A Final Note

Will iPads in schools become a norm? Will the classroom become a fully online experience? Where will digital media and education stand in the next decade?

It is fair to say that the ever-advancing technologies are having a major impact in the world of education. We have seen that whole courses are now available online, lectures and presentations from world-class professionals are being provided for free in online communities, children are being introduced to the internet from an early age and that careers are being evolved from digital media. Not only are students affected, but teachers as well as they can now access the information collected through digital media about their students’ progress and can personalise their studies accordingly.The areas in which I found entertaining yet educational was Ted.com and Khan Academy as I believe these are significant educational tools that are completely free and ones that I could spend a lot of time listening and watching.

 That concludes the blog! I hope that you have found the blog informative and interesting and has potentially introduced to you new ways of learning. Thank you.



The Future of Education?


Imagine having a hologram projection teaching you mathematics? Or being in the 1940s thanks to the futuristic technology of “immersive virtual reality”? This map of what the future could potentially look like was created by an organisation called ‘Envisioning’. Their website explains that it is “a radically new type of organization designed for an accelerating future. Incorporated as a foundation and fundamentally ownerless, we are big believers in decentralized, global and interoperable teams. Our forward-thinking network of collaborators are at the core of our operations. A worldwide group of academics, designers, hackers, coders and educators collaborate to build an institution dedicated to the study of technology.”

This organisation has relied on collaboration and this can bring several advantages. One of those being that it will bring a vast amount of expertise and skills to the programme as there will be different collaborators from different educational and professional backgrounds. This can benefit these ideas of educational technology as they are using their creative and innovative minds to make something that is entirely original and breaking through the technological barriers. It could be considered a major risk, however, as the programme needs a large amount of money and resources in order to conduct research. Furthermore, many current teachers may oppose this as it disregards their work and relies heavily on technology.






(Photo taken from The Telegraph website http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10694085/UCAS-makes-millions-from-selling-access-to-details-of-students-and-parents.html)

I recently discovered this article from the Telegraph Newspaper (2014) which has made me debate the system of UCAS.

UCAS (‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’) is an application process for those wanting to go to university. This service is now restricted to online applications only as the paper application system was scrapped a few years ago. According to their website “UCAS processes over 2.5 million applications every year, for some 650,000 prospective students across the UK and beyond: helping them gain access to more than 340 UK universities and colleges”.  However, since this is the main route to secure a place at university, does the online only system create a significant disadvantage? First of all, those without home access to computers or the internet are at a disadvantage as it is more difficult to complete the long and tedious application without an easily accessible location for the internet. Moreover, is it exploiting students? UCAS acknowledges that it is the only way to apply to university and therefore it can sell off the potential candidates personal information to companies who will harass them will promotional material without the threat of students applying through another system.

On the other hand, the online process layout if simplistic and effective and this makes it easier for students to fill out their applications. Additionally, it is quicker to complete the application online than it is on paper. It will also allow less mistakes as it is hard to make corrections on paper applications compared to online applications where you can delete the information or mistakes. Furthermore, UCAS could argue that the information they are selling are to companies are ones that will be beneficial to student life by supplying details on deals and offers. What are your opinions? Do we rely too much on internet applications and is it fair of UCAS to sell of personal information?




Ewan McIntosh

Ewan McIntosh began the company, NoTosh Limited, which “invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.” His organisation is now working with hundreds of schools.

One of the areas they have developed includes “The Design Thinking School”. This has allowed NoTosh to collaborate with companies such as media, fashion and technology in order provide the knowledge they have gained from experts in the creative industries to teachers. Therefore, the teachers can then transfer and integrate this knowledge into the classroom.  The way that it works involves a series of three School Conference days (for the teachers) that spread out over four months.  Another option is to have a more tailored presentation with the use of the “NoTosh OnTap:” programme that includes “keynotes, hands-on workshops and action planning.” This provides the students with advice and knowledge from those working at a high level in the creative industries and can help them pursue a career in this path. Despite the fact that the programme itself doesn’t rely too heavily on digital media as a way of presentation, it instead presents companies that will be affected by digital media on a regular basis. McIntyre (2011, p.178) stated that “With a growing number of traditional media firms moving their operations online, all of these delivery systems and the digital consumers they service are eager for content of all types. This is a unique method of learning as it allows students to think the same way as creative professionals.  It will also hope to inspire children to become involved in the revolutionary technology that they are being surrounded with. This can be through the use of blogs and creating music, videos, films and audio. This would mean that the role of “creator” will be passed onto the new “digital” generation.


McIntyre, P (2011) Creativity and Cultural Production. Issues for Media Practice. [e-book] Available from http://library.rgu.ac.uk/



£200 for the School to get an iPad?!?! – Absurd or Beneficial?

“Schools ask parents to stump up £200 for iPads

Many families are being forced to buy or rent tablets for classroom use”

This headline (Guardian, 2013) undoubtedly grabbed my attention as my initial reaction was that it was absurd. However, after some thought it could be argued if the iPads would be a good investment.


