Not since that day in 1779 when Ned Ludd, with the aid of a hammer, vented his frustrations on a pair of knitting machines has the future of technological advancement been so under threat. As a consequence, my classroom resembles a scene from the spy drama Spooks. The children are silent and the doors are closed to passing ears. Some serious shit is about to go down.
"We are here because of a crime against progress, a kick to the groin of educational achievement," I tell the class. "And the worrying thing is all the evidence points to it being an inside job; a fifth columnist; an enemy infiltrator bent on undermining the system from within."
I shift my steely gaze from face to face in search of duplicity. After all, this is the third time the nib from my interactive whiteboard pen has disappeared in less than a week.
The irony is that our ICT leader, Miss Cyborg, suspects me of sabotaging it myself. She is of the opinion that anyone over 50 should be kept away from technology for its own safety and suspects my interactive whiteboard problems are part of an elaborate double bluff. Consequently, she is keeping her eye on me. Her left eye. The one capable of firing a high-intensity laser beam that could fry my brain.
Actually, this latest effort to undermine my technological capability is just one in a series of attempts to sabotage our school's ICT resources. It all began with an audacious attack on the computer suite. The attack (code name: Three Blind Mice) involved an unknown saboteur (code name: Farmer's Wife) cutting the tails off three computer mice with a pair of craft scissors.
A top-level inquiry was held and several suspects were brought in for questioning. Comprehensive interrogations took place but nothing could be proved. It was decided that in order to mitigate a growing sense of crisis, an emergency assembly should be held. The importance of caring for our school was reaffirmed. Misguided concerns about grassing up friends were assuaged.
Unfortunately, despite an initial flurry of accusations, we have as yet been unable to ascertain the identity of the person or persons responsible. More worrying still, the scale and incidence of attacks has increased. A second strike on the ICT suite (code name: Operation Three Castrated Mice) saw three more computer mice rendered impotent. Their ability to right click, left click or even move the cursor around the screen had been neutralised. An examination revealed that the affected mice had no balls.
As a result of this latest attack, frustration and anger among staff and students is turning to paranoia. Suspicions have been raised. Unfounded allegations have been levelled. And innocent acts have been deliberately misinterpreted.
"What are you doing?" Miss Cyborg asks. Her voice stops me in mid-blow. It is mechanical and devoid of feeling; the voice of someone not entirely human.
"There seems to be a malfunction," I say. "I see," she replies. "And you believe repeatedly hitting the whiteboard projector with a metre stick will cure this malfunction?"
"It may have overheated...because the filters are blocked...and I thought a few firm taps..." My voice falters under Miss Cyborg's glare. There is a whirring noise like a camera lens making a final adjustment. Her left eye begins to glow red.
Steve Eddison is a key stage 2 teacher at Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield.