New Technology, New Opportunity

Article excerpt

CHIEF Inspector of Schools Chris Woodhead has accepted an invitation to visit Coventry's Coundon Court School and Community College in January to see the classroom revolution going on there.

The school was granted technology college status in 1997 and investment in computers has transformed teaching and learning.

Education correspondent MARK FORSTER reports

THEY say every picture tells a story and these images of youngsters hard at work in Coventry's largest school are perfect illustrations of the rapid pace of change in today's classroom.

Taken just six years apart, the photo-graphs show how teaching and learning at Coundon Court School and Community College has changed with the advent of new technology.

Since the school won technology status in 1997, it has invested more than pounds 150,000 in computers and worked to develop links with schools, industry and commerce.

It is a world away from the classrooms many in the city will remember, the days of pencils and exercise books, when inkwells were full and blotting paper was everywhere.

The introduction of computers into classrooms at the Northbrook Road school has made a massive difference, says head teacher David Kershaw.

His vision for the future includes growing links with other city schools, particularly in the primary sector, and sharing good practice with schools and colleges up and down the country.

Mr Kershaw said: "For me, new technology is about raising standards of achievement and increasing opportunities, particularly in maths, science, technology, IT, as well as music, language and geography.

"It has also allowed us to develop new courses and exams, such as GNVQs, which are more in line with modern work requirements."

He is adamant computers have not - and will not - replace good teachers.

"Teaching is an art, a craft. A good artist uses a variety of skills and mediums to enhance the quality of what he does and it is the same in teaching with computers. Computers are a tool that are becoming increasingly valuable for teachers."

As well as banks of personal computers, there are also Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture facilities which have transformed craft, design and technology lessons.

"I believe new technology also allows us to develop even closer links with industry and commerce. They are using the same skills at Coundon Court as you would find in many factories.

"New technology has increased the pupil's levels of motivation and willingness to learn.

"Our students are becoming increasingly independent workers, showing their own initiative. New technology is beginning to have an impact on the achievement of boys, and girls have taken to it like a duck to water. It has made a difference in our exam results."

Senior teacher Alan Scott says new technology and the Internet have transformed lessons.

" We are light years ahead of where we thought we would be. As a teacher five years ago you would stand at a blackboard and talk to the children. Now most teachers are using new technology as an integral part of lessons. If offers so much more."

The school has invested in three whiteboards, with interactive video and Internet capabilities, which will be fully functional from September.

David Kershaw enthuses: "New technology in schools is a momentum which is unstoppable. …