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WebQuests (ICT Integration)

The Wireless School Debate

Wireless technologies have changed the way we work, teach, learn, communicate and exist in society. This activity will provide you with the opportunity to research the pros and cons of wireless technologies in order to defend your position to allow or ban wireless technologies in your own school.


Your School Governing Body is considering a ban on all wireless electronics in your school. Members have received complaints that wireless products like cell phones and laptop computers distract learners in class. If wireless devices are banned, learners and teachers could not use cell phones at school. Laptop computers and wireless internet access wouldn’t be allowed even for educational purposes.

The Governing Body wants to hear from the public about this issue. Then they will vote on whether or not to approve the ban. You must take a stand and prepare a presentation for the School Governing Body to tell them what you think about the proposal to ban wireless devices.


To decide how to begin your research, answer the following questions:
1. What issues will you examine in your presentation to the Governing Body?
2. What type of research will you do as a team to support your beliefs?
3. How will banning or allowing wireless technologies affect learners and staff in your school?
4. How could wireless technologies assist learning and teaching in your school?
5. How could wireless technologies be misused in your school?
6. Is it fair to allow wireless technologies in schools if not everyone has access to them, or can afford them?

Your group will find information about wireless technologies to help you decide your position. Then you will create a PowerPoint presentation that explains the pros and cons of wireless technologies in schools to make your position clear to the Governing Body.

For this assignment, you will work in teams of four and you will divide your task into roles as follows (click on each role for more information):

Cellular Phone Consultant
You will research the pros and cons of cellular phones generally, but apply this information to how cellular phones are an advantage or disadvantage for students during school hours and while they are on the school property. You are an independent consultant and it is not your duty to try to sell phones. Your advice must be free of bias.
Information Technology Manager
You will assist the other members of the team by gathering information from additional sources, books, interviews, magazines, electronic media, and so on, relating to the use of laptop computers and wireless internet access. Information on lap tops is available at the following websites:

» http://www.edutopia.org/php/article.php?id=Art_895
» http://www.sri.com/news/releases/06-22-04.html
» http://rockman.com/articles/LearningFromLaptops.pdf
» http://www.pbs.org/teachers/learning.now/2007/05/schools_drop_laptop_programs_b.html

Consult your school's IT Manager (or similar person) and discuss your role and the information that you require. You will need to convince your team and the audience of the value of wireless networking in your school. However, you should also be aware of the variations limitations and challenges that exist in terms of the technological aspects. Your information must present a well-balanced viewpoint.

School Student Council Representative
Your task is to protect the rights and demands of your student constituency. Gather opinion poll data from the students in your school concerning how they feel about wireless technology. You will have to present a convincing argument to your team and to the Board of Governors, backed up by poll data presented in graphs. A spreadsheet will be a useful tool for you in this task.
Governing Body Representative
Your task will be to represent the Governing Body in this discussion and presentation. You will need to present convincing arguments to support your decision to ban wireless technology. Gather data from the teachers in your school to support your argument. You should include graphs representing the teachers' opinions in your team's presentation. If this data does not support your team's view, find practical solutions to the concerns raised by the teachers and present these in your presentation.


» Information organiser


In this project you will have learnt to consider all sides of an issue - by balancing the viewpoints of consultants and managers as well as the more biased interest groups such as students and Governing Bodies. While synthesizing this information and developing your own informed viewpoint you will also have learnt something about emerging technologies and how these technologies can enhance your learning experience at school.

» Download the Assessment

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