Our Strategic ICT and Education Group met yesterday.
This is our key planning group which oversees our £1 million revenue budget and £1 million capital ICT budget. The group is composed of head teachers, members of our education ICT team, the corporate ICT team plus a rep’ from the Finance Department.
It’s our job to try to translate our ICT policy (which is linked to our Learning and Teaching Policy) into reality and we’ve made some great progress over the last 18 months.
A key decision we made yesterday was in relation to 1:1 access to the web. We’ve been involved in the Learning Hub initiative for a year now and it’s been interesting how our ideas have developed.
The aim of the Learning Hub project is to provide every teacher and school child (primary 6 and above) with a personal learning device or “learning hub” such as a laptop computer, PDA or Tablet. We are involved in a pilot programme where we will trial 1:1 access with one of our primary classes.
However, we reckon that given the financial limits which we will be facing in the future makes it very unlikely that we could sustain the free provision of hardware for all 15,000 pupils and 1300 teachers for any extended period of time.
Our preferred option is to explore the creation of a wireless environment in all our schools where pupils and teachers could use their own device to access the web. There are many technical, financial, security and political challenges to overcome in translating such an aspiration into reality.
One of the ideas we explored yesterday was the notion of bulk buying a range of machines which we would ‘badge’ and ‘sell’ onto parents. The fact that we could buy in bulk would significantly reduce costs. Obviously we would need to consider how we provide hardware to those with low incomes but this need not be an insurmountable problem.
We’re looking forward to the pilot programmes which will take place this year but it’s good to have an agreed vision for the future towards which we can all direct our attention and use to influence our future decisions.