About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Orewa Debate

At the beginning of the holidays the Orewa media circus was a fantastically entertaining event. The story broke that Orewa had made the iPad2 a compulsory item on the 2012 stationery list. It was soon reveled, however, that they only recommended the iPad2 and that any wifi device would be acceptable. But as many people have commentated it is not about the technology or the device. I suggest we stop getting wound up and wowed by the iPad and think about what it is that Orewa are trying to achieve (1:1 devices). Schools have the freedom to make choices regarding equipment. While I wouldn't prescribe an ipad, I certainly wouldn't stop others doing it.

I believe the crux of the argument is:
Is 1:1 where we are headed?
And my thoughts are, Yes
Once we can agree on this then we can start to consider the underlying issues that have been debated and discussed by educators in online forums.
1. - Who pays (BYOD? School? Government? Corporate?)

2. - Will 1:1 create more eWaste and how can we responsibly manage it?
It is important to note that if managed properly 1:1 could actually reduce the amount of devices we have. For example as a worker I had a computer at home and a computer at work.
As a teacher in the Tela laptop scheme I now have a computer that travels with me to school and back. Surely we can create a system where children are doing the same thing? Then we will not require as many 'classroom computers', 'computer suites', or 'COWS'.
School computers lie dormant at night. Home computers lay dormant during the day...

3. - Will 1:1 destroy group learning pedagogy?

This is of course up to the individual educator. I believe, however, that I would continue to use Self Organised Learning GROUPS even in a 1:1 setting. The beauty of 1:1 is that learners can continue to contribute to a group's learning - even when they are not physically present.

4. - Who should we be buying our products from (from an ethical, sweatshop point of view)?
This is a question for ALL of our consumer choices and should not be used as a barrier to 1:1. If you know me, you know that the children I teach do learn about such issues. We have questioned the origins of our sports gear, clothes, computers, toys, mobile devices, carpet, furniture, chocolate, pencils, school uniforms ....
I will not accept that children's learning should be compromised by an ethical debate. Not when they are trudging to school in sweatshop shoes, wearing sweatshop uniforms, kicking soccerballs and being rewarded with chocolate produced from child labour. Our children need to learn about it and take action where they can. Isolating our children from these very issues by the banning of ICT equipment in schools is NOT the answer!

Working Child Brickaville Madagascar

By Harald Kreutzer Madagaskar Vision e.V. (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

And that's my two cents...


  1. Awesome post and thanks for the linky love.

    I don't get how people think that using computers and technology somehow gets us less connected to each other. I look at the impact that blogs and twitter have had on my learning at it blows me away.

    I often say instead of having 2 associate teachers, I now have several hundred via twitter who are shaping my learning and in my opinion is a good thing.

  2. Interesting piece.

    What about the nissue of SECURITY and SPEED? We have had massive problems and massive expense at my school attempting to integrate COWS into our computer system. 1:1 could be a bridge too far in respect to providing quality security and speed for our students at a realistic cost.

    Personally I would wait a year or 2 before going 1:1 if it was up to me. I think the technology with tablets etc will exlpode in the next year or so and waiting that extra bit will give consumers (schools) a better handle on the products that will do exactly what they require.

  3. Thanks for the comment. My understanding was that Orewa have a good UFB wireless network and this was a major player in their decision making - they wanted to utilize it. We also have usage issues at our school. With the machines we currently have we are blowing out our allowance each month. So I think that is another great point you have raised to be discussed. I do know that UFB is getting rolled out, I'm not sure how long it will take for all schools to be on (I imagine for some parts of NZ it will be years).

    This is interesting in terms of digital divide and isolated rural communities. There was talk in the past to get the isolated areas sorted first. I wonder how that is going?

    Security is also huge. Security of the hardware, Internet security, security of the device when it's at home. This is probably best learned from our overseas schools who are well underway with 1:1. The storage issues throw light on why perhaps Orewa decided to go with the tablet...

  4. Thanks Stephanie, yip I feel very connected with an amazing range of people. While I may appear to some as a social reject, I am blown away by the amount of online real friends I have made, and places i have traveled to to meet these friends, thanks to my mobile device ;)

    Why would we deny our students this?