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General Chat Thread, Parents to confront School governors over iPads in General; I've seen the point made in this thread about if the iPads are good for education why doesn't the school ...
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    nikaso's Avatar
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    I've seen the point made in this thread about if the iPads are good for education why doesn't the school buy them. Well 1:1 teacher to student lessons would be good for education but there is no way the school can afford it. School budgets being what they are and given the growing prevalence of smartphones and tablets amongst students I think we are doing a disservice to students if we don't try and integrate these technologies into their education.

    As it stands we have most schools with the traditional desktops and laptops setup; as soon as the students leave school the majority of their internet consumption will likely take place on smartphones and/or tablets and they are often more skilled in their usage than school staff. If we can harness these skills and leverage them in an educational setting it could lead to outstanding lessons with the right teacher. I think iPads are the popular choice but they have a lot going for them. They are locked down and the quality process for apps is pretty good, they have large scale acceptance amongst students already (being a desired device means they are more likely to take care of them). I'm not saying you couldn't do a similar job with other tablets but Apple certainly have some sort of head-start.

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    Marshall_IT (17th January 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garacesh View Post
    They're nowhere near as expensive as £300 over 3 years.
    and yet many of those who claim not to be able to afford it will have xboxes, playstations, sky tv, foreign holidays, iphones (parent and child)......its £10 a month.

    If you go on a teachers forum, the majority are for it as they can see an educational benefit to it. On here? Its mainly the tech side problems or the anti tablet/Apple side of things.

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    buzzard (17th January 2014), Marshall_IT (17th January 2014), tmcd35 (17th January 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    and yet many of those who claim not to be able to afford it will have xboxes, playstations, sky tv, foreign holidays, iphones (parent and child)......its £10 a month.

    If you go on a teachers forum, the majority are for it as they can see an educational benefit to it. On here? Its mainly the tech side problems or the anti tablet/Apple side of things.
    Thing about forums is you only hear the views of those who can be bothered to use the forum. A straw poll here amongst teachers produced a result that was far less enthusiastic.

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    Simcfc73 (17th January 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Out of curiosity. What is your view on school uniforms, pencil cases, calculators and homework diarys?
    school uniform at least makes everyone look roughly the same so yo are less likely to get bullied in school for not wearing the latest designer togs and SHOULD be sensibly priced esp if its just basically say black trousers/skirts white shirt/blouse and a blue jumper say you can get all that from a supermarket for a few quid (school uniforms you have to buy from the school with logos etc on im less sure about unless they are relatively cheap)

    calculators pencil cases etc are at least cheap and i suspect it would be a lot of hassle at the start of a lesson for everyone go to the class stores cupboard to get out what they need for that lesson rather than drag pencil case out of bag (though i suppose if school provided them with their own rather than shared that wouldnt be an issue.

    Again where do you draw the line between what reasonable for parents to supply and whats not?

    BYOD again unless the school specifies apple/ms/android then there is bound to be disparity and even if they do some kid comes in with a £1500 alienware laptop some kids have hand me down android phones you cant tell me whatever you do they are equal devices.

    As a kid (and tbh as an adult) i wouldnt like walking to school every day with hundreds of quids worth of equipment on me

    homework diaries should be paid for by the school (at least the 1st one if you cant take care of it then i can see an argument for charging for replacements)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garacesh View Post
    They're nowhere near as expensive as £300 over 3 years.
    Interesting response, not against the idea of payment, just the overall price? Would a one off £50 contribution (an idea we were floating here at one time) be more acceptable?

