This article first appeared in Terry Freedman’s Digital Education (formerly Computers in Classrooms). In it I analyse the Secretary of State’s excellent speech on edtech at BETT 2016, comparing the views she expressed with those of the ETAG report, and analysing what this might mean for the relationship between government Ministers and edtech. And I observe, along the way, that the course of true love never did run smooth.
A copy of a response to a thoughtful New Statesman article. The article claims that Gove’s reputation is built on a myth because (1) his claim to be reintroducing rigour will turn out to be bogus; (2) he is centralising power in Whitehall and not, as he claims, in the hands of parents; (3) that the benefits of academies will not spread beyond a few model schools; and (4) that the claim to put an end of Labour’s white elephants (ICT and BSF) fails to recognise the continuing need, at least to update the school estate.
The jury is still out on point (1). With respect to (2) it is faulty logic to argue that because Whitehall is becoming more powerful at the expense of local authorities, therefore parents may not also become more powerful. But although I am a supporter of what Gove is doing, I tend to agree with the New Statesman on points (3) and (4). Below is a copy of my comment submitted on their website.
While everyone can accept that Becta did not get everything right, many are reluctant to be critical. They argue that:
- the good things that Becta did generally outweighed the bad;
- where things went wrong, Becta should be forgiven because it’s heart was in the right place;
- now that Becta has disappeared, it is time to let bygones be bygones;
- and in any case, no-one should rock the boat because internal disagreement within the ed-tech community may endanger the prospect of future funding.
Welcome to Ed Tech Now, a blog that aims to challenge orthodox thinking about education technology.
Since the mid-1990s, I have sat on a number of technical and standards committees for learning, education and training, from BESA’s OILS initiative in the mid-1990s, through Becta and DfE working groups, to BSI’s IST/043, and groups at ISO/IEC’s SC36, the IEEE’s LTSC, SALTIS, and the LETSI Foundation.
In common with many of my colleagues in this field, I have been constantly frustrated by our poor progress in developing education technologies that have made a significant impact in improving our education system. Ever since the emergence of the personal computer in the 1970s, people have looked to technology to revolutionise education. So far, that revolution has not happened.