Let’s face it the internet is brilliant, it is exceptional in all respects, one can find out almost anything about anything, it never ceases to amaze, but sadly it is still not a mainstream tool in schools and it certainly should be.
Education in the UK is going through massive change with greater freedoms and the traditional concerns over the use of the internet by teachers and pupils is simply holding back progress of those teachers and pupils.
We need to get all our teachers and pupils online everyday using online learning as a key tool or UK Plc will be left at the bus stop.
There is naturally a great deal of concern over the internet and the obscure content that can be found but these sites can be restricted by any sensible internet settings and firewall protection, this is simply not the issue.
So let’s move the discussion on, why are pupils not using the internet as a source for learning? I suspect it is in part to due to concerns over the unknowns in Pandora ’s Box what happens in the school if a teacher introduces online learning and it doesn’t go as it should have.
The benefits seem to me to massively outweigh the risks already and the longer we fail to address the opportunity the poorer our schools and pupils are for it.
We need to embrace online learning now, take the leap allocate a school lead to introduce online learning. Do it now. Introduce it incrementally but don’t please continue to vacillate.
There are so many solid companies offering superb online content with interactive learning that it beggars belief that most schools simply don’t have this as part of their everyday pupil activity.
Any topic at any school will be enhanced by encouraging pupils to research that specific topic on the internet. Looking at that topic from an alternative perspective not only shows the pupil how much they have already learnt but also a different context for the topic which can only help to motivate the pupil and enable them to better secure the information. For teachers they are introducing their pupils to self-learning and the freedoms an enquiring mind needs – it is part of the pupil’s education to have the confidence to research the topic using different means. The internet should become second nature to all pupils as standard.
With all the content providers competing for eyes the quality of the information and its presentation is improving all the time – accessing this will motivate pupils and give teachers more freedom to engage in discussions about the unexpected revelations on the topic.
If we want schools to improve their pupils outcomes we should be motivating pupils to use the internet regularly to help them to self-learn whilst at school and as they go through their education. The internet and online courses is not about ever replacing teachers that is baseless argument and will not happen online content simply enables pupils to learn more at their speed and to enjoy learning. Teachers are about guiding their pupils, asking their pupils the questions, setting them free to learn and encouraging them to enjoy learning and to be creative; the internet must be part of this process in all schools for all pupils today.