steering

in Education

More thoughts on iPads and one-to-one initiatives.

Ships have rudders. There’s a good reason for that: without one it would be very difficult to get to where you’re going. It would take a very long time to reach the end of your journey.

When it comes to projects, programmes and initiatives we too are presumably heading towards a destination. And whilst it’s absolutely OK to enjoy the journey, the whole point of an intervention is to change something. When you’ve effected that change, you’ve reached the end of your journey. And, if you’re doing it properly, another one beings.

So to get to a destination with initiatives we need ‘rudders’. These are absolutely crucial for technology initiatives as we’re all easily distracted by shiny shiny technology and the promises made by manufacturers. We need some guiding principles, some values.

After my DMLcentral post on iPads and one-to-one initiatives I was accused in the comments section and on Google+ of being an ‘idealist’.

As if that were a bad thing.

You know, I’ve worked in schools. I’ve worked in the senior leadership of schools. I’ve worked nationally (in the UK) as part of educational technology and e-learning in the Further and Higher education sectors. I’ve studied digital literacies for six years. And nowadays I work worldwide with Mozilla.

I’m not saying this to say my opinion is correct and to smack down other people – of course not. I’m just saying that a principled, valued-based approach to educational technology, in my experience, works a whole lot better than jumping on the latest bandwagon.

I’ve explained the perils of shiny shiny educational technology before. We should absolutely use what’s available to us at any given time, but perhaps hitchhiking is a better metaphor than bandwagon-jumping?

Image CC BY-NC lin_susanna

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  • paul martin

    (Just deleting Harry Hill from VCR so the following ..) Now I used to like Hitchhiking and you used to like Bandwagonjumping but in both cases you cannot stop the traffic. If the majority of students use Blackberry one year and next they have iphones is that not just market forces. Despite the 1.3 million android daily enables and my respect for Linus I do wonder whether Apple is the only edu-platform game in town. Lets look at this week: Google slumps, Nokia (Microsoft-fanboy) who’s them, but dominating the news is the new slimmed down ipad and what connector (!) it has.

    Let me look locally edu-wise; the talk is Apple – no other game in (this) town. What’s the holdup, simply the recession no Local Authority can afford to splash the cash for tech when the news is bad, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Apple is moving forward. I went to Dundee to buy a phone and at every store Apple was the story. And the clincher was you can take it back to your local Apple store and get support. I cannot see any hard pressed Teacher demanding to use a tool that is not fully supported, and yes that includes by their own skills but I wonder what % are that tech-savvy. The only thing that is slowing Apple is the internet and how it has improved what can be delivered on the old standby – paper.

    • paul martin

      Courtesy of GigaOm ….”It’s official: Apple introduced the iPad mini on Tuesday, with a starting price of $329 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model. That’s a $170 savings over a full-sized iPad with the same storage and connectivity options, so Apple is sure to attract some buyers that can’t quite afford the $499 iPad. Why not, when the iPad mini can run all of the same iPad apps, just on a 7.9-inch smaller screen with 1024 x 768 resolution?”
      Now just above 300 versus 500 its almost half price so that’s the very expensive aspect starting to be nailed. I can hear the whoops in the Apple Store/John Lewis from here …