Enhancing learning through technology

Trudy Brothwell,
St Hugh's Church of England Mathematics & Computing College/Spitalgate Church of England Primary School
Grantham, UK

The critical issue for education in the developed world in the 21st century is how to prepare all students for work in a knowledge-based economy -- in particular by ensuring equality of access to information for all.

In Grantham, a small rural town in Lincolnshire, England, there are pockets of extreme deprivation surrounded by areas of great affluence. Schools serving the deprived communities have the added pressure of ensuring that targets set for students in standardized tests do not lead to an arid curriculum with an over-emphasis on 'teaching to the tests' in order to compete, further disadvantaging these students in relation to their more affluent peers.

The project discussed in this paper is designed to provide: (a) a forum for schools to develop shared and joint resources; (b) a vehicle through which the traditional model for education can be challenged; and, crucially, (c) the infrastructure to 'iron out' the inequalities in the area and ensure all students can enjoy the learning opportunities technology offers. The schools involved have the vision of an education 'ecosystem' with the schools as the hub, creating and maintaining linkages with other provision, support systems and enrichment programmes.

The project involves a re-examination of the role of a teacher and the structure of a school day by allowing children, students, parents and the community to extend their learning opportunities beyond 9.00–3.00 in a fixed building so that they can learn at a time and place which suits their individual circumstances. One school, for example, has cancelled the half-term holiday immediately prior to the General Certificate of Secondary Education examination and rescheduled it to later in the year to ensure maximum success. With their own funds and support from a variety of sources, the schools are:

This project produces many benefits for staff, students and parents, viz.



Parents can:

Families for whom English is an additional language can access the site in their home language.

The community

The outcomes of the project overall are: