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It’s Not About Classrooms Anymore…

February 1, 2009

It has been a long time in coming, but Perth & Kinross are now starting to implement Glow. From the time I first heard John Connell talk about the Scottish Schools Digital Network (SSDN), I knew it was going to be a game changer and after my Mentor Training I’m even more excited to get glowing.

Just over a week ago, I had the fun of undergoing my two days mentor training for Glow in preparation for ‘going live’ this coming week. My pupils’ names are in the system ready to be added to the school, and by Wednesday, I will be taking my first tentative steps (or more accurately, mouse-clicks) into the future of Scottish education. What struck me was the simple fact that Glow is an integral part of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. I’ve long thought that succesful CfE implementation means embracing technology and it was encouraging to have this confirmed at the mentor training.

For me, the real thrill lies in what Glow represents. It is an acknowledgement that where and how we learn has profoundly and irrevocably changed. For my classes, the promise of the internet that I first glimpsed when I saw Google for the first time, has finally been realised.

Ipod_1Glow.pngGlow is not perfect. It is, to be kind, clunky and more than a little unwieldy. It needs a serious going over from someone who understands GUI protocols (I wonder if they can afford Jonathan Ive, or if he does pro bono work?), and yet, for all these flaws, it is a thing of great beauty to me. Think ‘The Wright Flyer‘ or the ‘Mark I iPod’ and then think what both these went on to become. Now think Glow and marvel at what it too will become. Glow2.0 has already been hinted at by Laurie O’Donnell of LTS, and I’ve heard a few rumours of the intended capabilities, but for now I’m happy to try the tools offered by Glow1.0.

I’m also going to declare a vested interest here. My oldest boy, Andrew (a.k.a.: munkeeb) is in my English class (neither of us had any say in the matter!), and so he will be one of the first to try Glow in Perth & Kinross. From my point of view, he will give me an invaluable and honest insight into how Glow appears to the ‘average’ pupil, and I’ll also have Mrs W’s rather astute input to keep me (and hopefully Glow) in check.

Whatever happens, I intend blogging about it here. I’m not aware of any other English teachers blogging about Glow (Please correct me and provide links!), so hopefully I’ll be able to offer a few thoughts about how Glow can be implemented in an English classroom. One thing I already know is that, if I don’t change the way I teach when using it, then I might as well not bother!

I’ll be posting some lesson ideas before the end of the week, and will also be using some of the Glow groups to share what I find. Here’s hoping I’m up to the challenge of starting the changes… because if I don’t, Mrs W is going to make my life a living hell! 😉

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2009 11:52 pm

    I am with you on the clunky Neil more so than an original iPod:-)

    I am just going to bite my tongue about this now. Watching mentors being trained I think glow could be a game changer because it will bring ‘all that good stuff’ to the attention of the majority of folk in Scottish education. A lot of them will not see the lack of finesse and design, they will hopefully just see the power of communication and community that ict can bring to the classroom.

  2. John Connell permalink
    February 2, 2009 8:47 am

    All of which means, Neil (and John), that now is the time to be trying to influence what might be around the corner with Glow 2. Whatever you do, don’t bite your tongue and don’t sit back and wait for others to tell you what will or won’t be in the next version.

    Some of the issues for the next iteration are, undoubtedly, about technology (core and interface, and more) but, if you think about it, some of the biggest issues will be around the fact that some authorities (such as your own, Neil) are only now starting to roll the thing out. So, what are the implications of a re-procurement, a re-design, a re-thinking arond what Glow 2 (or Glow 2.0) might be for those authorities, and especially for all those teachers dipping their toes into technology for the first time.

    For what it’s worth, my guess would be that issues around transition form 1.0 to 2.0 will be at least as important as, and perhaps more important than, the technology issues.

    Now is the time to get talking about it all 🙂

  3. John Connell permalink
    February 2, 2009 9:08 am

    I should never write comments first thing on a Monday morning (writes he, as he types yet another comment on a Monday morning). Between typos and a tone that borders on the patronizing, the above does not express what I intended it to express, namely just some thoughts generally on the need to influence Glow 2 now rather than the avuncular advice for Neil and John that it sounds like but is most certainly not supposed to be.

    The last point is the important one, since I believe the Scottish edublogging community can help to lead the conversation around the next iteration – that same community can also help to ensure that the conversation is a national one, is transparent and is open to all of those who wish to participate in the discussion.

  4. February 2, 2009 11:10 am

    I’ll be fascinated to read how you change English stuff, Neil – and I’m horrified that you have to teach your own son! My PT made sure I never had to – though Mr B coped with both of them.
    But I shall also be interested to see if the former colleagues with whom I keep in touch are Glowing away any day soon – for I never hear them mention it, for all that they know my interest in technology.

  5. February 2, 2009 5:00 pm

    “I’ll be fascinated to read how you change English stuff, Neil ”

    Me too ! *jumps up and down*

    Now if only we can actually get an answer from Moray about when GLOW will start training let alone go live up here!

  6. Jen permalink
    February 20, 2009 12:19 am

    Hi Neil, I’ve just completed my Glow mentoring training, but there are some kinks in the mix preventing me doing more than talking to people about it.

    There are any number of staff keen to get their hands on Glow, but the general consensus once they look at it is that it’ll be better to have material ready for the pupils before they see it, just to give them something to look at.

    Got ideas already bubbling away. S2 History research JFK assassination and perform a news bulletin, complete with experts and eyewitnesses. Throughout their research, they want to talk about “Who did it”. Sounds like a perfect discussion board topic.

    My friend the Art teacher is currently working with Jonathan Ives’ designs for Higher Art and Design. She’s desperate for a Glow Meet!

    PE dept wanted to set up an interactive website showing videos and homework. They’re now pulling all their resources together to decide what will go on Glow and what will go on the web.

    Want to adapt my own Scotland History/Mystery investigation / Information Literacy lessons for Glow, but need Glow Learn training first.

    Our Catalyst teen book awards will definitely get a Glow Group, but we need a home for it first.

    However, I’m used to designing my own layouts. I don’t want someone else deciding them for me so I find that quite frustrating. I’m looking forward to Glow 2.0, a bit more interactivity and freedom of design. Interesting that the National Site information is just the webpage.

    I’m also looking forward to them spelling my name correctly 🙂

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