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Over recent years we have seen technology simultaneously increase in power and decrease in size. Many of us now take for granted personal access to sophisticated mobile devices which combine the functions of a phone, e-mail client, web browser, GPS, still and video camera, audio recorder, augmented reality browser and music player, providing access to technology which a few years ago would have been exceptional in even the most well equipped schools.
Whilst a number of schools have chosen to provide or allow access to such devices for pupils, a more common response appears to be to prohibit pupils from using any similar technology which they own whilst on school premises. Nevertheless, handheld, portable devices such as digital cameras, ‘Flip’ video cameras, digital ‘dictaphones’ or GPS trackers are finding a place as part of a school’s ICT resources, opening up exciting possibilities for the use of technology to enhance learning beyond the classroom on field visits.
We look at a number of the devices available, considering their relative strengths and weaknesses as well as exploring some of the practical issues associated with their use. We look at some examples of their deployment in primary schools. You undertake some practical work on site, documenting this online. We consider issues raised by pupils’ access to personal technology and you draft appropriate guidelines for the use of such devices.