Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Message from PCDE Text

is there risk of kids being left behind or feeling left out if they don't have or can't afford smartphones etc?


  1. Yes. There are risks but the world we live in is increasingly digital - can schools afford to bury their heads in the analogue sand? If they do, they will be failing to prepare their pupils for the world outside school.

    Google "Digital Divide" to see what other people are saying about this problem. I think schools should be trying to narrow this divide and they wont do that by trying to ban smart phones - a lowest common denominator approach. Instead, they should be creative about how they can support children who don't have the kit. Schools have done this for many years in other areas, for example, most Maths classrooms have a small stash of calculators for pupils who don't have their own.

    I did hear of one student teacher who wanted to use text messages to collect feedback in his classroom. He hade a look around his home and discovered six mobiles lying about unused, five of which still had credit. He took them into the class and handed them out to those with no phone and to pupils who didn't have a free text allowance on their tariff.

  2. I actually had one pupil (out of every S1 and S2 I asked at the start of the year) who said he had absolutely no internet access at all. When I met his folks at parents' night, I found out this wasn't true - he just didn't like using the computer at home!

    Yes, there will always be pupils in different situations. The very first school I taught at while on placement had an uncommonly high level of looked-after children, including many who still lived with their parents but for whom the conditions were simply dreadful. Forget phones - they didn't have beds, blankets, changes of clothes...

    In reference to David's final paragraph, a colleague at work has been on O2 for several years and hasn't paid a penny. The SIM card he has gives him 800 texts a month and free calls to other O2 SIMs. He and his made snatched up a load of them and use them to contact each other. Old handsets are peanuts on eBay, and they're as sturdy as bricks. They still have calculators on them, and they work.