Chalk Talk: New technology is for learning – not for posting Sir on Youtube


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The Independent Online

Parents, it seems, have accepted that the days of lugging heavy textbooks to school in an overladen satchel are now over.

A poll to be published tomorrow says they believe their children's schools should be doing more to embrace mobile learning.

The poll, which comes from Encyclopedia Britannia, which might – I suppose – have an axe to grind in the debate as the producer of new educational apps embracing new technology, shows that 55 per cent of parents believe schools should make more use of the new learning opportunities.

Two out of five believe their children's performance at school has improved through its use.

Which brings me to the other side of the coin, as revealed at teachers' union conferences and by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The conferences regularly hear complaints that teachers end up on Youtube or other social networking sites after being snapped by pupils in awkward poses during lessons.

Mr Gove is happy to give teachers new powers to confiscate said appliances in the interests of school discipline.

It is an awkward dilemma. It is easy to appreciate the educational advantage of researching topics through the kind of education apps supplied by Encyclopedia Britannica

Perhaps the remedy is for schools to draw up a code of conduct about the use of education apps in schools and then to discipline the pupils if they disobey it.

That might be a better way forward than a blanket ban on their use in the classroom.

Meanwhile, the awards season is on us again, with teachers and schools winning recognition for a whole host of achievements.

Mostly, the awards are for best primary school teacher, best secondary school teacher etcetera.

Occasionally, though, a category emerges that could produce something out of the ordinary.

Witness the awards for school security and educational visits being offered as part of the 2011 Education Business Awards – to which The Independent has become a media partner. To enter, all you have to do is complete the online entry form at and send this with a 500-word explanation of your project. Entries close at 5pm on 30 September.

Employment statistics for graduates, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, had a new category for the first time this week: "creating a portfolio". Sounds suspiciously like "resting between roles", the traditional claim of the out-of work actor.