Serif in Education

Computers in schools

Despite the advances and the pace at which technology is growing, we are still in fairly new territory when it comes to digital skills and the school curriculum.  Although computers have been used in schools for many years, costs and other challenges have meant that not all schools have had access to, or have felt the need, to invest in large amounts of computing materials until fairly recent years.

Almost all jobs and careers nowadays require some element of computer technology, whether it be working your way round an accounting or order processing system, digitally specific jobs such as graphic design, product design, or web design, or even simply just to be able to type out and upload or send your CV to an employer.  Most of these jobs now require some familiarity with navigating through digital material where readers determine how they read, for example being able to choose the order in which they view things, rather than following the usual pattern of paragraphs and pages in a traditional book. 

At Serif, we always like it when we come across new reports or information on digital skills and students, and we were excited therefore to learn the 15th September saw the launch of first OECD PISA report on digital skills, entitled “Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection”.

Based on new analysis and data from the PISA 2012 assessment, the report has been designed to examine differences in the use of ICT and students access to these resources in relation to the students gender, location, school attended and their social status.  The aim was straightforward – to see how computers in schools could be used most effectively to give students the skills they need in todays connected world.

To assess their digital skills, the test required 15 year old students in 31 countries and economies to use a keyboard and mouse to navigate texts by using tools like hyperlinks, browser button or scrolling, in order to access information, as well as make a chart from data or use on-screen calculators.

Despite the fact students probably use technology such as smart phones, iPads and social media outside of the school environment daily, it was found that schools weren’t perhaps doing enough to effectively use technology in the classroom to get the best from their students.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills says “School systems need to find more effective ways to integrate technology into teaching and learning to provide educators with learning environments that support 21st century pedagogies and provide children with the 21st century skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s world.”

The importance of computing has been recently recognized and reflected by the Government by the introduction of the new Computing curriculum, back in September 2014. This reflects the change in both the way we use computers, learn about computers and how computing is developing. 

Serif have always believed that by enhancing a child’s creativity and taking a creative approach to digital learning in the classroom,  students can learn in a fun way whilst still keeping their concentration.  That is why our programs are designed to not only make life easier for student when learning, but by also enhancing their creativity and channeling it in a constructive manner – encouraging them to pick up new skills and attributes but without even knowing they are doing it. 

Simple steps like teaching students web skills by using WebPlus X8 can help them develop the necessary digital skills above – not just how they can use tools like hyperlinks or browser buttons, but actually teach them how they can create a website and add these elements to the site to enhance its functionality.  All of this taught in a creative and fun manner.

As part of WebPlus X8, students have the ability with a special site structure view to see all web pages graphically in a site plan, allowing them to see how pages link to ensure usability, and even take a screenshot to show a clear site navigation. 

Students can also easily rearrange pages without effecting user navigation.  By doing this it will give them a greater understanding of why certain elements are placed where they are.

You can find out more about how Serif Design Suite can help you tackle website design as part of the computing curriculum on our previous blog here:

http://educationblog.serif.com/website-design-as-part-of-the-computing-curriculum/