It’s rarely that we get a chance to hear someone on these shores providing an enlightened insight into the role of education in a digital society. Lord Puttnam, film director and now Chairman of Futurelab (an organisation we much admire), gave a talk to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin on the 19th January.
While the media have focussed on his comments about the state of our schools in Ireland (see Irish Times article: Poor state of schools shameful – Puttnam), we were more keen to hear his comments on the state of education in the context of the digital society. In a rapidly changing world, Lord Puttnam has no doubt that proper investment in education is paramount to developing and improving society and to dealing with many of the global issues that pertain to living and working in the 21st Century.
Basically, we need to change the way we educate our young people and rethink our industral age model of schooling. This involves making sure that there is proper political commitment and investment in the physical and digital infrastruture to support teaching and learning in our schools. For those that fear technology can replace teachers, Puttman states” it is the school teacher, adept at handling the very best technology that’s become an asset truely beyond price.”
Furthermore, Puttman believes that teacher education in the digital age is a “non negotiable and continuing process”. The commitment of poliy makers and school principals to the “best possible quality of teacher training, along with regular, preferably annual timeout must be absolute”.
Please take 30 minutes to view the video. Let’s hope that David Puttman’s words don’t fall on deaf ears and that these same words will be seen as a call to action.