BBC Start the Week Technology in Education(7 Posts)
Interesting Radio 4 programme
The only common sense one was Neil Selwyn in my opinion. The former Eton headmaster is what I think is wrong with our current elite thinking, focusing on social above education, in my opinion. Sugata Mitra is wrong in my opinion on technology and the internet and its usefulness.
There is a worrying trend to downplay the importance of a real teacher who can show "the ropes" rather than let children drift in an ocean of unstructured internet information.
I didn't hear it today, but I don't really agree with iPads etc in classrooms. There is no substitute for learning how to work hard and how to think. Tech in classrooms is used as a crutch, and I don't think edutainment does children any favours long-term.
'I don't think edutainment does children any favours long-term'
I agree. Tech is a tool, like a book to some extent, but children need a guide who has been there and done it and knows the direction and can point out which books in a library are worth studying. Teachers make the value judgements and determine the direction and point the path. Letting children discover for themselves and wade through the internet without guidance is just a dead end.
But having an ipad is not all about edutainment - some of it is about improving teaching eg a pupil can read out German language oral answers, saving them & send them to teacher, who can then record specific improvements etc.
Yes research guidance is needed and lots of clear help to avoid plagiarism and to learn to think. But would you rather throw out tech tools to help and deepen learning or enhance them with protective ring fences?
Of course, tech has it's place, but it's use should be to enhance the classroom teaching and not replace it. It also needs to be properly planned and kept relevant and up to date.
I note that interactive whiteboards are going out of fashion again these days - so they've just been a fad/gimmick for entertainment rather than education.
At our son's school, they have various systems via their website. Such as show my homework - great in theory and launched with a lot of enthusiasm, but six months in and many teachers have lost interest, so the kids are now confused with some teachers using it and others just setting homework in lessons. They scrapped the homework diaries, so it's a real fiasco and the kids havn't a clue what to do. Some teachers even set homework via email - a third different system!
Same with their "VLE" - some subject heads are keeping it up to date and relevant. Others threw lots of effort in a few years ago, with dozens of webpage links, many of which are now out of date or broken, so as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Some dept heads never made any effort at all with virtually nothing on. Others are simply out of date, such as having end of year revision notes which relate to prior year end of year tests, but don't say the year so kids use them and then find out they're not relevant to the actual tests they're sitting!
Some topics just aren't suited to being done on a computer or tablet. Take maths - fine for mental workings, but doing it on screen you tend to lose the habit of writing down your workings, so potentially mark-losing for exams.
Nothing worse than a lazy homework being set such as "research ABC" without giving any guidance as to what websites to use, how much detail, etc. Very easy for a kid to go into far too much detail, stray into the wrong areas, etc - they need clear boundaries otherwise it's not only time wasting, but potentially counter-productive as they may answer questions in tests in the wrong level of depth and lose marks because their answer isn't what is on the marking scheme.
Tech needs to be controlled and monitored and only used where it enhances the teaching, not as a lazy replacement.
Education should be fun. A child learns so much easier if they are not finding the topic dry and dusty. They will be more willing to return to learn more if they found it fun to do last time. They will remember it and recall it much easier if they have it associated with fun when they stored it in their mind.
There are excellent teachers and there are board-mutteringly bad teachers Before the internet you got who you got for the year. Where as now Khan Academy, Mr. Hegarty and quite a few others have given all children access to good teaching.
School is failing a lot of children because of the impossibility of teaching to the wide differentiation of abilities in one class room.
I am not saying to throw out the text books, but to look into new ideas of what could work better now that we have found this new technology. To be creative is to ask, "How could we do this differently and would that be better?" In this respect, teaching too needs to learn in order to improve.
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