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#1 Copacetic

Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:47 PM

Over in the school thread in venting the talk has veered off to kids and technology and schools demanding that the kids have the technology.

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm really excited about what's coming for education, and the change that technology brings with it.

It might because technology has played such a big part in the boys' upbringing and their SN - I can quite confidently put Caelan and Mason's ability to speak down to movies.   Caelan can communicate quite effectively  thanks to movies, and even turns the closed cationing on now so that he reads it rather than just watches TV.  Most of Mason's language is repetitive and non communicative, but its there, and I"m pretty excited about that.

So I guess I don't really understand the resistance to the change? iPads in particular have done amazing things in our household.  And I know that people had other methods in the past, but really... does it matter?

And I know when a lot of people read the above they'll be horrified that I used the TV as a learning tool (Please don't go to Misc and find out my 3 year old had pineapple fizzy drink) - believe me when I say that it really is the onle thing in the house that my boys responded to.

#2 liveworkplay

Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

I am all for technology in schools. However, I have seen first hand how it works well when you have a good curriculum which also includes cyber safety etc and how it doesn't when these are no integrated well.

I do, however, have a problem with the rush to use Apple products. It is a locked in system with no room to customise. I just feel that schools should be getting the most for their limited funding and utalising systems that are much more broad and expansive then iPads.



#3 ~Supernova~

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:01 PM

My almost 11mth old has started to figure out the basics of my smart phone (sits there and swipes until it unlocks etc) and my 8 year old has her own laptop. So no, I'm not "resistant". The technological age is the one in which they will grow up in - learn or fall behind.

Having said that, spending time outdoors is very important to me, so I think balance is a big consideration. My kids spend probably 70% of their time outdoors, and very minimal tv (although I have zero issues if they want to watch it).

#4 Copacetic

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:02 PM

QUOTE
It is a locked in system with no room to customise. I just feel that schools should be getting the most for their limited funding and utalising systems that are much more broad and expansive then iPads.


Totally agree with you there.  I was looking at Microsoft's surface tablets the other day and I really like them.  DH has windows 8 Installed on his PC (not a touch screen) and I keep going to swipe the screen - they've really streamlined it to a touch environment.

ETA:  

QUOTE
Having said that, spending time outdoors is very important to me, so I think balance is a big consideration. My kids spend probably 70% of their time outdoors, and very minimal tv (although I have zero issues if they want to watch it).


I should point out that both of my boys have autism, so when they latched onto something, we embraced it.  They don't spend as much time as I would like outside, but then, I also accept that this is their "thing".

Edited by Copacetic, 04 February 2013 - 05:04 PM.


#5 Snot stew

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

I have no problem with technology in schools, but I do think that balance should remain, as Mareek says.  It is so very important to continue to emphasise physical health and physical learning (eg co ordination), as much as mental learning.  I also think there are some good programs that incorporate the two, especially with digital devices being small and easy to take outside with you.



#6 ~Supernova~

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:06 PM

QUOTE (Copacetic @ 04/02/2013, 06:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Totally agree with you there.  I was looking at Microsoft's surface tablets the other day and I really like them.  DH has windows 8 Installed on his PC (not a touch screen) and I keep going to swipe the screen - they've really streamlined it to a touch environment.

ETA:  



I should point out that both of my boys have autism, so when they latched onto something, we embraced it.  They don't spend as much time as I would like outside, but then, I also accept that this is their "thing".


Oh absolutely. I would do exactly the same thing. You do what works!

#7 ~Supernova~

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:11 PM

I really shouldn't admit this on EB haha but I have apps on my phone for DS. Just nursery rhymes and some silly little things, he loves them!

#8 kpingitquiet

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:20 PM

I think they are excellent tools for learning, alongside more traditional methods. I also think it's a bit nuts to require large ticket purchases in public schools. If the school had a leasing program (a small fraction of the cost of the actual item), then I'd be fine with that. My school did the leasing bit, with option to buy outright, when we were required to have rather advanced graphing calculators in upper levels of math.

#9 MrsLexiK

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:25 PM

I already started seeing this when I finished school. In some wys I do like it and agree with it. I have apps on my phone for my nieces and nephews, but I do wonder if all this technology will replace handwriting. Are students going to be able to write when they leave school? How are they going to go in exams when they get to high school. I can't see the VCE board allowing iPads to do your English exam on.

#10 ~Supernova~

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

QUOTE (MrsLexiK @ 04/02/2013, 06:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I already started seeing this when I finished school. In some wys I do like it and agree with it. I have apps on my phone for my nieces and nephews, but I do wonder if all this technology will replace handwriting. Are students going to be able to write when they leave school? How are they going to go in exams when they get to high school. I can't see the VCE board allowing iPads to do your English exam on.


