Watch out for one of the UK's best regional events for learning with technology – Digitally Confident
THe SageSuper-cool venue for the Digitally Confident Conference: the Sage, GatesheadEducation conferences proved their value for collaboration and support when the Coalition Government came in and policy for learning with technology went out of the window. And a regular regional favourite is coming up on Tyneside next week – the Digitally Confident Conference (Sage, Gateshead, October 16).

The event has brought together a healthy mix of speakers with expertise in classroom practice, innovation and policy, from expert modern languages teacher and digital strategist José Picardo through to former Labour education minister Lord Jim Knight. But the stars of the show are likely to be the digital leader pupils from Normanby Primary School who will be live-blogging, reporting and presenting.

Unesco recognises that mobile devices have massive potential for learning. So what needs to be done?
MeganMegan, aged 9, happily turns to anywhere anytime learning with her tabletChilean academic Miguel Nussbaum puts his finger on a widespread concern about learning with mobile technology: “Everybody is buying tablets and nothing is changing.” And he will kick off the 11th Education Fast Forward (EFF) debate on September 17 (3pm GMT) – “Mobile learning for the masses?”.

This is the first EFF debate as a fully independent organisation (it was created by Promethean with support from Cisco, which continues. It has Unesco as a partner and will feature a range of top international educators, plus two UK educators with significant new books for mobile learning, Professor Angela McFarlane and John Galloway.

Dave Smith asks why so many educators are prone to edutech knee-jerk when they have many options
Colwyn Bay classColwyn Bay pupils use whatever suits the learning: no 'either or'Why do people working with educational technology suddenly get taken with an “either or” mentality? Why would schools that were ‘given’ interactive boards (IWBs) think that the current choice they were facing was between IWBs or ripping them out to be replaced by sets of tablets like iPads linked to flat-screen TVs via Apple TV?

For many years I have helped schools that are interested in using visualisers for whole-class sharing of visual and digital resources. Now I’m suddenly coming across people who think the choice is either iPads/tablets or visualisers. Can’t the options be a little wider than that?

Despite dire predictions, touch-typing is still an asset for those fortunate to aquire it, writes Gerald Haigh
typingIn about 1983, when computers were starting to arrive in schools, I asked our county IT adviser about teaching children to touch-type. He waved the idea away, telling me confidently that the qwerty keyboard was on its way out – it was old technology, a hangover from the days of black Remington typewriters. It was already being replaced by more efficient input devices. (He mentioned Quinkeys for example. Remember them?)

The adviser underestimated, as so many have done across generations, the sheer resilience of a system that, despite its drawbacks, works reliably and, more important, is supported by a massive and ultimately immoveable investment of skill and global acceptance.

Computing starts in England's schools next term, but a Nesta/TES survey reveals the depth of disquiet
Helen GouldenNesta's Helen Houlden: 'very worrying'Critics of the new Computing curriculum are vindicated by the findings of a new YouGov survey, commissioned by Nesta and The TES, that finds that more than half of England’s teachers (60 per cent) are not confident delivering the new computing curriculum that starts this September, after the summer break.

“With the new school year just around the corner these results are very worrying,” warns Nesta executive director Helen Goulden. “The ability to make and create through technology is key to participating in and understanding the world around us, as well as an increasingly desired and required skill in the jobs market.