Skip to main content

Technology: It’s important but isn’t a one size fits all.

 

2014-08-16 17.30.17

 

I’ve been talking to lots of people about technology recently and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think it’s worth saying a few things. Again.  I know that the use of technology in school makes teaching and learning better.  It can smooth the ‘back office’ and planning tasks to free up time.  It can provide swift and accurate data.  It can be used in transformative ways in the classroom.  For example, set up a geocache or a travelbug.  Set it off on an adventure.  Track it.  The map above is my son’s travelbug.  It’s not up-to-date. It’s now in Ney York City, USA.  I know that the connections are being made in your mind.  Geography, Art, Maths, English, History, Science….  It can all hinge off a £2 piece of metal and a smartphone.

The problem I do have is with the idea that schools should subscribe to one flavour of technology.  This is not only mental, it just doesn’t make pedagogical sense.  I believe that teachers should be autonomous professionals that select the best tool for the job for the young people in front of them.  It’s true.  Teachers really do have a lot of autonomy when you think about it.  What I can’t stand is the idea that injecting any from of technology, wholesale, into every classroom and then demanding that every teacher uses it with every pupil.  You may as well say ‘Don;t bother about all of this other stuff, that works just as well or better and that you know.’

Teachers have to spend time to adjust to new systems. 

This is far too top down, rather that bottom up.  Responding to learning needs, rather than to a shiny sales pitch.

Now, before you start, I do have affiliations with many of the big names.  Google. Microsoft. Apple.  But, I advocate what works.  Always have.  There are some tools that these three provide that are absolutely pants when you look beyond the shiny marketing plans; visit schools and scratch beneath the surface and discover that all of that money has been spent on doing exactly the same thing as you’ve always done, just on a shiny consumer good.

So, what would I advocate?  I would say that Ollie Bray’s minimum classroom specification still holds water.  And I totally agree re IWBs.  I would also involve Digital Leaders (both staff and students) in developing grass roots pedagogical development, driven by technology.  I’d speak to staff and ask what they want.  I would add a simple visualiser (around £100, hyperlink for eg as i use them) and then some investment on ‘seed’ devices in certain areas.  I would also advocate using what you have, but better.  PowerPoint and textbooks aren’t evil, however when used by muppets, they can seem so.  Also, do you know what programmes are sitting on machines already? OneNote anyone? 

What I wouldn’t advocate is throwing in a load of machines or devices then expecting miracles to happen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of