What keeps me awake at night - Invest in technology or sparks will start to fly

14th June 2013 at 01:00

Despite living in an age when teachers are supposed to be at the forefront of technology, easing students into a digital world with the tools that were born out of that world, it took 25 minutes for my computer to boot up this morning. That was an improvement on last week, when it took 40 minutes for my login screen to appear.

Fortunately, the reluctance of my computer to turn on is not an issue every day. It is not every day, after all, that I need it to drive my interactive whiteboard. For I do not have my own interactive whiteboard. In our school - a large one with nearly 1,000 students - we share interactive whiteboards. Four of them. No, I'm not joking. At a time when an interactive whiteboard is assumed to be as ubiquitous as stress and underappreciation in teaching, it's a rare week when I get the use of one for more than a single lesson.

Why is this a problem? First, teachers are now expected by inspectors, parents, politicians and the students themselves to use technology. When we don't, all the above assume that the teacher is a technophobe. I am not a technophobe. I would happily digitise every aspect of my lesson. The assumption to the contrary is damaging and unfair.

Second, student engagement depends on learning being relevant and engaging. Information technology is a fantastic tool in both areas, speaking to students in a way they are comfortable with and enabling a dynamism in lessons that is difficult to replicate in a non-IT world.

Third, IT should be central to education. Students are graduating into a world dominated by IT and so not being used to working with it every single day in every lesson means that they are not receiving a crucial life lesson. It means that, as a teacher, I am failing in part of my duty to the students.

Of course, I have raised all these issues with the management and, predictably, the answer comes back that budget is the issue.

Which makes me think three things:

1. Is it a problem of no budget or a misspent one?

2. Is our management team wilfully negligent or horribly out of touch?

3. Which folder on my computer, if indeed I ever get it to start, did I save my CV into?

The writer is a teacher in the North West of England.

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