“Now, what I want is facts, Now, what I need is connectivity”

Vote for me in the Edublogs Awards above by clicking on the ^ Thanks!…….In Dickens Hard Times, Mr. Gladgrind famously states of of pupils “Now, what I want is facts.”

I can’t imagine how he would feel about the pocket full of facts that many children bring with them into school each day in the form of their device, that connects to the Internet.

There are staggering prices this Christmas for tablets in the less than €100 range, including this one with a three-year guarantee.

There really will be very few teenagers without access to some form of device that can bring them from the A History of Ireland in 100 Objects to Louvre online with the swish of a finger OR exchange greetings in their target languages via Skype OR use a blog for their online portfolio, and so on……. With the drop in prices, the device is becoming less and less important.

I imagine some students may even buy a cheaper device for schools and that some schools may purchase a selection of such devices to have in their libraries, some class-rooms or shared areas.

What is becoming more important though is “connectivity.”

Students won’t all have access to fast broadband for learning. Now this is the challenge for education. I believe schools should offer Broadband to all pupils, teachers and visitors via a robust wi-fi connection.

The roll-out of the 100Mbs to secondary-schools in Ireland will be seriously under-utilised if this does not happen. It will also be akin to failing out children. Yes, failing – they need facts, but they also need to learn the true meaning of connectivity as an opportunity

  • To express themselves
  • To participate in society
  • To prepare for the world of work

I was taken by Anthony Little, Headmaster at Eton, when he recently said of education (here) “What is left is the heart and soul of it: our young learn how to be effective, connected citizens in the supportive, aspirational community of a good school, one that sees strong human relationships as both its dynamic and its purpose“.

Its about devices, but it is not, Its about wi-fi, but it is not, Its about me, but it is not, Its about connecting people – Absolutely!

One comment

  1. Máire O'Keeffe

    I agree, agree, agree! I have just had second BYOD session with my 6th class last Thursday. First session was during a BizWorld.ie two day entrepreneurial workshop when I could barely get 6 devices onto the school Wifi – really frustrating for me and the kids. Second session was amazing because since first one I approached the parent of a child in the class. He runs his own internet service provider which we use here at home (as according to Eircom, we’re too far in the country to access their broadband – even though we have the housephone!) This parent @airwire within a day provided a business connection directly into my classroom (with the principals permission) – I went off and bought a 50 euro router and hey presto last thursday I had all the devices the kids brought in from phones to laptops to tablets to ipods online – 24 devices in total. It was amazing – great engagement and bucket loads of learning and no messing!!

    Best of luck with the nomination.
    and regards
    Máire