January 13, 2008 – ¡Vámonos!

Day: January 13, 2008

Sifting and reading through the bumph I picked up at BETT, I came across an article in this week’s TES (a bargain at 50p – although I admit I was more drawn by the potential of the bag in which it was packaged) with the above title.

In a speech this week at the Moving Young Minds conference in London, Lord Puttnam, who is chairman of Futurelab, said
“Technology savvy children are switching off and becoming ’emotional truants’ because schools are not relevant in a digital age”

He went on to add that “the education system seemed ‘out of sync’ with all that counted for young people……children were disengaging from formal education because it did not reflect their experience of digital interaction.”

The article concludes with some statistics about the use of technology by young people –

  • nearly all children do some homework on the computer
  • 77% use the Internet daily
  • three out of five use social networking sites like Bebo, and even more played video games, used mobile phones or digital cameras

The final statement was particularly telling – ‘young people believed that understanding technology was almost as important in life as having a good teacher or a supportive family’.

Especially in the context of the comments by Jim Knight about Internet safety this week, it make sense to me that we use and embrace new technologies that children are already skilled in using and turn them to our purposes – for example, see this article about the use of Nintendo DS
If we allow children to use these tools in our lessons, we can guide them in using them responsibly and stop them from being taboo. And before we can use them in our teaching, we need to find out about them ourselves. That’s one reason I went to BETT and Teachmeet – to find out. But you don’t have to go to conferences. I bought a Nintendo DS after listening to Ewan McIntosh talk on this theme at Language World last year, and my 9 year old son has been having a marvellous time teaching me how to use it as have the pupils I teach at school. It’s led to several discussions about their favourite game sand several have gone away and had a go at Brain training in Spanish – there’s no greater incentive than beating the teacher’s score ;0)

I’m not saying anything new I know but if people keep saying it and doing it …..

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