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Glow Learn

June 14, 2007

I was at the Glow Learn meeting in Glasgow this week and rather than rehash everyone else’s excellent takes on it (see Tessa, Tessa, Gordon and David for starters) I thought I’d share a Damascan moment I experienced at the meeting.

GlowVLEGrabAbout halfway through, my attention was starting to wander from the actual content as I already have a fair idea of the capabilities of a VLE courtesy of having been experimenting with Moodle. Glow Learn does appear to be much more intuitive for producing content than Moodle, but I’d still favour Moodle at the moment for it’s ability to completely randomise tests from the question bank and to set time limits for testing… but then again, these should be relatively easy to implement into to Glow… Anyway… my attention was wandering, and I was watching Paul Smyth and Dawn Adams demonstrate how a test can be made available and how a pupil can access it when I realised that I was watching a real revolution in education.

Only a few years ago, VLE’s were the preserve of institutions like the OU. They existed at the absolute cutting edge of education and the chances of most schools knowing what they are, let alone looking at ways of adopting them, was slim to non-existent… Fast forward to today, and I find myself sitting in a conference room being shown how Glow Learn works and realising that, rightly or wrongly, Glow is going to happen and that it is going to make some of the most powerful tools for education right into the hands of those who can really make a difference: the teachers.

Glow is not perfect… goodness knows I have been openly critical about parts of it in the past (and will no doubt be so again in the future), but it is on it’s way and it does have immense potential as long as we tap into it. I sat in the room watching the demo and realised that there is no going back — that Scotland’s education system is committed to a radical shake-up in the way it develops and delivers learning, and I couldn’t help but think of the the old toast: “Wha’s like us?”

Make no mistake, there is a lot to be done and GLOW is always (I hope) going to be a ‘work-in-progress’, but I continue to be impressed that Scotland is again making a real claim to be the most enlightened and forward-thinking country in the world with regards to education… I wonder what tools we’ll have access to in the next 5 years… maybe a social networking tool that allows our kids to post comments and share ideas and really cool videos they’ve discovered… oh wait… Bebo is banned in schools isn’t it! 😉

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