Micro and Macro Management of Education

John Connell’s post which briefly touches this subject gives me a chance to suggest that, in spite of the upsurge in ideas here in Scottish education , we should probably pose some practical questions.

Glow will provide us with the national framework for ICT in education, but it will not provide hardware in the classroom. I believe we do have most of the hardware we need in schools. We just need to deploy it differently. Subjects which now control the bulk of the computers do so for historic reasons which do not really apply any longer.

There are some pioneering teachers in classrooms actually using Web 2.0 tools and proving that blogs and podcasts can inspire the curriculum. We need to make it easier for more teachers to follow in their footsteps; perhaps by freeing up the curriculum and assessment requirements. Will a Curriculum for Excellence deliver this?

And finally can our National Qualification system move fast enough to reflect the real world?


5 thoughts on “Micro and Macro Management of Education

  1. As you are hinting, I think the biggest challenges are not hardware, not even getting a Glow that does half the things we want it to do, but getting an attitude to teaching and learning where the learners’ needs are truly leading the learning process. And that isn’t coming easily.

  2. Bob – these are certainly some of the questions that go to the heart of the issue. Ewan is right that much of it is about a change of culture that brings about a shift in attitudes. But your pointer towards our NQ system is also critical, especially in terms of changing the landscape in the secondary sector. Without this, progress will inevitably be slower in that sector because there will be a continual reference to the need to place the chase for qualifications at the heart of the secondary curriculum. Progress here requires a change in the political mindset so that we can move away from the heavy burden placed on our young people by qualifications sausage machine. The universities, of course, have a big part to play here, just as much as attitudes within the schools system itself.

  3. John – you certainly describe the size of the task! And Ewan is right about mindset. However, I believe that if we can start to give teachers the opportunity to use ICT by making it more readily available, then we can perhaps start a ball rolling.

    In many secondary schools the timetabled time for certificate courses in 3rd and 4th year is in excess of that required by the SQA course requirements. Give this time to empowering learners to take responsibility through the use of ICT and Web 2.0 and we might well make them better and quicker learners leading to improving attainment! At the same time, if a Curriculum for Excellence necessitates a change of assessment culture, we might get somewhere.

    If we rely on the usual gestation cycle of the SQA, we may well be using Web 3.0 if not 4.0!

  4. Your question about whether A Curriculum for Excellence will deliver this might be being answered in East Lothian’s Extreme Learning initiative. One of the questions being discussed by the working group is what form the assessment should take. One of the many exciting aspects of this for me is the proposal to remove what we might call formal assessment in favour of a more holistic approach that recognises how well a pupil has done based on his or her abilities.
    It does require a change in mindset, but I think it is integral to us encouraging pupils to redevelop their ability to learn as opposed to regurgitate in order to pass exams.

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