There is always a lot of debate about the value of ICT in education, and the impact that it can have on teaching and learning. When the amount of time, effort, and money that is expended by schools implementing, maintaining and then throwing out and replacing ICT, it is easy to become cynical and wonder if, perhaps, the money could be better spent elsewhere.
But every now and then you get a glimpse of what is possible with a clear vision, and a boot-load of energy and commitment.
On a recent visit to Auckland we were lucky enough to get a tour around Point England Primary. This is a decile 1A school in one of New Zealand's poorest communities, but they have a 1 to 1 netbook programme in place that would put most decile 10 schools to shame.
It isn't the technology that stands out, though. It is the fact that they have integrated the ICT into the teaching and learning process with purpose and meaning, and they have the research and the statistics to show that it is working for their students. It is the vision that most CORE staff have for schools in New Zealand, but here it is in reality.
I am a technologist through and through, but it wasn't the Ubuntu-based netbooks that impressed me, or the community-wide wireless infrastructure they are putting in place. It's not even the cloud-based Google apps learning environment, or the individual student blogs. All of these things are great. But what really impressed me and my colleagues was the the high level of engagement the pupils displayed as we walked around the school, and the level of confidence with which the children talked to us about their learning.
Glen Davies is the IT Manager at CORE Education, and responsible for the IT infrastructure for CORE's geographically dispersed workforce. His passion is finding ways to incorporate technology into teaching, learning, and online collaboration.
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