A recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that 79 per cent of teachers blamed parents for the lack of ‘pupil discipline’ in schools.
The survey of more than 800 teachers claimed that there was a sharp rise in the number of pupils with emotional and behavioural conditions (EBCs).
A secondary school teacher in RCT even said: “I’m extremely concerned by the increase in mental health issues such as depression and self-harm.
“I’m alarmed by the lack of expert support made available for adolescents.”
I was told by the old Mid Glamorgan Council that I had an EBC, and was even referred to the Ty Gwyn special needs unit in Maesycoed.
Like the digital teens of today, I grew up with ‘information on demand technology.’
When teachers said something I ‘knew’ wasn’t true because of this technology, I would say so.
The teachers would then say I was wrong, and like today’s pupils I wouldn’t accept that. It is the teachers that have behavioural problems and lack of discipline.
Unless they change their behaviour and start accepting that collectively pupils know more than them, then they should expect to feel the wrath of those pupils.
They need to realise that they have been made redundant by YouTube, Wikipedia and Google Scholar, and unless they change, they shouldn’t expect pupils to.
I have challenge the conclusions of Cllr Mike Powell about Leighton Andrews’s scrapping of region education consortia two months after founding them as evidence of a knee-jerk reaction in the Pontypridd Observer (Your views, December 6).
As a former Labour Party member in Pontypridd and a scientist I have to say Mr Andrews’s approach is a refreshing change. Mr Andrew’s has ideologies like nearly all politicians but has shown he is willing to respond to evidence if they don’t work as planned. In my 14 years as a member of the Labour Party, I met few people willing to be evidence driven. I was gulled like most people that Tony Blair’s Labour Party would be pragmatic in government – in most cases it was not.
Anyone who runs a business knows that if you are trying something and it doesn’t work, you need to try something else in order to be successful. Leighton Andrews deserves respect for admitting he made an error from my point of view and not criticism.
I read with interest Mick Antoniw’s column in the Observer (BayWatch, September 20). He is right to say that the confidence and motivation in schools in the borough are at an all-time high, and that the GCSE grades are among the best.
I’m disappointed that he didn’t say, as a member of the Co-operative Party, that those schools in England that are Co-operative Trusts have higher parent involvement and greater satisfaction.
I am also disappointed he didn’t propose these for Wales, but if you propose anything other than state ownership and management to his Welsh Labour colleagues you are shouted down, as I was during my 14-year stint in the Labour Party. But there is an alternative.
When I was 14 I had Legal Aid to have a judicial review against Mid Glamorgan LEA so I could go to a school put of county that was best for someone with the specific needs I had.
I encourage parents who think there is a better school for their child outside their catchment area to sign my Welsh Adsembly petition. It could end the postcode lottery in Wales by making school selection not based on whether you can afford to live in an expensive area, but which is the best for your child’s individual development. It can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/mychildmychoice
Recently there has been a growing wave of local initiatives in support of their public schools. Teachers and communities together have been playing an active role in the innovative efforts towards new educational methods aimed at helping schools. These grass root experiments, though very effective, tend to go unnoticed in the wide scheme of the educational system. However, if the most useful and meaningful of these initiatives could be fostered and developed, they may have the possibility of transforming it.
Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements aims to be a platform for the most significant educational achievements by teachers, school administrators, and local associations that have worked together in public institutions that range from primary school to the university level. This book aims to be useful for both scholars and the citizens that are involved in improving the educational system.
Pumilia-Gnarini, P.M., Favaronm, E., Pacetti, E., Bishop, J., Gurra, L. (2012). Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements. IGI Global.
I share the concern raised about the risks of cyber-bullying following the publication of school banding by the Welsh Government (“School banding raises fears over cyber-bullying”, January 23).
As an advocate of New Labour, before leaving the Labour Party when Ed Miliband said it was over, I am strongly in favour of parents being allowed to choose which school their child goes to. The rank and file of Old and Welsh Labour say this won’t work because every parent will want their child go to the best school – well that is the point!
