Ditch the hype in ICT-speak

11th May 2012 at 01:00

In response to your article "Don't be technophobes, says Russell" (27 April), it is typical of Michael Russell to rush in like a reckless bear and tar everyone with the same brush, ignoring many of the positive ICT projects going on in our schools and local authorities. While I have no doubt that making suggestions like opening up Facebook access for a pupil's iPhone will score political points, the reality of how this actually "greatly" benefits a child's education is up for debate.

My local authority has many examples of positive practice with ICT and we are rapidly embracing mobile technologies (both school-owned and pupil-owned). However, unlike Mr Russell, we are working hard to ensure the hype matches the expectation and business need. Our pupils' security and personal privacy are also key issues for us - it appears that these factors are something Mr Russell wants to brush under the carpet.

The business case to prove that constantly being hooked to a tablet or smartphone throughout the school day greatly enhances education is still to be proven. It's also a very dangerous strategy to take a blase approach to the deployment of technology and the various implications that can arise - no doubt any fall-out from this will be the "responsibility" of the local authorities to resolve.

In general terms, I am a big supporter of new technologies in education and their benefits. However, the business case has to be proven and tangible evidence provided to back up the hype and ultimately any expense to the taxpayer.

It is time Mr Russell stopped acting like a geek drooling over the latest tech punted to him by corporate friends at Apple, MS, Google, and in turn paid much more attention to the business of education and how to apply these new technologies properly.

LEAICT supportdevelopment member.

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