From education to employment

In an exclusive interview with FE News, Bill Rammell, Minister for Lifelong Learning, tells us w

Becta, responsible for the Government drive to improve learning through technology, launched The Next Generation Learning Campaign this month. The campaign aims to promote the use of technology within education. In a recent survey, Becta found that only 1 in 5 schools and colleges are using technology to the full. The Next Generation Campaign, supported by the likes of TV presenter Johnny Ball, aims to promote the use of technology and ensure that it is fully exploited within the learning environment.

Bill Rammell, the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, is keen to stress the relevance of the campaign in the further education sector: “Technology is hugely important to FE and WBL. Its about giving people control over their educational environment by getting the best out of technology.

“Since 1998, £5 billion has been invested in technology in education. Go into any college and you can see the difference. There are many examples of technology being used imaginatively but we want to improve on that. There are still too many people not using it enough.”

Mr Rammell believes that technology is not being used to its full potential for various reasons, including low levels of expertise. He says: “Technology can be bewildering, and often there is an information deficit or lack of confidence that stops people employing technology to enhance learning. That is what the Next Generation Learning campaign aims to change ““ its about driving change but not in a threatening way. We want to bring technology from the fringes firmly to the mainstream.”

The effective use of technology in a learning environment ““ for example interactive whiteboards ““ is evident from progress and satisfaction levels. Becta claims that in FE college departments that improved their use of ICT, student satisfaction with learning rose from 55% to 99% satisfied. But it is not just learning where technology can be applied. The minister points out that it can also be used in other beneficial ways.

“Technology can be used to link teaching with administration and management, monitoring attendance for example. Also it is a good tool for getting parents and families more involved, for instance parents can keep in contact with their child’s progress via the college intranet.”

The Next Generation Learning Campaign will be promoted in a number of different ways including roadshows and on the internet where it has its own website.

Mr Rammell concludes: “Technology enables us to access the best resources across the world. We shouldn”t ever be in a situation where everything we do is via the internet, and its not a substitute for books. But the world is changing and if we don”t recognise technology, we are missing valuable opportunities by not equipping people for the future.”

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