GoogleTranslate Service


April 5th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Yesterday the UK Telegraph and  News of the World newspapers reported that minister of education Michael Gove had announced plans to ban mobile phones from school classrooms from September 2011. This would form part of  government guidance to schools due to be published in July 2011.

Whether such reports are true or not are open to considerable doubt. It seems more likely that Give will give powers to schools to ban phones although they probably could do so anyway. What is in no doubt is Gove’s belief in a very traditional idea of education and his skepticism (or non understanding) of the potential of technology for learning. One of the coalition government’s first acts was to abolish the BECTA support agency for technology in education.

And Gove is proposing giving powers to teachers to confiscate phones form students and search their text messages although it would seem possible that this would be struck down by the European Court of Human Rights.

Anyway as the Telegraph article circulated by Twitter there was a quick reaction from the education community with a Google doc based petition being set up within two hours:

We, the undersigned, believe that such a ban would scupper successful mobile learning initiatives and is a short-sighted, reactionary move. We call for a mobile phone ban to be removed from any guidance published by the DfE.

The petition contains a comments column and elicited many interesting replies.

Danielle Bayes, a teacher, reflected the views of many saying:

Banning mobile devices won’t go any way to helping students understand how to use them appropriately and to their advantage. And for every negative news story concerning mobiles in schools, where is the publicity for the hundreds of thousands of children who are innovators of their time and creatively use them to further their learning?

Hilary Curtis added a parent’s perspective

I expect/require my son to take his phone to school, so that he can let me know if he has chosen to go to the park or a friend’s house afterwards.  This is an important element of teaching him safety and responsibility.  The only safe place for him to keep it at school is in his bag, which means it is with him in class, although he is quite properly not allowed to use it then (though I agree with other comments that there could be planned educational use of phones too).  Schools already have perfectly adequate powers to set their own rules in such matters.

Deputy Headteacher Steve Philp said:

This is just a way of discriminating against the poor. At my school (50% FSM within top 20% deprivation); most parents communicate using mobile phones – it is their way of accessing the internet and information. We are exploring ways of bringing mobile technology into the classroom to increase the links between all our stakeholders (parents, governors, staff and students particularly) and this ban will just disenfranchise students and parents, de-skill teachers and alienate governors.

And Ewen McIntosh reflected the comments of many in that modern technologies cannot be ignored in education:

The problem is not with the device, in the same way that it is not paper that is fault for those writing hateful remarks in books, or in racist pamphlets.

The problem is one of attitudes towards students’ ability, wherever they are, to communicate in private. The attitude of students can be a negative one. But it is the attitude of parents, teachers, school leaders and Governors, that allows us to take negative attitudes and practices, and educate youngsters in the huge potential these devices have for their learning and participation in the democratic process.

Mobile phone use is a crucial part of today’s information architecture, for understanding the world around us and having one’s say in it. To remove it from the principle place of learning is equivalent to removing books in the 16-19th century, televisions and overhead projectors in the 20th century, and the internet in the beginning of the 21st century.

The list continues to grow. It is encouraging that many of the signatures are from teachers and school leaders as well as researchers and developers. But it also poses a question of how a space and discussion opened up in response to reported government policy initiatives can be transformed into a longer term and positive campaign and space for exploring ideas and innovation in technology and pedagogy..

Please follow and like us:


  1. Pontydysgu – phone home – #govephonehome

  • Search

    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

      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

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories