Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kevin Brennan in non-attendance at BETT shocker

It's already been given plenty of attention by Ewan Mcintosh and now on Futurelab's Flux, but I somehow doubt that Kevin Brennan (under secretary of state for Children, Schools and Families) will be attending the BETT show, which opens tomorrow morning. Having recently presented at an event he was speaking at I was quietly encouraged by what he said there, now I figure I must have been wrong. His responsibilities are "pupil behaviour, attendance, and tackling bullying; the Respect agenda; and health issues including school food, Healthy Schools, obesity, drugs and alcohol" so I guess it's the first of those which "informed" his recent comments on leaving "gadgets" at home. You'd hope that Jim Knight, who spoke at last year's Naace conference and seemed very positive, would have a different view, particularly in the light of recent rumblings from government.
Maybe Kevin would like to sit down with Marc Prensky for ten minutes...

I'll be at BETT, probably around the Adobe stand at stand K40 (and maybe occasionally at the next-door Atomwide stand) over the full four days - ouch. If you've any questions (awkward or otherwise) about Moodle then please come and say "hello" - in many ways, despite an alleged emphasis on 'personalisation', BETT can feel like The Most Impersonal Place In The World Ever, so it's always nice to see a smiling face or two. I've just realised - I've no business cards left! D'oh!
Away from BETT, the interesting thing for me is that over the years it's becoming clear how pupils aren't just sat in front of computers when they use their schools' VLEs. Playstation Portables and mobile phones are regularly used to access some of our schools' Moodles and now no doubt the web-enabled 360s, PS3s and Wiis will start to enable access to these and other resources. One post from a primary school's Moodle forums I vividly remember was a boy saying that he was taking his PSP to his nan's so he could be online there - I'm not sure what was more intriguing, the fact he planned on doing that or that his nan had wifi. Maybe she'll have a Wii soon...

1 comment:

  1. re the handheld presentation, my response would be "just because we can does not mean we should".

    Lets start with the term 'digital native'. I don't like it, yes teenagers can text 5 times faster than me, yes they spend a lot of time downloading ring tones but that doesn't mean they can make a good presentation using powerpoint, a good presentation involves boiling down content to what is most important and students often get carried away with whizzy graphics and bright colours rather than thinking about content. In this case technical competence does not really help.

    Its the same with handhelds, it is very easy to spend a lot of time as an educator messing about with the technical problems of uploading content or building a social system on hand held devices and not actually think about the actual teaching - I've seen many projects where using new technology has made learning WORSE.

    Key questions that educators should ask about any new technology: What is the risk of this not working in the way I thought it would? What educational value am I actually adding by using the new technology? IMHO the correct educational choice is the far from the cutting edge of technology.

    So my answer to the question should gadgets be banned from the classrooom would be: No, but they should only be used in teaching if I have a very clear idea of how they will be used. BTW before I get accussed of micro managing, that can include the freedom to do technical stuff that I, as educator, don't know how to do myself.