Getting out of the box

30/04/2012 3:03
Getting out of the box

If you can’t contact me in the next hour I’m on my way down to Silverton Primary with some insulated bolt cutters to cut of the power feed to the school. It seems its the only way. An XBOX in the playground…… cosmopolitan…. maybe they can hook the kids up with some games that emulate playing in a playground, running, jumping, socialising, interacting with each other and their environment, or they could stop staring at the screen and turn round….ahhh… there’s the real thing. 

Just in case your wondering, the last time  I checked there were suggestions that  twelve different forms of intelligence had been identified and you’d really be pushing the definition to suggest “interacting” with computers was the logical-mathematical aspect.  I do recognise that we live in a world that increasingly requires computer literacy as a basic vehicle for material success…..however, the ability to interact with a computer is a skill, not a life, and is definitely NOT creative.  Focussing solely on computer interaction as a measure of success does the children a serious disservice, although starting to train the potential worker at an early age is great for our corporate world…

Excerpts below -the full article can be read from the link above   

“XBOX is the new hopscotch at Silverton Primary School. Set into the outside wall of the toilet block, along with a Wii, it signals a new approach not just to lunchtimes, but to learning. Uproarious laughter, I just fell off my chair.

There are two rules. Number one: Pass the remote to the next person after your turn and go to the end of the line. Number two: Don’t fight. Both are upheld without fuss. After all, these children are digital natives who adapt faster to emerging technologies – and their rules – than their parents and teachers.

Nor is Xbox the only lunchtime play option for Generation Z  (Generation What???, You’re making that  up!, or regurgitating someone else’s limited creativity. Also I think the authors trying a bit to hard to sell data masquerading as a story). Silverton Primary also has a television studio and radio station and students are welcome to do some music editing or recording when the suites are free.

Radio station 87.5FM broadcasts within a two-kilometre radius of the school and attracts a fiercely loyal following. Its listeners, aka proud parents, tune in their car radios at the school pick-up. They might end up the talent; interviewed by their children in a ”live cross” at 3pm. The students have carte blanche to broadcast whatever and whenever they like, although they are taught safety guidelines, such as not to use surnames on air. They chat about life and the future.

Principal Tony Bryant can recall only one hiccup, years ago, when a student jumped into the studio fired up after a defeat on the soccer pitch and went crook about a teacher from the opposing school he reckoned had cheated. ”We trust our kids a lot,” Bryant says.

If Silverton Primary has a mantra, it’s that the curriculum needs to be authentic. ”That’s why there is a TV studio, sound recording studios, a big instrumental music program,” he says. ”Our main aim is to have an actual environment, rather than kids sitting at a desk.”

In 2009, Silverton Primary was one of only 12 schools in the world to be named a ”mentor school” by Microsoft (that explains A LOT). The computer giant’s Innovative Schools program selects schools that are ground-breaking in their use of technology to mentor other schools around the globe. Former British minister of state for schools and learners Jim Knight has described Silverton Primary as ”unbelievably inspirational”. (I would have stuck with unbelievable)”I only hope that we can replicate what you are doing here back in the UK.”

In many ways, Silverton Primary School is an improbable global role model. For one, it is in Noble Park North, a low-socio-economic suburb in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. The government school has children from 38 cultures, 68 per cent from a non-English-speaking background. It used to struggle to get kids to show up at school, and when they did they were disengaged and performed poorly academically. But today, Silverton Primary is being used as an international template (why did the word honeypot spring to mind?) of how schools can provide the sort of 21st century skills employers are demanding. A paraphrasing of grist for the mill……..

…sorry I can’t be bothered presenting any further excerpts. This garbage makes my eyes bleed, my brain recoil……so how about I once again let Sir Ken say it all for me….


Tess Michaels