Welcome from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick
It gives me great pleasure to welcome this report from the IGGY Junior Commission on Education and the Internet. The Junior Commission is a life-changing opportunity enabling some of the brightest young people in the world to collaborate on a topic of huge importance and make a real impact on the role of technology in education for future generations of learners.
This year’s IGGY Junior Commission consists of ten 13 – 18 year olds from eight different countries who have been able to connect and share their beliefs and experiences of technology in education, as well as consider the potential benefits and challenges for the future.
This project has been supported by global visionaries in the fields of education and technology as well as teachers and learners from all walks of life, all over the world. Junior Commissioners have undertaken a demanding programme of activities over the course of the year and they have risen to the challenge with enthusiasm and determination.
The programme of study visits to the UK and USA, as well as rigorous research in their home countries and globally online, has enabled the Junior Commissioners to research, prepare and deliver a considered set of guidelines for policy makers aimed at making education safe, relevant and accessible to all.
" The Junior Commission is a life-changing opportunity enabling some of the brightest young people in the world to collaborate on a topic of huge importance and make a real impact on the role of technology in education for future generations of learners. " - Professor Nigel Thrift
This report delivers challenging and forward-thinking recommendations that Junior Commissioners would like to see considered and implemented worldwide. It recognises that all learners are different and resources may vary but that all young people have the right to an education and deserve access to the technology needed to support their learning.
The IGGY Junior Commission enables ten of the brightest young minds to collaborate with one another to achieve a global goal. These young people are the potential leaders of the future and deserve an opportunity to share their views and recommendations. I would like to thank them for their contribution to IGGY and the University of Warwick’s research goals.
The Junior Commissioners have also been generously supported by the Advisory Panel, Academics, Professionals and by the many individuals and organisations listed in the report. I extend my thanks to each and every one for their advice, assistance and guidance.
Professor Nigel Thrift
Foreword from Lord Jim Knight
The IGGY Commission at the University of Warwick is an extraordinary initiative. It brings together the brightest young minds around the world and sets them a challenge to answer a question the rest of us have been grappling with for sometime.
I have been a long time evangelist for the power of technology, orchestrated by teachers, to enable a more rigorous, relevant and rewarding experience for learners. I was therefore delighted to advise the commission. I hope it was as rewarding an arrangement for them as it was for me.
The internet is used for good and ill, and these brilliant commissioners have been collaborating to work out how it should best be used for education. Too often we forget how much more insight is gained by asking young people to help us tackle intractable problems; in this report we can see how their imagination and open minds can illuminate this controversial subject.
They have applied themselves with dedication and enthusiasm, taking evidence from around the world. In my work at TSL Education I am exploring how we can use technology to help teachers improve their practice. As a policy maker and opinion former in the UK Parliament I need to draw on the latest global thinking. I will therefore be citing this report in both of these roles, and hope others in similar positions will do the same.
Lord Jim Knight
Managing Director of Online Learning, TSL Education
Introduction from a Junior Commissioner
Two billion, nine hundred and eight million, one hundred and sixty five thousand, two hundred and fifty five: the estimated number of internet users in June 2014. Without doubt one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind, it now has a major role to play in education. Nowadays, the abundance, diversity and relevance on knowledge, along with globalisation, forces us to question traditional educational systems and explore the learning possibilities that the internet offers.
A study released in 2013 by Babson Survey Research Group revealed that in 2011, over 6.7 million “post-secondary students enrolled in distance-learning”. Online, more than 65,000 educational applications are available on Apple’s AppStore alone. An ongoing shift is taking place in the world of education, as the internet remodels it, thanks to an overwhelming but nonetheless beneficial “tsunami of devices and apps”, schools now have greater possibilities, a broader choice of resources available and new forms of pedagogy at their disposal. Having pupils arranged in rows, facing forward in a classroom listening to a teacher may soon be seen as something archaic and we are faced with the question: What should we strive towards? (ref 6, 29, 30, 42)
We have been working on this question for one year. Originating from eight different countries, aged 14 to 18, the ten of us were selected to meet this challenge, which has proven itself to be incredibly enriching. I believe each one of us will agree that it was not only the intellectually stimulating experience that was worth living, but also the personal one. Indeed, meeting such different people with various background and personalities was a wonderful opportunity and lifelong friendships were born. Furthermore, a shared love for knowledge acquired and knowledge shared, for challenge and discovery, we researched, debated, blogged, interviewed – all with the aim to change the current educational system, build a point of view, analyse advantages and drawbacks, recommend paths to take, and raise awareness about our topic. Two research trips to the UK and the USA enabled us to visit schools and organisations as well as to meet experts in the field of Education and the Internet, whose viewpoints were invaluable to us. We focused on four key areas, which were; ‘safety & security’, ‘cost & feasibility’, ‘pedagogy & social change’ and ‘future development’. As a result, our report is based on primary and secondary research, both of which lead to our recommendations for schools and organisations, on how the internet should be used to change and develop education for the better.
The IGGY Junior Commission was an exciting task to carry out – where group and personal work, short term and long term goals, and online and location based research were combined in a perfect blend of discovery and analysis. Ultimately, we are the products of what we wrote about: as part of the new ‘digital native’ generation, we used the internet for educational purposes, learnt and shared, explored and created, in a team where members were scattered all around the globe. And is this not, in the end, the unutterable beauty of the internet?
Anne-Eléonore Deleersnyder France, Paris, June 2014
This year, the Junior Commission considered how the internet is shaping education. Ten outstanding IGGY members were selected to contribute to this one year project. These individuals were involved in both the design and implementation of the research, which included both qualitative and quantitative measures. Questionnaire responses were collected from 289 pupils and 109 teachers across a total of 14 countries.
Further insight was achieved through interviews with leading educational experts, and a number of case studies were conducted which evaluated a range of technological and educational organisations. Findings suggest that the internet, within the correct context, is a valuable educational tool and that specific skills are facilitated by access to the internet. This said, our evidence also indicates that concerns over plagiarism and originality limit the current impact of the internet for pupils' learning. From our findings we suggested recommendations for both schools and educational organisations in order to identify how to better incorporate the internet into learning environments. Leading educationalist Sir Michael Barber supported many of our recommendations, which we think bodes well for impacting on government policy in the future. Lastly, this report also focuses on coding and gamification, both of which are current trends in online education and therefore a focus on this illustrates the relevance and timelessness of our report to the 'Education and the Internet' debate.