Developing ICT skills for the 21st Century

Elmhurst School for Boys

2nd March 2018 | Headmaster's Blog

Having attended school in the 1970s and 80s, when we were only just being introduced to computers, I could not have imagined how our lives were going to revolve around and rely upon technology, as it does now in the 21st century. There are computers in every classroom now and the boys are so proficient in their understanding of how to use them effectively for their own personal educational development. This is due in part, to the era in which they are growing up. However, the ability to achieve their full potential in Information Communication Technology, must surely be as a consequence of the quality of the curriculum and the teaching being delivered, alongside having the opportunities to challenge themselves. At Elmhurst, I believe that we not only have an innovative curriculum delivered by an outstanding Head of ICT in Mrs Gogineni, but also teachers and pupils who are not afraid to take risks and challenge themselves to achieve, and who approach their use of technology with a growth mindset.  

As part of our development plan, we have invested in Chromebooks to support ICT in the classroom and so the use of technology has developed significantly this year. Teachers can bring the Chromebooks into their lessons to support learning in any subject, when appropriate. Not only does this facilitate opportunities for the effective use of technology to support learning, it also reflects our own vision of developing Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Creativity in everything that we do. The development of these cognitive skills underpin our curriculum and are so important to preparing our boys for life in the 21st century. Boys can work together on the research and planning of a presentation on any given subject, or an aspect of. They can think critically about which aspects of their research is relevant and required for their presentation. They can be creative in their decision making around how they want to present their research and if different groups are working on different areas within a topic, then in communicating their research to the class, all of the boys are learning effectively around different points within the subject. 

This innovative approach to teaching and learning, is borne out of having the confidence to use technology in the right way for education. This reflects the ICT curriculum at Elmhurst, which I believe provides the pupils with the opportunities to develop their skills and confidence to a very high level. We held the first of our ‘Story Adventures’ events last week for prospective Little Elms families, focused on the book by Julia Donaldson called ‘Gruffalo's Child’. This was a magical event for our youngest pupils and prospective families and I was fascinated by the way our Nursery boys were showing our guests how to complete some of the challenges on the computers in their classroom. This demonstrated their confidence in ICT being developed from a very early age. Similarly, the Year 3 boys have embraced the challenge of solving coding problems by using their critical thinking skills alongside their understanding of coding. There are also two boys in Year 6 who continue to challenge themselves by moving onto the next level of the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge and they are progressing well beyond the challenges for their age level.

All pupils will learn ICT at school, whichever school they go to. However, I am particularly proud of the opportunities we provide for Elmhurst boys to achieve their full potential and the confidence they demonstrate when using technology to support their learning.

Having the confidence to take on the challenges of the 21st century is the key to success and this is why I believe in the importance of ICT in ‘Preparing Boys for the 21st Century’.

- A J Padfield

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