Interim reports

Education Learning Log


I had a really interesting day today at a seminar run by the International Futures Forum. This technologies for learning workshop was focused on the potential development of a Scottish Government Technologies for Learning Strategy. The three inter-related themes were:

experience – what have we learned from previous investments in technologies?

Pedagogy – how is the development of technology influencing pedagogy?

Capability – what do we know about existing and emergent technological capability etc

There was a lot of interesting discussion and I particularly enjoyed the input from Pat Kane which was really thought provoking. He’ll be posting about what he said on  the play ethic site soon.

This was the start of a conversation about the future. It struck me that a theme coming out was the theme of trust – trusting teachers to use technologies without lockdowns, trusting senior school managers with budgets to invest in technologies, trusting young people to give their thoughts on the debate and that the majority will use technology safely, trusting that if something does go awry we’ll be able to deal with it at that point. This is a theme which is coming up increasingly in my daily work. Maybe the current climate of austerity is making us question much more what we need in local authorities, schools, classrooms to make a real difference and why we do things the way we do them. Why do we find it so hard to really trust professionals to get on with their job? How much of what we do on a daily basis in our jobs has disempowered people? When will we really shift into coaching and mentoring at all levels in education so that young people and adults feel empowered to make their own decisions, mistakes and take on accountability for how things move forward?

It reminded me of a week at Castle Toward years ago. I was with a group of P7s and part of their group getting over a high wooden wall, with no footholds ( about 12 feet). It was one of those team efforts where everyone had to get to a platform on the top, and I promptly interfered and gave advice. One boy took himself out of the group and wandered off to the side – completely adamant he wasn’t getting involved. Eventually he came over and said to me – “Look when you stop helping us I’ll get involved.” Point duly taken I backed off and he worked with the others to get everyone over in a really fast time. His leadership and collaboration with the others was outstanding. At feedback later his comment to me was ” When you learn to trust us to solve our own problems, you’ll find we can do it and even if we can’t we’ll have tried our best”. Clever boy, who had been really hard going in class previously – disengaged and hard work.Big lesson for me…

October 15, 2010 - Posted by | education |


  1. Thanks for this really nice illustration of one of the key themes of today’s debate.

    Comment by Nick Hood | October 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. I love this post. I share your views on trust.

    I think SG could set expectations and provide tools and then trust teachers and learners to get on with it…

    It’s a big leap for many though.

    Comment by fearghal | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. Brilliant example of the importance of trust. I wish we’d had more time on Friday to look more closely at aspects of the process we are going through simply because, as you correctly identify, trust has to lie at the heart of so much that we do with technology and learning.

    Here’s to the next one! ;o)

    Comment by Mr W | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  4. I’ve come back to this post several times now just to enjoy it all over again.
    I know I’ve missed a fair number of chances to trust pupils in my time but when I have let go and trusted my pupils I do not think I’ve ever been disappointed.

    Comment by John Johnston | October 17, 2010 | Reply

    • It made me cry at the time as it was just so moving! The children were pretty taken by the fact I had tears dribbling down my face during the follow up circle time. One of those never forget moments in your career.

      Comment by andreareid | October 18, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] Andrea Reid: the central importance of trust in all touch-points between learning and technology […]

    Pingback by Technology and Schools: learning from the past, planning for the future « IFF Blog | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  6. Sorry to be a mature grump but in the same way that technology can let you down so can people, they are only human. My feeling is that boundaries are not such bad things eg no facebook at school; kids always push the limits and somewhere has to be no-go – after all we don’t encourage them to bring in TVs. That said I am all for encouraging initiative it just seems to me that we should be wary of being seen to support a free-for-all.

    Comment by paulmartin42 | October 22, 2010 | Reply

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