well.
Successful technology projects in schools almost always rest on the quality of leadership, implementation and training, and almost never on the quality of the technology.
5. Gadgets are not a substitute
The temptation when you have 30 iPads at your disposal is to find ways of cramming them into every single lesson, regardless of what is being studied and how it would otherwise be taught. This is the wrong approach. An oft-quoted model for assessing the type of technological approach to be implemented is the acronym SAMR: substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition.
Substitution is where the technology does little to improve the learning process for the child, instead simply swapping one tool (a pencil) for another (Microsoft Word) with no change in the task (writing a story).
Augmentation is still substitution, but you get a little more functionality for your time. Let's say your pupils are drawing using Photoshop. The process may be easily editable (they don't have to start from scratch) and quicker, so there are gains, but fundamentally the student is still completing the same assignment: drawing a picture.
Modification is where technology begins to change the way a task is taken on. For example, making audio recordings or videos of presentations so they can be referred to later or shared with absent classmates.
Redefinition is where technology really comes into its own. Here, the way a subject or task is managed is fundamentally changed. This could be the use of video conferencing to work collaboratively with classes across the world, or students creating story walks in the community where the narrative and instructions to reach the next point of the journey can be downloaded to iPads at certain GPS points.
We should always be aiming for the latter two areas. To do this we need to concentrate on how technology can improve or change what we do, not replace it.
The catch is that there is no handy template for making technology work in every classroom. Yet. We need research on the areas detailed here that identifies ways to generalise the impact of technology. We need to reach a position where we know which technologies are most likely to support learning, regardless of the context in which they are applied. Perhaps with this in mind we can move past the polarised, self-defeating scuffling between the "tradition" and "technology" camps, and focus on using an optimal blend of both. In the meantime, we should not dismiss what we have already and instead use it to make better choices in the future.
Dominic Norrish is a former history teacher and the director of technology at United Learning, a UK group of maintained and independent schools
Cox, M (1997) The Effects of Information Technology on Students' Motivation (National Council for Education Technology).
Passey, D, Rogers, C and Machell, J et al (2004) Motivational Effect of ICT on Pupils (Department for Education and Skills).
Schneps, MH, Ruel, J, Sonnert, G et al (2014) "Conceptualizing astronomical scale: virtual simulations on handheld tablet computers reverse misconceptions", Computers and Education, 70: 269-80.
Education technology will give teachers "magical powers", argues an entrepreneur.
Using 3D technology to explore new dimensions in teaching.