Hepburn (2012)

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Hepburn, H. (2012) Net losses. TESS, 31-Aug-2012. http://is.gd/fVMvKv (accessed 7-Sept-2012)

A report based on a survey of technology policies all 32 local authorities in Scotand, relating to YouTube, mobile devices, social media, wi-fi and file sharing web sites. In most cases the replies to the survey was a direct or qualified “no” to use of Facebook or file-sharing websites, and a determination to confine schools to using Glow, the Scottish national schools’ intranet. Smartphones are also routinely banned.

The survey shows that, even where schools do have access to YouTube, teachers are expected to exert tight control. West Dunbartonshire says it can be used in classrooms - but on each occasion a risk assessment has to be carried out - while Fife will allow whole classes to use YouTube, but not individual pupils.

The article gives voice to criticism from teachers and educational organisations and a pupil. One critic describes the situation in Scotland as “educational apartheid”. Another claimed that in parts of Scotland fear of being unable to police the situation is trumping the prospect of exploring new educational vistas. A teacher says that policy makers in some authorities have little or no understanding of new technology and that they need to keep staff and students away from the internet and within Glow.