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Should mobile devices be banned in school?

A recent newspaper article raises the question about whether mobile devices are an aid to learning or should be banned in schools (in Australia). This reflects some of our emerging findings on NP3 with some parents banning ICT at home and evidence in some schools that even where mobile devices are available they are being used for activities such as looking up words (instead of a dictionary or thesaurus) whilst pupils continue to do the vast majority of their work on paper.

What is your experience?
Should mobile devices be being banned, should they be replacing paper based modes of learning or is there a more appropriate way of integrating them with existing practice (and if so what does that look like)?

PeterT (talk)08:40, 4 April 2016

Having worked in NZ, we in the UK are very much behind in this trend. Schools are hesitant and afraid of BYOD. However, when you observe heightened pupil engagement and raised attainment, it's astonishing that we do not encourage this. Maybe there are a couple of problems such as resourcing and training. Or maybe you have teacher apathy as we also forget teachers also do not like change.

Quite an exciting project.

David Allan (talk)10:16, 3 November 2016

I agree David.

Whilst I recognise some of the concerns about allowing students to use their own devices, if carefully planned and implemented - including involving students in agreeing reasonable use policies - then it is a no brainer to move in this direction as it hugely increases the level of resourcing available to support learning across the curriculum.

PeterT (talk)17:11, 3 November 2016

I think the barriers are wider than training and resourcing; teachers are concerned about the 'digital divide' and how to provide for the have nots in BYOD (whilst not fully realising the potential cost savings on 30 machine suites which could be used to resource spare BYODs). I think this is probably more prevalent at primary than secondary schooling. Also the lack of control over content can be a barrier with teachers worrying about not being able to ensure only suitable content is accessed. I have found that equipping staff with iPads or similar which belong to the class as a whole is an encouraging first step in making handheld devices a tool to choose alongside a dictionary or a pen. It also enables teachers and children to 'go and google' (photograph, tweet) similar to use of IT in out of school life. School / home provision partnerships such as parental hiring of school tablets can be a good way to bridge the gap as parents get a good deal on tech they were going to purchase anyway, and teachers get some control over the access and provision of the devices. It's also a good way to disguise 'free school meals' syndrome when children borrow school devices.

Carozd (talk)17:57, 23 November 2016

I agree that teacher anxiety about a range of issues is a major barrier to moving towards widespread use of mobile devices in schools (yet alone BYO approaches). I have recently had a paper published that (amongst other things) tries to clarify what we mean by BYO (and how it differs to 1:1) - the key point being that BYO may mean that not every child has a device whereas 1:1 involves every child having a device. Our current research seems to indicate that the vast majority of young people, even those from low SES contexts, have access to mobile devices outside school (which is not to say that they would necessarily be allowed, able or willing to bring a mobile device into school on a regular basis).

The issue of controlling the content that pupils access is a difficult one for schools given the requirements upon them to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect young people. However, the approach ought in my view to be one of educating young people about the risks associated with Internet use and ways in which to both manage their online data and to deal appropriately with material that is inappropriate etc..

A major challenge for us all is the level of risk aversion within schools and other areas of life.

PeterT (talk)10:20, 24 November 2016

Research fellow

What an exciting position. I am so tempted to apply.

David Allan (talk)14:49, 6 November 2016

It is a fascinating project David. Just a pity that it is only a short term post.

PeterT (talk)08:51, 7 November 2016

Any questions?

If you have any questions about NP3 then this is a great place to ask them ...

PeterT (talk)06:51, 18 August 2015

Hi, I attended the presentation in Milton Keynes and this looks like a very interesting project. I also was very impressed with the piece of kit in the room. Do you think it will work for video conferencing? I have an event in October and would be very happy to try it out, is that an option at all? Thanks, Lisette

Lie1979 (talk)08:11, 9 September 2015

Hi Lisette. I am sure we can sort something out. We will need the swivls for a workshop we are holding on the 29th September. Suggest you borrow one from the 30th Sept - so that you have time to play with is and make sure it does what you want before your event in October. Do you need to borrow an iPad as well as the swivl?

PeterT (talk)08:16, 9 September 2015

Great! Could I pick it up in the afternoon of the 5th? That will give me a few days to play with it (am on leave prior)? No, we got some ipads here.. very exciting!

Lie1979 (talk)08:31, 10 September 2015

30th September would suit me better ... Happy for you to hang on to it then till the 13th Oct.

PeterT (talk)09:17, 10 September 2015

Apologies, only logged in just now. Would be ok to collect it tomorrow or Wednesday morning?

Lie1979 (talk)13:27, 5 October 2015

BYO - tell us about your experiences with BYO in schools

This recent BBC item on mobile phones in schools presents two different perspectives on their impact - the distract pupils vs they are valuable tools to enhance learning.

Do you have experience of BYO and/or smartphone use in schools?
What works and what doesn't? Tell us about your experiences ...

PeterT (talk)07:44, 30 September 2015

Media repeatedly present technology as either good or bad, but it is the way in which they are used that makes iPads, tablets or PCs effective or limiting tools. As I wrote about iPads in schools before, researchers, tech designers and schools need to work together to maximise effective use of these tools. This goes back to the issue of schools becoming insular, mentioned previously in this thread. We need to tackle the collaboration challenges if we want to see real innovation in schools...