A market in education, such as by removing the unfair catchment areas that partition this market and create geographical ghettos, would mean the best schools would stay open and expand, and the worst ones would close.
In such a market you would need a way for the parents to choose the best school. Government-sanctioned league tables or school banding does not help – parents need to be able to create their own league tables.
Even the “least able” people can go on to websites like GoCompare or MoneySupermarket and select what is important to them about their home or car insurance policy and what is not. If we as citizens can prioritise insurance why not other things? It is not grades that make a school a best school. It is factors such as whether they have special support for your child’s disability, whether they have after-school clubs or extended hours, and whether the school has strong pupil-satisfaction.
So if the Welsh Government is happy to have de facto league tables – why don’t they give parents the choice to have their children educated outside their area so they are not subject to the stigma that they can do little about without “upping sticks”?
E-learning is becoming more and more popular because it can be accessed anywhere, according to one expert who has stated that mobile technology tools are a driving force consistent with the success of distance learning.
Tom Kuhlmann, editor of The Rapid E-learning Blog, which shares practical tips and tricks designed to help people get to grips with e-learning, suggested that one of the driving factors behind the growth of the mobile online learning industry is that people are able to take their resources with them wherever they go and are not restricted to a classroom setting.
“E-learning is quite popular, which makes sense – especially in this economy. It’s also still a growing field, as the tools are becoming more powerful and there’s a convergence of mobile and social media,” Mr Kuhlmann commented.
“Some of the drivers are cost-effectiveness and the ability to deliver content to anyone, anywhere.”
He added that there are significant benefits surrounding the online classroom in that it gives the ability to tailor classes to specific business needs and that organisations can take it upon themselves to design their own courses.
Mr Kuhlman said that the door is open for organisations to create a learning system they could not a few years ago. He explained that this heightens demand for skills to progam high-quality courses.
A further benefit of designing courses that are specific to industry needs is cost-effectiveness. This will customise learning to what is necessary when training staff in a particular knowledge base, the expert mentioned.
He also suggested that using online training tools could free up resources elsewhere in a business.
Jonathan Bishop, a chartered IT professional fellow and chair of the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-learning Systems at Swansea University, recently commented that online learning success is being encouraged by an increasing number of people opting for smartphone technologies that can easily host the resources needed for distance education and can be used on the go.
Firstly I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak today. I always enjoy speaking in this slot, as delegates generally are hungry for information – not food or sleep!
When I was younger I used to come to Olympia with my brother to attend a lot of video game exhibitions, so it is quite appropriate I’m talking to you about gamification, in my first speech at this fine venue. This is what I looked like at one of the exhibitions we went to.
Research recently found that those who play video games have worse education and employment outcomes. How many of you are actually convinced by this? My brothers and I aren’t’ either.
Both my brothers and I have all had good outcomes, gaining degrees and high responsibility jobs. Even one of my brother’s fathers-in-law plays video games regularly and, he has an MBE.
So there must be something in the benefits of video games for enhancing performance at tasks in environments where gaming isn’t usually used, which is a simple definition of gamification.
The first big speech I made, before this one of course, was at a college business competition – business being the game of all games. Our presentation won applause with the catchy music, ‘simply the best, better than all the rest’. But our report did not impress the judges; we didn’t seem to deliver all that was needed beyond the presentation stage. Sound familiar?
These slogans of New Labour, uttered by Tony Blair, were the new props that change the game of British Politics into a media driven one, where getting the best sound-bites and not being off message was the strategy. Despite not living up to most people’s expectations, including mine, the previous government was reasonably successful in realising these slogans. Including increasing university numbers and reducing youth crime. Yet only a year after they left office, we had the UK riots, higher youth crime and higher youth unemployment. So what went wrong? And what do we do about it?
