Fantasy Couriers

The Online Game for people who are up for a Challenge

Twitter to be taught at Schools

Posted by fantasycouriers on April 6, 2009

The Daily Mail is alight today with a story that “Ed Balls will today defend plans to teach primary school children about Twitter and Wikipedia while slimming down content in key subjects.

The earlier children learn about the internet and new technology the better, the Schools Secretary will say, or they will remain in the ‘technological dark ages’.

History and geography will be named ‘historical, geographical and social understanding’ in a new primary school curriculum.

Leaked draft plans, drawn up by former Ofsted chief Sir Jim Rose, show that primary teachers will no longer be required to cover the Romans, Vikings or Tudors in history and could drop both the Victorians and the Second World War.

However, the draft syllabus for English stipulates that ‘media texts’ and ‘social and collaborative forms of communication’ should be covered alongside traditional works of literature.

These should include ’emails, messaging, wikis and twitters’.

Wikis, as in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, are sites that can be altered by users.

Twitter is the social networking phenomenon that requires users to post ‘ microblogs’ just 140 characters long.

Mr Balls will tell the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ conference in Liverpool it would be ‘ nonsense’ to suggest children would learn about Twitter instead of the Tudors and that good teachers can ensure children learn about history and new technology.

‘Of course children should also learn about new technology. In my experience, the earlier they do so, the better,’ he will say.

‘In the same way we have a duty to ensure our children learn about history, we also have a duty to make sure they are not left in the technological dark ages – I believe good teachers are more than capable of ensuring the two things run alongside each other.

‘The modern world and the way in which we learn and absorb knowledge has changed radically and I suspect it will continue to do so.

‘We need to prepare our children and young people not just with knowledge but also with the skills to find information.’

But critics warned against draining lessons of academic content and said most children were accustomed to using modern media at home and needed no encouragement at school.

In his speech to ATL’s annual conference in Liverpool, Mr Balls will say children will be taught ‘a broad chronology’ of historical events such as the War of the Roses and industrial revolution, as well as making in-depth studies.”

Although the tradaitionalists may jump on the bandwagon, this is about more than simply “teaching twitter”.  Social Media networks are the communication method of the futre.  Schools have always been there to teach children the skills that they need to cope with life in the world, in the past this meant learning facts and information, but for the 21st century we have to ask ourselves why we need to “learn” the facts and information when we have permant access to a whole plethora of information on any particular topic.  Not simply the text book facts, the history of WW1 condensed into a simple list of battles and generals, but instead personal accounts and stories, maps, photosgraphs, images, the stories from the other side too, not simply the world according to UK historians.

It has been said many times here and elsewhere, that the challenge for teaching in the 21st century will be teaching children how to sort, sift and rate information.  What is fact, what is opinion, what are ravings by a madman with a grudge?  What is authority and what is unreliable.

We cannot assume that children will “abosrb” this information simply by using PCs at home.  Anyone with teenagers will know that some of the television soaps  almost become a living part of teenagers lives.  We see that reality TV has blurred the lines totally between fact and entertainment.  A new tv/film genre has been created, the docufiction.

20 years ago there was a similar outrage, as maths teachers decided to teach children how to use calculators.  Stating that yes, in reality, as soon as children had left school they would never use a slide rule, or long division, but that those academic principles should still be taught.

Frankly, I personally don’t feel that the world is a poorer place because children now work out Pie using a calculator.

Teaching social media isn’t about switching on, logging in an typing.  Its about teaching the awareness, of communication styles and skills, about gathering  and assessing information.

After all, isn’t the Social Media simply the debating societies of old?  And where as the debating societies were restricted to the priviledge few at universities and private schools, and also with the confidence and skill to talk in them, social media is open to all.

And that, we feel, is no bad thing.


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Shipping Pets by Parcel?

Posted by fantasycouriers on March 27, 2009

New website for shipping pets and animals.

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WoW Players need not apply

Posted by fantasycouriers on February 17, 2009

The job market at the moment is tough, and it seems tougher for some people than others, and in particular World of Warcraft players seem to have been singled out. reports today that employers are specifically requesting recruitment consultants not to send them World of Warcraft players.

The post, spotted cites a recruiter working in the online media industry as saying that employers think WOW players are too sleep-deprived and distracted to be effective in the workplace.

“Employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players,” said the poster. “He said there is a belief that WOW players cannot give 100 per cent because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, et cetera.”

This seems to fly in the face of many recent articles which focus on the positive of MMOG games such as World of Warcraft, where the skills necessary to persevere and suceed in the game are the same types of skills that can develop a hardworking and diligent employee.  Infact President Obama’s cabinet advisors even include WoW players.

But in the meantime, unless you’re after a job leading the country, it may be best to keep World of Warcraft off your CV.

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My Space stamps down on Inappropriate Use by sex offenders

Posted by fantasycouriers on February 4, 2009

MySpace bans 90,000 users after sex offender search reports James Quilter, Brand Republic

“MySpace has banned 90,000 registered sex offenders and paedophiles following an investigation by online security experts. New York-based internet security consultancy Sentinel used a database containing the details of more than 700,000 registered sex offenders to target and remove relevant individuals.

The move is part of an initiative to make the site safer for consumers. Other features will include more sophisticated ways of verifying age and limiting the ability of adults to view the details of under-18s.”

Although sites such as Myspace and Facebook are supposed to be restricted to over 14’s, in reality, many younger people register.  It is virtually impossible for My Space to strictly enforce it’s age limits.  Young people, in particular teenagers, have a certain naivety about them which leaves them vulnerable on websites.  Older users are more aware of the “signals” that what they write, and the images they show, on their profiles, and the messages that these are sending out to other webusers.

 My space is seen as the venue for the older teens, those that have outgrown Bebo, but don’t really suit facebook.  And as such My Space can be misused by sex offenders.  It is reassuring for everybody involved with education and young internet users to see My Space taking such steps.

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Visit us at BETT 2009

Posted by fantasycouriers on January 10, 2009

Online Business Games at BETT

Online Game, Fantasy Couriers, is to be launched into the education market at BETT 2009.

Visit us at Olympia, Stand SW108, from Wednesday 14th January til Saturday 17th January.

Register Here, for a free ticket to the show

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