NataliaK (talk)11:08, 30 September 2015

Did you see Neil Selwyn's recent piece on bullshit re educational technology?

Hard to disagree with what he says - and I think the 'rhetoric - reality gap' (Trend, Davis & Loveless, 1999) is a serious problem (and not a new one as you can see from the date of that reference!). As you say Natalia, this is reflected in the hype about mobile devices and the extent to which they are impacting on schools, which contrasts with the major difficulties that we are having in finding potential schools to work with on NP3, which is partly to do with the increasing insularity of schools and perhaps partly to do with there being many fewer schools who are actually embedding ICT effectively across the curriculum (in the UK) than the hype would suggest.

I would love to be proved wrong - so if you know about a (primary) school that encourages the use of mobile phones or other Internet-enabled mobile devices that are brought in from home (BYO) or has effectively implemented a one to one (owned) mobile device strategy then do let us know ...

(Find out more about digital technology strategies in schools and how to make them effective)

Trend, R., Davis, N. & Loveless, A. (1999) Information and Communication Technology, London: Letts Education.

PeterT (talk)07:37, 1 October 2015

Are schools becoming more insular?

My perception is that schools are becoming more insular, and the mechanisms through which expertise was shared are breaking down (with the notable exception of the small proportion of teachers who engage via social media and TeachMeets).

Why do I think that?

Over the last few month we have been trying to identify and link up with schools that might be interested in and of interest to NP3. We have gone out to our established networks of practitioners, consultants, academics, Local Authority advisors, charities working in the sector, and anyone else we could think of to tell them about the project and ask for help in linking up with potentially interested/interesting schools. The response from the network has been overwhelmingly positive - and folk have forwarded information to schools (usually via named contacts), made introductions for us, and promoted the project through their networks - but the response from schools has been underwhelming.

Colleagues in other areas (both academics and those in professional organisations) have reported informally to me that they are having similar problems connecting with schools. At an ETAG meeting earlier this week there was concern about the (perceived) growing gulf between the small minority of schools who are innovating and those that are 'doing business as usual'.

Overall there seems to be a growing breakdown of communication between researchers/professional organisations/Local Authorities/other non-school bodies and schools, and indeed between teachers across schools. Worryingly this would seem to remove important mechanisms for the sharing of expertise within and across the school/education community.

Does this fit with your experiences? If so, what could we do to reverse the trend?

PeterT (talk)16:32, 25 September 2015

Thanks Peter for this post....the insularity of schools...primary and secondary(and FE?) is a direct result of a political ideology predicated on "marketisation, privatisation and digitisation" a familiar theme for those who have read "Liberating Learning" from Moe and Chubb the right wing economists from Hoover Institute at Stanford. The erosion of local accountability and local authority support,the academitisation process,free schools and the withdrawal of the network support of organisations such as NCSL and BECTA make it difficult to share.

I think Twitter and TeachMeets are part of the solution,as is membership of Naace,ALT et al but it is a struggle.

I think another reson is lack of time for teachers to share.....I know the footfall at recent FREE cpd events here in Manchester has been poor as teachers find it hard to get release from teaching and supply and transport cots add to that burden.

What can we do about it? Well ....Toshiba have supported over 120 Teachmeets with almost 10,000 teachers so teachers are willing and keen to share.

A bit of encouragement from ministers and DFE would help?

Bobharrisonset (talk)09:44, 28 September 2015

Do you know of any primary schools that are doing interesting things pedagogically that build on digital practices that pupils have developed outside school?

We are trying to identify primary schools that are doing interesting things pedagogically, which recognise, value and build upon the digital practices that pupils have developed outside school.

This is proving challenging - which may be because of our timing (July/August/September not being great times to try to engage with schools!) and/or because schools who are doing this sort of stuff don't want to shout about it, and/or because few schools are doing it ...

Do you know of any schools that might fit the bill? Do you have ideas about how we might find such schools?

Help us by replying to this message with suggestions ...

PeterT (talk)11:39, 8 September 2015

I'd be happy to forward things to our Learnign Design mailing group or put on Yammer, if you could put something short together to go out that way? If all that attended the workshop last week, that might help?

Lie1979 (talk)08:15, 9 September 2015

Great. How about something like:

Do you work in a primary school that is building upon the digital practices that your pupils are developing outside school? Do you have a BYO policy? Do you have class blogs? Is digital technology enhancing your pedagogy? If so you might be interested in NP3 - a new project that is looking at the digital practices that young people develop outside school, and how these come to be recognised and valued inside school, leading to changes in pedagogy.

Find out more ...

Fill in the Your Organisation's Technology Strategy Survey (YOTS2)

Join the conversation ...

PeterT (talk)08:26, 9 September 2015

What do you think?

We'd love to know what you think of our plans for NP3 so far - feel free to start a new thread or post a question on PeterT's thread below

Amelia H-J (talk)11:20, 2 September 2015