Am I Missing The Obvious?
School starts in a couple of days and having had a bit of an extended break, I thought it about time I broke out MarsEdit and posted something…
Of course, I’m saying that school starts in a couple of days, but I can’t rule out the imminent demise of Western Society caused by the onset of
swine flu, er… Mexican flu, er… the H1N1 virus. One story that has really got me thinking that we are not really looking at the best use of our existing resources is the Times Education Scotland report: Lessons on TV if flu virus hits. Read the article and you’ll find that the Scottish Government is:
…in talks with broadcasters to provide “lessons on air” if schools have to close for lengthy periods to stop the spread of swine flu…
Why? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought we were spending umpty squazillion pounds to introduce the world’s first nationwide digital network in the shape of Glow? Indeed, the last I’d heard, all 32 of Scotland’s Local Authorities had either signed or were doing so imminently (I think it’s Falkirk and Fife who will be the last to sign up — I don’t think it’s a competition!)… so…
On the one hand, I applaud the prescience of the Scottish Government in thinking about the possible impact of a major outbreak of the H1N1 virus… but part of me is wondering why they are looking to use existing broadcasters to carry out lessons when I thought that was one of the major factors in deciding to implement Glow. Having had the real life experience of an ill pupil logging in to join the rest of the class in their lesson, I have to say that there is no real reason we shouldn’t be looking at this as an option for all pupils in the event of a ‘school closing’ epidemic. Indeed, I can’t really think of any good reason for considering using traditional broadcasters for the following reasons:
|Pupils can get lessons from their own teachers!||A handful of ‘super-teachers’ would deliver unpersonalised lecture style programmes.|
|Pupils can get involved — ask questions, chat, share their work, create, interact…||Traditional media doesn’t listen, or respond or interact in any meaningful way.|
|GlowLearn would allow pupils to submit work electronically for assessment/feedback… even better, it would allow pupils to receive work at a suitable level for their abilities.||It’s called mass media for a reason. They target the largest ‘mass’ of the population (in this case pupils)… they cannot possibly hope to produce programmes to suit every pupil at the drop of a hat.|
|Glow is here, it is paid for, it works, it does everything and more we would wish of an emergency system for learning…||Let’s be realistic, short of showing lots of repeats, the programmes they would need to show do not yet exist… and making TV programmes takes time… probably about as long as the outbreak would last…|
So why is anyone seriously talking to traditional media when the solution is already in place. For me, the most depressing thing about the whole Times Ed article is this: Glow was not mentioned once. That is not good enough… What do you think?