Monday, 17 October 2011

ICT Scotland Summit

I'm keeping a very close eye on what's happening in Scotland at the moment. Looks like change is in the air with regards to Glow. Today a summit was held between educationalists from across Scotland to decide on the approach to ICT in Scotland and therefore the future of Glow. The Scottish minister has already made announcements, changes coming into force in 2012. Looking at a system of smaller tools 'glued' together. Not a 'one solution' solution. Sounds very familiar to what's going on in Wales? I wasn't able to attend the summit in person, but did watch on a video stream. Interesting stuff  - have a look at this website for further info on what the current thinking is in Scotland.

It was very interesting to read comments from teachers about Glow - great frustration and anger. Read this and then take some time to go through the comments at the end.

This is definitely one to watch. Wales must learn from the positives and mistakes / problems of others.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Welsh Government - Cyberbullying Guidance

The Welsh Government have just released general guidance on bullying, which includes a document on cyberbullying. Worth a read if you are a school wanting to revisit your esafety policy.

My Macbook

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Inanimate Alice - Digital Literacy

Stumbled upon this last week. Inanimate Alice is an educational website for 10 to 14 year olds. Through a  series of 4 videos we follow the life of a child called Alice over a period of about 6 years. The interactive 'flash' videos are stunningly put together using beautiful graphics, powerful sound effects and music. Looks like a great resource to talk about digital literacy with pupils and plenty of opportunities for ICT to support literacy work. I could think about many exciting ways to use a presentation package like PowerPoint to support this work, along with rich opportunities for planning and creating video and digital images. Have any of you had experience of using it? end2

"They Want The Shiny New One"

I've just been reading this very interesting article from the New York Times entitled 'Inflating the Software Report Card'. It highlights the way educational software companies cherry-pick scientific research results on their products proving how they improve pupil performance. It also looks more widely at thorny issue of wether technology can really improve standards, not just improve levels of pupil engagement. Something I believe BECTA even struggled to prove. I've titled this blog "they want the shiny new ones" as it comes directly from a quote in the article by one of the software publishers, when referring to schools approach to purchasing equipment/software. This leads quite nicely onto a recent conversation I had with a deputy head of a primary school who was telling me about a conversation he had with an ICT co-ordinator in another primary school. They were both talking about Apple iPads in the classrooms, many schools now having or about to purchase these across our authority. The co-ordinator said this to him, after trying out an iPad with his pupils. "Instead of spending £400 on an iPad, I'd get more use out of 400 Pritt Sticks!"  Now, this wasn't from a 'long in the tooth', cynical primary school teacher. This was from a fairly young, tech-savy ICT co-ordinator. I actually felt quiet refreshed by this attitude, as I've seen too many schools jumping on the iPad 'band wagon' or other latest fad, without really having an idea what they are going to do with the new technology. Many just seem to want the 'shiny new one' without having an idea of what they want to do with it or whether their staff are ready for this technology. It would be better if some of them had a vision for ICT in their school, a plan on how to achieve that vision, and that they use the existing (and considerable in many of cases) ICT resources they had in their school effectively and fully first. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not an iPad hater, or any other technology solution, I just want schools to think about purchasing decisions and not be swayed by 'the shiny new one' unless it is right and appropriate for their staff and pupils.