No signal…

In a day and age where people care more about mobile phone signal that knowing what their neighbours names are, I find the article published in the BBC News Education section yesterday very daunting.  Judith Burns wrote the article using statistics from the (ONS) Office of National Statistics, and within it, her point is frightening, they claim that “A third of poorest pupils ‘without internet at home’.”  This figure got me thinking…This is around as the article states, 750,000 children who do not have access to the internet at home which is a substantial amount.  From being in school and recalling the days when I was in primary education, I can recall how important a computer and internet was then from 1995-2002.  Now with more and more schools improving their online presence and using sites such as Moodle to get children to work at home, the internet is a must.

This therefore got me thinking…sometimes when this occurs I get crazy ideas which are only pipe dreams, but they’re always a positive idea to improve.  Not to drop product names especially as I do not work on commission, I have an iPhone 4.  Now I can get internet almost anywhere, if you ask me a question and I do not have the answer, whether we are on a bus, out for a stroll in the middle of the countryside or even in the middle of the English channel, I can find the answer.  Now if my network provider can provide me (slow) but a regular internet connection, why is it so difficult to provide internet to these children.

Now there are a number of ways the government could provide the internet to these children, they could outright pay for their contracts to the countries poorest, but where is the fairness and cost effectiveness in that.  My idea could see every child have access to a computer and internet which would benefit their education incredibly.  Child tax credits are paid to families who have children under the age of 18, an age which would see them leave sixth form/college to maybe go to University or get a job in which they can then buy internet.  The child tax credit is paid to help provide a better life for children and it helps families with shopping, bills and other necessities in raising a child.  In this day however is internet not a necessity?  The government could ensure that each child has access to the internet by giving a £400 bonus to those families who can not buy a computer, but instead of it being in money which can sometimes get misspent, send out a delivery of computers to these families and then cut down their child tax credits but £25 a month which will then pay for the internet without the families having to sort any bills or connection.

It does sound like a very long winded process and very expensive, but by taking the internet charge out of tax credits which is to help the children, the government would be providing the internet to the children which is of a huge benefit to their education.

For those about to rock…We salute you!

A while back we had a very interesting ICT lesson in which I got to play Rock Band.  When I walked into the classroom I saw the drums, guitar and microphone in all their glory and got very excited.  I had no pretense as to what this lesson would entail and how playing this would link into becoming an excellent interactive teacher, needless to say, the thought of playing computer games in an ICT lesson sounded like a lot of fun.

Then, once we had all settled down, (I sat directly next to Rock Band), Gareth started to tell us why there are games in the lesson and what impact and purpose there is for games within primary education.  Prior to this lesson i did not even consider gaming in lessons or within school for that matter, however, once Gareth had explained my eyes were widened and my idea of gaming changed.

Gareth used the following story of Rock Band to state his case, and since this lesson, I am very adamant  that I will use this idea within my teaching career.  There was one school teacher who took the game Rock Band and converted it into a term/half terms amount of work across all subjects.  He initially introduced the game and the children instantly loved it.  They played it, got used to it and soon wanted to play it more.  Once the children were interested and wanted to know more, the teacher bought forward that in groups they will each perform a song in a concert at the end of term to the parents.  In order to do this however there were many things to consider.  It was this which was his link to the other subjects.  In English he used lessons to create advertisement posters, persuasive letters to record companies, personal profiles of rock stars etc.  In maths he got the children to calculate the cost of equipment and the cost of a European tour linking ICT as the research tool.  In music they learned about the music they were playing and in other lessons such as art they designed posters and logos. After they had done all this they invited all the parents in and performed their concert accomplishing the idea of a world dominating tour.

In short this is a brief overview as to what was done in the school and I felt that it was a brilliant idea and wish to do this when I am teaching.  It highlights how there can be gaming within education as long as it is moderated and used with a plan.  I feel that it can be done with a number of games it just takes some creativity to draw out different elements from within a game.  I feel that with the Olympic legacy in place Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games could be used to improve P.E. in schools which from experience is something i feel needs improving.

To conclude, I believe that learning needs to be fun.  It is not helpful to either student or teacher if the lessons are boring and uninteresting.  Both lose the desire to learn and optimum learning does not occur.  In order to tap into the enthusiasm to learn and get the most out of your class learning must be made fun and using games as a bridge into their interests is something in this modern age which needs to be done at some point.