Gerald Haigh's regular column on leadership issues and information and communications technology (ICT) this week looks at:
Ewan McIntosh and Tom Barrett on bottom-up CPD; Into the future aboard HMS Heppell; 'This is who I am' - 360 People; Race Online 2012 - the last 9 million
Bottoms up! Say goodbye to top-down CPD
Revisit your preconceptions about continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. Traditional top-down in-service training is increasingly being replaced by peer-to-peer learning and support as the professional development method of choice for teachers.
Tweeting for Teachers, by Julie McCulloch, Ewan McIntosh and Tom Barrett, published by the Pearson Centre for Policy and Learning, explores this development and explains the key role played in it by social media. The paper feature the work of familiar social media advocates such as Oliver Quinlan and Dr Neil Hopkin. There are sections, too, on the weekly high-speed, bite-sized CPD Twitter event that is #ukedchat, and on the TeachMeet movement which, surely, is social media made flesh.
Tweeting for Teachers
A different sort of mindset - learning platforms
LP+4, the latest version of the learning platform from Learning Possibilities, was launched in late November. I’ve been looking at some schools trying out the beta (test) version, and there’s a good reaction from teachers and children who very quickly find their way around it.
For me it represents a different sort of mind set. Learning platforms or gateways usually simulate going to school – you go in, under the school banner, and then find where you need to be. This one, however, bypasses that and takes the child straight to a personal page. It’s cloud based, built on SharePoint 2010, and offers children and teachers - in one place - lots of creative opportunities that schools would be hard pressed to offer in any other way.
More on the Microsoft Schools Blog
Sailing into the future on HMS Heppell
Watch Professor Stephen Heppell thinking aloud on schools of the future. He’s aways good value, and in this recent talk on edtalks.org he muses on the way that physical schools seem to take on the lessons of online learning, 10 or 15 years down the line. “The work we were doing with online learning and learning spaces at the end of the 1980s prototyped what education was going to look like in the future,” he says.
It follows that what’s happening with online learning right now is a strong indicator of the nature of the schools yet to come. It’s heady stuff, and raises endless questions about the practicalities and the nuts and bolts. But always, you come back to the basics which are: first, staying with schools as they’ve been for a century isn’t an option: second, proper, wholehearted engagement with technology is essential if schools are to have any place in the lives of young people.
'This is who I am' for students - 360 People
All schools are interested in what are, perhaps misleadingly, called “soft skills” – the qualities that describe a child’s confidence, independence of thought, resilience, ability to work with others. The hope, or expectation, is that everything that goes on in the school, will feed into those qualities. What’s needed though, is a way to pin down, record, review, assess and develop them as they are shown, not only in school but beyond.
That’s what 360 People sets out to do. It’s an online portal that provides space for young people and all the people who work with them, whether in school or beyond, to add evidence to a growing record that says, “This is who I am.” A headteacher on the website says: “They value the opportunity that a school has taken enough care and thought to recognise the importance of work beyond the classroom.”
A key selling point for many will be the fact that the project is led by Mick Waters, who in his time at QCA inspired and won the confidence of teachers.
360 People is available in primary and secondary versions
Nearly there? Race Online 2012 down to the last 9 million
See what you can do to help Race Online 2012, which is digital champion Martha Lane Fox’s campaign to get the UK’s last nine million “unconnected” people online. It has a number of strands, but lately I’ve been talking to some of the people who’ve had computers under the Get Online@Home scheme that provides refurbished equipment at very affordable prices, with extra discounts for those on benefits.
A few minutes’ chat is enough to bear out the research evidence that affordable kit is the missing link for most of the nine million. I’ve heard some great stories – an elderly woman, sole carer of a grandchild with SEN finds her task eased when the child is able to use her computer. A single parent has a real morale boost when her children can engage with their school work at home, like their classmates. An unemployed man finds his retraining and self employment opportunities transformed. There are so many stories, and we’re hoping to tell them in various ways in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you in touch with the links.
Gerald Haigh’s 'Five Things to Think About’ column first appeared in The Times Educational Supplement and then online on the National College’s Future website. Its adoption has been made possible by support from Microsoft UK’s education team led by Tim Bush.
Artwork by Maia Terry