At the Learning and Technology World Forum (LATWF) in London last week, we were struck by how far ahead many western countries are moving when it comes to fully integrating ICT throughout their education systems. As an indication of how far things are moving regarding opening up access to technology in education, the UK Prime Minister announced a new scheme for less well off families.
The British Government will spend £300 million to provide free laptops and broadband access to 270,000 low income families so that they can follow their children’s progress at school. The aim is to get all families linked up to their children’s schools via the internet and access progress reports on attainment, behaviour and other needs.
Speaking at the LATWF, Gordon Brown stated: “We want every family to become a broadband family, and we want every home linked to a school. For those finding it difficult to afford this, today I can announce the nationwide rollout of our home access programme… it will mean all families can come together, learn together and reap rewards together.”
Parents can apply for the grant if they have children of school-going age and are registered for Free School Meals. In the meantime, all UK primary and second schools are working towards having a full VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) which will provide access to information on pupils’ progession through a secure individual login for parents. This is part of the £2.9bn being invested by the UK government in ICT in education every year. They clearly see this investment as a key part of their economic recovery programme.
BTW, if you missed the BETT show in London, watch out for our BETT 2010 podcast discussion coming soon.