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Nesta Slams £1.4bn School Spend On Tech

Education, school © Poznyakov Shutterstock 2012
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Innovation foundation calls for an overhaul in teaching methods

Schools have spent £1.4 billion on technology in the last three years but have no evidence the substantial cost has been worth it, according to innovation foundation Nesta.

The organisation bemoaned the lack of investment in changing processes, in particular in teaching methods, when compared to the £450 million spent on hardware and software every year.

Nesta concerned for future

School, education, children © Stokkete Shutterstock 2012“A tablet replacing an exercise book is not innovation – it’s just a different way to make notes. There’s incredible potential for digital technology in and beyond the classroom: but as in other fields, from healthcare to retail, it is vital to rethink how learning is organised if we’re to reap the rewards,” said Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta.

“The danger is that the technology of the 21st century is being applied using teaching methods of the 20th.  The emphasis is too often on shiny hardware – rather than how it’s to be used.”

Nesta’s Decoding Learning document, released today, has outlined areas where schools can make better use of technology, from learning through making to learning from experts.

“Much existing teaching practice may well not benefit greatly from new technologies. as we continue to develop our understanding of technology’s proof, potential and promise, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve learning experiences in the classroom and beyond,” the report concluded.

The updated ICT curriculum could help mollify pressure groups like Nesta. The government is due to release a draft of of the new ICT curriculum in the coming weeks, as it works to embed the right skills at the grass-roots level.

Nesta is also backing a call to reinvest the windfall from the upcoming 4G auction into science and technology. It is estimated the auction, being run by Ofcom, will bring in £4 billion.

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