So I write this blog with a degree of urgency – as I intended to write it about 5 weeks ago following a television interview I watched on Good Morning Britain, but the last few weeks have been awesomely busy! No excuse just finding the time I suppose!!
The interview was centred around the use and potential benefit of technology in schools, ITV not being a broadcaster to want to sensationalise things (yeah right!!) and Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid offering impartial ‘flow’ to the interview (hmmm!!) proceeded to host; Jon Tait a deputy headteacher at a school in the North East of England which has a very proactive attitude and approach to tech in schools and a headteacher from a school in Oxfordshire which adopt a more traditional approach to tech in schools whereby they tend not to embrace and make it part of everyday learning.
Great, I am thinking, as I watch the ‘interview’ unfold (watching on catch-up by the way, I do have a full time job!), a really important debate that needs to be aired more frequently and supported as part of readying students for the world of work and providing those super important employability skills and then it happened the highway rats (Morgan & Reid) in full hijack mode dominate the slot with an agenda around safe-guarding children against misuse of technology for sinister aims.
The ‘debate’ was a non-starter and the two guests given hardly any time to promote their arguments for the greater good, on this occasion, poor, lazy, sensationalised journalism ONE, future of Britain’s talent (no pun intended, but so works!!) NIL……..
It was the fact the argument was not allowed to be heard, that fuelled my desire to write this blog, not about the below average presenters on ITV (I really don’t like Morgan!), but how schools, supported by industry and Government must embrace technology to help realise the true potential of each student moving through their journey of education into the world of work.
The work I do running TheTalentFinders is broad and sometimes truly amazing, it puts me in front of large industry leading corporates, fast growing start-ups, superb apprenticeship providers, inspiring teachers and careers advisors all doing their best in different circumstances to lead and inspire.
Big businesses with budgets and fast growing start-ups clearly have a head start as they have the resources at their disposal to accelerate development….how do they do this? Well firstly they have a strong and unwavering (but sometimes flexible) vision, to train, develop, and attract the best talent they can. Secondly they use technology as an enabler to make better decisions, faster and more accurately…..not to replace but to enable.
So why the inertia in the schooling system to adopt technology as an enabler and provide another dimension to some pretty awesome teaching? Yes, I get the funding issues and league table priorities and this is a difficult ship to turn! But surely, the ultimate priority is to make students feel inspired and equip them with as many of the skills required in the world of work, not just the academic grades required to contribute towards league table funding!
‘When I was a lad’!! My careers advisor was a definite grade E, uninspiring, not interested or interesting and the sum of these parts was that I was told I would make a very good lorry driver. Now please do not misunderstand me and not to knock lorry drivers, this is fundamental part of our consumer led economy and I am a consumer….I was just not inspired in the slightest at that moment in my life by being told I was going to be one….I didn’t want to be one! At the time my Dad ‘told me’ I had to be an accountant and therefore I was going to be an accountant, little did I know I couldn’t add up and actually liked talking to people! and happened to be pretty good at it.
Fast forward to my final GCSE year in school and a newly qualified teacher; Mr Gliddon, now a headmaster of an progressive middle school in Staffordshire comes on the scene tasked with shaking up careers advice and the approach to record of achievement in my school, now Mr Gliddon, and everybody has got one of these, was one of those teachers who switches the lights on inside you, draws back the curtains of what is possible, he spoke like us, kind of looked like us and just, I suppose, got it! He saved me from a life of accountancy and inspired me to follow my instinct and do what I was good at…spend time with people talking to them….I went to university studied Business, majored on the creative, marketing side of the modules and went on to have a successful career in sales and marketing for the next 13 years.
The point I am making here is that my teacher Mr Gliddon saw something in me, that I didn’t see in myself and inspired me to make a different choice, a choice for me, not for my Dad, not for my teachers or my school mates….but for me. That’s one kick ass teacher, in one school back in the mid nineties……imagine if you plugged some amazing, powerful, innovative technology that is floating around the world at the moment into the process, how many more kick ass teachers could we have inspiring pupils to make better decisions, better choices, earlier?
Technology to help students ‘know’ themselves, to allow them to be more confident in their innate skills and give teachers the freedom to tap into this technology to do what the good teachers do best….inspire!
And yes Mr Morgan! This needs to be implemented and delivered in a safe way, as well as being cost effective……but how about we focus on the students first for a change and make the experience and output fun and meaningful?
From what I have seen at Jon Tait’s school and clipping into his online presence, you can see the proactive approach to tech use in schools has the student, the learner at heart. I am sure there are many more schools operating in this way, many schools wanting to operate in this way, but not sure how to and many schools who just don’t operate in this way and don’t want to because it sits on the periphery……..lets spread the good news that tech is the great enabler, in fact bloody awesome when channelled and it is OK to allow exposure to students.
TheTalentFinders is a talent solutions business that is on a mission to positively disrupt the way businesses hire and assess their talent. TalentMap by TheTalentFinders is a solution that turns the rules of assessment on its head and delivers objective based outputs, designed to help make better decisions. Widely adopted by business, education and apprenticeship providers, be brave, take a peak!