Sadly handwriting was a dying art long before technology came to schools. DD has atrocious hand writing. She DOES have low tone, but there is really no emphasis on it at many schools anymore. I remember when I was a kid, my handwriting used to be exhibited at the local show, it was exciting to be as neat as you could.

Nevermind the fact that uni taught me how to use and decipher chicken scratch lol.



#11 treetree

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

Having to suddenly buy 3 or 4 700$ devices is not pleasant!

One of my kid's school has a loan program. You don't pay anything (I assume it's covered in fees) and the child has a notebook for the year (or their time at the school) Technically it's owned by the school, but the child is responsible for it.

Other schools are doing the iPad scheme which I don't think is anywhere near as practical. Firstly, they are expensive, secondly the child can only have the apps the school approves of (so while you buy and own the device, you cant' use it completely as you wish) thirdly you are cotton wooled in the garden of apple! (don't get me wrong, I love my iPad, but I consider it a toy, yes some apps are educational, but in a school setting? methinks a comp. benefits more) and lastly, an iPad is not half as educational as an independent computer. Also, some kids aren't going to get one, so the whole class won't be in tune.

Schools also need more internet education I believe. My children are largely not taught how to search the internet correctly, how to reference, how to fact check etc. They all seem to believe that any question can be answered in 2.3 seconds on Google. They have no patience for research, and too too often I have heard one of them say "The teacher say it will do" when referring to some (in my opinion) dodgy site. I study online, and I think technology is brilliant, but I may spend hours researching one tiny fact. Kids need to understand that true accuracy takes time. The internet may cut out the drive to the library, the phonecall and wait for posted info., or the need to read an actual book, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is a tool for instant answers.

I'd like to see the rise in technology use at school go along with a rise in a proper education on how to best use this technology.

#12 Heather11

Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

In a similar situation to you OP, in that DS#1 has learnt so much from the educational apps on the ipod.  Simple things like the alphabet, number recognition, colours, sounds and sight words.

It has almost been like his own personal tutor.  



#13 EsmeLennox

Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:06 PM

QUOTE (MrsLexiK @ 04/02/2013, 03:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I already started seeing this when I finished school. In some wys I do like it and agree with it. I have apps on my phone for my nieces and nephews, but I do wonder if all this technology will replace handwriting. Are students going to be able to write when they leave school? How are they going to go in exams when they get to high school. I can't see the VCE board allowing iPads to do your English exam on.


While I think it is important to still learn handwriting, I can absolutely see the VCE board (or equivalent in others states) allowing iPads and other technology to complete English examinations. This will happen sooner than you think. NAPLAN testing is being trialled online already and is scheduled to become completely online by 2015. Students sit PAT reading and writing tests online now. I work in an online school, most of our tests are conducted online. If students are still handwriting exams in 10 years time I will eat my hat.

Edited by Jemstar, 04 February 2013 - 06:08 PM.


#14 ~Supernova~

Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:16 PM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 04/02/2013, 07:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If students are still handwriting exams in 10 years time I will eat my hat.



I agree. And yes, it's a dying art. But old methods making way for new is hardly a new phenomena. Some people will inevitably grumble and groan, but we move forward and embrace the "new way". I really don't see the big deal. Except that we are in the older generation, and like all generations, like to lament "the way things used to be" Tounge1.gif

#15 EsmeLennox

Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:20 PM

I don't lament anything, the future of education is incredibly exciting!

But yes, I know what you mean. After working in education for many years I have very much come to the conclusion that people have a strong fear of change.

Edited by Jemstar, 04 February 2013 - 06:21 PM.


#16 Futhermore

Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:24 PM

I like technology, and use it a lot.  Probably too much.  I think technology in moderation in schools is a good thing, but I do worry about how large amounts of screen time affect the brain, so it really depends on how much time they are expected to spend on devices.

#17 mez70

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:06 PM

I love technology, and love the kids getting to access many forms of it, my son is very IT savy (actually ends up showing some teachers how and what to do lol) and he can change easily between Apple based and windows based systems and is now getting into the nitty gritty of Android apps and platforms etc and is looking at learning how to write them etc all at the tender age of 11..

Where I have an issue is when you are Hassled into you using a sole provider who has tendered to the schools etc and charges an overly inflated cost both to lease or buy outright. I know of a school in my local area where they HAD to sign on to the school provider, if they supplied their own etc they were not able to get access to the programs etc, these were at a hugely inflated price as you could go to any one of many providers and get a similar if not identical system for less and guess what... The company providing the laptops has gone into receivership and the parents are out of pocket for lap tops they have paid for and the kids don't have them.. I believe a better system would be to give parents the minimum specs for the laptop they will need and then have a levy for access to the programs they need to access in much the same way you pay for text books and indirectly for access to class sets.

