Amongst many of my friends, the economic downturn and straitened circumstances in which many have found themselves has resulted in new ways of making do and mending. Gardens have been turned over to grow vegetables, traditional skills such as knitting have been revived and big nights out have been replaced by good nights in. And no one seems to mind. In fact, what has resulted in many instances is a richer experience, where the best is being made of what you’ve got and the value of your limited resource is really appreciated.
Conversely, I was at BETT recently and, as ever, was struck by just how much money was on show. Huge stands, glossy brochures, freebies, t-shirts, hundreds of staff. It appears that the ed tech business is still booming. There was a whiff of champagne in the air which reminded me of the heady days of BSF and the capital investments which were being made in educational ICT. However, the show contrasted greatly with the reality of what we encounter when we work with schools. We have seen ICT suites which are mothballed because they can’t afford to be run; teachers turning their hand at IT maintenance because schools can’t afford to employ even temporary techs; we’ve seen laptops that are so old and bulky the Year 6’s can barely carry them. What struck me about BETT was that there was little of the ‘how’ and much of the ‘what’. And the reality of the ‘what’ for many schools is not a lot.
We work with schools to make the most of their limited resources. We have dusted down underused and undervalued resources and, through support, training and a real understanding of what makes a difference, we have transformed the classroom experience. Helping teachers to make the most of the kit they have can have a stunning impact: getting the forgotten visualiser out of the cupboard, upgrading whiteboard software to Smart Notebook Express online for free, introducing all of the free benefits of Office 365 – such initiatives can have as much impact as brand new kit.
Teaching and learning is about people and processes and investing in them, rather than a 72” interactive screen, is what will really make the difference. If you’d like some help in getting the most out of what you’ve got, get in touch.