Sunday, 18 April 2010
Punishing the whole class for the stupidity of a few?
Thursday evening was TMNE10 and like the 2 previous meets it was a great success and I learned a lot. It was nice to meet some "old faces" and finally meet some of my "virtual friends" most notably Chris Fuller and Fiona Joyce who I've been threatening to meet for a while now and who both impressed me with their knowledge, enthusiasm and their presentations.
Chris Harte has done a very detailed, comprehensive and excellent report on TMNE10 on his blog with links about the meet here so I'm going to write about something else.
On the day I gave my presentation extolling the virtues, and giving examples, of using mobile phones in my classroom, including an interactive text poll, a teaching union, the NASUWT, called for a crackdown on mobile phones in schools after it claimed that mobile technology was, in part, responsible for an incident in which a teacher was charged with the attempted murder of a student. (You can read the whole story here)
This type of nonsense makes my blood boil. I can understand that with some classes allowing students to have a mobile phone in class is not a good idea. By the same token, for some of the more challenging and unruly students I have met over the years, giving them a ruler or even a pencil is not a good idea.
I think the point I'm trying to make is that banning something because of a few isolated incidents has a negative, knock-on effect on the learning and enjoyment of the more cooperative and trustworthy students. Why should everyone suffer for the poor behaviour of a minority?
Anyway, here's my presentation: