Dr Andrew Hobbs, COO at Exemplar Education

Computer Science Education Week #CSEdWeek recognises the transformative role of computing and the need to bolster computer science at all educational levels, Dr Andrew Hobbs, COO at Exemplar Education, highlights the potential of technology to radically reshape and reimagine the learning landscape:

Brexit aside, few issues have captured the public’s consciousness as much as AI, the rise of the robots and what it could mean for the future. The speed at which technology is evolving is faster than anyone could have imagined and with that comes an overarching sense of foreboding and anxiety. But is technology something we should be scared of, or is it something we should embrace and teach to our children?

Technology is changing the dynamics of education, particularly the relationship between children and teachers. Educators are beginning to rethink the learning experience and among the fastest-growing trends in education is the use of laptops, tablets and other devices. As recently as a few years ago, mobile devices were used almost exclusively as a substitute for handouts, books, paper and pens. Today these technologies are beginning to transform how teaching and learning actually take place.

Much of the information that is being taught is now available online. This means teachers have time to do the part of the job that technology can’t do - empathise, connect and work with children to get the best out of them. Technology can free up their time by handling the routine tatsks that a teacher doesn’t need to be doing - the more administrative-based tasks. If schools utilise technology on these repetitive or time-consuming tasks, such as routine marking, reporting and record keeping, it will ensure teachers are freed up to get on with actual teaching. I believe technology may well re-emphasise the importance of a teacher’s role in their classroom, not diminish it.

Technology allows students to collaborate in new ways, question the world around them, connect their work with the world, create products that demonstrate their understanding and wonder about new topics they encounter. All these new innovative ways have made learning and teaching more interesting and enjoyable.

When children engage in computer science and technology, they are not just learning to code or learning how to become software engineers. They are developing creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will equip them to thrive in the future workforce - a workforce where 77% of jobs will require strong technology skills.

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These days it is rare to go into a classroom that does not come equipped with an interactive whiteboard and there is little doubt that classrooms will continue to see technology taking front and centre stage. However, we must remember that it is people who transform education, not technology and any technology in our classrooms of the future will need to be underpinned by a clear educational philosophy.

So should we fear or embrace technology? – we’ll that depends on all of us professionals in the field takign an active approach, not a passive one and working out how best to use it enhance what we as people do, rather than simply letting it take over.

Dr Andrew Hobbs, COO at Exemplar Education

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