Government efforts to boost IT provision in schools appear to be working, according to a report from Ofsted, the body that monitors standards in education. British classrooms now have record levels of IT equipment, and resources compare favourably with other European nations.
ICT teaching standards have gone up too, with 90 per cent of teachers now 'competent' users of technology. Effective use of technology in lessons has also improved, the review says, and the impact of OCT on teaching is now rated as 'satisfactory'.
Despite this good news, and as with any school report, there is still room for improvement. A key finding of the report is that at National level, schools need to work out not just how to use new technologies, like broadband, but also focus on using them effectively.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, said that the impact of the increased investment in IT for schools was felt mostly in teacher confidence. The flipside of that is that such a large portion of available funding and time goes into making sure staff are competant to use technology that too little is left to go in to planning how it will be used in teaching.
Opportunities to exploit the technology across a wider number of subjects are missed every day, however, and outside of the IT lessons, use of the kit depends on who is teaching the class.
The report makes three main recommendations for steps schools can take to improve things even further:
- develop approaches to evaluating the impact of ICT at different levels in schools so that staff are confident to assess its influence on teaching and learning
- develop electronic portfolios of pupils’ work so that assessed work can be easily accessed by teachers, pupils and parents
- ensure that adequate technical support is included as an essential element of planning for ICT and that this is central to the school’s ICT strategy
Bell concluded: "What the Government, LEAs and schools must now focus on doing is ensuring that the quality, diversity and extent of pupils’ ICT experiences is consistent across all schools." ®