Russell Hobby: money spent by schools on ‘fad’ iPads could have funded 8,000 teachers

The Independent is reporting claims from NAHT leader Russell Hobby that schools should stop wasting money buying iPads and other “shiny gadgets” for pupils and instead hire more teachers…

A quarter of a billion pounds a year is being spent on computers in schools, according to the latest figures from Besa, the educational suppliers’ organisation.

This is enough to pay the wages of more than 8,000 teachers or build 40 secondary schools, according to Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

In a personal blog published today, he asks whether the spending “can … possibly be justified at a time of austerity”. He adds: “I think we’d be better spending the money on recruiting and training great teachers and sticking them in front of old-fashioned blackboards.”

His comments come as 35,000 people  from the world of education are due to descend on the annual Bett Show in London this week – the showpiece for education suppliers such as Google and Microsoft to display their latest educational hardware.

…While acknowledging the importance of teaching children to use digital technology, Mr Hobby says he is  “dubious” about the use of technology as a teaching aid in non-IT lessons.

“It is early days, of course, but an animated presentation on an electronic whiteboard or a lesson plan on an iPad are not transformative in terms of standards,” he writes. “Nice, perhaps, time-saving, maybe, but remember the cost…”

More at: Top head says money spent by schools on ‘fad’ iPads could have funded 8,000 teachers

 

Update: here’s the link to the original Russell Hobby blog post: Tomorrow’s World: Looking ahead to the BETT technology expo

 

What do you think of these comments as reported? Are schools spending too much on technology and, in particular, iPads when the same investment in more teachers might have a bigger impact? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

[advpoll id=”104″ title=”Today’s Poll” width=””]

 

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

Academy schools stockpile £2.5bn of education funding
Academic apartheid against north must end, leading universities told
Categories: Teaching and Technology.

Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Hobby’s right but in the free market that is current education what attracts a child (& possibly parent)? iPad or teacher?

  2. The research evidence shows that simply having IT hardware has no effect on learning.  However, some software, which makes use of effective teaching methods, does help.
    Anecdotally, I remember all the excitement in our department when Voting Pads arrived.  We all had a go – but then they were mostly left in the cupboard as the whole process of creating the activity, handing out and collecting the handsets, problems with batteries etc proved more trouble than they were worth.

  3. Tim Scratcherd

    Hobby is completely wrong of course.  The examples he gives are indeed low value but there are many schools who are clear about the learning gains derived from an effective use of digital technology, such as the Naace Third Millennium Learning Schools.  Indeed, there are things which can be done with technology to improve learning that simply cannot be done by any other means.  Clearly Hobby in his position should know what they are.  There is a general point here too.  What if that money is spent on teachers?  How do we know that will create learning gains, unless the teachers are good and well managed?  Hobby should be promoting the fact that any expenditure in schools should be tied, as far as possible, to the impact on learning. 

    Tim Scratcherd
    timscratcherd@hotmail.com

  4. Tim Scratcherd

    Hobby is completely wrong of course.  The examples he gives are indeed low value but there are many schools who are clear about the learning gains derived from an effective use of digital technology, such as the Naace Third Millennium Learning Schools.  Indeed, there are things which can be done with technology to improve learning that simply cannot be done by any other means.  Clearly Hobby in his position should know what they are.  There is a general point here too.  What if that money is spent on teachers?  How do we know that will create learning gains, unless the teachers are good and well managed?  Hobby should be promoting the fact that any expenditure in schools should be tied, as far as possible, to the impact on learning. 

    Tim Scratcherd
    timscratcherd@hotmail.com

  5. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove No but their usefulness is hotly debated; a teacher’s usefulness is nit in question (assuming they are decent)

  6. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove pioneering secondaries are going with tablets in place of paper. #wehavethetechnology

  7. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove pioneering secondaries are going with tablets in place of paper. #wehavethetechnology

  8. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Am all for technology but students still do most exams with pen and paper so abandoning them is risky strategy

  9. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Politicians need to keep up then, it would be very wrong not to use them, even for exams.

  10. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Technology moves so fast that it would be too expensive to keep up. Education budget hugely stretched already

  11. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Some schools reporting that their students are now targeted by muggers because they carry technology

  12. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Technology has a place in education but is not the be all and end all. You could set up a free school and try..

  13. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Come on, how many kids are not with a smart phone. These tablets are reducing in cost by the day.

  14. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove I agree – the infrastructure/initial cost of getting all schools up to date would be immense though

  15. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove The decent ones are still worth enough for people to mug for. No guarantee with phones

  16. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Fair point! As I say I am pro-tech but schools so far behind technologically that initial outlay prohibitive

  17. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Most of the others aren’t worth bothering with. You get what you pay for after all

  18. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove I did think that until recently, got to spend the PP money somewhere. Dissapointed Hobby thinks tablets a fad!

  19. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove They are certainly not a fad but I’m not sure they should wipe out pen and paper use entirely

  20. andylutwyche

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Ok cool. We have a class set of Windows tablets which are awful, unreliable and very heavy. Next to useless

Let us know what you think...