I always loved the challenging discussions around Professional development when it was my job to arrange all In Service Training. The biggest question as with teaching children is how to get the best or relevant topics for your most experienced teachers as well as the new teachers. This is often a hard call as training together in a large hall means that probably the average educator gets more than the two ends of the spectrum unless the development topic is focussed on them. So I wholeheartedly agree with this idea as this allows personal development to happen within a structured and sound environment. I hope it proves useful for you.
Check out this Ted talk by Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies.
She shows us at 3.14 that before the first birthday the children are already beginning to screen out sounds that they do not need to communicate with their parents. At one point they are equal but for example two months later they are taking statistics on what they hear. English has a lot of r and L’s but Japanese have more intermediate sounds and the brains change to recognise their mother tongue.
She then explains more about the babies brains and how the brain responds and a machine that can track this. Great pics of the children’s brains working.
It makes me wonder why the Government are considering whether we should have compulsory language learning at KS2 when they should be saying when will be implementing language learning at KS1.
What do you think about the issue of Bringing your own device into school?
I was discussing with John (Foxwell) the whole notion of children and teachers taking their digital devices to school to access learning. I think teachers will and do take their devices to make life easier for them. It allows them freedom to create resources at lunchtime (not that I am suggesting this is a good way forward at all, just realistic that this is what some do), in free time, afterschool and yet be able to use in a jiffy in readiness for their learners.
This then leads directly onto thinking about the children. Many of these are also using devices at home, yet do not always have the opportunity to use their skills or device/s at school. Many are challenging this but where do the teachers and school stand?
I think that many schools will encourage the children to bring their own device/s.I think this is great until the first real problem imagine all is going well and has done for years and then little Jimmy loses his i-pad. How does it get replaced? I still remember with anger the loss of a blue and white Chelsea scarf my nan knitted for me aged 12 which was stolen when I was in PE (mind she did tell me not to take it to school…..but I did). It was costly in terms of her time and the balls of wool but not to the value as these new digital items. I just had to suffer the loss and telling off, but will parents look to the school for reimbursement if the high value items are stolen on the school’s premises, and what happens when on the way to and from school.
My other issue is the teacher will then need to know everything about apple gadgets and also about any Microsoft gadgets to support learning via the various blended routes that are currently being talked about. I am not sure this is a reality so where does it leave the learner?
Finally I suggested to John that someone needs to start looking holistically at this, because as more and more teachers and learners get their various devices and applications more will be expected from Education policy.
John rightly suggested that before we can produce a policy there are many issues that have to be thought through, before we can even think about where and when it will be used in the curriculum. Without really thinking these are the first questions that need to be asked and suitable answers found to them before policy can be written.
Q1. Will the children be able to bring their lap top/digital device? If so who is going to insure it?
Q2 Who is going to stop one child swapping it for a better make/model? Our daughter had her flute swapped condoned by the teacher who swapped hers for one of lesser value and gave it to the other child. What happens if this should occur?
Q3. Who is going to look after the Sim cards and SD Cards? It is easy to take the sim card out of an ipad (for example) and put it into another and use all the pay as you go minutes etc. There is no way of checking this.
Q4. Once the devices are in schools can they access the same network?
Q5. What happens re viruses?
Q6. If they are accessing the internet what are the safeguards that need to be put in place for this?
Q7.How are they going to share the same programs or will parents be asked to fund this. If the learner hasn’t got the program will they have to download before the class starts? On an apple this means linking to I-tunes which then requires passwords. How do we stop one child accessing i tunes and downloading what they shouldnt like games, or either gifting or being forced to gift things to other children.
This debate will go on but please join in and make suggestions to how we will solve this.