Labour's promise: access to computers at home for every pupil

Catherine’s done her homework on the Labour Party manifesto, and come up with this exciting promise that I don’t think has had much coverage until now:

We will deliver our cross-government strategy for closing the digital divide and using ICT to further transform public services…

By 2006 every school [will be] supported to offer all pupils access to computers at home.

I’ve been saying for some time that we already have a pupil:computer ratio of 1:1 or better if you take into account childrens’ home computers, and that if we can tap into this resource effectively then accessibility problems simply go away. It seems somebody in Labour Party Headquarters was thinking along the same lines.

One crucial effect of the strategy is this: it puts the computers where the teachers are not. This forces you to into a strategy of separating individual work that can be performed unsupervised from group work that requires teacher interaction.

The greatest benefit that comes from computers in education, is the way they can free the teacher up from routine patrol and control, but this doesn’t work until you absent yourself when students are working on computers. Moving the computer to the students’ homes could be just the thing to break the old habit.

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