And They’re Off…
A little before 3 on Monday afternoon, my 1st year class became some of the very first pupils in Perth & Kinross to join Glow. It was a fun session, and I was really pleased with their obvious enthusiasm for this new (to them) tool.
I know I’m not the first teacher to set a class loose on Glow, but it was a first for me. I’d prepared a handout for them that had their User ID and initial password and was pleased at just how quickly they were able to get online, into Glow and select their own password. After that, I took a few minutes to point them at some of the tools before letting them ‘play’ with the theme settings and have a general explore.
What I liked about the session was the fearless way the class started to poke and click on everything. They are really keen to find out what is possible, and this is good because it means I’m going to be kept on my toes finding engaging uses for the technology… but I am also acutely aware that it is the teaching, not the tech, that matters.
Despite my relatively long involvement as a Glow mentor, the realities of starting a class with pupils cannot, I believe, be overstated. In some ways, I do feel a little inadequate… Glow has so much potential that I want to make sure the pupils get the best return possible on their use of it. I also want to find out, as best I can, if it is making a real impact on their learning.
I’ll be posting some of my lesson ideas and plans here as they develop, but I thought I’d finish my first post with a couple of observations that my pupils made and which may have some bearing on the direction of Glow2.0…
Almost as soon as they’d logged in and started changing the themes, I had 3 or 4 of the class asking if they could add their own ‘skins’. At the moment, this is not possible, but I think this is something that should be looked at for the next iteration of Glow. If it was up to me, I’d be looking at the countless (mostly user-generated) themes available for WordPress. WordPress themes are effectively ‘vetted’ before being made available through WordPress.com, and this should be a relatively easy model for Glow to emulate. And imagine what a great incentive designing themes would be for pupils if they could:
a) completely personalise their own workspace, and
b) see their idea and design being made available for everyone!
The second thing they wanted was a word processor so they could do school work online anytime. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting that one, but it makes perfect sense to me. Bearing in mind that this is the class that use sliderocket (or at least they did until it became a paid app at which point it deleted their slides), and have been experimenting with Buzzword (Google docs are a no no in school), I should have realised they’d be looking for office tools in Glow.
Anyway, the ice has been broken and we’re off on our magical mystery tour. Where are we going to end up — I have no idea, but it’s already promising to be a thoroughly enjoyable journey. Now, how many lessons can you say that about?