The answer to the first is clear to me – the game has changed, again, and we need to change. The new game is called Network Politics. I am going to consider the case studies of three persons during the rest of the speech and will be asking for your experiences to be shared.
Considering the UK riots, some of you may have heard of the heart-breaking plight of Carla Rees, a 34 year-old musician whose flat and property was burned to destruction in London. She lost at least 10 flutes, which she had based her international contemporary music career on.
Considering the case of Trolling; one of the most high profile was that of Natasha MacBryde, who was bullied by a person called Sean Duffy. The inquest into her death heard that 15-year-old Natasha had also been teased by members of an all-girl clique at her £10,000-a-year school in the weeks leading up to her death.
Considering Information Poverty. An average man that lives on the Gurnos estate in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, can expect to enjoy good health for just 58.8 years. This is a socially deprived area. Goetre Junior School is not the best place for a pupil with autism, who I shall call Dafydd Young, lack access help to improve their social skills. He and his peers have poor diet, families who are heavy smokers, and severe unemployment. The Internet is sometimes seen as a luxury here, except to those with mobile phones.
You’re probably all wondering what these stories have got to do with gamification and e-learning 2.0. So let me explain both terms to you in detail on the next two slides.
Firstly let us look at Gamification.
As you can see from this slide, gamification is using elements of gameplay typically seen in video games to encourage participation in websites such as online communities.
Gamification pioneer Amy Jo Kim says that the key ingredients that make games fun, compelling, and even addictive are collecting, points, feedback, exchanges, and customisation.
This image you can see on the slide is of a website from the mobile phone provider GiffGaff which uses gamification to keep and gain customers. The service cuts staffing costs by encouraging customers to support those ones with problems. It does this by offering those persons points for each piece of support they offer in the forums and signing up friends. GiffGaff’s model contrasts with those ‘freemium’ ones which are free to use when one signs up, but charges a premium for services .
If you look through the eyes of Dafydd Young who we mentioned earlier you can see that their social environment could benefit from gamification. Humans are naturally competitive. However in Dafydd Young’s community all too often it is a race to the bottom, to see who can be the poorest for instance. They are traditionally persuaded with short-term games like CyberMonday, which where the online retail companies have hyped-up sales on masse to encourage people to shop online for Christmas – the Monday just gone as it happens.
However those like Dafyddd Young could benefit from gamification being used to increase their repertoire of behavioural responses for use in games that look beyond the short-term. Take one game – hypermiling – where people compete with themselves about how much less fuel their use in their car. People like Daffydd, who need clear rules with their autism, could benefit from e-learning 2.0 systems that allow them to interact with their peers while learning essential social skills – two such systems, called PARLE and Vois, are described in reasearch papers on a free USB stick you can collect.
Does anyone have any opinions and experiences on how you think using games could encourage or discourage certain behaviours, or increase others’ repertoire of behavioural response?
Now turning to E-Learning 2.0.
E-Learning 2.0 is a type of e-learning programme where learners from any school or household can access lessons via their computers and mobile devices and have the instruction tailed to them, including ability and interests.
It is not a term I particularly like, as the collaborative aspect of it is something I have argued for over a number of years. But the 2.0 part serves to emphasise the role of social networking more effectively than the original term for this; Computer Supportive Collaborative Learning (CSCL).
This image you can see on the slide is of an E-Learning 2.0 system I devised, back in 2004 when CSCL was a type of E-Learning. The features of the system included the circle of friends that can be found on Facebook where one can add a friend for them to provide social support and peer-based marking.
Now, turning to the main aim of this speech – to show how the UK Criminal law system can further the role of gamification in E-learning 2.0 systems.
As you can see from this slide, I have on the left put legal instruments currently available and to the right the equivalents which through gamification can enhance learning online, specifically with E-Learning 2.0. I will briefly explain them, and then put these into context of the next two slides asking for your input at different stages.
