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Microsoft: Academic outcomes should be priority when introducing new technology

12/09/2012 Joanna
An expert has urged those in teaching jobs to think carefully before they implement new technology in their schools.

Writing in the Guardian, Tim Bush, UK education marketing manager at Microsoft, said that too often schools make a decision on what devices they are going to buy before thinking about what it is that they want to get out of them.

"Sadly, it seems academic outcomes are not always the key objective with these decisions," he commented.

"Surely outcomes, not necessarily the device, are what is important here?"

As well as considering end products such as improved attainment and engagement, Mr Bush believes that "factors beyond the device" need to be accounted for.

This covers internal support systems to assist pupils and staff, and a "robust partner ecosystem" to facilitate smooth integration - ensuring that the school can make the most of its new technology.

Apps are also an important feature, such as virtual learning environments and content management systems.

"In my view, it's only when these three considerations - outcomes, apps and support - are embraced should decisions around devices be made," Mr Bush explained.

As for the device itself, the expert says that "core" requirements include convenience and mobility, productivity and compatibility, and security and safety.

"With budgets within institutions being tighter than ever, it's important to start thinking more holistically about your devices strategy and think beyond any single device," Mr Bush concluded.

This advice is pertinent given that latest innovations are increasingly working their way into schools, especially in Wales where education minister Leighton Andrews has said that he wants the country to become "a world leader in digital learning".

To support this drive, a National Digital Learning Council is being created which will provide guidance to those in education jobs on how to maximise the benefits of digital technology.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801447789-ADNFCR
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