I’ve just come back from my second day of induction week and thought I’d share what I’ve already been up to! And I’m just excited because I finally have something to blog about!
Yesterday I had my welcome lecture and the expected things you have when you start something new. I met some new people and I was relieved to learn they were equally as daunted as me. Although I’ve never doubted I’m not going to work to my absolute best on this course, the welcome lecture really opened my eyes that I am actually here now, physically starting my degree, and that there’s no more waiting around. If I’m going to succeed, I need to start right now! Ultimately, I’ve always known it wouldn’t be easy by any stretch, but I still think I’m not aware of how hard it could get…
But regardless, I feel ready now, and I really enjoyed my first day. Today however was when I really felt things had begun, as I met with my digital literacy specialism group. There’s not many of us but I prefer that. I think it’ll make it easier for us all to get to know each other and work together. We met up in the morning to introduce each other, and discuss an e-book we were asked to read over the summer. It was really interesting to know that people had thought the same as me about certain parts of the book, but also that we disagreed over some elements. I love learning how other people’s minds work, because it gives me an alternative way of looking at something I may never have thought before.
In the afternoon we were really lucky to dive straight in and go to a school. It wasn’t just any school however; this was a new school, a free school not far from the Uni. It’s being built in an area that it is in the process of regeneration; it hasn’t always had the best of reputations. As I live in Plymouth, I know what the area used to be like and so to see something as positive as this happening there is fantastic.
The school includes Reception and Years 1&2. Everything they do is completed in a “creative” way and it’s completely hands on. As I was in there for only an afternoon, I didn’t get the chance to see fully what they do, more just a snapshot. However, it was clear that this school is completely alternative to what someone would consider a “normal” school. Children called their teacher’s by their first name which I know some could suggest strays away from the idea of an authoritative figure and children learning discipline, but I actually liked it. It didn’t seem wrong or “taboo”, it created a more open and personal atmosphere. It felt less like the children were responding and joining in because they knew they had to but more because they wanted and were encouraged to. There was a real emphasis placed on caring and respecting others around you. I would be really interested to go back and see how more traditionally “rigid” lessons such as numeracy and literacy are taught, as I think these are the subjects that need creativity pumped back into them to get children more interested and engaged.
We were there primarily to conduct a survey with the children about their attitudes and knowledge around technology. We conducted these on iPads, of which particularly the older children seemed to be already familiar with. I thought this was great as when I was at school I never had access to this kind of technological support (I know iPads specifically weren’t invented then, but I mean of this level.) The survey, in a nutshell, surveyed how deep their knowledge was of different technological devices and also of their recognition of different media platforms.
The range of answers was fascinating and the children were a lot more digitally literate than I had expected. A lot of them mentioned they recognised logos or devices because “their Mum has one” or they’ve “seen my Dad using that.” I think this demonstrates the significance of a child’s social, and particularly their home, surroundings on how they view and relate to technology.
I think the quote of the day had to be from a very young child who when asked if they recognised any well-known logos of popular social media and social networking sites replied “no I haven’t used any of them,” but when prompted further continued “well, only when I use them on my tablet.”
And that everyone, is why I want a tablet.