he pace of change in all aspects of digital-technology and education is here to stay.
On one hand new ideas, new applications and improved hardware are launched into education systems on almost a weekly basis, systems that strive to develop policies that seek to keep up with these advances. On the other hand, teachers and learners work within with assessment methodologies that change slowly, systems that are underpinned by long-developed policies that can stifle creativity when it comes to the use of digital-technology in the education system.
I have often argued that change in assessment methods will be one of the key drivers serving to integrate technology in the classroom. In Ireland we have too often ended up with excellent school-based digital projects that have no outlet in our formal State-examinations.
In 2008, the then Minister for Education’s Strategy Group in Ireland, wrote:
…Information and Communications Technology (ICT) should be used seamlessly within the curriculum at both primary and post-primary. Students must be encouraged to use technology in a multi-faceted way, to research and reinforce their subjects, to present their knowledge through multimedia presentations and digital video and, finally, to submit personal project work for official assessment as part of state examinations(my emphasis).
Five years on and the Republic of Ireland is in a process of educational reform, particularly in the first three-years of Secondary (High-school) education (some details here from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Ireland).
These Key Skills are not subject specific. They are to be used across all subjects as teachers and learners focus on the process of learning. There will be a greater emphasis on assessment for learning, on the learning journey itself.
What particularly encouraged me in the adoption of theseKey Skills is that digital technology is integrated into each one…