there is a growing debate about the effect on learning of the dollars we
are spending on ICT in our schools. The question and debate is flawed
because either the motive or the focus is inappropriate.
we tally up the amount spent on buildings and ask how they have affected
we tally up the amount spent on library books over the years and ask how
they have affected learning? No.
we tally up the salary of the principal and teachers over the years and
ask how the have affected learning? No.
we tally up the amount of money spent on art supplies and challenge the
resultant change in the artistic abilities of our pupils? No.
Simply, because all these are accepted as an absolutely normal and
unavoidable cost of providing an educational environment. If they were
challenged in the same manner as ICT based expenditure is challenged, the
result would be the same. We would sit back and scratch our heads and
reluctantly come to the same conclusion: in reality we can not separate
out one factor of the complex inter-related aspects of a learning
environment or process and categorically define its effect on learning.
The simple reason for this difficulty is that all the factors inter-relate
and will vary from pupil to pupil, teacher to teacher and school to
ultimate answer lies not in the amount of money spent on hardware,
software, wires and gadgets. The answer lies in the interaction, mind to
mind, of teacher and pupil, pupil and pupil, parent and child, child and
adult, it lies in the deepening and sharing of understanding, in the
gaining of knowledge and the growth of wisdom in the individual.
really feel the question cannot be answered, and in light of that, we need
to address the issue or motivation that underlies the question.
would pose a question in return, “Who asks and why do they ask?”
ask because they have a differing agenda that requires funding.
possibly ask simply to be difficult or for their own political motivation.
ask because they really care about the learning opportunities being
provided and the learning that is taking place for our pupils.
there are opposing spending agendas then they need to be discussed and
evaluated openly, but be fair, ask answerable questions to challenge the
the motivation is political, take it to the political arena for that is
where it belongs.
the motivation is educational then we must accept that technology has
become an integral weave in the fabric of our society, and therefore
should now be an integral weave in the fabric of education. What we need
to focus on is using the best thread possible as we create the learning
opportunities that make up the educational fabric of learning.
strategy should be:
that our pupils need to acquire a collection of technical and critical
the technologies to enhance the delivery of those skills in each
classroom and for each pupil
the professional development to our teachers to effectively and
competently deliver the best possible opportunities to facilitate the
learning we have defined as valuable
hard at identifying the other factors that would limit learning and do
what we can to minimise them.
is where we should be spending our valuable time and energy, not in the
pursuit of an answer to an unanswerable question.