GoogleTranslate Service


We seem to be doing a lot of preparing, and supporting, but not so much inspiring

February 8th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I was greatly inspired by the Wise Kids conference on Young People in a Digital World – Preparing, Inspiring and Supporting, held in Bangor in Wales on Wednesday. This was the second of two regional conferences, with videos from the first, in Swansea earlier in the week are available now online (the video by Tanya Byron, who advices the UK government on internet safety is encouraging from a policy point of view).

Here are a few impressionistic comments which by no means express the breadth and quality of the event.

Two things which particularly encouraged me. The first was the breadth of organisations represented by participants. This included teachers, local government officers, youth workers, researchers and delegates from internet and software companies and the  voluntary sector. The second was the active involvement of young people themselves in the conference.

And for me, the highlight was the youth panel of some ten or so students from Ysgol Trfyan. They were thoughtful, articulate and above all opinionated. Having previously presented a Welsh language drama about e-safety, they went on to answer questions from participants in the conference. all but one said that if they were forced to choose they would give up television rather than the internet. But there main message was their opposition to the ban on accessing social networking sites and particular Facebook from school. They said the reason they had been told for the ban was that social networks had been used for cheating in exams (unlikely as I found this, a report in last weeks Guardian claims the use of mobile phones for cheating is on the increase!). However they could not see why Facebook has been banned when there was still access to other sites including games. “Facebook is better for learning than games”, said one. Another said: “Whatever they ban we will find a way around it:. And although there may have been an element of campaigning going on, when asked what site they accessed first when they went on the internet, nine said Facebook, one YouTube, and one shopping.

Members of the panel has obviously researched the question of e-safety in some depth in preparation for their drama performance. However, whilst they felt schools should do more to teach internet safety and that also parents should pay more attention to what their children were doing on the internet, they were against nanny programmes. They were also dubious that present age restrictions of access to sites like Facebook were working. One member of the panel said that if her younger sister insisted she was going to set up a Facebook account,, despite being under 13, at the end of the day it was pointless to try to stop her but instead she would try to watch out for her sister’s safety!

The issue of safety tended to overwhelm the conference. As chair Alan Davies said, we seemed to be doing a lot of preparing, and supporting, but not so much inspiring.

Especially in the workshop sessions there was a lot of inspiring. I enjoyed the presentation by Rebecca Newton on Moshi Monsters. But my favourites were the workshop sessions by John Davitt – Occupy the Hand and Mind – simple strategies to make learners active with New Tools – and Leon Cynch‘s brave exploration of the suddenly unfashionable Second Life.

However these sessions were very much geared towards teachers and trainers. There is a big gap – a gap between what such pioneers as John and Leon are doing and the reality of what our systems administrators and school managers are allowing. And it is that gap which was so eloquently exposed by the students from Ysgol Trfyan. The issue of firewalls, white lists and so on is not an administrative issue. If education is to keep in touch with the way young people (and older people too) are exploring and using the internet for learning, for work and for play, then we have to rethink the present absurd policy of banning social software.

Yes, online safety is an issue. But Wise Kids has shown that internet safety is computable with open systems and that educating young people is a better policy than policing them.

Please follow and like us:

Comments are closed.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    Social Media




    News Bites

    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Please follow and like us:


    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Please follow and like us:


    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Please follow and like us:


    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    Please follow and like us:


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

      Please follow and like us:
  • Twitter

    RT @DonaldClark Disabling video may be better for online teaching and collaboration. Fascinating study from Carnegie Mellon... bit.ly/3wffp3G twitter.com/Bali_Maha/stat… pic.twitter.com/G9vfw0jseD

    Yesterday from Graham Attwell's Twitter via Twitter for Mac

  • RT @J_Kom_ Join @rillera and me on Thursday. We’ll discuss students, data, governance. twitter.com/ResearchCGHE/s…

    About 2 days ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for Android

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories