Teach Secondary issue 13.2 is OUT NOW!

Welcome to the latest issue of Teach Secondary

Wandering around the Bett Show last month (see for our reporting from the event), I found myself marvelling some of the extraordinary edtech on display, while at the same time reflecting on how certain aspects of the tech industry and education profession seem to be intractably at odds with each other. 

In tech, the name of the game is disruption. Being first to market with a seismic, paradigm-shifting product category that tilts the world on its axis, forces established industries to reinvent themselves and gets consumers salivating (while hopefully earning assorted entrepreneurs, investors and shareholders lots of money in the process). 

Education is… not like that. At least not the kind that works well. The learning we do in our formative years must be consistent and skilfully managed.

Teaching professionals are no strangers to disruption, of course – let’s see how well a Silicon Valley executive copes with a class of recalcitrant 13-year-olds – but it’s not exactly encouraged. Yes, the taught curriculum will need updating from time to time to reflect new forms of knowledge and awareness, but it’s a delicate process. 

Changes in government policies and regulations can have a far-reaching impact on young people’s education – but we only get to find out what that impact really entails several years’ hence.

Education is no place for a ‘move fast and break things’ philosophy. (Though neither, arguably, is a globe-spanning online communications and media platform, but I digress). 

“Education is no place for a ‘move fast and break things’ philosophy.”

Lest these sentiments become too Eeyore-ish, I should clarify that some of the sights at Bett 2024 – manipulable 3D renders of human hearts popping out of laptop screens, science labs rendered entirely in virtual space, literacy interventions delivered by artificial intelligence – were genuinely remarkable. The possibilities and potential benefits for today’s learners and their children seem almost limitless. 

The kicker is that we can’t understate the importance of those two words – possibilities and potential.

The tech industry has worked hard over the past two decades to condition us all to the idea of what transformative change looks like. It’s whizzy. It’s revolutionary. It means things will never be the same again. 

There may some agitating for similar levels of dynamism, reactivity and nimbleness from the teaching profession, but what experience should have taught us by now is that education is like an oil tanker. Big and important, yet fragile and very hard to manoeuvre. 

There are certainly some short-term changes and reforms one could make (cough, more funding, cough), and teachers and leaders are nothing if not restless innovators when it comes to their classroom practice and whole school vision.

But ultimately, the tech industry could probably benefit from being more like the education profession than the other way round. 

Enjoy the issue, 

Callum Fauser  – Editor

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