Monday 2 March 2009

The new economy

In his book "The Creative Economy", John Howkins ends the penultimate chapter with the following statement:"At the start of the twentieth century, Lenin said, "Communism is soviet organisation plus electricity." At the start of the twenty-first, I suggest, "The new economy is creativity plus electronics." It seems to me that media literacy and the use of new tools for learning should be important areas of development for us as a School of Creativity. How do we exploit the fact that computers are more like paintbrushes than televisions? How do we make sure that students from year 7 upwards have access to and are excited by the latest technologies in the service of their creativity?

1 comment:

Soren Hawes said...

I think there are lots of interesting examples of new media being used creatively at Thomas Tallis, but that access can tend to be limited to certain subjects and certain teachers who advocate new approaches. The Media courses at year 10 and beyond are great examples of how students can be engaged and creative in their use of new technologies when given the opportunity. Also individual teachers have exploited some of the resources that the school have acquired recently to produce imaginative, purposeful and creative outcomes.

That said, it is still quite possible for students to go through years at Tallis and have very few (or dare i say, no) opportunities to explore new media - especially at Key Stage Three. I think that we have the perfect opportunity to address this because schools are being encouraged to move away from a content heavy curriculum towards an approach that stresses the importance of acquiring skills and competencies - surely the competency to exploit, critique, understand and create new media is going to be one of the most important things we can do to equip students for the 21st century?

A number of arguments might be made to explain why the use of new media is partial at the moment:

The purpose and benefits of new media have not been made clear ... It is not seen as learning in its own right ... That it is a distraction from "proper learning" ... That teachers do not have the confidence or expertise to use it ... that the equipment is inaccessible and unaffordable ... the timetables makes it hard to work on longer projects ...

but it strikes me that none of these arguments or obstacles are insurmountable. The school has already initiated so many exciting new projects, and there are plenty of examples of creative uses of new media - now we need to think how we can build on these imaginative new approaches to ensure that increasing numbers of students, and eventually all students will have an opportunity to benefit.