    I also wonder how close the average teenager, with ther innate ability to grow when parents can least afford it, could get to £300 in 3 years on uniform? Given one off costs of things like Blazers and shoes, PE kits, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    If you go on a teachers forum, the majority are for it as they can see an educational benefit to it. On here? Its mainly the tech side problems or the anti tablet/Apple side of things.
    I for one would be happier moving away from the anti-tablet/Apple side of things and focusing on finding solutions/answers to the tech side.
    Last edited by tmcd35; 17th January 2014 at 10:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikaso View Post
    As it stands we have most schools with the traditional desktops and laptops setup; as soon as the students leave school the majority of their internet consumption will likely take place on smartphones and/or tablets and they are often more skilled in their usage than school staff. If we can harness these skills and leverage them in an educational setting it could lead to outstanding lessons with the right teacher. I think iPads are the popular choice but they have a lot going for them. They are locked down and the quality process for apps is pretty good, they have large scale acceptance amongst students already (being a desired device means they are more likely to take care of them). I'm not saying you couldn't do a similar job with other tablets but Apple certainly have some sort of head-start.
    Yes, but again, that will be for consumption of data. We need devices suited towards the creation of data. Also, when they land themselves a job, if that job requires the use of technology I'll put good money on it not being tablet-based. There is no harnessing of skills because the device these skills are relative to are not relative to an educational setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    and yet many of those who claim not to be able to afford it will have xboxes, playstations, sky tv, foreign holidays, iphones (parent and child)......its £10 a month.
    Yes, and I'd like to slap those parents for it. (Although, in the interests of not being too judgemental, all of those except perhaps holidays can be purchased on credit)
    I'm not arguing that people can't afford it (Although some will genuinely have difficulty) I'm arguing against the voluntary-(but-not-really-voluntary) 'donation', the emotional blackmail the parents feel they have been subjected to, and the fact that in my opinion this infrastructure is entirely the wrong way to go about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    If you go on a teachers forum, the majority are for it as they can see an educational benefit to it. On here? Its mainly the tech side problems or the anti tablet/Apple side of things.
    I'm sure there would be a benefit to some of the students. My personal opinion is that you could get a much greater benefit for potentially less money with a different approach. 1 Device:1 Student is not the correct way to address the issue. I also think that teachers would be less favourable towards this if they truly understood the difficulties that will arise with a scheme like this being implemented (that's assuming the kids want their files on the tablets, which I'm assuming they do, because I'm hoping the school's aren't trying to buy £300 web browsers)
    Last edited by Garacesh; 17th January 2014 at 10:57 AM.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garacesh View Post
    Yes, but again, that will be for consumption of data. We need devices suited towards the creation of data.
    Do we need creation devices in all instances? Or do we need a mixture of consumption and creation devices?

    I'm arguing against the voluntary-(but-not-really-voluntary)
    hence the question on uniform and the vountary-(but-not-really-voluntary) nature of it. How long would a school accept a child turning up in smart black trousers/white shirt - without the rest of the uniform - not because the parents can't afford, but they don't want to pay for a particular tie, blazer, pe kit combination?

    My personal opinion is that you could get a much greater benefit for potentially less money with a different approach. 1 Device:1 Student is not the correct way to address the issue.
    So what does that different approach look like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikaso View Post
    I've seen the point made in this thread about if the iPads are good for education why doesn't the school buy them. Well 1:1 teacher to student lessons would be good for education but there is no way the school can afford it. School budgets being what they are and given the growing prevalence of smartphones and tablets amongst students I think we are doing a disservice to students if we don't try and integrate these technologies into their education.
    Yes, I agree that we should be integrating these technologies into the curriculum but not by requiring parents to buy them. Do it in a way that fits within the school budget. If you cannot afford 1:1 provision then don't do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Do we need creation devices in all instances? Or do we need a mixture of consumption and creation devices?
    arnt all creation devices (with a few exceptions) consumption devices though? so by having say ipads and laptops the ipads are pointless because the laptops can do all they do and more?

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    The thing with iPads is that they are very much designed as a device for use by one person, there are no user profiles etc. Anything other than 1:1 becomes a hassle in my experience.

