Saturday, 5 November 2011

The problems of sharing text books (another mobile phone rant).

At my school, languages is becoming more popular at GCSE. This is a good thing, many of you would say.

This is mainly because of Ebacc, students are cajoled into, by which I mean almost forced into, studying a language to improve their chances of getting into university.

Unfortunately, more students means that my year10 class have to share text books. This causes major logistical problems when setting homework exercises.

It means photocopying the exercises, many of which are in colour and don't copy that well or, as is usually the case, rewriting the questions, putting them on the whiteboard and getting the students to copy them into their homework diaries.

This week, one of my students had an epiphany. "Why can't we just use our mobiles to take a photo of the questions?"

I replied, "You can if you like. I think it's a great idea."

Sadly, the reaction of the students was, "Oh, but what if someone comes in and sees us?"

Would that be:

What if someone comes in and sees us using our initiative?


What if someone comes in and sees us using technology to save time?


What if someone comes in and sees us taking control of our own learning?

We are supposed to be educating students to use their initiative, become self-learners and survive in a digital world, yet we stifle their creativity and excellent ideas at the same time.

We risk turning our lovely, inquisitive young chimps into ants.

It's the educational equivalent of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

Whatever you do, please don't fall asleep.


Alex Bellars said...

I can't wait until the 16th-18th November, when the ISI inspectors come back for the second part of our inspection, and I allow my pupils to do just this - against school policy, but in line with good old-fashioned (cutting-edge!) common sense! Will let you know how it goes, Dom... ;)

PS I got told off by my HoD last term for "using tech too much" (amongst other things), but ironically in the build-up to Inspection am now mysteriously being asked to provide as many examples of use of it in my classes as possible! Apparently only if I do so will the school be able to demonstrate that we know how to switch on an IWB, etc. Now *there's* a thing...

Ms Jackson said...

It's so sad that their reaction was to immediately be worried about being caught out. I routinely let my pupils use their phones in lessons - they have an Internet connection and it's quicker for them to look up a word on wordreference (never Google Translate!) than it is for me to hand out 20-odd dictionaries and get them all back in at the end ofthe lesson. Not sure if it's against school policy or not, bit less wasted time in a lesson can only be a good thing!
They know that of they are caught texting / facebooking etc then they will be in a world of trouble, so they don't!

Also @Alex - I hope you bring this up at your next PM review. You can't be doing much wrong if you're being asked to provide examples of good practice!

Dom said...

Thanks Alex and Ms Jackson for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

Steve Smith said...

Would your school mind you criticising them on a public forum? (You might not to want to show this comment!) I must confess I would not do that. Just sayin', as they say.