Tag Archives: money

Should students be paid?

Huw Carrington of online printer ink retailer, Stinkyink.com (www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk) ponders on how to improve attendance and grades.

I’ve been doing youth work as a volunteer for seven years now, and part-time professional youth work for half of that. I’ve worked with hundreds of teenagers, from all around the UK and even from a few places in Europe. I’ve seen all manner of issues, ranging from the inspiring to the horrifying, and I’ve done my best to deal with every one of them. Through all this, I’ve realised that many young people hate school.

For a couple of years now I’ve worked regularly with one young person – we’ll call him Bobby – who dislikes school, so he simply doesn’t go in. His attendance is at less than 30 per cent, and so the school has resorted to unusual means to encourage him to turn up.

Counsellors have talked to Bobby in his home; his head of year has taken him out for coffee to discuss why he doesn’t go in; he’s been promised rewards and concessions if he can get up to a minimum attendance level. From all I’ve seen, none of these have worked; he’d rather stay up late on his Xbox, have a lie in, and then hang out with his friends when they have finished school.

Paid to learn?

I’m not going to pretend I have the answer to this, but as uncomfortable as it might make me feel, a short while ago I came across something that I suspect might improve things for kids like Bobby.

A couple of years back, Time magazine ran an article (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1978758-1,00.html) detailing how a team over in the US ran a study across thousands of pupils in four different major cities, wherein, in its simplest terms, they paid students to go to school. Their results were varied, but in one city those who received a salary through the whole year had substantially higher reading scores than their unpaid peers. This was equivalent to them having had several months extra tuition.

My experience

When I was at school, and more recently at university, I didn’t hit the books as hard as I should have. However, when I started working to get a pay check that enabled me to buy the things that I wanted, I changed gear and actually got down to putting some effort in. My colleagues and friends had a similar experience, so I can’t help but wonder if something like this had been done for me, I might have tried harder and come out with better grades.

Money might not buy you happiness, but maybe, just maybe, it could provide the motivation to get young people to learn.

What are your views? Should pupils learn for the love of it, or will payment just cheapen education?

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The future is bleak, but get it right and the future could be bright…

Dave Smith is ICT Adviser for the Havering School Improvement Services’ ICT Team, Finalists in the ‘ICT Service and Support’ category in the 2012 BETT Awards. The Hsis ICT Team has co-produced ‘Switched On ICT’ with Rising Stars Publishers, Finalists in the ‘Innovation in ICT’ category too.  Dave is also Chair of the Visualiser Forum and Teaching Technology Group.

So, the world’s economy is teetering on the brink, the future is looking bleak, yet we still want to improve educational opportunities for our children. The latest UNESCO publication designed to help train teachers on ways to optimise the use of information and communication technologies in the classroom has been launched and emphasises that teachers need to be able to help students become collaborative, problem solving creative learners through using ICT so they will be effective global citizens. http://www.unescobkk.org/education/ict/online-resources/databases/ict-in-education-database/item/article/unesco-ict-competency-framework-for-teachers-version-20/

Therefore, if we are to fulfil the aims of the UNESCO framework within the straightjacket of the current economic crisis, we need to look carefully at how we deploy educational budgets to enable our children to flourish for a brighter future. With this in mind, you might like to consider the following advice:

  • Ensure you have a fully costed plan of future and previous expenditure, showing analysis of impact of expenditure and total cost of ownership and outlining ‘non-negotiable items’ in case the financial axe has to fall
  • Make the best use of existing technology and dispose of unwanted software and hardware that might be costing you money to maintain
  • Reduce printing costs by using print credits and storing outcomes of work electronically
  • Make use of free and educationally rich Web 2.0 applications – check out BETT Awards Finalist http://www.risingstars-uk.com/series/switched-on-ict/ for ideas on how to make effective use of existing tools and Web 2.0 applications
  • Review levels of technical support to ensure best value and look for additional free support from local partner educational establishments in order to pool resources
  • Engage with parents and carers as a source to support ICT provision – through a BYOD ‘Buy Your Own Device’ scheme. Checkout the e-Learning Foundation http://www.e-learningfoundation.com/
  • Look for additional funding from commercial or charitable organisations

ICT in Havering – www.haveringict.edublogs.org

Havering School Improvement Services – www.havering-sis.org

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Facebook is good, Facebook is bad – should Facebook be banned in schools?

Dan Roberts, Deputy Headteacher at Saltash.net Community School in Cornwall, provides an insight into the use of social media in schools.

Sir Ken Robinson said recently ‘that the advances in technology are opening up a complete new set of possibilities for education.’ I completely agree with this statement. One of these new possibilities is the use of social networking in schools. Some schools are actively embracing this technology while others are banning and blocking it – it is very much a current debate facing education around the world. I attempt to unpack some of this in this blog post.

First of all here is a satirical look on the hot debate, I apologise now for the quality of the rap:

The latest negative media release about Facebook appeared in newspapers last month claiming one in three teachers within the UK have been victim to online bullying through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. You can read the full article here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2026450/One-teachers-bullied-online-parents-pupils.html 

This is obviously a serious potential issue but perhaps if we educate our children and their parents in the acceptable use of this media it would minimize this type of misuse.

We have used Facebook in our school for some time now; we are experiencing more of a positive impact than a negative one. This is what our students say about using social networking in school:

“Enhances our learning”

“Makes learning more interesting and fun”

“Learning skills to prepare for our future”

“Free, quick and simple to use”

“Accessible in school, at home, anytime & anywhere”

“They can be used in any subject”

“Help connect school to home – our parents and teachers can talk”

In the last year I have seen Facebook used effectively in school in the following ways: as part of the main learning activity of the lesson, for groups of students to collaborate on learning projects across different subjects, to raise money for charity, for teachers to share good practice and plan together, to connect and communicate to parents and the community and even live streaming revision lessons when the students were on study leave.

As a school we have openly been using social networking as a way of making a marked contribution to the quality of the learning that takes place inside and outside the classroom. To do this though schools must invest time and support in educating children, teachers and parents how to use these tools responsibly and safely then trust them to do so. This article featuring Professor Stephen Heppell and myself highlights this argument:

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6068079 

If you are looking for more classroom based research in to how to help implement social networking within your school then check out this free publication titled ‘Facebook as a Tool for Improving Student Outcomes’. It has been produced by Cornwall College and Cornwall Learning on behalf of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) for the Improving Teaching and Learning through Technology Project, my school features as the fourth case study; it can be viewed and downloaded here:

http://www.slideshare.net/rscsw/facing-up-to-facebook-issues-for-the-uses-of-facebook-with-1619-year-old-learnersa-research-based-exploration

A new website that will be going live from the 17th September 2011 aimed at young people, teachers, Headteachers and Governors into helping them open up, unblock, and unfilter in their schools will aim to provide free support and guidance in doing this. You can visit and register for free at http://www.unblockedu.com.

The education system faces irrelevance unless we bridge the gap with the use of social networking.  Students are more aware of the world and eager to embrace new ideas and try new technologies and it is our obligation to the generation of children in education and those about to enter it to ensure they have the opportunities to learn in this type of way.

Dan Roberts is Deputy Headteacher at Saltash.net Community School in Cornwall, and a regular attendee of BETT. You can follow him on Twitter @chickensaltash or check out his blog: http://chickensaltash.edublogs.org.

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