My 3 year old is so at home on his siblings and my tablets, Ipods etc is is scary.

One thing a lot of schools are now doing in reducing the amount of time/ input needed to laptops in the senior years and going back to handwriting as there was an issue a couple of years ago where kids were having trouble being able to "write" for 3 hours in exams...I am sure there will always be a degree of handwriting as even the latest and greatest technology is only that when it works, there will always be the need to do otherwise even if it is a JIC thing.


#18 .Jerry.

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:16 PM

I love technology and embrace all innovation.

My daughter is 7 and has an iPad, an iPod and a laptop computer (which she rarely uses).

She certainly is not "addicted" to them.  She prefers after school to play mums and dads/ teachers/ lego / craft.  But the technology is there for what it is good for.
She has virtual playmates with her cousin.  They FaceTime each other and play for an hour or so (till batteries run out) - doing craft, showing each other their pictures etc.  As an only child, this is a very good social interaction for my child.  

As a school principal I strongly believe in use of technology.  We have iPads in use at school.  Kids with low vision can use the iPad to photograph what is on the whiteboard and enlarge it right in front of themselves.  Kids with autism use the iPads to interact with their peers / write without stress.  
We use iPads across all year levels for drill and practice and for creativity.

Sure, handwriting is on the slide, but it has been for many years anyway.  We still teach it, we still have handwriting books, but it is no longer the only way to communicate.  I rarely handwrite these days.  I communicate using my computer or iPad.  

Technology opens so many doors, offers so many opportunities, breaks down so many barriers.
There are some negatives of course, but the positive wins.

P.S.  The iPads at our school are school owned iPads.

#19 HeroOfCanton

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

DD is only 2.5, so not in a school environment, but she has learned a lot using our iPad.
I would have preferred she didn't know how to use it so well, but when I was pregnant with DS & suffering HG, it was the best way to keep her close enough while I tried not to spew.
She learned her alphabet, numbers 1-20(now40) and a heap of her vocabulary from various kids apps. Obviously, we would continue it as we'll, and we keep developing her skills and knowledge without the iPad, but it's really helped her develop lots of things.
She's now moved on to our computers (when we aren't looking), but knows how to get to Facebook to look at photos of herself!

#20 emmafg

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:36 PM


QUOTE
P.S. The iPads at our school are school owned iPads.


Maybe if you went for cheaper Android or Windows based tablets schools may have funds for other things.  I would think all government schools should be looking for value for money, and I am not convinced Apple iPads are value for money.  I see no function you have described that could not be performed on a vastly cheaper machine.

Maybe Apple are providing subsidies?

Sorry, last rant about Apple, but I liken it to the government buying BMW's instead of Toyota's, sure the BMW is nicer to look at and has a few more gizmos but the Toyota does the job and is cheaper to buy and run.

#21 .Jerry.

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:43 PM

A couple of reasons why we have apple products:
1.  They were ahead of the game.  iPads were the first and we went with them early on, so want to continue with the operating system.
2.  My department of education has a buying agreement for Apple products, giving good value for money and support.
3.  They remain, at this stage, the simplest to use.  My DP has an android tablet and the apple is much easier.
4.  More apps.  There are far more apps available at this stage for Apple.  That is rapidly changing, but still true.

THere is not a huge difference in price between a good quality android tablet and an iPad.  

(and besides, apple products are divine to use....    ph34r.gif   I have at home an iMac, Macbook air, 3 x iPads, iPhone and iPod...)

#22 StarKingdom

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:49 PM

Our school is in its second year of the iPad program.  DD did FYOS last year and had an iPad for school.  I think the main reason why they went with Apple was because when they were doing their research and weighing up the pros and cons (2 plus years ago) there wasn't really a competitor to the iPad the had access to as many apps.

IMO the program is a bit unnecessary for P-3, but on the other hand it is good that all the kids have access to the same thing so there is no jealousy etc - it is just seen as normal.  At our school it is not compulsory, but I think that probably all the kids have one.

We had the choice of leasing through the school or buying outright.  We bought outright and can put whatever apps we want on it (providing they are not inappropriate for school).

#23 treetree

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

Apple products are very user friendly. But it still sucks (if not school owned) for people to have to buy a certain type of type with no ability to tailor it to what works best for the family..

I think e-readers could be put to great use. I'd rather buy an e-reader once for $200 for a child, than have to pay 200$ every year for text-books. Of course the screens would perhaps need to be a bit larger, smaller e-readers aren't great for text books.

Imagine the trees we'd save! And back-aches.

