Saturday, 10 March 2012

What are we actually trying to do?

I went to a 14-19 conference on Monday in North Wales looking at eLearning Platforms. The theme was billed as 'Developing, accessing and making best use of Learning Platforms’ with a secondary school focus.

Everything started as usual; the passionate consultant showing us some cool stuff (some bits were actually quite cool - that's for another Friday), an overview of the latest report detailing strategic decision making and a series of teachers showing how they use a VLE in their teaching. It was all looking so familiar.

The final session before lunch turned the day upside down!
Simon Billington, ICT Advisor for Wrexham, provided an input that was perfectly pitched to engage managers, teachers and even students in the debate on what we're actually trying to do with ICT in education (aka Learning Technology). A perfect stimulus for discussion and decision making!

Simon and staff from CYNNAL (the company providing support services for schools in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn) created a cartoon version of a scenario from the National ICT Strategy Document published by ADEW (Association of Directors of Education in Wales) in December 2011.

The cartoon provides a concrete 'vision' and two simple questions focus on the concrete issues involved:
  1. Is this the sort of 'digital & connected' young person we want to develop?
  2. If yes, who is responsible for providing the elements necessary to make it a reality?
For me, this has got to the heart of the issues we have been circling for a number of years like no other presentation I've seen.
This is something I can use with managers, staff and students in my own institution - brilliant!


Although slightly different for colleges and universities, schools need to consider the responsibilities of the following people for providing the ICT infrastructure; Parents, Teachers, Schools, Education Authority, Local Government and UK Government.

The elements (from the cartoon) that should be in place are:
  • Home:
    • Laptop
    • Broadband (wifi)
    • Social network (web browser)
    • Webcam (telephony software)
    • MP3 player
    • School learning platform (remote access)
      • Timetable
      • Tutor-student messaging
      • eMail
      • Subject resources online
      • Podcasts
      • Videocasts
      • Assignment schedule / submission / marks & feedback
      • Learning log (reflect on achievement / progress)
      • Learning support Forum (Peers)
      • School events bulletin board
      • Cloud storage
      • Office software online
      • ePortfolio
  • School:
    • Books
    • Podcast Resources (internal & external)
    • Personal device Wifi web access (learning platform)
    • LAN (wifi & cable) computers and software
    • Media rich resource / website access
    • Video & audio recording devices (school or personal)
    • Videoconferencing studio

I'm off now to show a video and ask some questions of people within my establishment; clarity and consensus here we come ....


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