I was reminded recently how much I love Gustave Flaubert after absorbing Denis Shemilt’s latest chapter on improving historical understanding and developing historical consciousness in pupils (a later blog post). I was introduced to Flaubert by my departing A Level English teacher Mr Johnson and I was struck by Flaubert’s turn of phrase and the awe I felt when I learned that he would spend weeks on a single sentence. Reading Shemilt’s chapter I wondered how long it took Flaubert to think of the arresting sentence that ‘writing History is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful’.
This vivid image captures a lot of thinking I have been doing recently on educational technology. The BETT show clearly demonstrates that educational technology is big business and this was reconfirmed with figures from last week’s TES estimate that nearly £600 million is allocated to schools to spend on technology. You would think that with all this money being spent and the many conferences arranged to discuss and showcase the technology on offer, the teaching and learning aspect, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ (not the ‘what’) would be fairly prominent. Over the last year I have felt this to be lacking and I kept returning to a simple but often unanswered question; where is the teaching and learning? It seems, following from Flaubert, that general encounters with educational technology is like drinking an ocean but pissing a cupful of learning.
I approached a variety of people about the idea for a journal where the above recurring question would be the central theme. Doug Belshaw mentioned that James Michie had discussed with him something similar and I contacted him. What happened next is discussed on James’ blog and the result is that #edjournal is here. Written by educators for other educators, we aim to share our educational technology experiences guided by the simple question: where is the learning?
We are currently gathering together articles for the first and second issue. If you feel that you would like to contribute, get in touch. I hope, no, I believe, that collectively we can produce more than the tepid cup.
Image: Gunjan Karun@Flickr