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    Marshall_IT (17th January 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Do we need creation devices in all instances? Or do we need a mixture of consumption and creation devices?
    Yes. Yes we do (need creation devices). If we're going to supply a student with an electronic device for educational purposes, you're damn right it needs to be able to create as well as consume. Otherwise, as mentioned earlier, you're just buying a £300 web browser. And as @sted says, the majority of the time creation devices can also be used for consumption. Therefore, to me, laptops are the greater option all-round. Upgradeable and repairable frankensteinable, with the ability to create as well as consume, better integration into the infrastructure and has familiarity with all users (because all your students are already familiar with whatever OS you use, you just go ahead and use the same one.. Windows, Linux, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    hence the question on uniform and the vountary-(but-not-really-voluntary) nature of it. How long would a school accept a child turning up in smart black trousers/white shirt - without the rest of the uniform - not because the parents can't afford, but they don't want to pay for a particular tie, blazer, pe kit combination?
    I don't know. Personally I've always thought that schools should supply the uniform if it's mandatory. But that's probably a discussion for a different thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    So what does that different approach look like?
    Use the money to buy sets of laptops that can be wheeled between classrooms. If your school's big enough, buy a fair few and assign them to different departments. Ensure each department checks the trolley regularly, keeping a log of any damage and reporting it when they notice it arises. If this is the case, let each department sort bookings out between themselves.
    Last edited by Garacesh; 17th January 2014 at 11:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    As meny of you know I've been following these threads for a while and am a keen advocate on some aspect of BYOD/1:1 devices. We've been looking at this technology here for some time but so far serious discussions at SLT level are yet to start. Our Deputy Head is keen on 1:1 iPads and I'm just starting the process of a proper consultation with staff and reviewing our current ICT infrastructure.

    Skim-reading this thread I'm taken (as ever) how black and white some views on the subject can be, and find my self asking - is the negativity because of a) Apple, b) Tablets, c) 1:1 devices, or d) they could be Windows 7 netbooks and still get the same negative responses?

    Asking HoD's their views on our existing ICT Infrastructure and the number 1 concern I'm hearing is lack of computer availability. The number 1 required use of computers, Internet research. Teachers want more access to ICT for Internet research. We have 4 bookable ICT suites, two are near perminantly block booked due to ICT lessons. 800 pupils, 5 years groups, competing for 2 ICT suites. Whats the right answer to the problem?

    Stories like that in the OP come from needing to find an answer to this, not because "iPads are cool and we want every child to have one just 'because'".

    For my part, and what I'm begining to advocate here, I see a more mixed approach rather than a 1 device fits all solution. Some departments like music may have a mix of iMacs and iPads. We'll probably always need a couple of ICT suites. Bookable laptop trollies for each department may not be such a bad idea. Add allowing students to BYOD into the mix and I think you may get a more pratical set of solutions.

    As I said in a previous thread recently, the real key really is getting the Internet into the hands of students when they need it - not limited to when a teacher can book a limited resource like an ICT suite. I'm amazed at anyone who thinks in this day and age that giving students unlimited access to such a vast and important research resource is not/cannot have benificial impacts on teaching and learning. In fact I think it's very closed minded.

    EDIT: In an early discussion here, after a similar presentation from a leasing company, we talked about parent contributions and meny of the issues around "state funded", "free education", "low income", etc did come up. Although everyone else at the meeting disagreed with me, my general view is - we expect parents to purchase a school uniform, Blazer with school logo on. It's not optional. Why can't these devices be part of the school uniform?
    You raise an interesting point and I agree that the internet as a resource is extremely valuable - PROVIDED that pupils are taught to properly evaluate the quality of the data. Everyone moans about essays written using Wikipedia - this is the same argument on a HUGE scale. If we robustly taught children how to evaluate the reliability of a source and how to navigate the data sources they find on the internet and how not to rely on one viewpoint but seek a balanced study or at least present both sides of an argument then by all means, the internet becomes the most comprehensive textbook in the world and I completely agree that the value of the internet in education is staggering. So yes, it IS 'close minded' to think that giving pupils access to the internet won't have an impact on learning, but it is also close minded to think that this would be effective without changes in the way pupils are taught to think.

