What are your kids learning when you're not looking?

Jan 21, 2009

Miles Berry

It was an honour, once again, to be asked to present alongside Terry Freedman for the BCS Education and Training Expert Panel at BETT this year. Our previous presentations had looked at the e-strategy, web 2.0 and personalised learning through technology, so how to follow that? We’ve both become increasingly interested in the area of informal learning through technology, ie that beyond the formal school curriculum, an area which we’d touched on briefly last year but had failed to do justice to, so that looked like a good area to focus on, especially as it would provide an interesting contrast to much of the curriculum based resources on sale outside the seminar theatre.

Terry had gleaned some statistics from his wide ranging reading, had some results from his own social networking survey and a few illuminating case studies. I’d done a fair bit of reading round the subject over the past few months, which remains a fascinating one, and had dusted down my statistical background to number-crunch the results of our own google based survey from the end of last term, which collected close on 1000 unique, valid responses. Although our sample was far from representative, it was interesting to see some of the differences between the ways boys and girls use technology, as well as the enthusiasm with which children engage with technology for communication and entertainment. We concluded with a few thoughts on the implications of our findings for work in schools: moving children from communication to collaboration and from consumers to creators of culture.