Posted: February 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
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student_ipad_school - 024

It has been an interesting fortnight. School’s very much back and, along with a new, fantastic library, all of our students have their own devices this year. Year 7s have iPads and the rest laptops. We are by no means pioneers in all this, in terms of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in a school, but that does not mean that there aren’t striking observations to be made.
Here’s one for you all – you don’t have to be a student or a teacher to appreciate this – anyone who has had a first day at school will recognise this moment. Remember that first day at school, the nerves, the sense of loneliness, perhaps coupled with some excitement, as you looked upon a sea of unknown faces? Whether you hastily looked for someone to strike up a friendship with, or waited until someone sought you out, you’ll all have a familiarity for this scenario.
However, it’s different this time. We have over 200 students in Year 7 and one staff member observed that, while boys would have boisterously chatted outside the classrooms during breaks, played handball and chatted at the tables in the lunch area last year, the place this time was eerily silent at recess and lunch breaks. Boys had their heads down – playing games for the most part, with fingers swiping madly this way and that.
So has the iPad stepped in to act as the salve to social embarrassment? And what does it mean for a generation who does not have to be thrust (for good or bad) into this social limelight where one looks to strike up friendships that may go on to last a lifetime?
I’m excited to be teaching at this time – I’m about to undertake a Masters in eLearning in a couple of weeks – but I’m interested and intrigued by some of these social considerations of our starting our voyage with BYOD. I’d anticipated that I would have to be working with a range of teaching considerations within the classroom, but less so on the ones that might be outside the class. As I said to a colleague, I wonder if this is that moment where you realise that there has been a seismic shift in how the world operates – you know, the “I remember where I was when X happened kind of thing…”
More to follow in due course.

  1. grumpytyke says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Your comments above bring to mind my excursions into IT in English teaching long ago, which I posted about a couple of days ago; I think that the integration of quite simple use of internet – emails with no Windows or OSx – of necessity then, with more conventional methods of communication was very beneficial; I’ve yet to be convinced that an almost total reliance on IT is a good thing. I guess the drama gets you out of that.

    • cgparkin says:

      And thanks for returning the comment here. I agree about the Drama, although I’m not teaching it this year (doing a production though). I also agree with the “yet to be convinced” angle – this is certainly going to be closely scrutinised in the next few years.

  2. interesting information guys

  3. mjmurga says:

    Very interesting observation! I’ve also wondered and somewhat feared what exactly this all means for students and teachers. What kind of social patterns and habits are being created and supported? Perhaps social learning/teaching will surge in popularity as we have to relearn basic human interactions- school was once a very unique, highly social and human interactive environment. Will this drastically change? You can already see the effects of smartphones on adults interactions- increasingly declining the challenge to engage face to face and in the present.

    • cgparkin says:

      Absolutely – and thanks so much for commenting here! As a department we looked at Salman Khan’s of the Khan Academy observations about homework – and that one of the greatest predictors of a student’s “success” is the conversations that take place in a home and the amount of reading that has been done. We (only semi-jokingly) commented that perhaps, with families becoming far more separated with respective devices, that we should set some homework for 20 minutes of dinner time conversation about the day…

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