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.

Comments are closed.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Adult Education in Wales

    Learning and Work Institute is organising this year’s adult learning conference in partnership with the Adult Learning Partnership Wales. It will take place on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

    They say “Changing demographics and a changing economy requires us to re-think our approach to the delivery of learning and skills for adults. What works and what needs to change in terms of policy and practice?

    The conference will seek to debate how can we respond to need, grow participation, improve and measure outcomes for citizens, and revitalise community education.”


    Industry 4.0

    The UK Education Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the challenges posed and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.The Committee is inviting written evidence on:

    • The interaction between the Government’s industrial, skills and digital strategies
    • The suitability of the current curriculum to prepare young people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
    • The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the delivery of teaching and learning in schools and colleges
    • The role of lifelong learning in re-skilling the current workforce
    • Place-based strategies for education and skills provision; and
    • The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for improving social justice and productivity

    The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 21 June 2018.


    Online Educa Berlin

    OEB Global (formerly Online Educa Berlin) has announced its Call for Proposals and the overall theme for 2018: Learning to Love Learning. The event will incorporate Learning Technologies Germany – a leading European exhibition on learning technologies in the workplace – for the first time this year. More details here.


    Barcelona to go Open Source

    The Spanish newspaper, El País, has reported that the City of Barcelona is in the process of migrating its computer system to Open Source technologies.

    According to the news report, the city plans to first replace all its user applications with alternative open source applications. This will go on until the only remaining proprietary software will be Windows where it will finally be replaced with a Linux distribution.

    To support the move, the city will employ 65 new developers to build software programs for their specific needs. they also plan the development of a digital market – an online platform – whereby small businesses will use to take part in public tenders.


    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.

  • Twitter

  • BERA Ethical Guidelines for Ethical Research 2018 bera.ac.uk/wp-content/upl…

    About 11 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via TweetDeck

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories