Building on… [UPDATED]
The latest installment in the Curriculum for Excellence story is now in the open. Building the Curriculum 1 is the first of the guides to appear that ties in the curriculum areas to the four capacities.
I haven’t had time to do more than give it a quick skim read, and it’s a document that demands some serious study, but one phrase jumped out at me almost immediately and it’s this one:
The use of new technologies opens up exciting opportunities for children and young people to express themselves and acquire new skills…
On the one hand, the powers that are planning and directing the future course of Scottish Education are saying we should be embracing the new tools that we can use to great effect in the classroom, but on the other hand, we have Authorities throwing obstacles in our way. The Argyll and Bute experience is surprising because I’ve always considered it as one of the more enlightened Authorities. [UPDATE: Ewan has pointed out that the problem has been fixed! So I’m glad to hear that A&B are fine!] Indeed, I seem to have a disproportionate number of A&B bloggers in my feedreader. However, I am also aware that their decision to block blogging is not unique.
What I find frustrating in my own authority is the lack of consistency. I can access and comment on WordPress blogs… I can read Typepad blogs, but not comment on them. Some other services, like Blogger, are completely hit-or-miss. The situation is further compounded by the different attitudes in different branches of the council. Having recently given a training session on how to use blogs and wikis, I discovered that the council’s training centre is subject to the council’s IT policy which is not the same as the schools policy. In the schools, I can access blogs (with the exceptions noted above), but in the council, they are all blocked. In the council, I can access online email services, in the schools, they are blocked…
If someone, somewhere says I can’t access a particular site or online tool, then I end up accepting it… but it galls because what I am really beginning to see and appreciate is that across Scotland there is no real joined up thinking going on. We need a debate to start airing the issue. I have read so many Scottish blogs that, at some point or another, have mentioned the limitations and idiosyncrasies of
filtering/blocking censorial software, that it is no longer funny.
Something needs to be done. Someone needs to take the lead and come up with a list of educationally relevant and useful sites and tools that we could all benefit from having access to. There are just too many opportunities for good learning experiences going to waste under the present system…
What do you think? Am I being too unrealistic in thinking we could expect Local Authorities to listen to and act on the suggestions of the people that would end up using these tools? Does their constant filtering undermine the professional standing of teachers?