Be Very Afraid

BVA4 showed, as in previous years, another substantial step forward in many directions. This alone is interesting: year on year for half a decade now we have seen students of all ages seizing the technological zeitgeist to produce engagement with learning outcomes that are universally acknowledged as useful, appropriate, relevant and ambitious. Keeping policy moving this quickly is an issue. Alarmingly, much of what our students at BVA showed is locked down or banned in less enlightened institutions - creating a stark and new digital divide that should hugely concern us all. This year, the desktop computer had disappeared; ad hoc, wireless, global, personal, pocketable and cheap were features. Impressively, whilst the learners' faces were as excited as ever, their reflections have become ever more thoughtful and insightful. We really do need to heed these learners' voices. Trapped in a world of measured incrementalism, we may be missing the huge leaps forward that are on offer here. The only barrier to quite remarkable progress may simply be our ambition. It certainly isn't these learners' ambitions, or the evidence based confidence of their teachers and lecturers. Professor Stephen Heppell