20#20 Technologies

Building Society: Technologies and the Significant Aspects of Learning

On 9th March 2015, Education Scotland published the Technologies Impact report “Building Society, young people’s experiences and outcomes in the technologies”.

In the summary comments of this report, 3 powerful themes emerge (p71):

  1. Technologies promote creativity and problem-solving, real-world, real-time.

The technologies make many significant contributions to young people’s skills for learning, life and work. However, creativity and problem-solving need to be recognised as the core business of the technologies, the main justification for their place in the curriculum, and clearly connected with the world in which Scotland’s young people will make their way. For many practitioners, this emphasis requires a major shift in the way they design and deliver programmes.

  1. Our children and young people require that centres and schools place digital technologies at the heart of learning.

Time and the world have moved on since the role of ICT was seen as ‘to enhance learning’. This review confirms beyond doubt that our children and young people need digital skills and technologies to be given an absolutely central role in the learning process – no longer an enhancement or ‘bolt-on’, but a foundation and a primary consideration for any planned learning.

  1. The technologies need to build a clearer brand.

Children and young people need access to a more integrated experience for the technologies in the broad general education. Past efforts to improve the technologies curriculum 3-15 have failed in part due to the perceived complexity of the subject area – a ‘fear factor’.

Core characteristics of the technologies – the significant aspects of learning – provide a basis for:

a more coherent approach 3-18;

a more straightforward, less daunting identity and achievable goals for early years and primary practitioners; and

a common agenda for secondary specialists for the broad general education, recognising the continuing importance of their specialisms for the senior phase.

One year later, in March 2016, Education Scotland published “Technologies: Assessing progress and achievement in significant aspects of learning”.  A key element within this document is the central importance of ‘digital literacy’:

“Digital Literacy – as with literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing, digital literacy should be placed at the heart of all learning, not only the technologies area of the curriculum.” (p4)  

The following definitions from How Good Is Our School (4th Edition) clarify the meaning of the term digital literacy:

Digital literacy encompasses the capabilities required for living, learning and working in a digital society. It includes the skills, knowledge, capabilities and attributes around the use of digital technology which enable individuals to develop to their full potential in relation to learning, life and work. It encompasses the skills to use technology to engage in learning through managing information, communicating and collaborating, problem-solving and being creative, and the appropriate and responsible use of technology.

Digital learning is learning which is supported and enhanced by a range of digital technology and approaches. It can focus on one or more particular technologies. It may focus on classroom use or anywhere-anytime access. It may include features and approaches that are used to develop independent learners.

Digital teaching means educators providing and supporting enhanced learning opportunities through use of digital technologies.

Digital technology is the term used to describe those digital applications, services and resources which are used to find, analyse, create, communicate, and use information in a digital context.

Clearly within the context of the updated expectations of HGIOS 4, and the release of the technology SALs, there is a clear need for all schools to self-evaluate their use of technology within teaching and learning, and to consider the position of their technology strategy within their School Improvement Planning.

The following pages and attached documents are intended to support schools to self-evaluate within this context:

Click on each title to open up a new page.

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