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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Eleven Plus and the New Microsoft Xbox One

Your eleven plus child may find some elements of digital technology advantageous. Technology can be used to support assessment, for example, in a number of ways. There is a place for the results of on-line tests to build or even prescribe activities to learn. On-line technology can help to track the progress of what your child is learning.

We have to imagine that there is a set eleven plus syllabus. This can be a remarkably difficult task – almost as difficult as Hercules trying to round up the cattle of Geryon. When I was a child I used to wonder about Geryon who had three heads and three sets of legs all joined at the waist. If you see your child doing a little doodle – and there are three heads and three sets of legs - then you know that he or she is going trying to find a solution!

A set eleven plus syllabus? How can there be one all-encompassing syllabus that will suit all eleven plus children? One `authority – the expert eleven plus teacher’ will maintain that he or she will teach in the right and only way. A different `authority’ will offer another solution. Technology can help some parents and children with a supply of reassuring feedback and assessment.

We know that self-assessment is an invaluable tool because it requires reflection and self-awareness. Some children may find it easier to reflect on on-line results rather than pen and paper achievements. To some the computer and the internet allow a degree of dis-association.

I used to think that `Minecraft’, for example, was yet another computer game. Having had the privilege of watching bright ten year old children building structures, learning coding and discussing their work, I can’t help think that questions on coding should be part of a `modern’ eleven plus syllabus. Programs like Scratch and Makey Makey also help to teach coding and desirable computer based outcomes.

I have not, yet, seen the new Microsoft offering to children – but can’t help feeling that some good will come of these advances in technology. This new Xbox has improved voice recognition, built in Skype and a wonderful sounding `Snap Mode’ which will allow a child to do more than one thing at the same time. Suring the eleven plus `syllabus’ would be richer for these potential learning tools? 

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