DEB past, present and future

By Mick Landmann

As we enter the New Year I wanted to reflect on how DEB has progressed since its inception in June 2011 (the time of our first full meeting).

The main general achievement of the group, I think, is to have acted upon the determination that DEB should be predicated on action, and not be just another talking shop. At that very first meeting in June we established 3 live projects – smartphones in the classroom and related smartphone repository, Teachmeets, and mobile games competition. Without going into detail and with the exception of the mobile games competition (and no doubt further projects of this nature will come forth), these projects have flourished.

Furthermore new projects have come on stream and there are no shortages of ideas for further projects and DEB developments. I am particularly excited about the new project with Ian Cunningham and Judith Good to establish an appropriate programming learning environment in schools.

We have also established a growing profile locally following in particular my presentation about DEB to the Strategic Partnership meeting in September, a full page article in the Argus in December, and the wide ranging involvement of all of you giving the organisation real breadth. It is interesting that the article in The Argus that focussed on the smartphones in the classroom projects has highlighted the controversial nature of some of the things we are doing.

It has occurred to me, though, that the comments that were made in The Argus both by commentators to the main article, and then by an ex headmaster in the next days issues were made entirely in ignorance of the detail of what we are doing with the projects. I’m guessing that the very spectre of allowing the use of smartphones in classroom conjured up images of unruly children furiously texting away, somehow (and curiously) in touch with their feral natures ready to run riot. We all know how far from the truth this is.

Still, I think all the pubilicity, despite the detractors is good publicity for us.

Which brings me to my hopes for DEB for 2012. With the fantastic and dynamic people involved in DEB thus far, with new people getting involved all the time I look forward to adding further projects and continuing the work we have begun. I think we can be seriously influential on the world of education (something we have discussed at previous meetings) and I think we can consolidate the structure we have established such that it becomes a model for similar DEB like networks both nationally and internationally.

This may seem very ambitious, but I honestly feel that with everything going on (and going wrong) in the world, an increased awareness of the importance of digital technology in our lives, growing evidence of the benefits of utilising digital technology in all its forms for teaching and learning, a need for change and the growing appetite to embrace it, that the time is right.

Looking forward to continuing to work with everyone involved in 2012.