Technology Tree Conference

It was my second year at the technology tree conference and I got to present my thoughts about how it links in with the primary curriculum. Marcus has already written a blog entry on his views, so for a different perspective, look here.



I mainly went there to show off our Paganel Scalextric project. 3 children came with me and were able to talk about the process of making their own car, racing the cars and commentating on the races. It was great to see the children commentate on the adult delegates as they raced the cars the children had built. It was also great to have at least 3 schools sign up for the project next year – we can now have a primary school scalextric competition – how FAB will that be?



In my presentation I wanted to say how the national curriculum has been a rigid framework for education over the last 15 years just as the rest of the world has been discovering that the network is more important than the framework.



I started with a slide full of words that Michael Gove had recently spoken. I know it’s bad form to use loads of text on a Powerpoint but I wanted to make the point that the curriculum change wanted by the new government are just words at the moment. I highlighted words like ‘prune’, simplify’ and ‘over-prescitpive.’


I followed with this picture:


It shows a rigid framework – some scaffolding. It’s my picture for the national curriculum of recent years – something that has helped build an educational structure of standards and rigour, but something that has also deskilled teachers from thinking for themselves. You can tell this by the use of the word ‘delivery’. Teacher’s ‘deliver’ the national curriculum. That verb really devalues the word ‘teach’.




Next I showed this picture. It shows a network – rather a large one. Ewan McIntosh showed a very similar picture at a talk he gave a few months ago – thetalk that got me blogging again. I said how teacher’s had been deskilled not only from thinking for themselves, but also valuing networks just at the time when we need to be teaching our children how to network effectively.




Then I showed these pipes. I had been reading some stuff about educational theories and how all our education system is based essentially on two theories – behaviourism and constructivism. But a new theory has been developed in recent years called connectionism. This is summed up by the statement “the pipe is more important than the contents of the pipe“. I held up my phone and pointed out how easy it is to access information through it and so we need to be teaching children how to use networks accurately and safely.


I then showed pictures of 2 different kinds of coffee cup.


Professer Anne Bamford had used similar images at the Creative Partnerships Conference back in February to illustrate the value of design. One coffee can cost£1.00, the other could cost£5.00. Design makes a 500% mark up – it’s worth something.


Just as the processes learned in technology tree through working with business on designing and making somethingare also worth something.


I finished by pointing out the links inherent in technology tree – inspiring witing and maths, developing speaking and listening and also linking between teachers – all things that make more teaching more effective and efficient.

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