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Friday, 3 December 2010

Inspired by Technology, Driven by Pedagogy

Picture of front cover of book - children and teacher working on laptopsThe recently published book/paper by OECD ‘Inspired by Technology, Driven by Pedagogy’ may not say anything significantly new for those who have been involved in education and innovation for more than a few years. But it is a document well worth studying. I was saying that ‘Innovation must be curriculum driven’ some 40 years ago – and ever since.

However, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. This document pulls together wide-ranging research and well-argued thinking which together presents a very powerful case of which the UK government in particular should take note.

Space here does not allow me to quote all the impact statements or questions but let the following suffice:

“do governments (be they at national, regional or local level) have a systemic approach to technology-based school innovations?’ (p.18)

As one who has been involved with both innovation in schools and Total Quality Management for many years, I was pulled up suddenly by this question as I fear that the only answer at all levels is “No!”

Now that Becta in the UK is steadily dissolving due to Government cuts, I wonder if there will be any organisation ready, willing and able to develop an advisory paper on whole-school innovation? I am not sure that the ICT-Mark properly addresses whole-school innovation, and even if it can, is it realistic to expect that what one school sees as innovation and another sees as irrelevant can be merged into one policy? Is it possible to develop a regional or national approach to ‘a systemic approach to technology-based school innovations?’

The book raises many questions including teacher-training and the place of Web2.0 technologies. If this very articulate book were to fall into the hands of headteachers or even District or Local Authority advisors I just wonder what might happen. Perhaps my oft-quoted observation, “everyone did that which was right in his own eyes” has some poignancy here. Is there a place in UK education for firm advice as to how we should approach innovation particularly in relation to ICT?

Or is it that some countries have a very different educational regime to the UK? Writing a chapter for another book I was recently pulled up suddenly by a comment, ‘I am unclear as to the relationship between ePortfolios and the school regulatory bodies in the UK...’ My gut reaction was ‘What regulatory bodies?

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