By Martyn Coffin

Mike ShortMike Short"It’s about people, not technology," was the key message from keynote speaker Mike Short, vice president of research and development with Telefonica Europe and O2 as he delivered a stunning presentation on "Applications anywhere anytime – en route to Digital Britain" at the recent Let'sTalk About Txt conference at Wolverhampton University's Learning Lab.

He said that there were now more mobile phones than people in the UK and that the public sector, where education was the key, had to become part of Digital Britain. Covering a space of 20 years, he illustrated how far mobile phones and other mobile devices had changed our world in the areas of health, business, education and entertainment. Mobile phones were now an essential tool for productivity, he added, and partnerships would be the key to future developments.

Sunday TimesSunday TimesGovernment ICT agency Becta was highlighted as a quango for possible closure in an article on public sector savings in The Sunday Times (April12).

Journalist Richard Woods, in an article headlined "Alistair Darling swings the axe", wrote: "Should the government be spending money, for example, on the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), whose mission is to 'utilise the benefits of technology to create a more exciting, rewarding and successful experience for learners'? If you think schools and colleges, or even students, could do that for themselves, then scrap Becta and save £38m a year."

"Alistair Darling swings the axe"

Angela McFarlaneAngela McFarlane: 'forget romaticism'Techno-romanticism – you know, “just give the kids this technology and they fly”, and the “digital natives” mythology – was given a terminal diagnosis at Partnerships for Schools' Building Schools for the Future:ICT event at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

“There is very little evidence to support that view,” said keynote speaker Angela McFarlane, Professor of Education at the University of Bristol.  “Actually many children struggle to use technology effectively, and even when they think they are using it effectively they are not.  And many children struggle, more importantly, to know how to learn effectively.

By John Galloway

Dave CllifDave Cliff: keynoteDo you prefer your learning "layered," "braided," "deep" or "mobile?" Not sure of the difference? Then you should have been at CAL 09: Learning in Digital Worlds, the conference for all those interested in ICT in education held in Brighton this week (March 23-25) where these, and research into many other topical themes, were explored.

While the event was dominated by academics and researchers, a sprinkling of teachers turned up to help maintain the links to the classroom. The conference covers research into just about every aspect of the use of ICT in all spheres of education.

Nolan Bushnell'Change the world': Nolan BushnellNolan Bushnell (left), founder of Atari and a world authority on computer gaming, presented an epitaph for the classroom when he opened the two-day Game Based Learning 2009 Conference in London yesterday (March 19). "The classroom died as a concept 12 years ago," he said. "There are so many things wrong with the classroom that, unless we evolve to the next plateau, we will never fix education in a real way.

"Second, teaching has to fundamentally evolve into a mentoring one-on-one relationship rather than one-to-many. Third, the virtual classroom, the virtual tools that everybody deals with, have to be part of any curriculum."