Schools need digital councils

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Schools should set up digital councils to enable students to work with teachers to discuss the types of technology that could be used in the classroom, according to Professor Tanya Byron.

Speaking at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust national conference in Birmingham, Professor Byron said that if schools do not embrace technology, then teachers might as well “pack up and go home”.

Prof Byron, a psychologist and child behaviour expert, led the Byron Review in 2008 which looked at how to keep children safe online.

She told the SSAT that schools need to ensure technology is used with students to improve attainment and said it was also vital when working with students with disabilities.

She said: “Technology can disrupt and distract but we need to engage with how it can be used positively. We need to create a culture of responsibility and use it to interact with students.

Prof Byron claimed that schools need to accept mobile phones and the internet can be used for educational purposes.

She also suggested that schools should set up digital councils with students, which could work with teachers to discuss the types of technology that could be used in their schools.

She said: “Schools should set up digital councils with students and teachers working together, and talking about what technologies should be used to help engage students.

“We don’t want a top-down society and, after all, they are our future and they are using technology a lot more than most teachers and adults every day.”

The internet and its resources are frequently used by students at home and Prof Byron said the tools they are comfortable with should be used in the classroom to improve learning. She said this would mean students pay more attention and have a better understanding of subjects.

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