The acceleration of handheld and mobile devices in schools isn’t something that was considered by many until recently. Most schools were ‘wired’ for computers in an age gone by, when maybe one or two were positioned in each class and if you were lucky, another 30 were housed in an ICT suite (remember those?) Even then lots of schools didn’t use computers to go on the internet; they used purchased programmes and CD ROMs! The last couple of years have seen a massive increase in school ‘traffic’ online. School to school partnerships and the abundance of (mainly free) online resources has meant schools first priority now has to be a connection that can accommodate the increased traffic passing through their broadband connections. Before considering what mobile devices to purchase, schools need to get good connectivity as without an increased, quicker and more reliable infrastructure the technology is simply going to frustrate users.
We’re constantly looking at how we can meet the needs of today’s learners, and it isn’t by ignoring technological advancements and hoping they’ll go away. Within the next couple of years nearly all mobile phones will have internet access, iPod touches, iPads, PSPs, DSs – you name it, they all enable users to go online. Like Canute, we can’t stem the tide. Children today are more and more connected, more and more tech savvy and more and more at home with online learning. We don’t want them to see school as more and more irrelevant. To ensure school is a power house of learning opportunity fit to meet children’s needs it has to have a strong infrastructure, offer reliable and fast connectivity and be open to developing the use of technology.