Hopefully at some point, they could come up with a scheme that doesn't lock students and parents into a particular brand, or type of device.

#24 emmafg

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

My quick thoughts....

QUOTE
A couple of reasons why we have apple products:
1. They were ahead of the game. iPads were the first and we went with them early on, so want to continue with the operating system.


Ahh early adopters beware! (putting aside that touchscreen tablets have been around for 10 years at least...just not popularised by Apple)  I would also hope that all government departments would consider carefully before jumping onto a new product or educational tool prior to a thorough assessment over a good period of time.  

I have a convertible tablet/laptop running Windows 8 - the laptop still gives me a richer, more functional experience then any tablet, so remain unconvinced what "extra" the tablet gives over the laptop.

QUOTE
2. My department of education has a buying agreement for Apple products, giving good value for money and support.


This makes some more sense, but I would hope the department has a policy to continue to review this decision and also considered the longer term ramifications of entering a "walled garden" with Apple.

QUOTE
3. They remain, at this stage, the simplest to use. My DP has an android tablet and the apple is much easier.


I beg to differ, but I guess this is subjective

QUOTE
4. More apps. There are far more apps available at this stage for Apple. That is rapidly changing, but still true.


Already untrue, Android already has more apps, and I have not yet seen an example of an app being used in the classroom I have not seen provided by other platforms.  Happy to be shown otherwise.



#25 findingada

Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:46 PM

You know my little Johnny has been great at watching TV since he was 2!  We have a Samsung TV which is the best because it's so easy to use - a baby can use it! Little Johnny figured out how to record his favourite TV program today so I know this is a sure sign he will be a brilliant TV producer one day!

It just doesn't work that way. Just because you are teaching your children to consume technology doesn't mean they will be able to use the technology for the betterment of human-kind. The worst technology to be pushing children is the Apple family followed closely by the Windows family. You can thank the Open Source philosophies for driving the production of technology that has helped build much of the technology we enjoy and love today. Closed
source philosophies choke innovation. Apple and Windows are the worst culprits. In summary, Linux rocks and teddy bears with the words "We Love Open Source" should be created for everyone to cuddle at night.

Teaching children to use technology to solve problems and not be a victim of technology, however, requires a lot more than placing an iPad in their hands and getting it to teach them their ABCs. Teaching needs to include many aspects of technology that cannot be easily learned by pecking away at a keyboard or swiping a touch screen. Topics I think are important include:

- The development technology from a historical perspective.

- Understanding how it is being used today to solve difficult problems and  improve workplace efficiency.

- How computing is used in modelling data. Using examples such as climate modelling to financial trading, and even how it can impact research results when programs used to interpret data are not open to peer review.  

- The teaching of the Open Source philosophy and why it is important that such a vibrant community exists and continues to thrive.

- Discussions on epistemology must feature in high schools now because how we know what we know is becoming more murky because of technology and it is an area that requires in depth discussion. Using a case study to investigate the nature of Google ranking algorithms should feature in such a topic (I got news for you - it's a tightly kept closed source secret with webmasters around the world only able to speculate on how it actually works). The best you can hope for when covering such a subject is that children understand the complexity of trying to mine the truth out of the Internet.

- How the personal information that you think is only of interest to you friends is being mined for advertising and sold. A historical look at Facebook's privacy policy changes and how they are using your personal information would be a nice one to include here. Also it should cover the unauthorised use of other people's images or personal information on the Internet. My personal favourite would include: do parents own their children's personal information/imagery?

- How criminals use technology to defraud people and the rise of cyber warfare.

- How human behaviours differ in presence of technology. For example, there was an interesting study that was showing that people may be starting to remember how they found information on a particular subject but not the actual information itself. How human interaction can be enhanced and fragmented by the use of technology.

Many of these concepts would not be applicable until children are in high school but once children are using Google to research school projects, some basic forms of this material needs to be in place.

So against this "general knowledge" approach to technology education, you can teach the more "maths in society" types of topics such as :
- Using spreadsheets to track finances,
- Using *cough* Windows types of macros to automate monotonous, time-consuming tasks
- Using document editors to create pretty resumes
- And of course some kind of specialist subject for children wanting to pursue a career in technology production which should include the software development process (agile to waterfall). Pracs could include the more traditional writing of a computer program to make it say "Hello World" on Windows, Apple, Android and Linux or designing a website using Open Source technology or writing scripts to bulk process text/image files etc.  

But really my point is that the teaching of technology is not really about using technology but equipping our children with the skills to be able to critically think about how technology is used in their lives, how it can be used to harm, and how it can be used to benefit human-kind. We are all in danger of  succumbing to a mass delusion induced by technological naivety and that is what we need our education system to arm our children against.




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