Friday, 30 January 2009

Innovative Learning Spaces

What do you say when you find out a primary school is looking to get rid of their ICT Suite? Do you jump with joy at the chance to help the school redesign a classroom and then also embed their IT across the rest of the school? Well that is what the next project for me and the audacious Mr Ford.

We meet with the school next week to see how developed their curriculum is, to chat with staff and to get some idea about the needs of the school are and how 'up for it' everyone is.

There is budget to have some fun but we don't just want this to be about the latest toys ... and to some extent I would like to see how *little* we can spend on it so we can concentrate on the impact on T&L that can be copied across other schools.

So ... innovative learning spaces and embedding whole school ICT on a budget so it can be sustainable and transferred to other schools with little costs. Open for any ideas.


HappyHippy said...

I'm always torn on topics like this. I know that ICT *should* be embedded into schools in the same way it is into life - but at the same time I'm a bit precious about my ICT suite(s) and worry about the idea of sharing half a dozen machines in each classroom between 30-odd pupils. I'm not keen on the PSP/DS as a computing device idea as it seems a bit too toy-like and limited in scope (as exciting as I'm sure it can be, and I know that the DS Brain Training trials proved quite successful). I;m also unconvinced as to the reliability of wifi and laptop trolleys (plus the inevitable sharing conflicts, which I suppose only mirror conflicts in booking an ICT suite)

A bit of a rambling response, but there you have it...

Advanced Online Project Group said...

Ultimately, the school needs to consider what it wants learning to look like, how it will work and where it will take place. Once thats been established its time to consider what technology will be needed to support it.

That said, I think an enabling infrastructure is a godsend for future flexibility and innovation. External wireless is a must in a primary who do a lot of outside activities and could make good use of mobile kit.

Web books are an obvious choice at the moment (i really like the new convertible classmate minibook/tablet from Intel running edubunto or windows), but thats not to say it will last, so i'd be edging toward making good use of the learners own tools.

Why not consider access by PSP's or other mobile devices? - good opportunity to show learners how to use them in an educational context?

Saw a great little idea in use at a secondary recently.

The school had a blanket mobile phone ban, but a science teacher and IT tech had between them set up a bluetooth connection to the school network and a holding folder in the network for any files learners wanted to send from phones.

Any movement of files from the holding folder was subject to an AV scan, but students could all access the folder from the school VLE and then use the vids, sound and images in their work.

Simple and excellent idea for use with de-commissioned (and cheap) mobile phones?

Bottom line is that as time passes, less hardware will be provided by school and the emphasis will be on enabling the learners own tools to access school infrastructure. Maybe that's more likely to be a secondary education phenom, but worth a look.

Have fun!