Education Ministers Wobbly on ICT

Thanks to Matt Eccles, our Schools Business manager, for spotting this Merlin John blog post on the current government’s attitude to ICT in schools. it is well worth a read becasue it brings together a collection of views from current and former ministers, as well as recognised industry figures such as Stephen Heppell.

Here are a couple of extracts:

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders agrees. “It [ICT] is clearly not a government priority,” he says.

Others, such as Annika Small, former boss of ICT in education thinktank Futurelab and a member of the 21st Century Learning Alliance, believes the issue is more deep-rooted. “There is a fundamental lack of understanding in government about the potential of ICT to transform learning,” she says.

Or perhaps it is a shift in perception of the balance of activities in education, the one between “teaching” and “learning”. Nick Gibb replied to enquiries from NAACE, the ICT consultants organisation, saying, “We do not want to over-emphasise the role of ICT in education – excellent teaching for pupils remains the key to success.” However, he included an acknowledgement that “ICT can be a powerful tool to support good teaching where it is used and managed well”.

Brian Lightman also sees ICT as having a breadth of roles in schools, believing that “ICT is of huge importance to teachers and students. It is an essential tool in the classroom”. He points out that ICT “helps students to consolidate their learning  and carry out research” and is “key to effective administration, and communication with parents”. He also believes that it is fundamental to adult life: “It is absolutely essential that all school leavers possess strong skills  in ICT which they will need in almost any kind of employment.”

In Stephen Heppell’s case he sees ICT as a vital enabler as the world rapidly changes around us:

Such engagement could include the use of social networking tools to connect with children in far away places. “Learning is going global,” he points out. “Schools are using ICT as a key plank to enable children to share projects, science data, poetry and much more. Yesterday’s once-in-a-lifetime pen-pal exchange has become today’s ongoing inter-nation shared project.”

Professor Stephen Heppell, points out that the impact of ICT is greater than simply connecting people in distant places: it is changing the way we learn. “Perhaps most importantly we seem to be, globally, moving on from the old productivity model of factory schools to an education system that values ingenuity and problem solving,” he says. “China is making huge and exciting changes in that direction. ICT is the catalyst that allows those new models of learning to be effective. Nothing else can.”

New Schools Blog

Liz Wilkins has set up a schools blog to provide information for teachers and staff. Please feel free to pass on the details to your customers and take a look yourself at:

There are already some great articles including this latest guest submission from Greg Hodgson, one of our Adobe Education Leaders:

Unlocking creativity with Digital Art: Greg Hodgson, Chalfonts Community College

This is a “Guest Blog Post” from an Adobe Education Leader, Greg Hodgson (available online or read below)

I’ve been teaching new media for ten years now and it never ceases to amaze me at just how effective Digital Art can be in unlocking creativity in students, as well as getting them generally excited about the subject. For those of you not familiar with Digital Art, it’s all about using technology to create art – whether that be a photographic portrait, an animated film or a digital take on cubism!

Students think it’s ‘cool’ and fun to learn about making films, videos, games and animation and because it’s generally something they’re interested in anyway. I’ve seen students who weren’t engaged in traditional Art & Design classes improve their grades and unlock their creativity through digital.

Having been inspired by all this enthusiasm for Digital Art, I introduced a Digital Art course five years ago.  The results were amazing!  Students, and in particular boys, not only started paying better attention in classes, but quickly became passionate about the course and many continue to  study it at college and uni.

It doesn’t just stop there though; the great thing about Digital Art is that the skills learnt from the subject don’t need to be pigeon-holed into just Art and Design classes.  Students learn skills such as creative thinking in building a website for example or complex mathematical coding to create an online game ( – all of which of very relevant to other subjects!

It’s such an exciting time to be teaching in schools – we’re able to facilitate learning in a way we never have been able to before and I’ve seen some brilliant results because of this.  I’d encourage all teachers to use Digital Art tools in lessons – check out the Creativity Toolkit for some tips!

If you want to know more about the innovative work at Chalfonts Community College, then JOIN THE VITAL HOTSEAT DISCUSSION and find out how Digital Media can enhance creativity in your school.