Kate's Blog
News and views about Roamer and educational robotics

Upskirting: the downside of modern technology

When I was 8 I got really fed up with the boys looking up our skirts to see our knickers.  Rather than tell the teacher I led a female rebellion and we started to look up their shorts.  They told the teacher.  As ringleader I got my first ever detention, even after I explained why we were doing it.  I was outraged at the injustice of it – and can still feel that outrage today. 

Unfortunately it seems that modern phones now allow grown men to revisit their infant selves and upskirting has become a modern phenomena. It does seem that the prevalence of easily accessible technology has many a downside from trolling, cyber bullying, grooming, inappropriate content etc etc.  That’s why schools try so hard to educate their students in sensible, informed and safe practices when using the internet and social media.

France has recently banned mobile phones from their schools and there are calls to do that here.  I once had the utopian view that with every child having access to the world wide web would come a wider and more immediate educational experience.  Now I’m not so sure.  Not only is it proving very difficult to ensure that students are using telephones purely for educational purposes rather than responding to a snapchat thread but also I really don’t know that instant access to knowledge without any thought is such a good thing.  Of course we all Google stuff, but the older ones among us do it with a background of a certain depth of knowledge so we can view the information with healthy skepticism rather than accept it all at face value.  I used to refuse to “spoon feed” my students when they asked for help.  Instead I would provide assistance and steer them in the right direction so they worked it out/ found it out for themselves.  Google doesn’t do that – it just tells them.  There are times when this is ok – the capital city of Uzbekistan for instance, but most of the time it would be better if students puzzled things out for themselves.

So, yes, I’m in a quandary about mobile phones.  What I am not in any doubt about is the fact that teachers really do need to use whatever technology they can in their classroom.  Not only does it make their lessons easier to access, more understandable and more fun, this is also the world that our children are growing up in and so to not do so would be doing them a great disservice.

I am also in no doubt of the value of Roamer.  It might not appear to be the latest technology, but the fact that it was designed on the basis of good educational practice makes it as powerful today as it was twenty years ago. We are continually meeting young people for whom Roamer had a significant positive impact on their school days, and even determined their future direction.  And there’s not many people who can say that!

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