It has been reported over the last two days that mobile phones are to be banned in classrooms in England from September 2011, by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary. Yesterday's News of the World and today's Telegraph both contain references to this ban, linking it to new documents on behaviour and discipline that have been published today by the Department of Education. The DfE website quotes Mr Gove as saying to the News of the World: "I'll also give teachers the right to remove disruptive children from the classroom without fear of legal action. They will be able to search pupils for weapons, and items like iPods and mobile phones, and confiscate them". Firstly let me say that I am against the idea of a complete ban on mobile phones in schools. Used appropriately, smartphones and other student owned devices such as iPod Touches and Playstation portables can be used as very powerful aids to learning, and there are many schools who are making good use of
It was good to see the James Review, published this week, referring to the need for more effective policy on ICT in schools. As The Guardian reported on Tuesday: "The report ...says the education department needs to ensure a "clear menu" of core and additional regional broadband services for schools, so that schools select and pay only for the services they need. It calls for a strategy to get best value from existing public sector broadband networks, which would include establishing a minimum bandwidth standard of 10Mbps for primary schools and 100Mbps for secondary schools. "On procurement, the education department should set up a central framework for schools management information systems and the exisiting ICT services framework, or similar approaches, should be used for all large scale ICT purchasing. "It also says that a web based price comparison catalogue should be developed to help schools to get the best price for equipment." The report re
Yesterday I attended the 2011 Google Apps for Education User Group at Loughborough University. It was an excellent event, attended by over 100 people from higher education through to the schools sector, and well organised by Martin Hamilton . This is a run through of some of the highlights for me. I stayed with the strategy strand of the event, though I was disappointed that it meant missing the very interesting looking technical strand. And the amplified nature of the event via Twitter and elsewhere added to the value of the event for me and others.