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The Big E-Learning Questions

Northumberland Church of England Academy - ICT Vision

Northumberland Church of England Academy’s ICT vision statement, as seen by Wordle

Further to my previous blog post setting out what I was going to do at interview, I’m delighted to report that I was successful! Many thanks to my Twitter network for their support. As of next academic year (September 2009) I shall be ‘Director of E-Learning’ at Northumberland Church of England Academy.

This is a significant promotion for me and, as the Academy comes into existence as I assume the role, means I’ve got (almost) a blank slate with which to work. Hence the need for me to have a clear and coherent plan as to the E-Learning ecosystem I want to create.

I’m embarking on a series of blog posts over the Easter holiday period which, provisionally, I’m going to title:

  1. Attendance: what are the pros and cons of SIMS, Serco and Phoenix?
  2. Behaviour: what are the e-options for real-time monitoring and tracking of student behaviour?
  3. Communication: which tools are available to enable anyone within an organization be able to appropriately communicate and collaborate with anyone else?
  4. Design: what are the standards upon which pedagogically-sound learning design can be constructed?
  5. Engagement: which technologies lead to confident engagement in learning?

I have perhaps phrased some of the above clumsily so I’d welcome your feedback! 🙂

Some questions about teaching

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s the start of the new academic year and so naturally a time when I start musing on the whys and wherefores of education. By the end of the academic year I’ve almost come to accept the system as normal but now, at the beginning of the year – and fresh from summer holidays – it all seems rather strange… :-s

  1. Why do we have a system that trumpets ‘personalised learning’, ‘Every Child Matters‘ and the diversity of society, and then insists that each cohort must do better than the last in public examinations?
  2. Can you think of another profession where day-to-day web tools such as Flickr (that have been used unproblematically and without complaint) are suddenly made unavailable by persons unknown (and unaccountable)?
  3. If we know that children learn ‘academic’ subjects best in the morning and do better in artistic, athletic and creative activities in the afternoon, why don’t we arrange our lessons accordingly?
  4. Why must every intervention and way of teaching lead to ‘better results’ (measured, of course, by examination)?
  5. Given that headteachers, colleagues, parents and pupils all know who the very poor teachers are in a school, why is it so difficult to remove them from their extremely important position of responsibility?
  6. Why are politicians in control of the majority of what goes on in education?
  7. What makes a ‘good’ teacher? Should decent results in public retrospectively justify or condemn the methods employed by teachers?
  8. Most private schools do better than state schools. Research shows that this is largely down to smaller class sizes. Why, in a wealthy western world, do we not do something about this?
  9. Do students always know what’s best for them? Shouldn’t professionals guide their option choices and advise them based on experience? Has ‘learner voice’ gone too far?

What would YOUR answers to these questions be?

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15 days of Google answers

EdTechRoundup.com

As regular readers will know, I’m part of a group of educators who come together under the banner of EdTechRoundup. We’re producing a series of podcasts, the third of which features myself and Kristian Still and will be released in the next few days. Over at edtechroundup.com we’re posting 15 days of Google answers. These are responses by the Google UK team to questions posted on our wiki a few weeks back.

At the time of writing this there are three days worth of questions and answers posted:

Day 1Do Google anticipate launching a UK Educators program as Google currently organise the US?

Day 2Will Google be incorporating Jot wikis into their Google Apps packages anytime soon? (it would seem the real answer, despite their response was ‘yes’ – check out my recent Google Sites post)

Day 3Are there plans to bring other Google services into the Apps for Education package (notebook would be particularly useful)?

Your thoughts and comments over at edtechroundup.com are very welcome – please add to the conversation! 😀

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