This video appeared last week, vanished and has now returned. Laptops (Netbooks) in schools are a welcomed investment and if nothing else will finally driving some modern infrastructure in schools. It is unknown how many laptops, when or if there is on-going funding to reach year 12. Elections will probably have a lot to do with that. So is this a public information film or advertising. It obviously cost a lot of money, and is that where public money should be going? It presents like Huxley’s Brave New World, mixed with edgy sound track, cross-processed images and plenty of handy-cam angles, complete with Nathan Rees in a school at the end reinforcing the message of who made this happen. It reminded me more of the ‘you wouldn’t steal a car’ anti-piracy ad than information – it offers mixed messages and assembled by a committee, not a creative vision.
Students are script-reading to their peers is pseudo ‘cool’ tones.
“No cyberbulling, no sharing of personal information, pictures or emails without permission” say the students also pointing out it has security features so the school can shut it down and take it off students who are not using it correctly. Apparently it is bye bye paper and hello music and games at lunch.
To me this kind of spin-doctoring that puts public education at a disadvantage and does not reflect reality and the viewer assumes this aligns to outcomes, pedagogy and professional development of teachers.
And then comes the hookline of assurance.
“We’ve got the whole world in our hands” and ”technical support comes from schools”
Quite clearly they are net books not laptops, students won’t be playing games at lunchtime on a DET network anytime soon as access to the new world is though the filtration system. It seems likely that most students will break the ‘rules’ in lieu of any formal ‘digital citizenship’ or educational programme (they don’t recognise the same boundaries). The technical support needed to maintain this fleet of laptops is going to be epic. Anyone who has experienced 1:1 knows just how hard it is to scale and maintain over lengthy periods. It seems much of the effort will be applied to ‘securing’ them, nor exploring. Yet the ad presents as if this is all a given and Mr Rees is unleashing something really innovative. It has the potential too, but no certainty.
This is what irks me – not the machines or the opportunity but use of this media to deliver a clearly political message, which is less than the whole truth – either as an ad or public information.
I am not sure who it is aimed at, and I’d love to know how much it cost. I don’t want ‘better than nothing for my children’ and I want them to stay in quality public education and no amount of post-production is going alter the reality that this is a futurists view, not a realists. I want to love it, but I can’t – there is a long way to go and this is quite simply premature and misleading, high on rhetoric and low on evidence. I notice that comments will of course be moderated until someone re-posts it.
“For thirty+ years, we’ve treated schools like boardgames. And every few years, we’d announce that the game was changing, but we kept using the same board and the same pieces. We changed the rules, but forced the players to use the same old dice”. He goes on to explain why fundamental change is needed “Because our kids are dying to take on new adventures. After all, they live in a world where they expect upheaval and change; they don’t understand why so many of us are so afraid of it.”