Are you or do you know of a ‘Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE)’ ? I am sure they are all very nice people. Their job is to: “…advocate and share their thoughts on effective use of technology in education with peers… They provide insight for Microsoft on new products and tools for education, and they exchange best practices as they work together to promote innovation in teaching and learning.” You too can apply to: “Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training and coaching colleagues and inviting them to join the online Microsoft Educator Community…” Over at Apple you can become an: “Apple Distinguished Educator… (ADE)” and be part of a: “…global community of education leaders recognised for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. … explore new ideas, seek new paths and embrace new opportunities. That includes working with each other — and with Apple — to bring the freshest, most innovative ideas to students everywhere.”
The innovative tech educator’s job is not to be a good teacher, though they might be, their job is to be a double agent, a quasi sales-person as well as a technology developer. This is ‘soft commercial power’ writ large but is it also an insidious breech of trust? If school teachers had a Hypocratic Oath would ‘representing outside commercial interests, possibly to the detriment (or not) to the teaching of children’ be something that might fall foul of its moralistic timbre?
Ronald McDonald grooms children while they are young and vulnerable enough to fall for the soft sell of fast food, sweet drink, and can dream of a future under the golden arches whilst adults instead of dragging kids away kicking and screaming, encourage them in for ‘parties’. In schools Apple, Microsoft et al have Ronald McTechdonalds, fifth-tech-columnists, who try to get kids hooked on ‘devices’ – and in full view they groom kids, who are spending much of their time outside of school happily grooming themselves on the self same devices (only a bit more up to date).
According to the Sunday Times Apple is cutting production of the iPhone 6S and 6S plus by 30% and App sales are slowing. Apple shares and also Samsung earnings are falling so is the tech sector in the doldrums? If a slump continues will classrooms up and down the country be flooded with cut-price technology as firms try to keep profit-margins respectable? If the market is becoming tech tired then itz da kidz wot need to drive the market in the future. Already fat on fast food and fizzy drinks can they get more hooked on devices and apps, is there anything new for our youngsters to be shackled to? Tell the Google Teacher Academy graduate that’ Google glasses ain’t cool enough…’ Perhaps the Ronald McTechdonald could get back to their mentors and suggest the following: Google contact lenses, would be great for cheating in exams… and instead of BORING self drive cars think of the possibilities of kids hitching themselves up to a Google drone and delivering themselves to school, or some flash mob – or their mate’s house… or their enemy’s…
Over at the Telegraph we learn that little boxes can be attached to desks to create: ‘automated workspace utilisation analysis’, think how Ronald McTechdonald could get this to work in a school! Who is at their desk, where is snotty faced girl? Quick nail her down! With a few tweaks we could work out how quickly she writes or, even better, types! Perhaps the fastest children could be attached to an energy efficient electric generator so the whole school could become self sufficient energy wise. Kids who write quickly could be encouraged to do so through a merit system, maybe they could get an extra GCSE in ‘working quickly’ – maybe it could be added to the ebacc.
According to Mark Williams, the emeritius professor of clinical psychology at Oxford: “Every generation thinks it is more stressed than the last. It’s usually not true but this time it looks as if it is. That’s because this is the first generation that is constantly flitting between the actual, real world, and the virtual world of the internet. It’s not multi-tasking, it’s multi-switching and there are switching costs, mainly distraction, exhaustion, irritability and mood swings.” This is quite a challenge for the Ronald McTechdonalds but I betcha they’ll come up with:
THESE MOOD SWINGS ARE A TWENTY FIRST CENTURY SKILL THAT MUST BE LEARNED AT SCHOOL! Kids must learn to be distracted, sorry, engaged by ALL things that compete to catch their interest! If the kids have VIOLENT mood swings the technology could detect it and play soothing music in their headphones or give them drugs to calm them down, perhaps the tech could be attached to a drip, giving suitable dosage of drugs to each kid to counteract their attention deficit disorder. Or amphetamines could be pumped through their veins if they fail to have the pre-requisite number of required mood-swings. It is a 21st century skill to over react when people tweet something, blog something, with which you disagree so HOUND THEM DOWN! BE EFFING RUDE!!! CYBER-CRY-BABY-BULLY-HATE-MOB-WITCH-HUNT!!! Kids need to learn how to over-react and where better than at school?
School kids need tech they say! It will make them learn better! But learn what better and to what ends? Look how smart this device is they say! Just look what it can do for you! It will make parts of your brain that you never knew existed light up under our technically wonderful brain scanner which will prove that tech recognises the need for tech! Just look what tech can do for you! In the interests of the singularity tech is proving how good tech is. Isn’t this a conflict of interests? Should we trust technology that recommends technology?
Now they are wanting you to wear headsets that make the virtual world 3D! Every kid should have a headset that makes their world three dimensional – it will bring Ancient Rome to life and for homework you can have an affair with Cleopatra then watch it later on a huge screen that hugs you better than Caesar!
Has no-one realised you don’t need a curved TV or 3D anything – the real world is in 3D and is full of lovely curves. But just like fast food or over sugared drinks our ability to appreciate the world for what it is might be destroyed as our taste is distorted by experiencing virtual life so often and so early on. Over sugared drinks change our desire for different, less sweet, drinks and our diet alters… slowly…
Williams recommends that we “…need to practise single-tasking. Since we can’t un-invent tech, new intelligent, subtle tech may help us to do so.” Yes, you get it, in order to use tech less we need more tech. Maybe he is a Ronald McTechdonald! More is less!
In schools, however, instead of waiting for more tech to stop us using more tech how about the teacher just says: “Bye-bye Ronald McTechdonald!” And gets on with teaching in the real world.