School of Thought

We've come a long way from the Internet = EVIL way of thinking in schools. I remember a decade ago when there was a blanket ban in School A on anything online that didn't start with the domain bbc.co.uk.

School B that I work in now runs a highly successful ICT Club each lunchtime. Pupils have to be turned away, such is the demand.

School C has a more informal set up, allowing the Year 11 students a free run in the ICT suite, rather than kick their heels in the playground.

I often sit in on these sessions, tap, tap, tapping away at my own work. The conversation is illuminating. When allowed a free choice of online access the students will not surprisingly find content that suits their own needs.

Family Guy clips are a favourite. But then others research football teams, or even Boy Y and his own personal fascination in wildlife.

Put simply, leave pupils alone to look at the modern interweb and they will use the tool in the same way that my pre-modern interweb generation used Encyclopedias.

Safety checks are in place across all three school. NSFW content is obviously NSF Schools and has a nuclear ban.

What is frustrating however is the level of trust within different schools. Whilst youtube clips of Family Guy are available in the secondary school environment of School C, School A still takes a very much walled garden approach to learning.

You'd be surprised as to what content is still blocked - Vimeo videos from the school website.

Whoops.

Online safety is a common thread across all three schools. I'm personally in favour of opening this up further and placing as much emphasis on online safety as on other areas of the curriculum. The chastity belt of the modern interweb can always be broken if you have the right tools.

Coding starts in September across the National Curriculum. It is impossible to teach the opportunities that working with raw data presents without addressing the consequences.

It's a back to basics approach - quite literally - in terms of tech teaching. My own access back in the day was all about BASIC coding on the BBC machines.

This somehow became an obsession to learning how to use software, rather than build and create. I've sat through endless ICT lessons, scratching me head as Excel cells are prodded and poked with little value.

And now we're back at coding and how to build apps. Much like online safety, these are online life skills that need to be taught.

I could make an online video and document the process, if only I could get beyond that bloody Vimeo firewall.


Last built: Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 3:13 AM

By Jason A.Cobb, Friday, May 9, 2014 at 3:54 PM. Greetings, citizen of Planet Earth. We are your overlords. :-)