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Why creative use of technology is so important in schools

Teaching our children to be creative with technology supports the skills needed for lifelong learning and prepares them for a world that is changing at a rapid pace. The skills we are learning now, are not necessarily those we need in the future.
As we are faced with rapid changes in our world we need to provide the opportunities to teach our children the life skills which are necessary to prepare them for an unknown future. The skills and knowledge children need to succeed in work and life are referred to as ’21st Century Learning skills’. Critical thinking, communication, creativity and critical skills are needed at the centre of learning.
Dylan Wiliam, discusses the purpose of education and how it should prepare children for a world that we can’t yet envisage. We don’t yet know the types of problems they’ll need to solve, and the resources that might be available to them to help them in their work.
However, what we do know is that the use of technology is going to be at the forefront of jobs in the future. Technology has become such an important aspect of our lives – there is surely no going back to traditional methods. Careers in technology continue to grow and the resources that we use to help in work will be technology driven. Our school children will enter a competitive employment market, one that will be dominated by exciting levels of technological innovation and change. One that will require them to focus on creative solutions to everyday issues.
Therefore, how we chose to teach using technology in schools needs careful consideration. We need to be encouraging our children to develop digital skills not just in the classroom, but at home. Many children, all too easily, become consumers of technology, often just playing games and watching videos. What if we could encourage them to be more creative with technology, not just at school but at home, and show them the possibilities out there?
This does not just mean producing, editing and publishing photos or vlogging on social networks. It could involve them building their own websites, games and apps from an early age and developing these skills further outside of school with the things that interest them. To use technology creatively, that supports children to the skills that will allow them to programme and design their own games, build websites and design and build their own apps.
In schools we need to create an mindset in which children take ownership of learning. We need to teach them about the creative tools available and how to use them. Then, let them decide which tool is the best for the job.
A computing curriculum should emphasise the creative use of technology and place technology into a ‘real life’ context. It should exploit the interests and passions of the children and use them to inspire innovation. We should not always isolate computing as a subject, we have to elevate it as an essential cross curricular tool. Effective use of technology ensures that it runs across all subjects and is used in the classroom as a means to reflect the skills required for an exciting future.

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The author

David Andrews formed Mr Andrews Online back in 2012 with a vision to deliver better learning experiences for children using mobile technology. Since 2012 he has worked alongside hundreds of schools and teachers, delivering classroom experience days for primary school children up and down the country. He has recently written a ‘Creative Computing Curriculum’ for a leading Academy, as their previous scheme had become stale and didn’t allow the teachers to exploit cross curricular opportunities. They wanted the scheme to ‘wow the children and be aspirational’. The innovative Mr Andrews Online Creative Curriculum is now available to all primary schools.

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