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Harnessing Technology Review for Further Education 2010

Harnessing Technology Review for Further Education 2010

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Published by Fevered Steve
This is the final Becta/Harnessing Technology Review. It looks at the current state of technology in FE colleges, work-based learning and adult learning.
This is the final Becta/Harnessing Technology Review. It looks at the current state of technology in FE colleges, work-based learning and adult learning.

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Published by: Fevered Steve on Feb 01, 2011
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02/01/2011

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Harnessing Technology Review 2010The role of technology in further education and skills providersPublished by stevedavies1st(http://stevedavies1st.blogspot.com)
 
Introduction
 Technology has become part of all our lives. The last decade has seentechnology spread from being the realm of specialists to being almost universalin our workplaces, homes, schools and colleges. Learners need to be preparedfor this changing world and those who support them should use the technologyat their disposal to achieve the best possible outcomes. This review is the last of a series begun in 2005, and brings together a range of recent research evidence from England that looks at what has been achieved inimplementing technology to support learning. Most of the data presented herewas collected in late 2009 and early 2010.In FE, technology is increasingly integrated and deployed across large multi-siteinstitutions. The use of learning platforms has become near universal in colleges.Practitioners across all sectors report benefits from using technology, includingtime savings and a positive impact on attainment. Technology does not stand still. It now falls to managers and practitioners to facethe challenges reported in the next section, and more yet to emerge. The broad questions covered in this Review are: Technology-confident effective providers. Can education and training providersmake effective use of technology to achieve the best outcomes for learners?Engaged and empowered learners. Are learners able to access technology andgain the skills and support to use it to best effect, both inside and outside formallearning?Confident system leadership and innovation. Do education leaders usetechnology to support their priorities and deploy innovative solutions to improveservices?Enabling infrastructure and processes. Does the technology infrastructure offerlearners and practitioners access to high-quality, integrated tools and resources.Improved personalised learning experiences. Do technology-enabledimprovements to learning and teaching meet the needs of learners?Impact of technology. To what extent does technology impact on the broaderaims of raising achievement, supporting the vulnerable and improving qualityand efficiency?
 
Challenges and issues identified from the research
Progress, but some institutions still slow to develop
Across a range of areas there has been a considerable increase in the integrationof technology to support learning, teaching and management. For example,there have been significant increases in the use of technology to supportassessment and big improvements to the integration of managementinformation and learner systems. This and many more examples offer evidenceof a genuine change in the approach to technology within colleges and learningproviders. There is related evidence of increased benefits from technology,particularly the proportion of practitioners reporting time-saving benefits.FE colleges have continued to progress, with around two fifths now being classedas mature in their use of technology, a steady increase since 2003. E-maturity inWBL providers remains steady at about the same as the previous two years. There remains, however, a core of ‘beginners’ – around a quarter of both typesof provider – where progress is slow. In adult and community learning (ACL)there is considerable variation in the application of technology. This is due inlarge part to the nature of the sub-sector. The wide variety of locations in whichACL is delivered, the staff profile, and the multiple policy contexts whichinfluence ACL all impact on the extent to which e-maturity can be developed.It is interesting to observe variations within the sub-sectors which make up FEand skills. So, for example, in colleges there are concerns about leadership andinnovation in relation to technology, with even the most advanced collegesfeeling that they could do better. Work-based learning providers, on the otherhand, felt strong in terms of management and staff development but reportedconcerns about their support for learners. There are also observable differences in the use of learning platforms and othertechnologies. The use of learning platforms in FE colleges has risen steadily since 2003–04,when 58 per cent of colleges had them, to 98 per cent in 2009–10. This is incontrast to the WBL sub-sector, where less that a quarter of non-collegeproviders report that they support a learning platform. In ACL, many providersnow make learning platforms available to their staff, but these are at an earlystage of development.Learner and staff access to computers varies between type of provider. Incolleges, the mean number of FTE students per networked computer is 4.3 andthe median is 4.8. The proportion of providers with relatively high numbers of FTE students per computer has increased somewhat, with 12% of colleges withratios of 12:1 or worse. However, colleges are increasingly allowing learners touse their own devices. Some 31% of colleges allow all or nearly all learners toconnect their own devices to the college network. Nearly all work-based learningproviders have computers on their premises for their learners, but of coursemost of the actual training is done in the workplace and the numbers of 

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