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A new report from Becta, Harnessing technology: Realising the benefits, shows there is a real potential to learn from colleges with the capacity to make strategic and effective use of technology for the benefit of students and staff.

The report, prepared by Dr Linda Carter who presented her findings at the AoC annual conference this week, identifies the key attributes of colleges with a reputation for successfully utilising technology in their organisation. It drew from evidence collected from three colleges - Alton College, Newcastle College and St Helens College - to discover what lessons could be learned and transferred to encourage best practice and progress towards an "e-confident culture".

Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of Becta, said: "Colleges who have put technology at the heart of learning have reaped the rewards and will never look back. This report shows that using technology confidently, for the benefits of all learners, has had an energising impact on college staff by raising confidence, lifting skills, reducing paperwork and releasing time. I am delighted to see these organisations using technology to transform learning and I hope they can be an inspiration to other colleges who are starting on the journey to e-maturity."

Jane Machell, Principal of Alton College, said: "All staff at the college have their own laptops or PC workstations and are users of the college system. Paper based systems are now obsolete across the college. Constant interest and enthusiasm in developing the quality of provision ensures that technology has a central role to play."

Becta, which is leading the national drive to ensure the innovative use of technology throughout learning, is working with partners and stakeholders from across FE to construct a framework and tool to enable colleges and learning providers to develop technology improvement plans. This tool is expected to be launched at a national conference in March 2009.

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