chapter  6
18 Pages

English teachers and digital technologies

The point was made in Chapter 3 that novice teachers of the late 1960s, teachers who may well now be highly expert teachers, began working in the classroom before the creation of the internet, the mobile phone and even the personal computer. As for the media, television, for example, was a mere three channels, had to be watched in real time and was yet to be either recognized or demonized in relation to children; colour broadcasting only began in 1967. The general point is clear: that teaching exists in a world experiencing fast paced technological change and with very direct impact on the classroom (Goodwyn 2000a, 2000b). At the same time, it is often remarked that schooling itself (see Chapter 1) still operates a somewhat primitive, almost nineteenth century, factory model; quite simply, technological change has not transformed education. How truly different is a whiteboard from a chalk board? I was involved in a piece of research that examined teachers’ use of information and communication technology (ICT) in relation to pupil literacy (Goodwyn and Findlay 2004). A school identifi ed a subject teacher (not English) as an outstanding user of ICT. On investigation it turned out that he had taken all his notes, etc., and put them, more or less unchanged, on to PowerPoint, using it in every lesson, every day. The point is well made: extensive use is not better use; in fact, it may well be much worse for the experience of students.