A fixed penalty notice is an on-the-spot fine given for a minor crime. In an E-learning 2.0 systems this could include docking people points, as I showed possible in my degree thesis in 2002.
ASBOs are court orders which restrict someone actions by saying if they perform a prohibited set of actions named in that order then they can go to jail for 2 years. These have been used on many people in Merthyr Tydfil like Dafydd Young. The equivalent instrument in an E-learning 2.0 system is the behaviour contract as I highlighted in my 3rd Masters thesis last year.
Other instruments like dispersal orders to break up gangs could be reflected by temporarily banning people who get into arguments, or in the case of detention for breach of the peace people could be required to express their frustration in a safe ‘sin bin’ which I call the displacement room.
A concept I devised in 2002 was The Digital Classroom of Tomorrow and this is an ideal system on which to implement these. This is based on the premise that the large class-sizes in state schools are not a problem in themselves, as technology can transform learning by removing the ‘sage on the stage’ teacher from the education system. Students do not want to be lectured at these days, as they have their own worldview that is all too often different from the teachers’. I call this ‘Classroom 2.0′, as it mixes the collaborative software associated with E-Learning 2.0 with the traditional classroom setting rather than replace that setting with 100% distance learning.
DCOT could be realised to allow mixed ability students in a class of 30 to assemble around tables of 6, interacting with an E-Learning 2.0 multi-user virtual learning environment on their laptops so as to create Classroom 2.0. This ‘one-laptop-six-at-a-table’ policy would not work without customisation as Amy Jo Kim points out.
Using customization in e-learning systems, particularly using gamification concepts, can mean interest is maintained in the environment, without the over-dependence on the teacher from the broadcasted approach to education, still found in most schools today.
If you look at this next slide you can see there are different types of platform for e-learning 2.0 systems, which can use the customisation in the Digital Classroom of Tomorrow.
Adjusting content based on learner interests. For instance if Carla was at school, she might find English lessons more interesting if she was asked to ‘Describe five adjectives that describe your favourite music instrument the flute. Weblogs which are updatable can do this well, and can be revised and commented on by other learners but not edited by them.
Wikis and hypertext fiction can allow a user to modify content to improve skills such as with regards to use of English. This can involve adjusting the content on grounds of ability. Someone at a basic level of understanding could be asked to ‘List’ five adjectives, someone with moderate abilities could be asked to ‘Describe’ five adjectives, and the most advanced toto ‘synthesise five adjectives’.
Chatroom and message boards could be improved through docking people points if they perform a behaviour that is banned on the basis of a ‘behaviour contract’, which sets of the rules of the game, in order to build consensus among the students. This could involve automatic detection and deduction.
Also possible is having a system where the status of the user can be changed so that they are no longer able to access the main part of the system if they treat others unfavorably for instance.
Does anyone else have any examples of things they have found useful for engaging people online and managing behaviour?
Finally, before opening up to the floor, I want to talk briefly about Trollers, and the role they can play in gamified e-learning 2.0 systems.
Many of you will have heard about trolling in the press and probably associate it with people who want to harm others. This was true in the case of Natasha MacBryde. However I argue that trolling, which is simply posting a humorous message to provoke a reaction in others, or his own sick fun in Sean Duffy who bullied Natasha.
If you look at the different types of Troller on this slide. The Flirts troll by posting reflections of funny things that have happened in their lives. Snerts on the other hand post to harm others, for their own sick entertainment. Trolls post more inflammatory messages that go against the grain of someone in order to entertain the community at large, such as by mocking the Snerts. Their less constructive equivalent, the Big Man, troll by saying things others disagree with but they strongly hold to, knowing others will react with consternation so they can have fun proving them wrong.
The My heart bleeds for you Jennies do trolling by posting messages that make light of a current situation in order to put another at ease. Their opposite, the E-Venger, posts hurtful messages in order for them to feel happier for something they felt wronged by.
