The role of ICT in Education has been well documented and researched. ICT in Education is recognised as a key element to learning in the 21st Century.
This paper addresses the pedagogical element of ICT enablement, through bringing the technology into the schools and learning spaces of the future. The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative by the DfES, includes the requirement for the design-in of ICT in all schools included in the initiative. This inclusion is important as it ensures maximum benefit for all users of ICT in schools and the wider community. The physical layout of a school reflects the pedagogical needs of its learners and for 21st Century learning to be effective, this layout includes provision for ICT today and in the future.
The Digital Learning Space is at the core of the learning models for the 21st Century. The flexibility, adaptability and scalability required and demanded by today’s learners and teachers can be addressed through careful design of the ICT infrastructure, leading to a better learning and teaching experience. The demand for “anytime, anywhere” mobile learning, for example, requires high levels of reliability, manageability and security in the total system to ensure services and applications are always available and secure.
Personalised Learning -shaping teaching around the different ways children learn.
Critics of ICT have argued that using ICT may drive and accelerate a standardisation approach. Others may argue that ICT fosters or even drives an open-ended learner centric and personalised model of learning. ICT does not in itself drive either approach: ICT is a tool and resource to support and facilitate whichever approach is adopted - indeed a combination of approaches. This solution framework is designed to evolve to support a range of different learning styles and learning strategies.
Towards 21st Century Skills.
Much has been written in recent times about the need for the education system to support the development of 21st Century Skills to support the challenges of the modern work-place and the dynamic and rapidly changing knowledge society. Skills such as problem solving, creativity and innovation, team-work and collaboration as well as skills with modern information technology are not well supported by more traditional didactic approaches to teaching and learning. Highly structured and disciplined schooling systems do not necessarily prepare students well for the dynamics and challenges of the 21st century workplace and society. More self-motivated, individualized, group and collaborative learning processes, supported by ICT will contribute significantly to the preparation of a more agile modern workforce.
A complement to this white paper entitled “Building Schools for the Future: ICT Enablement” looks at the technology involved and a strategic approach to ICT design.