Next Generation Learning is a web based initiative launched by Becta, the UK government’s agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning. Next Generation Learning is, in the main, directed at parents, providing them with details of the various ICT’s available to schools, the most common technologies in use in schools, information on Internet safety, Cyber-bullying and using ICT to help with school work.
It also provides them with access to a national database for schools that have achieved the ICT Mark. The ICT mark is an accreditation scheme in England to give schools recognition for excellent use of technology as part of the learning process. Parents are also given the opportunity to register to receive regular updates on this initiative.
The ICT Mark is in many ways similar to our own Digital Schools Award. Currently just under 100 schools have achieved Digital School status or are in the process of accreditation, this out of approximately 3200 Primary Schools in Ireland. Information provided by NCTE on Internet safety is available from Web Wise. The National Parents council, in conjunction with the NCTE, has developed a seminar for parents to take the mystery out of the Internet.
All of these sites provide valuable information to teachers and parents and although only a hyperlink away from each other, they are disjointed. Perhaps it might prove useful, for both parents and teachers, to develop a ‘one-stop shop’ similar to the UK’s Next Generation Learning site!