Many schools, in line with an increase in online learning, internet research and allowing students to complete written work using digital means, are encouraging students to bring their own devices for use in the classroom.
Is your school one of them? Are you told that by bring a device to school you are plugging into a vast range of apps, games, tutorials, research and videos that will enable you – and your school work – to improve? Perhaps you’re even reading this article on a device that you’ve brought to school.
Dear online readers, you are being conned. Your schools are pulling the wool over your eyes. They say it makes educational sense – future learning, entering the digital world, education beyond the classroom, greater engagement. But schools – and you – could get on perfectly well without one.
Every waking moment we are plugged in. Whether it’s television, a phone in your pocket, mp3 in your ears, smartwatch on your wrist, internet streamed from iPad or laptop, radio in the car… Everything we look at, hear, absorb or are surrounded by is bombarding us with information. But your classroom, a place of concentration and study, should be a space away from pop-ups, adverts before YouTube clips or online advertising.
And just like you need to switch off from being online, you need to switch off from school work. Having a device that goes from home to school to home means you never switch off.
Researching online is exactly the same as reading a book or using the library. What are you doing when you’re looking online? You’re reading. What’s that neglected space in the school that no one really goes to anymore? Oh yeah, the library. Full of books waiting to be opened and explored.
And what about the text books in the classroom? Old fashioned, but they work. Full of information, tutorials, exercises and opportunities to stretch your understanding. Infinitely better than yet another session on the same old maths websites. And exercise books don’t need recharging, and nor is there widespread panic when the internet goes down.
But those aren’t the really reasons why you must Switch Off In Class. No. Schools are only encouraging BYOD to save themselves money.
It’s a cunning plan. By asking students to buy and bring laptops and tablets it means the schools don’t have to pay for them, don’t have to pay for the maintenance of them, and don’t have to pay for an extra member of staff to look after the network. That’s a saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year!
Also, by having students bring devices, schools no longer have to keep up-to-date with text books or spend money keeping the library smart. After all, why spend money on something no one uses?
And – by far the biggest slip-up from schools – is saying that devices increase student engagement. In other words, kids are mesmerised by their screens and therefore quiet. A quiet class = a happy teacher.
So, let’s end this digital revolution, overthrow the BYOD! Students, switch off in the classroom and reclaim your own education!
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students: [/colored_box] [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. How did students learn before the internet?
2. How important is having access to a computer for your studies? In other words, how could you manage without one?
3. Do you agree with this article?
[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Task:
1. How much time do you think is wasted in your classroom (by you, your teacher or your classmates) trying to get technology to work? Use this to work out how much time is wasted over a term, over a year, over your whole school career?
2. This article is arguing that schools use BYOD to pass on costs to students which means they don’t have to pay for laptops or iPads. Do you think schools should provide all those things, or is it better that students choose for themselves?
3. How much time do you spend online a week? Keep a diary to show why you were online and what you were doing. Discuss your findings with a friend.
[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2273617″] [/colored_box]