Besa report reveals lessons learnt over 30 years of ICT education

British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa) report unveils what has worked in the ICT classroom and the lessons learnt

The importance of high-quality training for teachers before and after technology is put to use in the classroom is one of the lessons learnt over the past 30 years, according to a report from the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa).

The report was released to mark the progression and milestones of ICT in education over the past three decades..

Based on the technology adoption trends in more than 26,000 UK state schools, the report aims to inform educational policy makers on what has worked with ICT in the classroom and what lessons have been learnt.

The report was revealed at education show Bett 2015.

In the report, Besa director general Dominic Savage referred to a conversation he had with former secretary of state for education Michael Gove about what he was most proud of achieving.

“He particularly mentioned devolving more powers to school level and creating a real opportunity for individual schools to have their own vision and the budgetary freedom to achieve it," he said.

“Implied in his answer is the placing on schools of a responsibility to be sufficiently informed and to ensure their staff are sufficiently trained to make the right decisions. 

"Our history of ICT does support the argument for saying to schools here is the money and this is what we want you to achieve, and this is how we will measure it and you decide how to spend it.”

Besa director Caroline Wright said the organisation began collecting statistics on what schools were spending on technology in the 1980s as part of its annual budget and resource provision surveys.

"This has evolved over the years to now provide us with a fascinating picture," she said.

“We can see that technology has undoubtedly played a central part in driving up standards in UK schools. As a result, we can claim to be one of the world leaders in seeking to harness new technology to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.”

Wright added that in this election year it's all the more important politicians, policy makers and school leaders build on the legacy of investment in ICT to develop a "technology enhanced approach to education" which will inspire and meet the learning needs of future generations.

Besa head of education strategy David Fairbairn-Day said too much emphasis was placed on putting technology into the hands of teachers and pupils in the beginning because it was visible and made a good impression.

"I am still seeing that in some countries," he said. “The focus in the UK at the time was very much on the hardware and not on the objectives and what you were trying to achieve with it.

"The good intention was there but, with the benefit of hindsight, some of the decisions that were made were not necessarily the best ones and some of the spending on technology was misplaced.”

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