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Empty your pockets - The Ex-Communicator

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February 4th, 2011


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03:06 pm - Empty your pockets
I am posting a lot today. Sorry. This is the last one.

The Coalition made a big thing that they were banning the fingerprinting of school kids - an urban myth*. But now they have introduced body-searching of school kids, as a real thing. As in - no kids were ever fingerprinted in real life, but kids will be searched in real life. And searched for what? For mobile technology.

We think that technology should be integrated and used within the classroom, but the new people think it's a threat to be contained and excluded. I think the model of an ideal classroom is to resemble a minor public school in the 1970s - Michael Gove's experience. Like his view of what should be taught in history or what should be taught in literature, it's an autocratic imposition of his own idiosyncracies onto the entire education system.

* Cashless lunch-payment systems work by finger-touch, but it's an urban myth that they take or store fingerprints. These finger-touch systems in any case have not been removed from the few schools which use them, and the requirement for parental consent remains. The noises made on the subject are pure unadulterated bullshit.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tehomet
Date:February 4th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
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I think that's got so much potential for traumatising the students. It's wide open for abuse. And it's not even all that practical in terms of the amount of hassle it can prevent, not like, say, installing metal detectors at the doors to catch people carrying knives.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 4th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
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I think there has to be some revolution in the way technology is used in schools, and I'm not pretending I know how it will be, but simply banning it isn't the answer I don't think. It should be a creative resource.

Some people on the bbc site are saying it is a way to combat cyber-bullying, but I think better to get that out in the open, and deal with it, rather than just ban the technology.
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:February 4th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
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Besides, cyberbullying doesn't just happen on mobile phones. If you don't work on the problem (i.e. the bullying) then removing the medium (i.e. the mobile) isn't going to help. All it will do is move to another sort of technology.

All about the power, this is...
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 4th, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
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Yes. It's not dealing with the problem at all. What do you think about kids taking secret photos of teachers in class? I'll be honest, I wouldn't like that. K was showing me the other day all these covert filming things he's got on his phone. Scary.
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:February 4th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
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I think it is time the mobile phone industry devised a mechanism for a 'school safe' mode for phones, as for planes, that kicks in when they walk onto school premises. I understand from People-What-Know that this is very achievable. I understand the argument that this still doesn't address the problem, but I think it would serve as an interim step between where we are now (stop and search powers for teachers - wtf) and where we could go next (making effective use of learners' own devices to enhance the ways they grow and change).

And I think children/YP who take secret photos of anyone, including teachers, should be reported to the police and given a significant number of community service hours to keep them busy, teach them something about privacy, and doing something positive for themselves and others. They clearly have too much time on their hands.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 4th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Yes, plus they might end up with superpowers! Result.
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From:watervole
Date:February 5th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
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As an anti-bullying measure, I can see a place for it.

The proposal is not to ban all mobile phones, just to take them from kids who have been bullying others.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 5th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
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No indeed, not to ban all mobile phones, but to allow teachers to body-search for them. The balance of civil liberties vs protection from crime is always a difficult one. I think my main point was that the coalition made a great deal of noise about a spurious civil liberties issue (the fictitious threat of fingerprinting was in the first paragraph of the new DfE departmental business plan for example) while implementing an actual one. In a sense this is independent of the question of whether mobile phones are a threat - though I think I come down as more pro mobile technology on balance. Well, that was my job for many years so I guess it rubbed off.
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:February 5th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
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Sure the fingerprinting thing was silly.

I don't think anything about this relates to mobile phones being a problem per se. School kids have a big part of their social lives around them, so clearly you only want to remove them if they're being abused.

But if it was my kid being bullied, I'd be in favour of a search of the guilty party. I mean we're not exactly talking strip search and investigating body cavities here - mobile phones still aren't small enough to require an intrusive search.

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