The Spreadsheet and BYOD anarchy

I’ve been reading reviews of the fate next year of ICT and Computing in schools. Depressing is not a strong enough word to describe my reaction. Michael Gove, the original swivel eyed loon, abolished New Labour ICT only to find his...

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I’ve been reading reviews of the fate next year of ICT and Computing in schools. Depressing is not a strong enough word to describe my reaction.

Michael Gove, the original swivel eyed loon, abolished New Labour ICT only to find his department was populated made by techno-ignoramuses who think that adding up their expense claims is higher maths and spend hours wondering how those computers stay in clouds and anyway what happens on a clear day?

Into this ball-scratching vacuum stepped geek-teachers who simply think too much. They see problems and look for solutions … fools. Now, politicians and civil servants do this I know, but they are blessed with ignorance so it is much easier for them.

Teacher-geeks however know too much and will try to solve problems like ‘the role of pedagogy in implementing BYOD within an XP networks optimised for student-safeguarding and data security’. Don’t laugh I can find you long articles that pretty much follow this format.

Real life is so much simpler as UKIP knows. He is a summary of ICT in the classroom.

Computing is not taught in schools as a mainstream subject because it is too hard for most, so don’t agonise about introducing it.

PowerPoints should not be, but are taught in schools because they are infantile and easy, so you’ll always have these taught en masse.

Spreadsheets should be taught to all because they are so damn useful, so don’t worry about boring the blighters they’ll thank you one day..

After years of investment, promulgation of half-witted theories of teaching and learning it ends up that no other software needs to be generally taught: ‘other software’ is either too difficult to master outside a specialist subject ( eg CAD) or too trivial to bother with.

Of the above, Spreadsheets deserve a special mention as they were responsible for the PC revolution in business and came from a grass roots BYOD revolution. Visicalc (1979) followed by Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually (in the 90s) Excel; these were the first Killer Apps, disruptive technology, crypto-anarchy, what you will.

The magnificent spreadsheet: It’s a simple calculator, it’s a fancy calculator, it’s a database, it’s a sorter and filterer of data, it can be coloured in, it can search for information, it can do presentational pie charts ... it was so good even Microsoft caught on in the end.

It’s hard to see middle aged Excel as a revolutionary but spreadsheets were popularised by hard-nosed BYOD anarchists and it is these types that will power the next revolution.

In schools today we have a necrotic ICT system which is beyond redemption running mostly useless software, expensively. Outside schools we have stunning personal technology and free software that allows us to do useful things like reading ebooks, navigating by satellite, communicating in a dozen ways; you just cannot do justice to the explosion of creativity that came with the ‘app’

So my message to teachers and students is to rise up, bring your e-books and smartphones to college, ignore the ‘crusties and their school policy about this and that’, start using them in and out of class. They can’t confiscate them all and if they try then put on your Guido masks and resist.

Hopefully someone will accuse you of being irresponsible and argue for calm and make a few concessions ... take that as a green light for full-on anarchy ... use role models … pretend you are a member of the Tory party….

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