Effective reflection is, according to schon 1983 “the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning” as thus I must continue to assess the genuine value of my product in what will be its genuine context, the educational sector.
The education sector, is both internally funded (from donors, and parents associated with schools) or externally funded via the government.
The government has banded schools into three categories. For example, for secondary schools, the median funding for areas outside London with low levels of deprivation is £5,021, rising to £6,849 for high levels per student. However, the data is not given for academies, which are outside local authority control and have larger budgets, so the figures do not give the whole picture. (BBC News, 2014)
In terms of my product, it is interesting for me to note that, in the schools where the area is considered ‘ Socioeconomically disadvantaged’, and there is a greater need for education in subjects such as money handling, there is more funding available per student. What adds to the value of my product significantly is that it is available for those with greater need of it.
‘Students are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged if they participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program or if neither parent graduated from high school. The National School Lunch program provides free lunches to students whose family income is below 130% of the federal poverty line; it offers reduced-price lunches to students whose family income is between 130% and 185% of the poverty line. Lunch program participation is often used as an indication of family income levels at the school.’
If we look at the Local authority attainment data for pupils eligible for free school meals in 2012 then by this definition, Coventry alone had a significant 24.8% average uptake for free school meals in 2012. So for almost 1 in 4 students comes some spare cash towards educational resources, such as PshMe.
For a product to be innovative it needs to do more than simply sell however and make a valuable impact.
As discussed before the department of education states that ‘All school’s must teach PSHE’ so this would suggest a value on the subject itself. But what value would my resource have, on completion, within education?
Existing PSHE software ‘My world’ was praised in its use by Chosen Hill school.
The Student Mentoring link (within the software) has been used by several pupils, with one or two emailing in regularly. The mentors themselves have gained much from the experience and have said that it has enabled them to appreciate others much more and has modified their behaviour in school: they made front page of the local paper for their work on anti-bullying!
Although in many ways this software is different to the one that I am developing, this provides some evidence as to the impact of technology in the teaching of PSHE and that in can indeed have social value.
As this interview was not endorsed by ‘MyWorld’ this further enhances the validity of this case study.
Thinking back to my own product, I have yet to find educational software that uses the same technology as PshMe so it is difficult to estimate the value of this product specifically in this way.
However, to test the value of my own product, I used the technique that I discussed in an earlier blog as slightly more personal and more likely to provoke honesty. The interview.
Unfortunately via the internet, I asked the primary school head teacher back at my old school what his initial thoughts were on my product which I sent over to him by post
Other than the obvious weaknesses in using email to gain feedback , asking some one of which I have personal attachment too is not reliable enough to run a whole business off. However some of the things he said, mainly that it fits into the current contextual industry that he is exposed to everyday suggests that it is worth developing further.
I now need to begin developing a business plan of how, who, why and where I will sell to.
Barksfield,J. (2013). Chosen Hill School case study. Available: http://www.pshe-association.org.uk/content.aspx?CategoryID=1144. Last accessed 4th March 2014.
BBC. (2014). What does the schools spending data show?. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12175480. Last accessed 4th March 2014.
Great Schools. (2014). Socioeconomically Disadvantaged. Available: http://www.greatschools.org/definitions/ca/data_definitions.html. Last accessed 4th March 2014.
Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, How Professionals Think In Action, Basic Books.