A groundbreaking scheme has been launched to make the use of IT an integral part of the education process.
The Managing Schools of the Future with ICT programme has been developed by the International Curriculum and Assessment Agency (ICAA) to provide heads of department and head teachers with the skills needed to make the best use of IT throughout the whole curriculum.
The programme will use a combination of consultancy, face-to-face instruction and e-learning to train teachers in the use of IT as part of the learning process.
The government has already acknowledged that IT needs to become an integral part of the school day to improve standards of IT literacy at a national level, give students skills to make them more employable and ultimately improve business efficiency.
"Our new initiative aims to help school leaders develop the skills needed to effectively develop a strategy which will help them to implement and manage a successful IT programme and ensure the use of IT across all lesson topics," said ICAA chief executive Ben Kelsey.
The scheme is based on guidelines from the British Educational Communications and Technology agency on devising a "whole-school" policy for IT.
Although the government has made considerable investments in its National Grid for Learning and in advancing IT skills in the classroom, research has shown that many school teachers are still not confident in using IT.
"Working with the government we have been able to make great progress in establishing IT as a fundamental part of education in the UK. Now is the time to help schools face the challenge of creating a successful long-term IT strategy," said Kelsey.
But the goals could be some way off. Almost three quarters of teachers responding to research commissioned by Toshiba said that they do not currently have sufficient IT resources in their schools.
Meanwhile, the state of Maine in the US has ordered 36,000 Apple iBook laptops to equip all 12 to 13 year-old pupils for use during the school day and for working on at home. The new 14" screen iBook has a six hour in-use battery life to prevent the need for recharging during lessons.
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