If you had to spend a million pounds, you’d really hope to have something to show for it. Yet most schools have spent at least that on ICT and get nothing obvious in return — aside from a few hundred PCs running Windows XP and a handful of smart gadgets.
Actually, it’s worse than that because, despite spending all this money — and through no real fault of their own — schools have finished up at the wrong end of the ICT revolution.
For a number of years now education authorities have been trumpeting the spending of increasing amounts of money on ICT. Whether it be on computers, infrastructure, ancillary devices or whatever the next that politicians of any hue can sell to the electorate, the budgets continue to expand. Arguments about increasing engagement through using the tools of today abound at the same time as authorities, often for laudable though I believe misguided reasons, too often militate against the success of these very same initiatives.
In this article Ian Yorston points out some of the ways in which education ensures that the benefits of all of this spending have been severely restricted. He also begins to suggest that one way out of this impasse may lie in having students utilise the ICT capability that they possess rather than the system providing it.
Now whilst he doesn’t address questions of equity and access it shouldn’t take a lot of thinking for our political leaders and/or their bureaucrats to find ways around these other than by blanket provision. If even 50% of students were to provide for their own ICT access, this would leave large amounts of education budgets which could be turned to other more effective outcomes.
What happens at your school, are you getting value for money in your ICT spending?