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BETT LEADERS SPONSORED BY4 BETT LEADERSOPINIONWe fi nd ourselves in the midst of great change in education. It was ever thus, of course, but this time the challenges for the school leader in terms of ICT are probably more profound than they have ever been. Indeed, we can readily identify several issues which would be interesting (in the Confucian sense) individually, and which are far more so when combined.First, there is continuing uncertainty about the offi cial view of the importance of educational technology in the curriculum. This has arisen because of a number of factors, including the abolishment of the Harnessing Technology funding, Becta and the Building Schools for the Future programme. The absence of ICT from either the expected core National Curriculum or the e-BAC has done nothing to assuage such doubts. Nevertheless, Government spokespeople and MPs continually recognise the importance of technology in education. In my view, the withdrawal of the props we've become used to should be seen as an indication of the Government's confi dence in schools to decide for themselves what to do with ICT.And therein lies the rub: what to do with ICT? Even more fundamentally, what is ICT and what should it be? There is a growing dissatisfaction with the present ICT Programme of Study (some of it justifi ed, some not), and a look towards alternatives such as computer programming, game-making or a greater emphasis on creative expression - or a combination of all three. Alongside this is the feeling that ICT should be taught across the curriculum rather than as a discrete subject. This is appealing, although a trawl through the many failed attempts to teach not just ICT but English, numeracy and economic literacy across the curriculum should be enough to convince Burke's observation that "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."For what it's worth, my view is that school leaders should decide for themselves what sort of ICT education is best for their school and then put into place whatever's necessary to make it work - bearing in mind the need, at least for now, to meet the requirements of the ICT Programme of Study.The cost of maintaining high levels of investment in ICT infrastructure, hardware and software is a third challenge, especially unwelcome in these austere times. Fortunately, there are alternatives which deserve investigation, notably leasing, cloud computing, allowing pupils to bring their own devices, and using free or low-cost software such as Web 2.0 and open source. None of these approaches is without its diffi culties, but at least there are now viable alternatives to spending a small fortune on "kit" every three years.A fourth challenge lies in the realm of CPD. Teachers and other staff need to keep their ICT skills up-to-date, but what is the most cost-effective way of doing so? The BETT show, and its seminars, are a good start, but for ongoing professional development some schools have profi tably experimented with models like sharing ideas in staff meetings and other less usual approaches.So, several challenges with no "right" answers. One thing is certain: technology will continue to be important in education. It cannot be ignored.Terry Freedman is an independent educationalICT consultant. He publishes the ICT in Education website at and the Computers in Classrooms newsletter at issues for school leaders - why technology cannot be ignored. anyone of the truth of Edmund "School leaders should decide for themselves what sort of ICT education is best for their school"Terry Freedman

Archimedes is the evolution of traditional management information systems for education.Think 'personalised', think 'flexible', think 'yours'.Archimedes brings the latest software and technology together to deliver a MIS that improves results, well-being and even bottom lines.Visit us at stand T27 to see how Archimedes can bring your learners into a future designed just for them.Archimedes offers you.. A comprehensive MIS that manages all routine tasks. A customisable platform that allows you to develop exactly what you want. A marketplace of 'surfaces' to choose from (think 'apps'). A source of revenue when you create new surfaces. An intuitive way to create your own teaching, management and pastoral community.Think for yourself; think Archimedes.Powered by Simplestep Software Ltd Tel: 01384 563 083 Email: Why should you change to fit your software?With Archimedes, your software will change to suit you.Join us at stand T27Visit us at BETT 2012on stand V47. Why not use your Door Access System to feed into your e-registration system? INTEGRATION!. How about a single "purse" for use in all transactions on campus? SIMPLICITY!. Why not allow students to check their attendance and top up their cards at an information kiosk? EMPOWERMENT!