A new “Innovation Index” is aiming to help schools evaluate the impact that their ICT has on teaching and learning.
It has been developed after a report last year said that the “hype and lure of digital education” has led to UK schools spending
£1.4 billion in three years on technology with little evidence of a tangible impact on teaching or learning.
The Decoding Learning report, published by Nesta, a charity promoting innovation, said that in the last decade the “technology has been put above teaching, and excitement above evidence”, and that the focus must be on the learning activities and how students learn – not on the ICT or types of technology themselves.
The Innovation Index was unveiled by Professor Michael Fullan and Katelyn Donnelly from educational publishers Pearson in their new report Alive in the Swamp, also published by Nesta.
The report provides practical advice to let teachers make better decisions about using digital innovations, and suggests to ICT companies where more innovation effort is needed.
The Innovation Index has been produced as part of this and is designed as a practical evaluation tool for those charged with making decisions in primary and secondary schools about what technologies to invest in and when.
It helps users to evaluate each technological innovation in three areas – pedagogy, system change potential, and use of technology. The Index asks users to rate digital products or services in each of the three areas using a four-point colour-coded scale. The colours are shown on the Innovation Index, above.
Green: good – likely to succeed and produce transformative outcomes.
Amber/green: mixed – some aspects are solid; a few aspects are lacking full potential.
Amber/red: problematic – requires substantial attention; some portions are gaps and need improvement.
Red: off-track – unlikely to succeed.
Sir Michael Barber, chief education advisor for Pearson, said: “The future will belong not to those who focus on the technology alone, but to those who see it as one element of a wider system transformation. Alive in the Swamp has made a real and practicable breakthrough for which all of us around the world interested in improving education systems can be grateful.”
Tom Kenyon, director of digital education at Nesta, said: “In too many instances, innovations and their investments have failed to demonstrate an attainment return.
“Software and kit, bought without consideration of how technology will change practice, will never meet schools’ great expectations of enhanced learning. We hope that the Innovation Index in Alive in the Swamp will help reverse this trend.”
Alive in the Swamp and the Innovation Index is free to download at www.nesta.org.uk/alive_in_the_swamp
For more on the lessons from the Decoding Learning report, see www.sec-ed.co.uk/news/dont-believe-the-hype-warning-over-ict-spend and www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/a-blueprint-for-ict-innovation CAPTION: Evaluation: The Innovation Index seeks to help schools ensure their technology strategies are effective