NDLF – Opinion Piece – Robert Stephen

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In this thought piece, NDLF member Rob Stephen from VOICE Scotland shares his views on the Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland


A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland – Thought Piece

I have 30 years experience of teaching Maths in the city of Aberdeen and previously worked in the Oil Industry as a Development Engineer. I was involved in a variety of underwater engineering projects and then worked as a Software Engineer with a hydrographic survey company providing offshore positioning services. Since moving from industry to education, I have maintained a strong interest in digital technology and, in particular, how it contributes to improving teaching and supporting the learning process. I currently represent the union Voice on the National Digital Learning Forum.

I believe that the publication of the Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland has put into the public domain a recognition the importance of digital technology in education. As a classroom teacher, I am delighted that this is now in place. It brings a number of important considerations to the attention of teachers and support staff that otherwise might be passed over in the extremely busy day to day schedule of a school.

Objective 1 in the strategy (Develop the skills and confidence of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology to support learning and teaching) is something that I have tried to be actively involved in throughout my teaching career. New technology is appearing all the time! The questions that should be in the mind of teachers and support staff is how the technology actually be used to initiate, orchestrate and monitor learning and also to focus on how the technology enhances the teaching and enriches the learning experience. This, as the starting point in the strategy, is exactly where teachers need to begin in their consideration of the role that digital technology plays in the education process. The focus on improving educational outcomes is key, as sometimes the features and operational procedures for the technology are given a lot of attention and consideration of the actual benefits learners for learners can often get overlooked!

So I am pleased to see that the publication of the strategy highlights these points. I am also encouraged by the ways in which good practice in the use of digital technology in the classroom is already being shared and disseminated. My hope is that all teachers and educators will be involved in the process of thinking clearly about how digital technology impacts on their work in the classroom.

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