Why teachers should boycott ICT (except Linux)


ICT in schools is a good thing... or maybe not if you are a teacher.

Like all powerful tools ICT can be used for good or ill. In my opinion the last decade has seen the bad side come to the fore.

This really was highlighted for me recently by an article carried in the national press which raised concerns about teachers becoming victims of the dreaded key-stroke analysers now used very widely in schools in the UK.

Of course once again the driving force is child protection, cyber bullying and so on. Once again privacy is invaded by the employer (in this case the State) as every letter, every image, every thing done by a teacher is logged and stored.

Nothing to fear if nothing to hide..yeah yeah can we drop this response as it is as purile as it is naive. The article set me thinking. What else in school ICT puts a teacher in the role of cyber-victim.

Below is my short list:

Copyright viz VLEs:

Many schools have no explicit policy about ownership. There are to my knowledge no transparent Creative Commons Licence agreements in teacher's contracts making it clear that they still own the work they store on the school's servers or on the VLE's.

In fact I know of more than a few schools that assert that they own such work!!

In the past, a teacher leaving a school could pack up their resources in a box when they left..it's not that easy now...just check you have the right to your electronic work.

Data Protection:

We have dealt with the key stroke stuff at the start of the blog but to this we can add e-mail parsing.

Did you know a child has full rights of access to any electronic communication that mentionis he or she by name and that all e-mails must be stored for just such an eventuality. This does not apply to paper memos by the way.

On Line Bullying:

Last week an experienced and decent headteacher was dismissed as a result of a child initiated and parent driven on-line petition. The case centred around a lamb kept at the school going to slaugher..no irony there then.

Add this to the endless uploaded student You-Tube videos of 'teacher' and you have a potent on-line weapon to undermine the authority of a teacher.

Death By E-Mail

I have yet to see a school that uses e-mail in any way other than to add 20 mins onto the working day with spurious globally-addressed, or 'reply all' mails. If a teacher was away for three days they probably would never catch up. Remote access to school resources merely extends the teacher's working day further. Ask any classroom teacher to tell you how e-mail enhances their working life..I dare you.

Microsoft Kiddy-Grass button on IE8

Nearly forgot to mention the Microsoft-Cabinet Office's latest Child Protection wheeze I blogged about last time.

Have a care if your children have access to IE8 and CEOPS; at a click you could be in the frame as a potential abuser.

This little list will do for the time being.

If I were still a teacher I would be mightily fed up with the above.

If we want to extend learning using modern technology, as most politicians seemto wish to do, then we need to sort out how it should be used.

Meanwhile teachers: band together and boycott ICT that'll give them a fright.

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