Sunday, 13 January 2013

Why bother?

Sometimes I feel like I'm flogging a dead horse. Faced by a seemingly endless round of administrative tasks, stultifying demarcations (subjects, timetables etc), learners who don't care to learn yahdahyadahyahdah...

and yet,
and yet....

On Wednesday a student asked me if the rumour was true: "... can we use our phones in your lessons". I explained that, yes it was true, they could use their camera phones as learning tools in lessons when they were needed (my school currently prohibits phone use in class). Then we moved on to other things

On Friday half a dozen students arrived clutching iPods/Phones.
One asked if she could use her phone.
I asked why.
She replied that I had said she would need it for this lesson.
I denied this.
She replied that her Mum had gone home to get it specially. 

At this point I could have played the po-faced teacher. I nearly did. But a sense of the ridiculousness that a creative media teacher should deny access to such a useful tool rose up in me. So I contented myself by repeating that I really had not said they would need their phones - but since her mum had gone home specially, then I was sure we could find a use for it in the lesson... 
This group is currently coming to the end of the immersion phase of our first project. We've been making a 'Collection of ideas, sources and examples'. We're pursuing the epic question: "How do we get people to do what we want?". So I suggested our student could make a direct-to-camera video pretending the iPod was her mum whom she was persuading to go home specially...
We got to use our little "studios" properly too, as groups went off to record their mini-dramas. They downloaded the videos to the school network and used the video tutorial I included in my last post to add the video to their online collections. Those I've seen were poorly framed and confusing - but delightful.
They have some media they have created to evaluate and learn from - and had a lot of fun.
I have remembered why I should bother: Learning can be delightful.
I suspect more students will be bringing cameras to future lessons.

Sir Ken Robinson contextualises this, with his customary eloquence, in the little video below.
"Finding ways to live together in a world that has become more nuanced, more dynamic, more interdependent and more connected ... is a task for education. "
That's why we should bother: in such small ways we can help subvert a linear, po-faced, approach to education, that is the enemy of creativity.