Thursday, 5 November 2015


Reading this module has made me think about the devices I use and how I use them. Computers and phones are an integral part of my life - personal, professional and work - and, like many people, I could not imagine a world where we didn't have them. They make my life easier but, at the same time, can also make it complicated and add pressure. Take shopping, for example. If I'm really busy, I can order online and have it delivered or pick it up at my convenience. I can find what I want without spending half my weekend trawling round dozens of shops. And yet I can easily spend most of an evening trawling around websites looking for the "perfect" item, convinced I haven't found it yet but it's "out there" somewhere, whereas if I was physically shopping "good enough" would do!

At work I use a PC on my desk. It runs my library management system, I access my school email and relevant documents, as well as my Hotmail and the internet. Thus I am effectively online all the time at work so have no need to use my phone, other than to send/receive the occasional text. Or to take photos (and even then I carry round a compact camera in my bag). I also have a school laptop which I will use if I'm delivering a lesson in the library or a presentation in assembly but most of the time it sits in a cupboard.

The problem with using my phone at work is that students would see this as me doing "personal" stuff, even if I was using it to call book reps or other librarians, etc. and the school has a "no mobile phones" policy so this makes it a bit difficult and obvious when I do use mine.

At home I also have a PC sitting on my desk in the study. This is my preferred machine of use. I like using a big screen, sitting surrounded by my things, documents, files and reports stored electronically or physically within reach, in my own space. It's far more conducive for a working environment although that doesn't stop me getting distracted by social media or online games (why on earth did I ever decided to investigate Bubble Witch???). I use this for EVERYTHING!!!

In addition, I have a Netbook which I bought because I was fed up lugging my work PC around with me. It's a hybrid with a keyboard and touch screen and I love it, I find it easy to use and very convenient although I wouldn't want to type up any long documents on it or do some serious editing. But I take it to conferences, meetings, on holiday and am happy using it both for work and personal stuff. We have a smart TV screen in the bedroom (I don't watch TV - it's not connected to an aerial) but we like watching DVDs and subscribe to Netflix and, of course, can access the internet via it so I'll occasionally use it to catch up with a programme that somebody has recommended (I'm planning to watch the latest Apprentice episode on iPlayer, the one where they create a children's book). I could do this on my mobile but never have .... the idea of watching something other than a few minutes of YouTube on a small screen does not appeal.

No iPads - yet - although my daughters have them and I'm happy using them when I'm at their homes.

And I have a smart phone - a Samsung. I definitely get online using this more than previously, think part of the reason is because it's easier than it used to be - and also cheaper! So I'll check my email, Facebook, Twitter if I'm out and about - quicker than using my netbook - and will also send replies, responses, post photos, etc. though it's impractical for sending any sort of longer documents and trying to type them would drive me mad. The apps I use are fairly standard - social media ones (and WhatsApp just for family) but I haven't downloaded anything else and don't use half of what's already installed on my phone. However, I'm about to upgrade to a newer model so maybe it's time to try some of them out!

Facilities and IT policies vary enormously between schools and I think this is part of the problem, not to mention the lack of knowledge and skills of the workforce delivering lessons; and there is a danger of a growing divide between the have and have-nots. It's a catch-22 situation though; if you don't have or use any of these facilities/devices/apps, etc. in school, you're not going to spend time creating activities that involve them and yet if you don't use them there will be no incentive to upgrade what you've got or to get on board with learning about them. Schools which invest in mobile devices, which use new IT applications creatively to deliver learning outcomes and teach students to be discerning users of both IT and information will produce people who are comfortable with technology, knowing its advantages and disadvantages. A mobile phone (or other mobile device) does not automatically make the owner a user.

As I have said, I cannot imagine life without computers and the internet. However, I prefer to remain in control and so will purposefully leave my phone behind (or switched off) occasionally. And anyone who has been somewhere without internet access will know how liberating that can be ... although most of my students react with horror when I tell them this ...

1 comment:

  1. Yes, agree completely. Thanks for this very insightful post! One more and you're through!