What’s the point of technology?

The Sydney Morning Herald ran an article headlined “This is why Finland has the best schools” on 26th March 2016.
It makes good reading if you are from Finland.

The Sydney Morning Herald ran an article headlined ‘The reality is that technology is doing more harm than good in our schools’ says education chief on 31st March, 2016.
It doesn’t make good reading if you are interested and passionate about technology and education.

My colleague Ilpo Halonen from FInland on 22nd March, 2016 reported that, “Helsinki intends to invest 37 million euro to achieve 1:1 (one computer per student) for all students of 7-9 grades, and 1:2 for lower grades.”
It makes good reading if you admire the finish education system and are passionate about technology and education.

The “Why Finland has the best schools” article doesn’t mention the use of technology at all.

However, (to quote on of my really good friends @Tess24B) there are things that I think about all of this.

I have advocated technology for years and years. It takes time to change and embed but at www.greenparkschool.org.uk the use of technology to help teaching AND learning has been effective and I reckon value for money. Probably, over the years, our biggest single spend was IWB’s which on reflection we should have invested in a few tins of paint and made our walls smoother.

We use Chromebooks (we buy the cheapest), make use of recycled charging cabinets (very expensive new) and have iPads.

The pupils use these devices intelligently and responsibly (usually) and now teach children from other schools how to use Google Apps for Education. It is not unusual for them to pass on a tip or two to the teachers. They also communicate to each other while using their devices and they manage to go outside to do PE.

There is a demand for more devices. In the world of data analysis and Ofsted, the impact of technology on teaching and learning has to be positive otherwise technology is an expensive waste of time.

I also have a grandson called Charlie (nearly four) and another called Bobby (15 months) . I sometimes mention Charlie when I talk about technology. He has grown up with technology as another one of his toys or boxes or slugs or paints or pieces of chocolate cake). Therefore he uses his technology to do what he needs to do with the technology that he (currently) knows how to use.

Last Saturday he was quite desperate to go to Knowsley Safari Park . He asked his mum, @lauraramo but it wasn’t going to happen. So Charlie had a problem. How to get to the safari park.

iPhone, Whatsapp, voice message to Nanny Sheila. “No”.

iPhone, Whatsapp, voice message to @stevie_raff & @loishonora . “No”.

iPhone, Whatsapp, voice message to Aunty Lyn (who never says no). “Yes, I’ll take you Charlie.”

So Aunty Lyn, Nanny Gill and Charlie went to Knowsley Safari Park.

@lauraramo had one or two things to say to Charlie (who had acquired her phone) but in Charlie’s terms he’s solved his problem.

How will he use technology when he goes to school? Will school provide opportunities? Will school ban technology and call it an expensive waste of time.

I also think that in the middle of of all the testing and assessing and evaluating that there should be one test that gives pupils the opportunity to demonstrate their digital research, collaboration, networking skills. Along the lines of:

In an envelope their is an unseen question. You have three or two or one  hour to find the solution. You may use this digital device and you can find your information from wherever you can.

I’m worried that haven’t used a fronted adverbial in my blog post.


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