I think, iPod, I disagree. Universal Education.


This article in today’s Observer (28/07/13), concerning parents having to pay for iPads for the classroom, bothers and saddens me in so many  different ways. Read here

Firstly- and yes I know I am hopelessly romantic- but I believe in a universally free education system. Like the NHS should be. I think that the education is free idea should include iPods if they are deemed necessary, but more importantly, should include free school meals for all.  Ah. Universal benefits. Might not be monetarily efficient but leads to 100% take up. Instead, parents are expected to pay the cost for what amounts to educational materials. £12.00 a month or £200-£300 a year for educational materials…. That , in my view is not ok and is just a further step to the privatisation of education. Someone is going to make money out of this…. Like, why didn’t I think about this a few decades ago. Invest in chalk, young man, get the parents to pay for it…. it’s a no brainer kiddo..

It also bothers and saddens me that schools are going increasingly for the one size fits all solution to educating our children. Imported schemes of work, interactive whiteboards and now tablets are handed down as the solution to our perceived educational woes.  Quoted from the article

Parent: ” I’d like to see evidence that bringing this kind of technology  classrooms is [….] beneficial to how kids learn.”

Yes it can be.  But show that to the parent. And it is a tool. No more efficient in teaching and learning than chalk and a blackboard in the hands of a teacher that doesn’t know how to use the technology.

I think this one size fits all solution will  become more and more prevalent with the inexorable rise of academies and free schools. We have seen an example of an  imported curriculum in a Sussex school already. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple opening academy schools….

I am no Luddite objector to new technology in schools. I would like to see every student get a free rasberry_pi and learn to program, not just use Apple apps.   But at some stage, teachers have to help students learn and show them how they have learnt and what principles they can draw from their learning.

Who knows what skills and knowledge will be required in the jobs and lives of our children in the future.. I hope and trust however that equality and fairness are values that transcend any technological advances. And that- whether we use chalk and blackboard or iPads- we teach our children to think  for themselves and to want to explore their world.

Reference to other posts : Free schools

 ICT  v computer programming a false dichotomy

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One response to “I think, iPod, I disagree. Universal Education.”

  1. Mari says :

    No time for thinking for themselves, children of the Gove era are going to be much too busy learning by rote

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