Absence Makes…

I seem to have been absent from this blog for rather too long. John Johnston some while ago referred to the time it takes to maintain a blog and whether or not it is a real life. Another question might refer to a definition of what is “real life”. Is it simply the day-to-day chores of domesticity or is it the adventure of conversing with far flung acquaintances? However a number of people remarked on how nice it was to put faces to blogs at the last Teachmeet gathering. Perhaps cyber contact is not everything.

Meanwhile I have not been entirely idle as I have played a part in setting up the Dundee schools blogging site and just this week we have added a trial wiki site, which is not yet populated. A number of schools are now up and running with their blogs so I am hopeful of some success there. The wiki may take longer to establish. However I am encouraged by the model at flat planet to consider the wiki a really valuable learning and teaching tool.

Glow Scotland has also occupied my time and attention as we completed Phase 2 of the trials and are about to enter Phase 3, using the VLE, and for Dundee alone a two day pilot ofthe mentor training materials. There have been a number of criticisms of Glow, some justified, but there cannot now be a complete rethink and on the whole pupils and classroom teachers have thoroughly enjoyed their Glow experience. There are minor changes which I hope the team will take on board, but it now remains for educators and particularly mentors to use Glow to really enhance the learning experience of all Scottish pupils. Glow is really just a portal and so should be a gateway to a new teaching environment where pupils do acquire the skills and education fit for a world which could be full of unpredicted and challenging changes. The broad thrust of education has hardly changed in 200 years so nothing will happen overnight, but the Curriculum for Excellence delivered with the aid of Glow will mark the beginning of the revolution. What we should not do is to think that teaching the technological skills is sufficient. Technology will always outpace us if we try to do that alone. However, if we use technology, at the moment Web 2.0 tools, to change the style of teaching to suit current learners then education can become much more meaningful to the majority of its consumers.

I suspect that our forefathers were reacting to a thirst for knowledge which could only be satisfied from books. We should be satisfying a similar thirst for knowledge using a multitude of different conduits.


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