I watched an episode of that seminal contribution to English culture, Waterloo Road last week, for the first time in ages. I wrote about Waterloo Road in What makes a good ICT role model? if you’re interested, but basically it’s a soap set in a school which has to be the most dysfunctional school anyone has ever come across. The kids are alright (as some pop song said once), on the whole – but the adults…..
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a tip jar is a device whereby people can contribute a donation to a website – a bit like the jars in cafes in which customers can drop a few coins by way of a tip to staff. Indeed, the websites I’ve come across that have tip jars tend to ask visitors to help them buy their next coffee in Starbucks.
Before we can go any further, is this an educational issue? I believe it is, or could be, for the following reasons
I was discussing with a colleague the fact that some of us were trying years ago to introduce mobile technology into education. I can’t speak for others, but certainly for me it was an insight into how Sisyphus must have felt. He, as you may know, was the hapless guy who was condemned to push a huge rock to the top of a hill, only to see it roll all the way down again within inches of reaching the top. Doing that once would have been bad enough, but he was sentenced to do it forever.
It’s amazing what you can achieve with a paintbrush and a fork. Yesterday morning I watched in helpless horror as the lid of something fell down the plug hole in the bathroom sink. I could see it, just about, using the flashlight app on my smartphone (I knew there was more to smartphones than just being connected), but couldn’t reach it.
Here are a couple of interesting cartoon strips about the (possible) effects of new technology. Yesterday’s one is more about unintended consequences, while today’s is really about how apparently intelligent software and monitoring systems might be fooled.
Bob Harrison, a well-known thinker and speaker on the UK’s educational technology scene, has warned against building schools that are fit for the past rather than the future. Apparently as a result of this, he has been removed from the programme of a forthcoming conference.
Stephen King, in his book ‘On Writing’, makes a very interesting point. Going against just about all the advice proffered in books and magazine articles, he says:
Plot is, I think, the good writer’s last resort and the dullard’s first choice.
You might be inclined to dismiss that as hogwash, but given King’s phenomenal success as a writer I’d suggest that would be unwise.
Kevin Hodgson has written a make-believe article about technology taking over from humans. The theme is a well-known one in science fiction circles, of course, but what I especially like about Kevin’s article is that he has written in the form of a newspaper article. To do so he has used a fake headline generator, for which he provides a link in the story.
In this interview, Dominic Savage OBE discusses, amongst other things, the purpose of the Education World Forum, the effect of increasing access to devices, and what schools need to do as far as investing in ICT is concerned. Mr Savage has been the Director General of BESA since 1984. The following is not a verbatim account, but has been checked by Mr Savage before being published.