Educational Technology Bill of Wrongs

Having read a staggeringly ill-conceived blog about pupils “rights” where educational technology is concerned I felt inspired to respond (Thanks to Oldandrew who regularly leads me to read drivel 🙂 )

1) I have the right to use my own technology at school. (No you don’t) I should not be forced to leave my new technology at home to use (in most cases) out-of-date school technology. (Why not? Schools can provide all the required technology. If the school deems your technology disruptive, harmful or more trouble than it’s worth then they are the professionals) If I can afford it, let me use it — you don’t need to buy me one (What are those that cannot afford it supposed to do exactly?) . If I cannot afford it, please help me get one — I don’t mind working for it. (How are they supposed to access the lessons everyone else are doing without the required technology that they can’t afford? What do they do while they are waiting for the school to “help”? How on earth are the school supposed to help? It seems to me the writer is unaware of what smartphones cost and what school budgets are…)

2) I have the right to access the school’s WiFi (No you don’t). Stop blaming bandwidth, security or whatever else — if I can get on WiFi at McDonalds, I think that I should be able to get online at school. Seriously?… Oh dear. I’m not sure where to start on this one. Firstly there are very good reasons why pupils should not be able to use the schools WIFI. There are also very few reasons why a pupil would need to use the schools WIFI (note not WANT to use but NEED to). Secondly anyone who actually works in education should be aware of the many ways in which McDonalds and a school differ in their rights and responsibilities towards children. Is the writer seriously suggesting that anything that is acceptable in McDonalds should be acceptable in lessons?

3) I have the right to submit digital artifacts that prove my understanding of a subject, regardless of whether or not my teacher knows what they are. Just because you have never heard of Prezi, Voki, or Glogster, doesn’t mean that I should not be able to use these tools to prove to you that I understand what you are teaching me. Why on earth should I as a teacher accept work that is not in the form I requested? When I set work I make it very clear what form I want the work in. If a student put their work on Prezi, Voki or Glogster then as far as I am concerned they have not done it…Would this be accepted in the world of work? “I know you wanted the blueprints on paper but I have proved that I understood the task you set me through the medium of expressive dance.”

4) I have the right to cite Wikipedia as one of the sources that I use to research a subject (Why is it ok to cite sources that have a high probability of being inaccurate?). Just because you believe the hype that Wikipedia is full of incorrect information,  doesn’t mean that it is true — besides we all use it anyways (including you) (Would you care to prove that? I doubt very many people cite wikipedia in academic work unless that work is specifically about wikipedia…). I am smart enough to verify what I find online to be the truth (The writer clearly has not met MY pupils. Nor has he read the history of maths essays they wrote using wikipedia..)

5) I have the right to access social media at school. It is where we all live, it is how we communicate — we do not use email, or call each other. We use Facebook, Twitter and texting to talk to each other. Teachers and schools should take advantage of this and post announcements and assignments using social media — you will get better results. (Pupils should not be emailing, calling, texting, tweeting or using Facebook at school. Cyber-bullying is enough of a problem without facilitating it. Furthermore what would be the point of allowing pupils to access social media at school? What would be the benefit? Is there any convincing evidence to support the notion that posting assignments on Social Media would improve results? I doubt it)

6) I have the right to be taught by teachers who know how to manage the use technology in their classrooms. These teachers know when to use technology and when to put it away. They understand that I need to be taught how to balance my life between the online and offline worlds. They do not throw the techno-baby out with the bathwater. (I actually agree with this one to a certain extent. Teachers ought to be able to use the technology in their classrooms. They should not however be compelled to use it. However it is not the job of teachers and schools to sort out the balance between online and offline worlds. Teachers should be allowed to decide if, when and how much they use technology…)

7) I have the right to be taught by teachers who teach me (agreed) and demand that I use 21st Century Skills (what on earth is a 21st century skill? As opposed to what? Maths skills haven’t changed a huge amount for centuries if you ask me…)  Someday I am going to need a job — please help me be employable. (I believe that people that know stuff are more employable than those that are not. Bottom line is that employers MIGHT want computer literate employees, although it very much depends on the job, but lots of employers want employees that can cope WITHOUT technology)

8) I have the right to be accessed with technology (No you don’t). I love the instant feedback of testing done technology (Some pupils really don’t. Instant feedback isn’t great for those who are never successful. Can lead to all sorts of bullying and problems). I live in a world of instant feedback, so to find out a couple of week later that I didn’t understand your lesson, drive me crazy (In my lessons pupils know whether they understand the lesson or not during the lesson (AFL anyone?) I know too although usually I only know for sure when I mark their books. That the writer thinks students won’t get feedback for 2 weeks unless technology is used really does reflect badly on their knowledge of teaching and their competence as an education professional. If you were a video game, no one would play you — feedback is too slow (What does this mean? My first thought on reading this was “Good”. My second was “That’s insane”. I hope the writer realises that the purpose of school and the purpose of computer games are not the same. I suspect he does not and therein lies the problem)

9) I have the right to be protected from technology. I don’t want to be cyberbullied, hurt, scared or find crud online that I would rather not find. Please help me use technology responsibly and safely. Please stay up-to-date with this kind of information, and teach me to make good choices. I am not you and we don’t see eye to eye about what to put online, but help me to meet you in the middle. (Where to begin…This is essentially a cyber-bully’s charter if you ask me which makes this point a nonsense. It’s hard enough to prevent cyberbullying as it is without expanding the time and places where it can take place. Some of the previous points on this list would make it next door to impossible to protect students from cyber-bullying. It also occurs to me that some students don’t want to make what YOU consider to be”good” choices…We currently have pupils that are experts at getting round our firewalls and security systems and what they look up has to be seen to be believed…)

10) I have the right to be taught by teachers that know their trade. (Agreed) They are passionate about what they do (I agree up to a point. I think being good at what they do is more important tbh) and embrace the use of technology to help me learn (Not necessary as long as they are good at teaching). They attend trainings and practice what they learn. They are not afraid to ask for my help; they might know more than me about the Civil War, but I know Glogster like nobody’s business. (This assumes that we all ought to and want to be using Glogster. I don’t)

I shudder to think of the carnage and lack of learning that would ensue if my pupils actually had those “rights”…


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