Stop sorting children by their date of manufacture
Six years ago we got a hard time for getting our students to create little snippets of audio for each other and the wider world - using iPods for learning was seen as expensive and gimmicky. "Who has those devices? We couldn't possibly purchase devices for children. They're far too expensive for them to own them any time soon."
Six years on Abdul Chohan was getting the same feedback at his school, the Essa Academy. At the Learning Without Frontiers conference he recounts how he had seen iPod Touches, the next generation of device from our low-fi iPods of 2004, as the key to untapping new learning landscapes for his learners.
With a seamless wifi setup in the school students never lost touch with the web through their mobile devices. Polish students, recently arrived at the school, were able to decipher English-language physics lessons by backing up their learning with the Polish language version of the theme's wikipedia entry.
Above all, teachers could stop judging what students should or could be doing based "on their date of manufacture" (or, as some might add, on their sell-by date). Youngsters were able to extend or support their own learning as they saw fit, when they saw fit.
Students overnight had knowledge at their fingertips (and in their pockets) in text, on the web and in podcasts (boys in particular were amongst those downloading 900 or so GCSE Pods to revise for the examinations).
Edmodo provided a learning social network through which teachers and learners could send messages, manage their learning, set tasks, ask for help.
This film about the Essa Academy iPod Touch project from Newsround sums up more of the impact on the school:
The £40,000 ($80,000) leasing bill for printers will, as a result, be greatly reduced as the amount of paper being used is reduced significantly.
The cost of the devices themselves, even with a refresh rate of 18p/35c per day included, is therefore relatively affordable.
The results? Where, a year or two before, the school had been set for closure by the Government watchdog for having a pass rate never above 30%, examinations results coming in after this mobile investment, at Grades A*-C, were running at 99%.
When we believe that youngsters are capable of anything and, vitally, provide the human and virtual help and support to make that potential a possible, there's nothing that can hold them back.