Digital Immersion


Second time around (I wrote a long post for tonight but lost it the upload) This won’t be as long but will have the same jist)

My boys – 18 and 15 – both use
to hang out with their friends a digital environmement. They share photos, music and ideas with their pals. When I asked Lewis (the 15 year old) if he got this sort of thing at school he looked at me as if I was stupid – of course not! The more I read about the digital world the more I think we are letting kids down. Why can't we try to replicate the kind of learning and communication environment young people are using outside school? I know, I know – lack of hardware, lack of software, lack of technical support, lack of time, lack of training, lack of leadership, lack of reliable network connection, lack of bandwidth, lack of ……………you name it. (if you agree with this why not help shape our
ICT strategy

I was asked a question by someone today about whether or not teachers would have to use
SSDN in their teaching when it comes in. I thought about it
– not for long – and said yes. I know this sounds a bit severe and infringes teacher autonomy but how would I feel if my child was prevented from becoming digitally competent just because a teacher doesn’t feel comfortable with technology or doesn’t believe in its importance? – I wouldn’t be happy. The reality is that I am more competent than my own children when it comes to ICT – is that as it should be?

This leads me to digital immersion – this is relevant given the recent controversy about a
Gaelic speaking school in Skye where children would be immersed in the language throughout the curriculum. There is significant evidence to show that this form of
language learning is much more effective than periods of study. I think this is how children should learn how to become comfortable with the digital world, i.e. by being immersed in the digital dimension as part and parcel of the learning process – both at school and at home. The challenge we face is to make up for some of the obvious deficiencies – as identified earlier – but also to use our imagination e.g. this website will have cost less than 1000 GBP to put together; weblogging space can be accessed for free; open source software is becoming more readily available; most children have access to the web at home.

Is there an alternative? – I don’t think so -if we don’t start to get our act together the gap between how children communicate and learn at home and how they learn and communicate at school will get wider and wider – with a commensurate level of disengagement from the formal learning process.

Morning – visit to MacMerry Primary School – as my granny used to say – don’t judge a book by its cover – it looks a bit forbidding from outside but when you get in it transforms itself. I’ve rarely been as impressed by a class as I was by P4/5 what enthusiasm for the learning process – could we just bottle it?

Fiona Beveridge (the HT) was teaching so Connor and Rebecca took me round the school – thanks – these really are the highlights of my week!

Back to office for meeting with Alan Blackie and others re’ various action points. Then SSDN meeting.

Afternoon – meeting at Ross High School re’ additional Support for Learning Unit. Back to office to pick up on correspondence and various quick updates from folk.

Out to Haddington School Boards cluster meeting – very useful event – three in a row. I hope one of the parents is going to take up our invite to become our first parental weblogger- watch this space. Realised that we need to put something together to brief parents about curriculum for excellence.