Monday, January 11, 2010

ICT Lecture at Jordanhill

Today at Jordanhill,we had a couple of chaps along to talk to the Secondary students about ICT developments. First up was Ronnie Rankin talking about Glow.

Now, it has to be said that I have expressed disappointment in the past with Glow, it can be argued that the interface is more than a little clunky and that its uptake has been patchy. However, it should also be said that I am hugely impressed with the ambition of Glow: to connect every school; every teacher; every pupil - into an online community of learners. At the moment, t is perhaps more of a glimmer than a Glow but there are some very interesting glimmers.

Ronnie started with some statistics: by the end of 2008, Glow had around a million logins. By the end of 2009, they'd had over four million logins. That may be fairly small relative to the number of people who could potentially be using Glow but it represents an impressive growth in usage. Rather than just taking about the tools, Ronnie showed some good examples of use. It is good to see people showing actual, successful uses of Glow rather than just showing potential uses.

Next up, Ollie Bray got enthusiastic. {Ollie's default mode is enthusiastic - does he do downbeat?} Again, the best thing about Ollie's bit was the real world examples he showed - loads of simple tools (like Wordle and text generators, like the newspaper generator and other examples from the Generator Blog) with ideas about how they can be used. One really simple idea was to have an image up on the screen as the class comes into the room. Why have a blank screen or a boring desktop image when you can have a powerful, arresting image that will become the focus of pupil chat as they come in?

Next, Ollie went on to talk about societal changes, changes to learners and (perhaps more importantly) changes to learner expectations. For example, he pointed out that pupils will be writing about their teachers (and the student teachers) online and they will be searching for information about these teachers. Are teachers aware enough about Internet safety issues?

Also interesting was that he drew a distinction between Interest and Engagement. If children are interested in something and they have a good teacher, learning will occur. However, if they are not intrinsically interested, a good teacher will try to engage. Ollie's argument was that ICT tools are a great way to work on engagement.

Summary: Loads of good ideas. Loads of good practical ideas. Loads of good, simple, practical ides. I'm looking forward to hearing what the students made of it.


Mosher said...

I'll let you know once I have a chance to watch the online version...

As for GLOW, it was just being introduced in the school I was on placement at. The general attitude was "keen", but it's just too flipping slow and buggy at times. This *could* be down to the school internet, but either way it didn't help staff or student perception. A genuine shame as, you're right, the concept is a good one.

David said...

Hopefully, more people will be aware of Glow and will see it in action on their next placement.

Catriona said...

Hi David - i wish I'd known about this I'd have come along. Good post tho - will share with my colleagues

Catriona said...

btw - didn't really get the robot thing, but u just make sure u enjoy urself!!

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