The Sledgehammer as ICT Innovation Tool

  I’d like to introduce you to an unusual innovation tool for ICT; the sledgehammer. Before you all turn away, you might like to consider what you could do with a sledgehammer to improve ICT. The sledgehammer is not usually considered an implement of innovation, indeed it is more often thought of in terms of destruction. Sometimes, however, you need to destroy something in order to make way for new things, holes need to be knocked out of walls in to make spaces for windows and doors, sometimes whole buildings need to be knocked down to make way for new more modern edifices.. This talk about knocking things down and building new things, may lead you to think I am talking about Building Schools for the Future (BSF). I’m not, … or perhaps I am.. What I have in mind here is a more particular use of the sledgehammer; a use related to the development of ICT within our schools. What I want to suggest is that we can use the sledgehammer to break up all the ICT suites that we find in schools. Those rows and rows of desks filling a room with large desktop computers can hardly be regarded as the cutting edge of ICT. Indeed, if we were to have a classroom with rows of desks, we would hardly be regarded as an innovative educationalist, so why do we tolerate such an arrangement for ICT? ICT suites, rather than being the ‘cutting edge’ represent a past and dying approach to ICT in education. No longer is ICT a specialism that needs to be timetabled in such a way that it can only be used when it is your turn in the ICT room. Instead, ICT is a valuable tool that should be available to all to aid their learning throughout the school day and beyond. So why should we spend money and effort maintaining or sustaining ICT suites if they have outlived their usefulness and no longer meet our needs for a modern ICT infrastructure? There may be some people, and hopefully they’ll take up this challenge, who believe that ICT suites have not outlived their usefulness. From me though, I give you the sledgehammer, take it and smash up those ICT suites and equip the pupils with modern portable devices so that they can use ICT to support their learning wherever and whenever they need.

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