The Curriculum for Excellence is the most exciting and revolutionary policy I have seen in my many years of working in education. It aims to ensure that children and young people will enjoy greater choice and opportunity to help realise their individual talents.

In order for our young people to fulfill the 4 capacities – successful learners,  confident individuals,  responsible citizens  and effective contributors – then we teachers must engage with digital technologies . The Becta report on Web 2.0 in the classroom  suggests that Web 2.0 seems to:

  • offer new opportunities for learners to take more control of their learning and access their own customised information, resources, tools and services
  • encourage a wider range of expressive capability
  • facilitate more collaborative ways of working, community creation, dialogue and knowledge sharing
  • furnish a setting for learner achievements to attract an authentic audience.

web201Web 2.0 is a catch-all term to describe a variety of developments on the web and a perceived shift in the way the web is used. This has been characterised as the evolution of web use from passive consumption of content to more active participation, creation and sharing. 

Digital technologies can support learners to make effective, discriminating use of technology that meets their needs, and never more so when those learners are disabled from expressing themselves fully through traditional routes. 

 It is particularly through social collaboration – access to other groups of learners – that e-inclusion is coming of age.  This development, together with innovative technological advances, is leading to a second wave of e-inclusion which is collaborative rather than individually supportive, holistic rather than skills-based and inclusive rather than separatist. (futurelab paper on e-inclusion)

The move away from the deficit model of learning difficulties to a more inclusive awareness of the socially determined nature of school failure enables us to acknowledge that difficulties may only be differences. They may be transitory, temporary or confined to specific areas or stages – such as formal schooling. We need to stop thinking about the social ghetto of ‘special needs’ and acknowledge that all learners at some point have difficulties which can – and must – be addressed within the educational system. Our aim should always to be to ensure that appropriate technology is available for all at the point of need to enable and enhance learning in the most powerful ways possible. (futurelab).

Technology is not The (only) Solution and can distract from deep thinking and the construction of meaning. While technologies are tools for learning and enablers of learning, it is only learners who learn; teaching happens in a rich social and cultural context in which teachers, more expert others and peers play an important role.

Our growing understanding of the power of learning and teaching styles to inhibit or accelerate understanding encourages us to vary our pedagogical approaches to cater for all learners. And all teachers are part of this process, not just those who specialise in support for learning. Digital technologies are a major component in the battery of resources that will help transform rather than modify the learning context.

We are no longer content to wait for young people to fail and thence to attempt to remediate their difficulties, to try to weld them into conformity to standards set by a generation of educators and policy makers from another era.