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What’s That…

February 15, 2009

After a few initial teething problems getting started with Glow, we’re now able to get going with GlowMeet in school and the pupils’ immediate reaction has been very positive. Even better, other pupils are seeing the tools in action and want in!

My first year class managed to get into GlowMeet during their lessons on Wednesday and Thursday this week. The first period was very much about getting them to log in and then letting them play. The highlight for me was rigging up the webcam so that I appeared on their monitors. I know I’m no Brad Pitt, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the chorus of horrified screams that ensued! More relevantly, the pupils are really excited at being offered the ability to video conference. I get the impression from their comments that they cannot believe ‘school’ would let them do something ‘cool’ like this… and I must admit to having mixed feelings at their reaction.

glownavbubbles.gifPart of me is really enjoying their delight at the novelty of the experience: they have been arranging to ‘meet’ online after school so they can use their own webcams, and are coming in next day to get Glowing. I am delighting in the way they have picked up on the ‘messenger’ facility in GlowLearn to share hints. tips and gossip as they teach each other how the Marratech software works. I am really delighting in the fact that I am introducing the class to something that is, beyond doubt, completely new to them. This will pass and by this time next year, I expect the kids to be as non-plussed about GlowLearn and video-conferencing as they already are about DVDs and TV in the class… but at the moment, it’s great to see such a positive reaction.

But… part of me is also a little saddened that the enthusiasm is because the tool is new to them, and it really shouldn’t be. Given the prevalence of free networking tools, there really is no excuse for schools not to be levering them for pupil use. Joint working using Marratech and the like should be the norm, not some specialist one-off experience… and for me, this was no more explicitly demonstrated than when I turned round on Thursday to see the 2nd year class who were using the library for a book-swap period staring at, and discussing, the work on Glow Meet that my own class was engaged in. I cannot describe the scene adequately, but I could not believe the incredulity of the 2nd years. They were genuinely stopping in their tracks to watch and come to terms with the work/investigation that my own class were engaged in. I also ended up fielding a variety of questions about Glow and have to admit to feeling uncomfortable when it came to saying that the S2 class couldn’t get on to Glow yet…

One thing is for sure. Pupils in my school are beginning to realise that there’s something new in the offing, and they are curious and keen to learn more. It’ll be up to the teachers to ensure that they find the means of using Glow in the most meaningful and engaging way possible because if they don’t, it’ll be a long time before something else comes along with as much potential to change education for the better.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    March 14, 2009 3:44 am

    I’m completely intrigued by Glow and want to know more. Where can I find info? I’m involved in a class to help me get more ‘tech savvy’ and am loving all I’m learning. Want to know how I can make it all available to my students with the limited access to technology that we have on our campus. I want my students to come in “ready to Glow”, like yours!

  2. mikeybbz permalink
    April 14, 2009 8:55 am

    I’m looking forward to using it more next year, it sounsd like it could be really useful.
    -new blog by the way, my PA one seems to have vanished?

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