The image of a school is determined first and foremost by education outcomes. These outcomes could be pass rates, the number of learners entering tertiary institutions and even the number of sports stars produced by the school.
Why is image so important? Principals want their school to be the one of first choice in an area so that the best learners are drawn to the school. A good image attracts desirable learners, as well as good teachers.
ICT often serves as a draw card. In the belief that technology skills will put them in an advantageous position when they are looking for jobs or when they are about to enter tertiary institutions, parents want their children to be exposed to technology. They are not wrong feeling this way.
The image of a school is further enhanced when ICT is seen to achieve educational outcomes. For example:
If a school has an arts focus, graphic design technology will give it an edge over schools that do not have this type of technology.
A school’s image will be boosted when it uses technology to improve literacy and numeracy results.
A school offering computer subjects is seen to be preparing learners better for the future than schools that don’t.
The time is approaching – in many areas it has already arrived – when it is no longer a matter of technology improving the image of a school, but rather one where the absence of technology detracts from its image.
While an enhanced image is a welcome bonus, it should not be the main motive why ICT is brought into a school; the aim of technology must always be to improve teaching and learning.
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