/ Steve Smith
Not so many years ago, a school’s paper budget would have been significant as demands for test papers, worksheets and so on would have been a full-time job. Students handed in their homework in hard copy and teachers were often seen lugging heavy loads about with them. Computers had been used for administrative tasks but slowly the need to provide devices in the classroom became a necessity and schools would have to balance affordability with availability. The digital revolution in schools had begun!
A school’s aim is to keep everyone safe and provide an environment that enables students to develop skills, knowledge and ambitions to take forward into life. The outside world is fast-changing and children are very aware of new technologies; they can pick up a smart device and almost intuitively start using it, unaware of the dangers which could be present. Equally, the jobs they will ultimately enter probably don’t yet exist. The digital revolution is redefining much of the way the world is perceived.
Schools for many reasons, like a battleship making a U-turn, cannot simply pick up the latest technologies and adopt them all. Considerations for student and staff safety are paramount and their processes and systems must evolve; Staff may require training and new skills must be acquired. E-Safety is critical and must be manageable whilst opening up better, more efficient channels of communication and learning for both staff, student and parent. Ever-constricted budgets reduce opportunities to invest and so often, like a battleship turning, there is a delay in completing the manoeuvre. School leaders must have strategic minds and make smarter decisions, knowing full well that new technologies are certain to follow. The budget considerations also mean that a school must both innovate and streamline its processes to meet a new generation’s expectations whilst retaining the school’s core values.
As with industry, faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools have adapted to the new virtual environment and continued to function in a novel way. The future prospect of school trips may be limited for some time to come; However, the technology exists and is used in many educational establishments to bring a virtual experience into the classroom or directly to the student. Exploring deepest space or travelling through the human body are not physical possibilities but offer unbounded opportunities for discovery and engagement.
The increasing pace of change and processing power of the most basic device has led to the next phase of change, the app. Suddenly, additional communication is at the user’s fingertips and what used to be a device for contacting someone or taking photos is now effectively replacing virtually all traditional methods.
Bromcom may not enable students to travel through space but our longstanding pioneering approach will continue to enable schools or multi-academy trusts to make the best use of modern technology with its population as a whole, from a single source in this world of big data.