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Why technology doesn’t detract from education

We recently read an inspiring article about the work of the Turing Trust, set up to honour the incomparable Alan Turing by providing computers and IT training to over 100 schools in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The work they are doing in refurbishing PCs no longer needed by schools and businesses, as well as developing technology which supports these communities is very impressive and shows the difference that digital inclusion can make to a child’s education.

In the UK, we can take our technology for granted. The challenge for parents is often how to limit time on the internet or playing on an iPad, and this leads to a perception that technology can get in the way of education. This doesn’t have to be the case. As the work of the Turing Trust shows, computers can present educational opportunities to children and make the learning process more inclusive and engaging. When we work with schools on providing tools such as tablets for the classroom, we also provide advice on the best software and applications which support the national curriculum.

As well as providing new ways to teach traditional subjects such as literacy and maths, it’s important for children to understand and be comfortable with the latest technology as these will be essential skills in later life. Most careers require a level of IT literacy and more and more aspects of our lives, from the weekly shop and last-minute holidays to banking and paying for a parking space, are facilitated by technology. Also, it’s worth remembering that computers connect the whole world, and allows children to view images and footage from incredible sights across the globe, including images from space during Tim Peake’s recent mission or perhaps linking to a class in Ghana.

Technology is, of course, just one of the tools in a teacher’s extensive toolbox. The work of the Turing Trust underlines how vital this tool can be, and how much of an impact technology can have when put to good use. We work with schools on everything from ensuring that their network and broadband is secure and reliable to providing the latest hardware for classrooms. Technology doesn’t have to distract from education; if it’s implemented correctly as part of a clear strategy then it can be a tool that provides new possibilities for schools and pupils alike.