Friday, 26 February 2010

"You've always got your fingers...!"

At the start of the week I was in a meeting talking about learning space technology with a variety of people, including educationalists and representatives from an ICT company. During this, the debate turned to whether interactive technology (such as white boards) in secondary schools should be stylus controlled or touch.

One view dismissed touch technology as being 'rather primary'. I promptly noted that iPhones, the iPad etc, were all touch and considered very 'cool' technology... This is not to say that stylus's don't have their uses. (NB: I know saying 'cool' is out - I am frequently told by my eldest daughter that saying 'cool' is actually not cool but a phrase used by people of a certain rather out of touch generation!)
I actually think that the iPad, or the competitor built equivalent which is bound to follow, is likely to have a massive impact in schools all over the place. The fact that iPads do not currently have cameras would suit many schools - but they will come in certainly).
As we did not have a definite answer to the question I decided to investigate. At BSEC were a number of secondary students using interactive white boards, so I asked what their view was about about stylus and touch technology.
They did note that both were good, they just loved and expected to use the technology, but they did think that there were issues with a stylus. Sometimes the pens didn't work, or they had been lost, or the teacher had it and walked off and more....
The boys I talked to much preferred touch, and as usual answered the question much more pragmatically than the whole meeting I was in. One noted rather brilliantly that "You've always got your fingers with you haven't you?" Difficult to argue with that really!

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