Monthly Archives: March 2011

Too narrow a focus

Because I’m trying hard to develop a course that truly is Digital Citizenship, I avidly follow all links that purport to be something even vaguely connected to the topic.
It seems that in the majority of the cases DC is equated to learning how to deal with cyberbullying.

This is annoying on at least two fronts.

First because DC is so much more than this. The bullying issue is a sub set, but itself only part of online behavior.
Second because the term cyberbullying should be banned. It is just bullying and would happen even had technology not made it more pervasive. The whole bully thing is a pastoral issue and is constantly lumped in with technology as if technology caused the problem. Admittedly technology exacerbates the issue because it puts bigger weapons in the hands of bullies. But the bully being a little s### is a behavioral thing not a technical thing.

I like that we are pioneers in this field, but occasionally the lack of commonly understood terms can be a bit of a pain.

Things don’t always go to plan

We have tried to shoehorn Windows 7 onto the Mac Book Air laptops. This hasn’t been successful.  On an individual basis, it works successfully enough, both parallels or Boot-Camp do an excellent job. In fact initially it all loaded smoothly enough. Our biggest problem was the lack of a PXE boot to connect to our software controlling system.  However; in an environment where regular updates are pushed out, it is less stable.  Screen drivers in particular have been a problem. The boot-camp drivers work well, but the automatically pushed drivers and updates caused screen size issues, leaving the screens stretched and in a non-native resolution and hence a little fuzzy.

What’s come out of the exercise is the willingness of the students to deal with this. It was explained to them that it was a little bit experimental, and things might not always be trouble-free and flawless. They took to this notion like ducks to water, they were patient in waiting for upgrades, tolerant of screen sizes that were not perfect, found work arounds for printing when they couldn’t connect directly.And much more.

It is this willingness to tolerate technology’s shortcomings that will set them apart as a generation.  In a sweeping generalisation, teaching staff are flustered and frustrated if things are not 100% completely smooth, error free and if computers are not tolerant of keyboard thumping in place of rational alternative finding. But the students are.

Classes have continued smoothly with students finding their own work arounds, or partnering up with a working system, all without having to be told anything beyond the initial “this will be experimental”.

We sometime forget to give them the credit they are due in unusual circumstances.

It also suggests that teachers willing to ‘have a go’ even if they are on unfamiliar ground might find unexpected allies in their students when things are not so perfect, and ICT support thin on the ground.