The Ripper posts self-deprecating messages that make them feel happier, even though they are not looking for solutions as such. Their opposite, the Chatroom Bob, posts entertain messages in order to gain the trust of the other person, who they then exploit for their own ends.
And lastly, the Wizard will troll to be creative, such as posting a joke they made up. The Iconoclasts on the other hand will either remove content or post messages that challenge the legitimate world views of others.
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Liberal Democrat councillor Jeanette Jones said the idea of closing sixth forms was “ridiculous” and it was Labour who “came up with the idea” (Observer, September 1).
What she doesn’t tell you is some of her colleagues in Edinburgh are resigning because of the Lib Dem/SNP city council’s school closure plans there. What is the difference?
She implies that she trusts that no parents and students “think it is a good idea” to close sixth-forms, yet offers no solution to the problem these closures were meant to solve. So can I ask Con Jones to say whether he letter was no more than weasel words or whether she actually believes in parental choice?
Can I ask whether she supports the “free school” concept?
Free schools are the most democratic form of education possible. So if the parents and students who use the Garth Olwg Community Campus want there to be a sixth form on that site, with a ‘free school‘ they could regardless of the policy of RCT Council.
Using National Insurance and the Student Loans System to Reduce Crime and Burdens on Employers while protecting Employees, the Self Employed, Agency Workers and VictimsSeptember 8th, 2011 by Jonathan Bishop
When the Coalition came in the promised no more red tape for small business owners and the self-employed of which I’m both. Then the Agency Workers Directive came in and then rather than do what the French do, which is to ‘translate’ the directive to be compatible with their ‘civil code’, which in our case would be ‘common law president’ they basically just did everything it said the way it said it. Every EU Government has the power to use ‘proportionality’ to interpret laws and the French make the biggest use of this. This basically says that any government can interpret an EU directive on the basis of what it was intended to do on no on the technical detail with which it is written.
As someone who holds a Masters in the Economics of Information Systems it is my golden rule that one should never introduce a new information system, such as a way of collecting tax, without first exhausting possibilities of expanding the use of existing information systems.
The information systems I’d like to expand are National Insurance, to reduce burden on small businesses who engage agency workers or self-employed subcontractors as well as traditional employees, and the student loan system, to replace welfare benefits and collect fines and other orders to pay money more efficiently to disincentivise crime.
I would like Employee National Insurance to be optional, with the exception of a ‘basic element’ to cover holiday pay, A&E, and other essential services. I’d like Employers NI contributions to be abolished. With this optional NI, employees would be able to subscribe to any number of social insurances that central government would provide, or not do so and take out private or people insurance with other providers such as private insurers or mutual health trusts. The social insurances NI could be used to fund are:
- Public health insurance (i.e. the NHS hospitals and primary care and sight tests, all prescriptions)
- Public parental leave insurance (to replace SMP, SPP)
- Public incapacity insurance (to replace SSP, IB, ESA)
- Public payment protection insurance (to replace Mortgage interest relief, Job Seekers Allowance, and other costs that arise due to redundancy, etc.)
- Public emergency relief insurance (to protect people in areas at risk of flood or victims of Acts of God that private insurance companies won’t fund, such as those in my ward of Treforest living near the River Taff).
There could be many other schemes that could be introduced, such as to provide low cost energy to vulnerable groups like pensioners or disabled. The actual payment out of these insurances could be done using the new information systems the UK Government is creating for ‘Personal Independent Payment’ to replace Disability Living Allowance. All it would mean is adding a few more categories to include non-disability related elements, such as pregnancy, maternity and paternity.
I’d like NI to be paid by and the insurances paid out to any UK citizen of working age wherever in the EU they are whether they are in work as an employee, self-employed or director, or whether they are out or work claiming welfare or in education receiving a student loan or grant.
