Tuesday, May 23, 2006

eLive 2006 ACfE meets SSDN

eLive 2006 A Curriculum for Excellence Meets SSDN
Stuart Robertson

{It seemed to work the last time… so here’s a session I attended. My comments – as opposed to what Stuart was trying say – are in curly brackets. :-)}

Seven design principles for ACfE – the first is interesting: Challenge and enjoyment. Putting fun into the curriculum.

NGfL back in 1998 tried to do some of the things that we are still trying to do with SSDN, but perhaps trying to be smarter now. Three parts to what we are trying to do:
  1. Interconnect
  2. Content delivery
  3. Intranet
1. Interconnect
Using SuperJANET to get good, reliable broadband connections throughout Scotland. All 32 authorities, HMI, SQA and BBC (plus others?) are now all connected. This is the Content delivery structure – essentially this is there.

3. Intranet
RM got the contract to develop this. This includes an authentication system/user directory, a virtual learning/teaching environment and a collaborative area. Stuart thinks that this will drive the development/delivery of ACfE.

The Authentication system will eventually deal with millions of people (pupils, teachers, parents…). Will allow controlled access to local resources as well as central resources. This will include access from home… or anywhere with an Internet connection. It will allow collaboration between individuals and groups on the system. Will provide video/audio conferencing, newsgroups/discussion groups, chat rooms {Although by default this will be turned off! Hmm! DM}, web authoring, voice over IP, virtual whiteboards… all sorts of stuff.

2. Content Delivery
VLE – with assessment tools {Nationally produced multi-guess? Hmm! DM}, pupil tracking, personal space for pupils {Will pupils use a limited systems with no chat etc. when they already use MySpace/MSN Chat/…? Hmm! DM} and publishing/presentation tools.

ACfE and SSDN – making the links. Look at the ACfE website and check out the literature review written by Donald Christie and Brian Boyd. More about how we teach rather than what we teach.

The environment for learning is the key thing. For instance “giving pupils their voice”. How do we do this while still achieving a balance between what pupils want to learn and the curriculum government would like to deliver. SSDN will give loads of tools to allow pupils to find their voice with a national (international?) audience.

The choice of learning approaches problem solving, collaborative learning. Relevance: can pupils relate learning to their own needs. Is there a balance to be struck though between allowing pupils to follow their own interests and curriculum authorities giving direction. Motivation is key. Marc Prensky quotes a student who said, “every time I go to school I have to power down”. Can ICT tools enhance and transform learning? {One example given was of Interactive Whiteboards. Is this an example of bolting new stuff onto the old way of doing things that Alan was talking about? DM}

Co-operative and collaborative learning. Will SSDN and the culture of sharing it supports help this? Perhaps encourage peer learning among teachers as well as among pupils.

Problem based learning: real challenges, real problems – solved as individuals or collaboratively. Will SSDN help foster the motivation needed? Genuine “need to know stuff”.
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.Eric Hoffer

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John said...

Hi David,
love theHmm! s, on target. I hope SSDN doesn't turn us inward when we might be better looking outward. I have not found an indication of how SSDN will go on that one, was there an indication?
I think another problem SSDN does not address (and may not be trying to) is the digital divide. The assumption that children are all living this fantastic online life doesn't tally with my experience (it obviously does tally with other observers' experience), nor with quite a lot of cctv footage. I worry we are giving more support to the haves (have a computer in their bedroom) instead of engaging the have nots.

Digitalkatie said...

I agree with the 'hmmm's. I found this talk a bit disappointing for these reasons. I can't imagine pupils rushing in eagerness to see their unpersonal uninteresting webpage complete with timetable. Now if they add in RSS and atom feeds, links to flickr pics, writely docs, delicious bookmarks, IM facilities, and ways of checking their own email from one portal (like netvibes.com or goowy.com) as well as adding pics and changing the look and feel, then maybe just maybe the kids might like it!

Ewan McIntosh said...

But then, Katie, they can do all that already. And some of them do it already. So what can SSDN add to the mix? Well, it could a lot. I just wonder whether it's too reactive and not proactive enough a project to not just keep up with the real world but to surpass it.

David said...

Hello John

I still find the detail of what will actually be delivered by both SSDN and ACfE a bit vague. Both sound promising but both have potential to disappoint by not really delivering anything substantial. Hmm! :-)

I don't think addressing the digital divide is really part of their remit. Seems to be even more of an issue for primary aged children than secondary aged. A very high percentage of households with teenagers have Internet access.

Hello Digital Katie... and Sean

I worry that SSDN could be constantly playing catch-up with the tools that the children are already using - that it will be reactive rather than proactive. Hmm! :-)

David said...

Hello Ewan

Tee hee. Your comment was posted while I was writing my reply. :-) "Proactive rather than reactive". See I was listening!

...I thought you were going out for a birthday meal. WHat are you doing replying to blogs?

Bob Hill said...

David...you talk about whiteboards and old methods... I am afraid that is happening. SSDN will not change the methodology. It is just a portal and a set of tools. Teachers will have to change their attitudes. The SQA will have to change its assesments (4 or 5 year cycle). Who will change first?

Jeremy said...

Definitely some of the most significantly placed hmmm’s seen in curriculum development in Scotland.

Interesting to see level of anticipation for SSDN.

David said...

Hello Bob

The SQA change? - I think that needs another hmm! :-)

Hello Jeremy

Hmm! :-)