Last updated: 01.02.13

Technology 'key to driving youth employment'

There are countless ways in which technology can enhance the academic potential of gifted and talented (G&T) young people, whether it is through purely online learning resources or blended practices.According to representatives from several initiatives that focus on improving the capabilities of G&T students, technology can offer personalised learning that stretches their minds, the Guardian reports.Dr Adam Boddison, academic principle for IGGY, a social network set up to help individuals recognise their full potential, said most people would agree G&T pupils are likely to become the next generation of leaders in a range of fields and technology is a good starting point for working them harder, as it helps to personalise a learning experience.He noted the equality and diversity benefits it can have, as it bridges the gap between rich and poor students by giving them an opportunity to reinvent themselves, "so a student from a disadvantaged community can operate on the same intellectual plane as those who might be more fortunate".Valerie Thompson, chief executive of the e-Learning Foundation, a national educational charity seeking to get rid of the digital divide among Britain's schoolchildren, also flagged up the benefits of technology.She explained it is still an untapped resource and the UK has had a real problem with it, given the government's stance that schools are the ones best placed to make a decision regarding technology implementation.Meanwhile, Ms Thompson stated technology is being used in a "one size fits all" way and the capacity of it being tailored and personalised around the needs of individual learners is still "in its infancy".However, there are some training providers around the country actively encouraging students to integrate online resources into their learning processes, one of which is Virtual College.Staff from the West Yorkshire-based institution have been working with a school in Leeds to launch a pre-apprenticeship programme through its YP Training division, which is using blended learning to prepare young people for the workplace and keep them engaged.