Don't forget the bugs;News;News amp; Opinion

12th November 1999 at 00:00
Neil Munro and David Henderson report from the annual Edinburgh conference, run by the TESS and the city council

THERE is a lot more to introducing technology into the classroom than simply having the equipment there, according to Tony Finn, headteacher of St Andrew's High in Kirkcaldy.

The school is involved in a project aimed at applying information and communication technology (ICT) to pupils' learning. It had taken staff some time to feel comfortable with it, Mr Finn said. "Teachers need time to make mistakes and to try things out."

He stressed the importance of finding "an appropriate balance" between learning and technology. "We have found this varies from department to department within the school. In some departments, ICT fits naturally with the curriculum; in others, less so.

"We don't want to use the technology artificially. There is a temptation to use it because it's there. But if you use it only because it's there, it may not be to the pupils' best advantage."

Mr Finn said there was "a big job" to be done in Scotland drawing together all the material available through the Internet which might, say, meet the needs of the 5-14 curriculum.

He hoped the Scottish Virtual Teachers' Centre, which was "a bit disappointing at present", would eventually develop sites that would help teachers and pupils to search for relevant material.

He said he did not know whether ICT had raised attainment in his school. "I don't much care either. I care whether attainment is raised or not, of course, but is it because of technology or the various other means we use or because of good teaching?

"I suspect it's a combination of all these things."

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