I just listened to Episode 93 of Mac Power Users with Fraser Spiers and it was one of the most interesting podcast episodes I have ever listened to.
Fraser is a teacher at a school in Greenock, Scotland. I had heard of him before, but I’d never heard him interviewed.
He started a scheme where every child in his school got an iPad – lucky kids, eh? He talks in the podcast about the philosophy behind this idea and the benefits that he has seen since starting the project.
It’s not so much the technical implementation of the scheme that was so interesting to me, but rather the philosophy behind it. I’m a 40-something dad of two under 10s and am quite disenchanted with the school system that my kids are in. So much so in fact that we’ve taken our 5-year-old out of school completely and are now homeschooling him. That got me thinking about educational activities I could do with him. He’s already very comfortable on the iPad and desktop computer. But that’s another post!
Fraser talked about how he things of the future where his pupils are concerned. The ones starting now will not be entering the working world until around 2025 and, strangely, Fraser doesn’t think that Microsoft Word skills will be much in demand then!
He talks about the different philosophy behind the way kids type; grown-ups are concerned about accuracy, a legacy from the days of typewriters and paper, whereas kids type first and proofread later.
He also talks about how today’s 40-somethings should have been the first digital generation, but the system was so far behind that it just couldn’t happen.
The one thing that stood out for me was the notion that parents will not stand for the current system as it stands. Hearing him say that got me thinking about joining the local school board and putting my voice forward. The school system on my little island seems rather too stuck in the past for my liking. But, having read a couple of books on homeschooling, I’ve learned about the brick walls that are the education system and stupidly-named ‘curriculum for excellence’, PR speak if ever I heard it!