Dominic Norrish is a former history teacher, school leader and educational-technology consultant, and is currently the Group Director of Technology at United Learning, a national group of over 50 maintained and independent schools. Prior to this he worked for an academy trust where he implemented a 1-to-1 strategy and is now involved in similar projects in several United Learning schools, utilising iPads, Chromebooks and Android tablets. He has written a book on the subject in collaboration with other UK expert practitioners called ‘Educate 1-to-1’.
Edtech is progressing at an incredible speed, and it can often be difficult to see what’s ahead. Dominic Norrish, group director of technology at United Learning takes a look at what we can expect for tablets and 1:1 learning.
Innovate My School asked me to write about ‘the classroom of 2017’ a while back, and I responded with a thousand words of wild speculation and unfounded assertion. It was a lot of fun to write, and when 2017 finally rolls around, what a laugh we shall all have (from astride our hover-fridges) at some of the stupider sentences. And apparently their appetite for the barely-credible knows no bounds – this time they want to know what the future holds for tablets in education…
Given that huge innovations are being made in edtech each week, it’s exciting to speculate on what devices the average British school will be using in a few years. Dominic Norrish, Group Director for Technology at United Learning, looks at what developments are likely to take place, making three main predictions.
If you are looking for a quick way to destroy your credibility and give people an additional opportunity to sneer at the depth of your ignorance, speculating on how technology may change education is probably the most effective method available to the average blogger.
Still, here goes…
In my first post in this series, I spent some time talking about the reasons why more and more schools are choosing tablets as the tool through which to achieve their vision of giving every student access to their own mobile computer. In summary, it's because tablets are highly effective at enabling pupils to demonstrate their learning in creative ways, as well as being fun, reliable and easy to use.
That post ended by asking a question which often gets ignored; are tablets truly the best device to tackle the specific challenges which face GCSE and A Level students?
I want to consider, over the course of this post and the next, the reasons why schools are choosing tablets to fulfil their 1:1 ambitions and suggest a slight tweak on how this by-now-familiar formula might be improved. Fundamentally, the reason is easily articulated; schools want to bring the undoubted benefits of a really powerful and functional computer to every one of their students, to be accessed whenever it is the most effective tool to support learning. It’s rarely more complicated than that, at its heart. Tablets are simply the best answer we currently have for distributing access to personalised computing.
But beyond this broad and over-arching ambition, let’s take a look at why tablets specifically are chosen by school leaders for 1:1 projects above other form-factors: