Friday, 9 October 2009

Today's learners...

Yvonne Roberts was one of the speakers at the 2nd day of Handheld Learning 09 conference. I wasn't in the building, but was following remotely via Twitter, and the conference hashtag #hhl09

She quoted that 65% of students say they still copy off the board. I also found this quote in an earlier article that she wrote.

Education in the state system in England is a 19th century folly. It has been moulded by an arcane set of rules and concepts that have no evidence base and certainly very little proof of success. It was based on schools producing canon fodder for the world wars and manual labour, in the main, for the mines and factories. Sitting in a classroom for an hour writing down what the teacher says, mute and unquestioning, does not work with the grain of most boys' temperament – and it's not all that appealing to girls either. It's also no preparation for the modern, fast paced, constantly changing world.

What's required instead, is problem solving and collaborative learning; pupils asking questions, encouraged to bring their life outside the class into school – skills with computers and the internet for instance, work to keep their curiosity alive. More genuine participation; more mixed ability; a better focus on the individual child so no one drops behind, their lack of progress camouflaged by the ridiculous notion that in education, "one size fits all". It's happening in a growing number of schools but this change goes uncelebrated because of the dictatorship of the DCSF, fearful of educational "mavericks".

Yvonne Roberts

On the same day, Ollie Bray wrote a good post on his blog about some research into the way that young people interact with technology.
Here's a summary:

  • They personally own 8 devices (including MP3 player, PC, TV, DVD player, mobile phone, stereo, games console, and digital camera)
  • They frequently conduct over 5 activities whilst watching TV
  • 25% of them agree that “I’d rather stay at home than go on a holiday with no internet or phone access”
  • A quarter of young people interviewed text or IM (instant message) friends they are physically with at the time
  • They have on average 123 friends on their social network spaces
  • And the first thing the majority of them do when they get home is turn on their PC
What are the implications of this for teachers of geography, who share a learning space with double digit numbers of these young people many times a week....

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