Kevin and Ciarán meet Lord Puttnam

In the most recent Open Minds talk hosted by John Bowman, Science Gallery and McCann FitzGerald, Lord David Puttnam, presented “Technology, Education and Ireland: How new ways of learning can assist economic recovery”. It was an great opportunity for the Bridge21 team to meet first hand with Lord Puttnam who has long been an advocate for educational change.
David spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, Chariots of Fire and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscar’s, 25 Bafta’s and the Palme D’Or at Cannes.
David retired from film production in 1998 to concentrate on his work in public policy relating to education, the environment and the creative and communications industries. In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002.  David is the present Chancellor of the Open University, following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland.
Bridge21’s Kevin and Ciarán were very impressed with Lord Puttnam’s continued devotion to changing education here in Ireland. A long-time resident in Cork, David has like all of us, a vested interest in turning our education system into a world class leader. He clearly advocates for more learner ownership and responsibility, with a focus on critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration, all very close to our hearts here in Bridge21.
He conveyed the real need for change in education by explaining how a surgeon from 1912, if he was able to access a modern day operating theatre, would be totally inept and unable to perform any procedures. Compare that to a teacher from a classroom in 1912…. he or she would have little difficulty teaching in today’s similar classrooms. He also noted that students who have access to technologies outside of the classroom (laptops, iPads, smartphones) should not have to “power down” when coming into the classroom, as is often the case in most secondary schools here in Ireland.
Giving students access to technology does not mean technology takes over, but enables a deeper level of learning. We need to entrust students with responsibility for their own learning and this must be a part of their future educational needs.
David Puttnam believes in change, we in Bridge21 believe in change, do you believe in change?
Comments welcome on any expressed views.

For more on 21st Century Learning from Lord Puttnam:

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