The process of submitting for the TheETA Schools Award involves the completion of online surveys which contain diagnostic questions covering all aspects of the use of ed tech to improve learning outcomes and make learning relevant. All schools taking the award surveys receive a report highlighting questions where the school's answers are significantly above or below international norms. A sample report can be found in the TheETA library. Although as yet a small sample, one or two intriguing patterns emerge. It will be no surprise that all schools do particularly well at preparing children to look after their online identity. Much more surprising is that all schools underperform in the development of the use of spreadsheets as tools for learning and for life. Perhaps the current international emphasis on coding combined with overcrowded curricula is a cause.
This neglect of spreadsheets must be a concern. Most children's wellbeing will be affected by the success of businesses, small and large. They will mostly be employed or self employed for their careers. Spreadsheets are fundamental to the success of all businesses. If you want to run your own business, the ability to make effective use of spreadsheets for recording, monitoring and financial modelling gives you a huge advantage. They are in effect the numerical equivalent of word processors. They are number processors.
Unlike programming, where there is an overabundance, engaging and accessible teaching and learning resources for the teaching and learning of the use of spreadsheets are not plentiful, although we know of one development.
This is really important. Contrary to what we are constantly being told, most children are not going to be programmers. And they are going to want to earn a living.
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