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Professor Stephen Heppell recommends change for Jersey's education system

Posted: Friday 3 May 2013

Digital Jersey held their first education event at Haute Vallee School yesterday evening, where Board Member Professor Stephen Heppell talked about hi…

Digital Jersey held their first education event at Haute Vallee School yesterday evening, where Board Member Professor Stephen Heppell talked about his experience and views on subject of 21st century education.

Attended by over 170 members of digital industry, education professionals and government, Professor Heppell gave many examples of the innovative use of technology in the physical learning spaces within schools and classrooms and explained the proven impact that this can have in terms of improving teaching and learning capabilities. 

Later during an open question and answer session he spoke passionately of his wider experience in working with schools all over the world; most notably he emphasised the importance of ‘being brave’ in adapting to and accepting the rapid changes that technology brings with it.

He ultimately summarised with three key recommendations for Jersey with regards to evolving its education system, including:

  1. The importance of connectivity:  He stressed that totally open, accessible wifi was absolutely critical to revolutionising education and enabling global, innovative, positive learning non-stop learning on almost every level.
  2. Building an education system WITH (not for) children:  He emphasised how building a system WITH children is not the same as building a system FOR children.  To engage children by allowing them to help to shape the way they learn leads to dramatic positive changes in outcomes.  If the education system and environment becomes appealing for a child as opposed to an adult-ideal of what is best, we could take a big step towards breaking down the barriers that are standing in the way of real learning.
  3. The importance of being brave:  Finally, he told us that as a community we must be brave, ambitious and confident in making changes to an education system that is undeniably out of date.  We must recognise rapid changes as they take place and fearlessly use them to our advantage to generate enhanced creativity and advanced learning.

Professor Heppell gave many examples of schools from all over the world that have adapted to technological advancement in their own way.  From the simple appreciation of a new type of shared learning, (from the use of the iPad and Skype in classrooms), to wholly re-designed classrooms and learning spaces, for students, by students, based around the creation a space that recognises their different needs and elevates their desire to learn and gains improved results.

He also confirmed that he would be bringing his famous ‘BE VERY AFRAID’ initiative to Jersey in the future, in association with Digital Jersey. 

Ted Ridgway Watt, CEO of Digital Jersey commented:

“We are absolutely delighted that Professor Stephen Heppell has committed so much time and passion to this event. He is a valued member of our board and we believe that his experience in education around the world will enable us to learn and develop our own innovative ideas, working in partnership with government, parents and, most importantly, our children, to ensure that Jersey has the skills and resources we need to become a success story in the digital age.”

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