According to the newspaper article “many schools are asking parents to stump up between £200 and £300 for an iPad or other tablet for their child, or pay for a device in instalments that can vary from £12 to £30 a month, as they rush to keep at the head of the information revolution.”


The question is do schools have a right to ask parents to buy educational equipment for the school? There are many reasons as to why it is not their responsibility. Many may disagree because not every family has such a disposable income, therefore if budgets are tight in the household it will be difficult to add these prices on top of the every week/month bills. Furthermore, it could be claimed that it is not their problem that the school does not have iPads and that the government would fund the expansion in this technology of they felt it was necessary. Moreover, how often are the iPads going to be used? Will there be too much of a reliance on technology rather than the teacher themselves? Is promoting constant use of technology detrimental on children?


Others will argue that the use of iPads can be an advantage to schools as previously discussed in other posts; it can help engage students in activities in a fun and social way. It can also help those with additional needs develop learning skills and can benefit teachers as it is made easier to monitor the pupils’ progress.



How iPads have Impacted the Education of those with Additional Needs


Digital Media advancements have been particularly beneficial to those with disabilities or learning difficulties. One of these technologies is Apple’s “iPad” which can aid those with additional needs through the use of interactive activities, touchscreen, audio and voice recorders and tools to help speech difficulties. This is mainly due to the extensive range of apps that are available.

A report (Rodriguez, 2013 p.245) showed that technology has helped those with disabilities as “(a) the technology is open-ended and can be individualized for each user; (b) due to their ubiquity, mobile devices will garner a minimum of negative peer attention; (c) many teachers, parents, and students already own mobile devices, minimizing the learning curve; and (d) the devices are easy to maintain across environments.” It could be said that iPad technology has played a part in the improvement of education to those with disabilities. This is mainly due to the variety of apps available that will cater to specific needs and specific difficulties. For example, a visual game could be created for those with hearing impairments or an app that says words out loud for those with speech difficulties to then repeat.

The report also focused on research that was carried out with 30 students that have language based difficulties. The report explained that “Students in the experimental group used the Language Builder, an app that focused on the skill of sentence formation, for 30 minutes, 4 days per week. Language skills measured were (a) expressive and receptive vocabulary and (b) sentence formation skills. Students who used the iPad application had greater gains in the area of sentence formation than those students who had teacher-led language instruction. The iPad application was more successful that traditional instruction at increasing the sentence formation skills of the participating students.” This reinforces the idea that iPad technology is a crucial learning material for those with learning difficulties as the interactive material allows the students to see it as a fun exercise and will maintain their attention, thus improving the results.

This is a heart-warming story (Venture Beat news, 2013) about a student at a Californian school who was affected by iPad technology. His teacher, Mr Virani explained “I had a student with Cerebral Palsy who only has proficient access to one finger. The iPad comes along and 35 minutes after opening it from the box, he wrote his name for the first time — it was the first word he ever wrote. I thought if we can do this in 35 minutes, what can we do in nine months? The possibilities are endless when we have the right tools.”


How the iPad can turn teaching special ed 'on its head'

Rodriguez C, Strnadová I, Cumming T, (2013) Using iPads With Students With Disabilities: Lessons Learned From Students, Teachers and Parents. vol.49 pp.244-250


A Global Way of Learning? – Khan Academy

I recently discovered Khan Academy on Ted.com (see previous post) and thought the concept was innovative and unique. Khan Academy is a non-profit organisation that was created by Salman Khan. The website contains a vast amount of learning resources with over 3,400 educational videos, interactive tasks and tests.  The learning material ranges from basic maths to a high school mathematics level. There are even courses on science, history, politics and finance.

According to Forbes Magazine online (2012) “Over the past two years Khan Academy videos have been viewed more than 200 million times. The site is used by 6 million unique students each month, who have collectively solved more than 750 million problems (about 2 million a day), and the material, which is provided at no cost, is part of the curriculum in 20,000 classrooms around the world. Volunteers have translated Khan’s videos into 24 different languages, including Urdu, Swahili and Chinese”. This illustrates the extent of how teachers and students rely on digital media as a method of learning across the world. Additionally, it proves that the content is effective, as two million different problems being solved every single day by students and this demonstrates how highly used it is. One of the beneficial features is that the videos can be paused or replayed depending on the student’s learning abilities which mean that they have the power in controlling the pace at which they learn. They can re-watch videos if they are unsure about a specific point and can then go on to ask their teacher if they are still unsure.

The online structure benefits teachers as well as they can access all the information about their students’ progress and all the data can then be used to create charts on the website. This means that teachers can highlight the main areas of improvement and can then adapt their classes to focus on the weaker subjects. It can also identify what students are struggling on a one-to-one level and the teacher can then give them useful guidance and tutoring. Overall, the Khan Academy has been a success across the world and is not for classrooms but for outside of school work as well. It will also encourage the students to engage in the programme in a fun and interactive way and to not see the tasks as “boring homework”.


Forbes Magazine (2012) http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelnoer/2012/11/02/one-man-one-computer-10-million-students-how-khan-academy-is-reinventing-education/