Technology and education: why the discussion needs to change

Ash Merchant
By , - NewsResponsible BusinessEducation

The use of technology in the classroom has yet to reach its full potential and a new approach is needed.

That’s according to an international study from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has painted a pretty unflattering picture for the UK.

It found that schools which have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT) for education have seen no noticeable improvement in reading, mathematics or science scores.

At Fujitsu, we’re passionate about addressing this digital divide. But on top of this, we feel this discussion needs to be framed differently.

Recent research from Intel found nearly two thirds (65%) of kids will end up in jobs that haven’t been created yet. Despite this 90% of schools don’t currently offer any computer science classes.

There’s a big disconnect between what’s being taught now, and what skills young people will need to compete in the jobs markets of the future.

Considering we’re already facing a shortage of engineers in this country, this gap is only going to widen further as the need to fill technology roles grows.

It’s not just about giving people access to great technology, but it’s also about equipping them with the digital skills they will need to compete in the jobs market of the future.

Partnering with Intel, our Ambassador Programme is designed to address some of these challenges, and together we’re opening a string of Innovation Hubs at schools, colleges and universities across the country.

We’ve just unveiled our sixth centre at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Goole, Yorkshire. Technology can benefit the lives of everyone it touches, but in the UK there isn’t a level playing field at a school level.

St Joseph’s is a small school in a very rural area, so the hub will help create new opportunities that wouldn’t have been available for the people in the area otherwise.

What’s so significant to us is we want to really capture the imagination of young people at an early age.

The combination of great technology and great teaching will help broaden their horizons to the sort of career that they may wish to enter into in the future.

“We have a vision to set our school in a new direction, to raise the aspirations of our students, and IT plays an integral role in this,” said Tina Barry, Head Teacher at the school.

“We’re a school that is quite isolated and in a weaker economic position, which can lead to a glass ceiling for the aspirations of young people.

“The Ambassador Programme will really help us to achieve our vision – not only for the students at this school, but for their parents and the local community too.

“That’s something that’s really important to St Joseph’s as a school, educating the whole ­ not just the child, but the whole community.

“One of the initial ways that we plan to use this hub with the community is to offer educational sessions for them on e-safety. Showing parents how they can keep their children safe online and helping them understand and get to grips with the different communication platforms that are out there.”

Our goal is for this facility to become totally embedded within the community – technology really is there for the benefit of everyone.

And we’re not stopping there – by the end of the year we will have opened 10 centres across the country.

Find out more about Fujitsu’s Ambassador Programme.

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