    My concern is that we are NOT teaching kids how to evaluate sources robustly enough.

    Example: I do a Google search for 'Stem Cells'. Firstly, why Google? Are the Google search results unbiased? No, they aren't, because people with enough motivation and funds can afford to 'bump' their page up the list. So already, even at the SEARCH stage we have to bear in mind that the 'most relevant' resource may be there because someone paid for it to be. Should I run the same search across multiple search engines to 'normalise' my results?

    So then we move onto looking at the results themselves. Top result that isn't a sponsored ad? Wikipedia. Which we ALL know is peer-moderated so the validity of the information in the article is subject to significant uncertainty.

    Then we have government websites followed by news articles. News articles are written by journalists. Journalists have an agenda. So already, having just done a simple web search, I have to consider that the top results for the topic in question may not be the WHOLE story and I should seek multiple sources from multiple viewpoints - ethical, scientific, religious etc in order to build a more complete picture of the Stem Cell concept. If we are teaching kids this then yeah, go for it. But we're not. Sure, they learn a bit about it in GCSE History and Science teachers briefly touch on the subject here and there but if we want to implement a 1:1 internet-enabled device and actually use it appropriately and constructively then pupils are going to HAVE to learn that they can't take the internet at face value.

    A Mixed approach is a good plan, although more economically challenged cohorts will struggle and bullying will be rife if the 'top set' is full of kids with iPadX's and the 'bottom set' is full of kids with a patched up netbook running a hooky copy of windows XP. BYOD is great until you factor in theft and mugging - would you want the world to know your child was catching a public bus with an iPad in his bag? You can't expect pupils to want to store their own devices at school overnight - it defeats the purpose of the pupil having the resource in the first place. I can't help but think that at the moment we are swinging from one extreme to another - on the one hand we are looking at 1:1 provision in-house with everyone having the same, and on the other we are looking at BYOD with a vast array of devices and no guarantee that all pupils will have a device to bring. What is our middle ground? Laptop trolleys? A cursory glance at these forums shows countless posts complaining that teachers don't return them, they aren't charged properly, the trolleys are vandalised and damaged etc etc. I wonder if perhaps the classroom of the future will be 1:1 computers/tablets embedded into desks with cloud storage. Even then there will be challenges to address - issues with vandalism and theft. I don't think there will ever be an ideal solution until we can address other fundamental issues in the classroom such as behaviour but this is not a simple matter - this would mean addressing the degradation of society and we all know that won't happen. Kids don't respect their education and take it for granted. Perhaps if they had to earn it by working and paying for it themselves then they might...

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    Ephelyon (17th January 2014)

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Do we need creation devices in all instances? Or do we need a mixture of consumption and creation devices?
    If the answer to this is yes, then that means that any scheme put in place should implement creation devices - as there isn't the funding or capability in most schools to maintain both sets of equipment.

    If the 1:1 devices aren't creation devices, then you end up back in exactly the same situation you mentioned earlier - the rationing of shared IT suites or trolleys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBentley View Post
    The thing with iPads is that they are very much designed as a device for use by one person, there are no user profiles etc. Anything other than 1:1 becomes a hassle in my experience.
    This is true from what I have seen also. I am hopeful that there might be better support for shared devices with Google Play for Education but am not holding my breath. I am at least pretty confident that a 1:1 offering of Android devices will work out much cheaper than iPads.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    arnt all creation devices (with a few exceptions) consumption devices though? so by having say ipads and laptops the ipads are pointless because the laptops can do all they do and more?
    But a laptop would require more desk space. Have a shorter battery life. Maybe even want a mains connection. Not very practical in a food room being used to display a recipe (yes I know - print the recipe before the lesson and use paper )

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBentley View Post
    The thing with iPads is that they are very much designed as a device for use by one person, there are no user profiles etc. Anything other than 1:1 becomes a hassle in my experience.
    Only if the expectation is to use them to store personal data - e-mail accounts, etc. The device doesn't need to know whose currenlty holding it to run Safari.

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