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RSS Fed Schooling January 9, 2008

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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Happy New Year! I hope it was a time filled with merriment and gifts of gadgets, games and gizmos for you all.

Cyberspace is often touted as the domain of the young, social networks and chat rooms providing a space for interaction and replacing the telephone as the main conduit of contact between friends. What would happen if all of a sudden, as if by magic, the Internet turned from trusted ally, to wary guardian peering over the shoulder of teens aspiring to keep elements of their lives private from parents. In most cases, this is of course a positive thing. The benefits of preventing access to certain websites with parental locks helps to keep everyone happy at home.

Web-savvy parents may soon be able to keep track on an entirely different aspect of their child’s life with daily updates on their school progress via our beloved interweb. The attendance, behaviour and grades of each pupil could be online by 2012, allowing parents to monitor their child’s progress just like a daily news feed from CNN.

Schools are being encouraged to abandon the traditional parents evening format by indulging in conference calls, sending text updates and uploading more data than a large bandwidth could cope with, to give ‘real time’ updates on how much progress is being made at school.

Does this spell the end for “What did you do at school today dear?”

What sort of response could little Timmy give after a hard day’s tuck shopping to “I see that you’ve spent 45.7% of your time learning about English with a 23.34% increase in your overall specific learning targets whilst only attaining a median grade of 67.5% across your seven core subjects which are, in effect supposed to taking up an upper third quarter percentile of your time?”

“Eh what?”

There are of course security issues surrounding the developments – what personal information would the schools need, how much of it would be publishable and potentially within hacker’s reach. The main concern as a recent former student is that a lot of what goes on in the classroom is a private affair – teacher / pupil interaction is vital, and it is crucial that the teacher treats each student as an individual, living, breathing human, as opposed to a source of statistics that needs to maximise its output capacity in a mechanical way.

There is a danger that mums and dads could find themselves besieged by so much information that even they do not know what it means.

The true test of success will be how schools select what information is made available and how this helps pupils learn and grow, then we could have a really useful tool in aiding learning and development in schools.

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