Use data to build better schools

Andreas Schleicher: Use data to build better schools from TEDGlobal 2012.

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A Lost Generation

Last week the Institute of Engineering and Technology put out a press release:

A leading UK expert on information and communications technology (ICT) says today that the teaching of ICT in England and Wales is 20 years out of date and as a result a whole generation has been lost who could have designed the systems of the future.

It went on:

There is an urgent need for school to be teaching the current generation Computer Science as a subject in schools in order that our future work force is equipped […]

I agree.

What’s more I’d go further and say that as well as the teaching of ICT, the use of computing to support learning and administration in schools is also 20 (plus!) years out of date. That’s based on a year working in a school after many working in the technology industry.

It’s been depressing to realise that many of the productivity benefits I’d taken for granted in the business world are completely alien in the environment of typical 11-18 schools I’ve seen.

To those that espouse the benefits of teaching and preparing learners for the 21st century, I’d like to point out two little things:

  1. It’s a lot easier if you’ve first dragged your institution and its processes into the end of the 20th century (if not the beginning of the 21st)
  2. We’re already over 10% into The 21st Century. So we better get a move on…