Seduced by gadget mania

9th July 2004 at 01:00
Isn't it high time that the thrusting new breed of college managers discovered that education is a people, not a gadget, business?

At Havering college, where I used to teach and was elected staff governor, the principal has decreed that classrooms will have smartboards installed and that most whiteboards must go, as must overhead projectors.

Why? Apparently, inspectors prefer to see this technology in use across the curriculum. Better grades will be generated where use of technology is evident. My own view is that inspectors would rather see good lessons, regardless of the technology used.

Teaching staff on the whole embrace new and interesting aids to learning; installation of the smartboards is not the issue. But the removal of whiteboards and projectors very much is.

Teachers should, within reason, be free to teach using the equipment that they feel best suits their personal teaching styles and the requirements of their learners. Managers have a duty to ensure that classroom professionals have access to a full range of assistance - not just the new and the trendy. But I'm informed that at Havering managers have little confidence that staff will move over to new technology unless the old one is put beyond use.

Bill Farquhar

22 Oakley Avenue,

Rayleigh, Essex

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