On the idea that a device can be ‘evil’

"Cuddling with multiple Devices" by Adactio from Flickr
“Cuddling with multiple Devices” by Adactio from Flickr

I was at a fascinating conference in December about computing in primary school. More thoughts, I’m sure will follow. However it was something other than computing that got me thinking. Without naming names, I heard one presenter say: “iPads: don’t get me started on iPads.” Then, the very next presenter said, “I really dislike Chromebooks.”

I have mixed feelings about both of these statements. I was sitting at a Chromebook at the time, busily tweeting away as I took advantage of the frankly fantastic wifi offered by the Cumberland Hotel. Thinking about the previous few weeks however, the very best lessons I had taught involved using iPads. I like both devices. In fact I’d go on to say that my favourite device is actually my Windows laptop, because it’s so wizzy.

What’s more I really like the idea of children benefiting from using a mixed economy of devices. I think the flexibility learnt from using different devices is invaluable. That’s why, despite being a complete Google fanboy, I still purchased iPads for my school. And upgraded teacher laptops with windows devices, not Chromebooks.

What I’m saying is that I am for flexibility. I am for children learning with different technologies, different operating systems, different interfaces.

I could go on. I could specify what I think the pros and cons are for the different devices I have mentioned. But there’s a wider point here. As teachers we are inherently positive people. We teach for a reason – we believe we have something to offer our children – that education is a gift, something that will benefit them, give them knowledge and maybe even hope for a better future.

If we start defining ourselves by what we are not, or by what we don’t do, then we diminish ourselves. Unless we are dismissing items and actions that are inherently evil, we should stick to emphasising what we are for.

And neither iPads or Chromebooks are evil, are they?

2 thoughts on “On the idea that a device can be ‘evil’”

  1. This is something that never ceases to amaze me, the belief that a device or platform can be unpleasant as opposed to not good.
    The same has been said of Facebook or ask.fm – it is the use which is unpleasant not the platform. A device may well be misconfigured or poorly managed – it maybe of a low specification but those choices were made when the device was purchased – to suggest that it is evil or saintly for that matter is absurd.

    Like the author I also believe that children should be exposed to a variety of devices and operating systems as their future working life will most likely involve a mix which means we should, as far as possible, prepare children for this.

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