Allowing students to use their phones certainly brings with it some challenges. However, the potential benefits are great.Read More
Having waxed lyrical about the joys of reading PDF documents on my Kindle instead of having to lug around a load of paper (see 5 reasons that educators should use a Kindle), I had a rude awakening today. I downloaded a PDF research report and fired it off to my Kindle, with the intention of reading it on the train. Unfortunately, it proved to be unreadable on my Kindle, and trying to read it on my phone was not exactly an unequivocal success either.
Here are the reasons, which I suggest ought to be addressed by anyone who decides to create a PDF. Google penalises websites that are not mobile-friendly. PDFs that are not mobile friendly will be penalised simply by virtue of the fact that people won't read them or pass them on to others. So thinking mobile is important if you want your stuff to be read.
Font is too small
One of the drawbacks of reading a PDF on the kindle is that you can't alter the font size. So if the font is too small to start with, that's a big disadvantage. On a phone you can expand the text, but at the cost of having to scroll horizontally as well as vertically. It's not a great experience.
Poorly contrasting colours
Trying to read orange text on a white background is challenging at the best of times. Trying to do so on a Kindle that displays only in black and white is next to impossible.
White text on a black background
It might look good, but it's much harder to read than black text on a white background.
IT'S PRETTY HARD TO READ TEXT THAT IS ALL UPPER CASE (ESPECIALLY IF THE TEXT IS SMALL, AND EVEN MORE SO WHEN THE COLOUR SCHEME IS POOR). WHY DO YOU THINK ROAD SIGNS TEND TO BE IN LOWER CASE? LOWER CASE AIDS READING BECAUSE BY SEEING THE SHAPES OF THE WORDS YOU CAN READ THEM MORE QUICKLY, AND IT'S LESS STRAIN ON THE EYES.
These days, a huge number of people access web-based content on a mobile device. According to a recent report, by 2017 mobile devices will generate 68% of internet traffic.
Unreadable PDFs, in which form is considered more important than function, really ought to be relegated to the dustbin of digital history.
Equality is a big issue in education, especially in connection with technology. For example, we are used to hearing phrases like “the digital divide”. But what does “equality” mean in this context – or, more pertinent perhaps, what should it mean?
What are the potential benefits and challenges of introducing a Bring Your Own Device policy into a secondary (high) school? In this, our latest case study, we look at the experience of The Arnewood School Academy in England.
I’ve seen a lot of great practice with iPads and other tablets in schools. The students are engaged in what they’re doing, teachers are excited by the learning taking place, and there’s a good, collaborative atmosphere.
So why do I have the feeling that there is something – a quite fundamental “something” – missing?
St Crispin’s School is a slightly larger-than-average secondary school serving the town of Wokingham, England. An 11-18 school, it has 1102 students. The number of students with special education needs is about average, whilst the proportion of students from ethnic minority backgrounds is below average. Relatively few students are eligible for free school meals.
St Crispin’s was attracted to the idea of BYOD because, as Mike Elward, Assistant Head/Director of e-learning says
The general thrust of education these days is on student-centred learning. This is often expressed by depicting on the teacher’s role as being the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage. Regardless of whether you agree that that’s how things should be (and as it happens I don’t: see Please! No More Mantras!), the often-stated philosophy these days is that students know best.
But does stating that philosophy mean that it is observed in practice?
George Spencer Academy is a mixed secondary school in Nottingham, England, with 1350 students aged 11-18. Although it is located in a large town, it has only a small proportion of students who are eligible for free school meals.
The school decided to go down the BYOD road in order to be able to explore the potential of personal devices without incurring costs of purchase, training or technical support. The idea also fits very well with the school’s vision, which is concerned with giving a personalised learning experience to all students.
Although I visited Flitch Green to talk about technology – specifically, iPads and mobile learning – I discovered that as in any good school the technology serves the vision of the school, which is about learning.
Flitch Green Academy is somewhat unprepossessing – at least from the outside. But once you go through the door, it’s a different story.
Here is a selection of online articles that I think worth reading – some of them are my own (he says modestly), but others are others’! They cover a wide range of topics, including the flipped classroom, Bring Your Own Technology, what happens in an internet minute, up and coming conferences and others.
Finborough School is an independent, ie private, all-through school, ie age range 2-18, in a rural English setting. It has 274 pupils.
“Well”, said Elaine as I bounced in last Wednesday evening. “You’ve got your mojo back.” This was quite true. Having spent a few hours reading various articles about why things can’t be done, or how there could be dire consequences if they were, I wasn’t in much of a frame of mind to attend a conference, especially one which seemed to be ‘motivational’. Quite frankly, when I’m feeling miserable the last thing I want is someone trying to cheer me up.
When I started to look at the whole Bring our Own Device phenomenon, I thought it was all pretty simple. Mal Lee and EdFutures have drawn a distinction between BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and BYOT (Bring our Own Technology). These are helpful, but unfortunately things ain’t that simple.