Technology has transformed the entire process of teaching and learning at Read School. It is a crucial component of every academic subject and is also taught as a subject in its own right. Most of our classrooms are equipped with electronic whiteboards, projectors and computers. We have two large state-of-the-art ICT suites and pupils may use the machines there and elsewhere for private study. All of our boarding houses are equipped with computers with access to the Internet.
All pupils are taught how to research safely on the Internet and evaluate sources. They are educated into the importance of evaluating the intellectual integrity of different sites, and why some apparently authoritative sites need to be treated with caution. Some sites that appear to be serious, impartial, historical sites, actually masquerade as sources of racism, homophobia or other propaganda. Some free, online encyclopaedias do not evaluate or screen the material posted on them.
Technology plays an enormously important part in the lives of all young people. Sophisticated games consoles and tablet computers, together with mobile phones provide unlimited access to the Internet, to SMS messages, to blogging (web logging) services (like Twitter), to Skype (video calls via web cameras built into computers, phones and PSPs), to wikis (collaborative web pages), chat rooms, social networking sites (such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat) and video sharing sites (such as YouTube).
This communications revolution gives young people unrivalled opportunities. It also brings risks. It is an important part of our role at Read School to teach pupils how to stay safe in this environment and how to avoid making themselves vulnerable to a range of risks, including identity theft, bullying, harassment, grooming, stalking, radicalisation and abuse. They also need to learn how to avoid the risk of exposing themselves to subsequent embarrassment. The safety of our pupils is paramount, and we educate them all at an age appropriate level, so that technology is a friend, not foe.