Guest posts

#threequestions with David Didau @learningspy

By July 29, 2014 7 Comments
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More on the #threequestions series can be found here.

David Didau:

A relentless ex-teacher, ex-senior leader, education consultant and award winning blogger who pursues excellence in education. He likes to describe himself as provocateur but really he’s just a consultant. Albeit a high risk one. He’s written some books too and you can find out more about him on his Learning Spy blog.

What place, if any, has technology got in education?

There are perhaps two distinct roles for Technology in education. Firstly, it should support learning. Secondly, there may be a valid need to teach pupils how to understand and best use technology. But it shouldn’t be an end in itself. I’ve kinda gone full circle on this – I’ve tried using iPads in the classrooms and find them, on balance, a pain in the arse! The more dependent a lesson is on technology, there more likely it is to go wrong. I’m generally happier with a white board and a marker.

What’s your favourite edtech tool for learning and why?

Visualisers. They’re one of the few genuinely beneficial edtech tools that can support the classroom practice of ordinary teachers. Making pupils’ work visible is hugely useful in modelling and deconstructing excellence.

What are your thoughts on students using mobile devices in the classroom?

I’d rather they spent time in lessons learning. Mobile devices are, on the whole, a distraction and I would much prefer to see the teacher utilised as an authority source of knowledge. Although I can see justifications for asking pupils to read electronic texts and to publish their work on blogs, there is always an opportunity cost; time spent on these kinds of stuff is time that cannot be spent on higher impact activities. As far as I can see, the research on edtech is fairly neutral. That said, if individual teachers feel passionate about the use of technology, I wouldn’t want to stand in their way – though I would fiercely resist attempts to compel teachers to use technology for its own sake.

I’m looking forward to publishing the next #threequestions responses tomorrow. If you have any comments for David, I’d love to hear from you below.

Thanks for reading!


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