Trust in education

Trust in the school context, especially around the use of technology.

Trusting that students will say something nice

The school that my children attend prides itself on its community “feel” and the character of its students.  On the whole I agree.

Happy students from another school.

      Happy students from another school

A couple of the most telling examples from over the years:

  • The applause that went on and on and on and on for the senior student who was given an award for having achieved despite difficult circumstances.  This student’s father had died during his senior year.
  •  The guest’s at my son’s 16th birthday party, sitting around a fire pit and singing.  A 16th birthday party could have been a lot worse…
  • The time I chanced upon a group of students on campus at the end of an open day.  Most visitors had left.  One of the students had his back to me and didn’t know I was nearing the group on my way out.  He was describing something which had happened and his description included some swearing. I don’t think the students recognised me as a current parent of the school and his comments were intended for his peers’ ears only.  The students who could see me gave him meaningful looks and he turned in some confusion and noticed me and realised that I had heard his words.  Maybe I should have been offended.  I don’t enjoy listening to “f words” but what had the most impact on me was the look on his face which clearly showed his disappointment in himself.  If he had said it in words, I don’t think he could have any more clearly expressed the sense that he had let down himself, his peers and his school.

I do understand why schools ban students from discussing or posting about school happenings on social media.  They fear for their reputations if a bad impression is given and we all know that a social media post can have a wide reach.

The trouble is that the good things happening often go unnoticed for fear of the bad things that might get too much notice.

Yesterday my daughter, along with her classmates, worked to put together birthing kits.

Image courtesy of adrielbooker.com

Image courtesy of adrielbooker.com

She told me that she thought it was possibly the “coolest thing she had ever done”.  She was touched by having been able to do something which would help someone so directly.  I’m sure some of her friends felt the same.  Wouldn’t it have been cool if she could have snapchatted or Facebooked it.

The students’ characters, the school’s values and the cause they’re working for would all have got some great publicity.

If we teach digital citizenship, can we trust our students to say positive things?

Dig Cit 2

 

 

 

 

Dig cit

Photo credits:

Prinnie Stevens, Mahalia Barnes

Advertisements

Trusting technology to build relationships

Thanks to George Couros for this infographic.This infographic comes from George Couros, thePrincipal of Change.

Trusting your 9 year old to use Snapchat?

Seen recently on Facebook:

Just found out that my daughter has a Snapchat account? Apparently for about a year now!!! How did I not know this??? I knew about the Twitter, YouTube and Instagram but not Snapchat!!! Yep mother of the year!!

Should a 9 year old have Snapchat? Probably not.  Like most social media apps, Snapchat is not inherently good or bad.  It’s how it’s used that’s significant.

Snapchat posts "disappear" after 10 seconds

Snapchat posts “disappear” after 10 seconds

Snapchat has a bad reputation.  The idea of it is that you send a picture with or without an associated line of text to a “friend” or “friends”.  The picture only lasts on their screen for between 1 and 10 seconds and then it is gone unless the friend screenshots it.

Of course it’s not really gone as nothing on the internet is ever gone but it’s not easy to get your hands on a Snapchat once the 10 seconds is up.

The bad reputation comes from its early use as a sexting app.  Some people are perhaps more willing to send compromising photos of themselves if they think they are not permanent. No doubt it is still used by some for sexting but for others it’s just another means of communication.

According to one teenager I interviewed, the attraction is that it’s quick to compose and it doesn’t have to be perfectly crafted because its existence is fleeting.

Nobody’s going to go back and critique your camera angles or your word choice.

By photographing your expression, emotion is conveyed which may not be obvious from the use of words only.

A selection of Snapchats sent to and by one teenager

A selection of Snapchats sent to and by one teenager

As usual, it’s all about digital citizenship.  If Snapchat were banned, people would find another way to achieve their purpose, whether it’s sexting or sending silly faces.

It’s definitely hard for parents to keep up with the latest popular app.

What parents and teachers need to do is keep having conversations with young people who are old enough to make wise choices about who to “friend” or not to “friend” on social media and how to make good decisions about what they post.

Trusting brands

A 2010 study involving Australian preschool children found that children could associate an alarming number of logos with brands, despite not yet being able to read.Name-these-Brands_WOO-1024x682

Another study had similar results and also found that

  • “the more sophisticated a child’s “executive function” (which covers growing abilities to sort and reason rather than actual knowledge), the more likely that child was to have begun using brands as in the same ways an adult might”
  • “The savvier kids had gone even beyond the already sophisticated step of associating logos, objects and locations with a particular brand and were beginning to add values.” (McAlister and Cornwell, 2010)

The authors of the study argue that branding is a way of coping with the overload of choice and information in our lives. Being able to readily associate values with a brand means we can more quickly make choices about who will we trust to provide our goods and services.

Most businesses work hard at creating and maintaining their brand and its reputation.

Most schools value their reputation

Most schools value their reputation

So do schools.

Based on my experience I would say that the more exclusive a school is, the more it values its brand. This holds true for public schools as well as private, although of course private schools have a lot more riding on their ability to attract the right kind of clients for their business – the paying, compliant kind who  also want to uphold the school’s brand.

Sometimes schools, businesses and individuals make a decision not to associate themselves with particular companies or individuals because they fear that the association will damage their brand.

Sometimes this leads to a blanket rule which also forbids association with individuals or businesses which could only enhance the school’s community and the students’ learning. Some would argue that only associating with recognised brands ensures a quality product.

The fear of possible negative experiences means that some positive experiences are also lost.

Only the glossy survive and school, like our increasingly globalised world, becomes a place for brands and flashy websites.

References:

McAlister,A. and Cornwell, B., (2010) Children’s Understanding of Brand Symbolism

Image credits:

https://sergeiboutenko.com/which-of-these-do-you-know/

By Jmh2o This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Blason Poudlard.svg. This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Blason Serdaigle.svg. This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Blason famille it Visconti2.svg. This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Héraldique meuble blaireau.svg. [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

What Queensland can learn from the Finnish education system

Steve Austin from ABC Local Radio in Brisbane today interviewed Dr Juhani Tuovinen, Senior Research Fellow at the Graham Clarke Research Institute in Adelaide. Dr Tuovinen identified some characteristics of the Finnish education system which contribute to Finland consistently ranking highly in OECD testing.

Well, at least up until 2013.  But that’s another story.

PISA

Dr Tuovinen spoke about:

  • teacher selection – only 10-15% of applicants are accepted and must have tumblr_mjreh0bmhs1qa37j0o7_500achieved a Masters degree and have passed psychological testing before they cn be employed as teachers
  • teacher training – which is closely connected with the employing education system
  • taking education seriously – where wider society is prepared to make sacrifices in order to fund the systems and infrastructure needed to make delivering a quality education possible

and my personal favourite

  • collaboration and trust between stakeholders

This trust means that all stakeholders have the same goal – to place the students’ interests at the centre of their decision making rather than their own political agendas.

Photo credits:

http://www.wikiprogress.org/index.php/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment

http://joehillsthrills.tumblr.com/post/77315635212/wilwheaton-keepcalmandsuperwholock

Post Navigation