Schools Need To Beat Consumerisation Of IT To Engage Pupils

Modern-ICT

With ‘at home’ technology often outperforming that in the classroom and the shackles of the ICT curriculum off loaded, education is free to use cutting edge technology to truly engage pupils. And 3D projectors, hand held devices, gaming style approaches and Raspberry Pi are the next step to improving education and computer science skills.

In the commercial sector, the consumerisation of IT is focusing on how employees are readily using their own technology for business purposes as it is better quality than that provided in the work place. When applied to education, the same dynamic dictates that unless classroom technology outperforms that of ‘at home’ ICT, pupils will fail to engage. Any IT investment that doesn’t meet this objective is potentially wasted resource.

A recent industry survey points to the future of the classroom, having found 3D projectors and software are enriching and enhancing the learning environment. The 3D approach alone increased concentration to 92% of the class and improved performance, with 86% of pupils in 3D classes improving in tests compared to 52% of pupils using traditional classroom resources.

There are only a handful of schools using 3D technology, gaming or hand held devices as teaching aids in the UK at the moment. However, I can see this growing over the next few years, particularly in Academies and Free Schools that wish to incorporate this technology into a modern and updated ICT curriculum to follow.

The recent launch of Raspberry Pi takes this to a whole new level as a simple computer platform to allow pupils to experiment, write programmes and participate in computer science.

This cutting edge technology, importantly, is not currently ubiquitous in the home and is not likely to be for some considerable time. The element of surprise, intrigue and innovation will therefore captivate pupil interest and so provide a unique learning platform that is far from cost prohibitive for education establishments.

One forward thinking organisation that has grasped the use of 3D technology, is Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, which acts as a Technology Centre of Excellence for a catchment of North West schools.

The Trust’s IT Manager, Chris Dawes, explains: “We have a full 3D enabled suite, which is enhancing lessons and the feedback we get from pupils has been incredible. Other Schools are now showing interest in 3D approaches. Furthermore, some of the lessons we have created are based around game programming using the Xbox Kinect as a platform.”

Fundamentally, these next generation approaches are enhancing the learning experience for pupils and putting the fun back into classroom activities. It enables teachers to break down the traditional barriers of some of the more challenging subjects like Science and Maths. Pupils are learning more, and quicker, as a result.

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Andrew Cartwright is Senior Education Specialist, Probrand. With over 20 years in Education IT, Andrew has built up vast knowledge of harnessing Education and ICT in ‘live’ classroom environments. Andy’s passion is for delivering proven and emerging technologies that appropriately support technology education and the modern integrated learning environment. His depth and breadth of understanding and contacts in the IT supply chain provide impartial, unbiased views that he regularly shares through teacher, head-teacher and IT forums.