Magazine article Technology & Learning

England

Magazine article Technology & Learning

England

Article excerpt

For a couple of decades, the educational technology sector in England has enjoyed the largesse of various government officials who were convinced that it would be beneficial for the economy in the long term. However, not all of these "gifts" were entirely useful, such as the scheme to send a modem to every school before most people really knew what they could do with it. And then there were various iterations of a "laptop for teachers" scheme. Sadly, this initiative did not provide every teacher with a laptop nor exempt them from the sales tax incurred when buying their own.

Nevertheless, all of these schemes provided a statement of intent and a statement of philosophy. From 1997 until recently, the drive towards making Britain's schools "e-enabled" (i.e., using educational technology as an integral part of everything they do) became more systematic and more relentless. More money has been allocated to schools for switching to broadband access, increasing the pupil-to-computer ratios in both elementary and high schools, designing a national strategy to beef up the teaching of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), creating a building program for schools, and developing goals for implementing virtual learning environments (VLEs) and online reporting to parents.

Then, a couple of years ago, the new Coalition government came to power. The funding was cut (to zero, for the most part), new builds were cancelled, and the ICT community as a whole took to wringing its hands in despair. …

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