Tag: ukedchat

#ukedchat #fail: TES attempts takeover cover-up whilst Pearson muscles-in on grassroots Twitter teacher CPD.

Fail Whale

Every Thursday night on Twitter there’s an hour-long conversation around the hashtag #ukedchat. The idea is that interested parties (mostly teachers) vote on what they want to talk about relating to UK education (almost always UK schools) and a moderator keeps things on-track. It’s a bit anarchic and intense, but worth it. I dip in and out and have moderated one session on the purpose(s) of education. Afterwards the moderator tries to ‘tell the story’ of what was discussed, including the most influential (usually the most reteweeted) tweets. It’s a fantastic example of grassroots innovation and, dare I say it, even a form of CPD.

But.

Last night the topic was the Pearson learning awards, hosted by someone from Pearson. I wasn’t the only one who thought that was a bit strange and that #ukedchat seemed to be going in a new direction. Low and behold I received a couple of Direct Messages (DMs) that suggested not only was Pearson muscling in on the success of #ukedchat but that, in fact, the Times Educational Supplement (TES) was taking over the running of the weekly discussion. Those who had been told were hushed to secrecy.

Being committed to open education and transparent practices I decided to, without revealing the names of those who told me, inform those involved in #ukedchat discussion. Things were already going so awry that the moderator had decided to switch topics half way through the hour. It was an example of companies doing social media in completely the wrong way. Whereas for-profit organizations such as Scholastic and BrainPOP! really do get social media as being about openness and conversation, the TES and Pearson seem to have conspired to commodify #ukedchat in an underhand, Machiavellian way.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am, despite the claims of the TES to the contrary, that #ukedchat – an example of grassroots innovation by teachers, for teachers – has been effectively ‘sold off’ behind closed doors. Part of the problem is that busy teachers are delighted when a big name comes in and is interested in their enterprise. What often occurs, and my teaching career is littered with examples of this, is that companies become parasitic upon the goodwill and enthusiasm of teachers. They take what they can and suck the life out of it.

Teachers, don’t let this happen. Strike for better pensions on the 30th November and, if necessary, set up a new #ukedchat. You’re worth it.

(I’ve curated tweets from that hour using Storify here)

#ukedchat TONIGHT about #purposed

As you’ll already know, #ukedchat is a weekly hour-long Twitter chat on a Thursday night between 8-9pm GMT. This week I’m guest moderating on the following topic:

What’s the purpose of education? Are we heading in the right direction?

Step 1

Watch this:

Step 2

Download TweetDeck (also Google Chrome version), use TweetGrid or use Twitterfall (my favourite) to follow the hashtag #ukedchat. More on that here.

Step 3

Join in! Read, respond, debate. It’s fast-paced!

If you like this, then you’ll want to follow @purposeducation, the hashtag #purposed and sign up to the newsletter at http://purposed.org.uk

Update

Here’s my summary with the entire archive of tweets here:

An extremely difficult hour to summarise given the frantic pace of the tweets! There was certainly a feeling that the purpose of education is much more than simply gaining ‘good’ examination results; most weren’t happy with the way education is heading in the UK. Although there was a strong anti-Gove sentiment, the overall tone of the discussion and debate was positive, with a sense that there was enough grassroots feeling to make educators’ voices heard in Whitehall.

‘Confidence’, ‘passion’ and ‘skills’ were perhaps the most used words in 140-character contributions to the question of what constitutes the purpose of education. Tweets mentioning the importance of holistic education, of equipping young people with the ability to learn how to learn, and of raising aspirations were among the most retweeted.

Many contributors mentioned how refreshing it was to discuss the fundamentals rather than ‘the latest web 2.0 tool’. Although some expressed frustration at only have 140 characters to express themselves (along with the speed of the updates) there was an almost-tangible sense of people thinking deeply about their beliefs as educators about the purpose of their profession.

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