People out of work or whose income falls below a certain amount each month, instead of being entitled to the various welfare benefits should have to take out a maintenance loan, using the information systems for the student loan scheme. They would pay their National Insurance out of this loan. All the people out of work on say incapacity benefit or ESA would have to take out this loan and each year, and like I as a student see, they will get a statement every year showing how much they were paid out and the amount of interest they are paying on it. It might be that a ‘carrot and stick approach’ could be used where those who do any work, even just a couple of hours, wouldn’t have to pay the interest. Like students they wouldn’t have to pay the loan back until their income was over 21,000GBP.
People trained in economics and IT, and who like me have been through the whole benefits and tax system, from claiming income support, incapacity benefit, housing benefit, disability living allowance, and tax credits, as well as the rest of the system paying Class 1 and 2 NI and income tax, paying dividend tax, filing VAT returns, PAYE statements, CIS statements, paying corporation tax and doing self-assessment as well as receiving student loans have a more intrinsic understanding of the system than may others who may only have been exposed to one part.
So I think great credence should be given to how I think the system could be improved with minimum cost in terms of new information system, and how to overcome the following fears which I and others have had
- The fear of coming off benefits and going back into work in case it doesn’t work out
- The fear of losing essential benefits like free sight-tests and prescriptions due to increased income
- The fear of making a wrong calculation on PAYE, VAT, CIS and the 2000GBP fine that could follow
- The fear of being fined due to errors or omissions on the complex self-assessment system
- The fear of not being able to pay for life’s essentials due to loss of employment or being forced of benefits
- The fear that because I have a good day where my disabilities aren’t as bad as usual that the government will use it as evidence to take all my support away
The maintenance loan could also be used as a supply side policy to get rid of rogues like loan sharks and payday loan providers. Employees who can’t afford a new washing machine or need money to pay for essentials like food should be able to use this extension of the student loan system to fund it safely then pay it back through the payroll like they would a student loan.
This maintenance loan system in place of benefits could also be used to collect fines for parking tickets, fixed penalty notices, County Court Judgments, child support and compensation payments. If someone’s maintenance loan was reduced or the ‘student loan’ component of their wages went up when the person was issued such an order then they may see the consequences of their actions more clearly and act more appropriately in future.
Old Labour generally dismisses using the market in education because everyone would want their child to go to the best school and not every school is a good school.
When the average person who is not familiar with choice-based education thinks of best schools they think of schools that give the best grades.
I therefore think the Welsh Government should level-up grades by splitting results into grade point averages and grades.
That is, each pupil taking a GCSE or A-Level will on their certificates be given an average mark (mine is around 70) and a grade (A*-G etc.).
While the GPA will be based on how well they actually did in the exam in terms of the marking criteria they grade would be based on where they are in relation to the other pupils in their school. So if the top 5% of pupils at a ‘bad’ school had GPAs of 60% and the top 5% at a ”good school had 80% then both would get A* grades.
Universities would be forced to base their assessment on the grades, while employers the GPA. This means the ‘top’ universities would be forced to take students from disadvantaged areas who otherwise wouldn’t get to university.
I went to a state funded private school, and while I got poor GCSEs (3 A’s* and 2 C’s in the resits years later) I have gone on to get 3 masters degrees, because the education at that school was tailored just to me and made me an independent learner. I soon caught up with others, but – I was in the Top 5% of Law Graduates at Glamorgan and only got a Merit. I should have got a Distinction in my opinion.
I’m not arguing that private is better than public. What I want the Welsh Government to do is give people choice. This can be done by stopping the partitioning of the education market through catchment areas and allowing parents to home educate their child with state-funded access to e-learning. I think I would have had even better outcomes if my parents had been allowed this choice. As I have said recently in letters to the papers; home education need not be isolated from society, as parents can tap into the sports lessons of other schools, and have RE on a Sunday at ‘Sunday School’ for instance, and special maths and English at Kumon, which could be in the day if allowed to expand and access the current monpolised compulsary education market.