Classroom Advice: Turned-Off Devices Equals Turned-Off Children


1.15.10 | Education professor Stephen Heppell has a simple message for schools: embrace technology.

Photo by ydhsu

Speaking at the annual BETT educational technology show taking place this week in London, Heppell said schools need to be more innovative and should integrate digital tools that students have adopted in their lives outside of the classroom.

“Turned-off devices equals turned-off children. Sensible schools use mobile technology to their advantage, putting up a telephone number about an issue such as bullying and getting pupils to text their views,” said Heppell.

BBC News reported on Heppell’s talk and what some UK schools are doing with regard to digital media, though the technology gap looms large:

Much of the debate in the conference centred around how technology can be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum.

For Professor Heppell, who advises governments around the world about technology policies, the answer is both radical and simple.

He thinks schools need to move away from what he terms “cells and bells”.

“We have to get away from the 35 minute timetable blocks. We need to reconfigure schools for a week of immersion in numeracy and dress the school for a learning production,” he said.

“We need much longer blocks of time and to allow children to be in charge of their learning,” he added.

Plus: There is a time when teens should put technology down. As we noted in November, 25 percent of U.S. teens of driving age say they’ve texted while driving, according to a report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Now there’s an app to curb TWD.

The Boston Globe reports that teens in Wellesley, Mass., are testing a mobile phone application called iZUP that turns off the phone when the vehicle is going over 5 miles-per-hour. The app allows 911 calls and three authorized phone numbers.

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