Headlines: December 11th, 2003

The use of new technologies in the classroom has highlighted the desire of schools to develop links with industry and others in the community. A new study has also found that students enjoy using new technologies and recognise the ‘real life relevance’ of using them.The research, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research, set out to assess to what extent schools have embraced new technologies and how information and communications technology was being used in the classroom by teachers and students to enhance teaching and learning.

The Local Government Association sponsored study looked at specific ICT projects, including Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture in conjunction with video conferencing facilities, a new Mediaonics course combining principles from the art and music disciplines, an independent learning centre where students have access to a shared network, whole-school use of interactive whiteboards and the involvement of programmable robots for Foundation Stage pupils.

The study found that teachers felt it was important for all members of staff, from heads to technicians, to be engaged in using and supporting the use of new technologies. Teachers’ use of new technologies has led to changes in their educational approaches, which had a significant impact on students, both in the ways they are required to work using ICT and in the extra-curricular skills they are expected to develop through this. The research found, too, that schools had endeavoured to develop home, community and industry links and that the interaction between schools and these partners had helped to maximise the benefits of ICT development for students.

NFER Senior Researcher, Mark Cunningham, said one of the important messages emerging from this study was the desire of schools to develop links with industry and others in the community, and to afford more paid time for teachers to explore the potential of new technologies.

The report, “ New Technologies Supporting Teaching and Learning”, is available from the NFER priced £8.50 (including postage) by calling the publications line on 01753 637002 or emailing book.sales@nfer.ac.uk.