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…”
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…
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