Friday, June 09, 2006

Sussex by the Sea

Today I'm at the conference centre at Sussex University giving three (identical) parallel sessions for the East Sussex School Improvement Service (run by CFBT) ICT Conference on Getting Ready for Virtual Learning - there are about 100 delegates here. ESCC's network and infrastructure are run by RM so the idea of an "official" ESCC Moodle presence is a moot point (what with RM offering Kaleidos as their solution for a learning platform). 40 minutes isn't a lot of time to introduce the concept of online learning, explain the government framework it sits in and give a clear idea of what on earth's going on in Buckinghamshire, and on reflection I probably didn't.
Three sessions - the first one full (overran significantly and I spoke too much about Bucks, whoops), the second one three-quarters full (much better) and the last one (the last one on a Friday afternoon, the poor people) was interesting - some people said that to them, a VLE looked like just homework, others speculated that it looked like a lot of teacher preparation, someone else made the point: what's the point of the internal school network?
This sort of thing can involve a lot of preparation, but then I think that many good things do and it's also apparent that a lot of teachers do already do a lot of preparation for all sorts of activities - only to have to repeat much of it the next time they want to do the same or a similar thing. One headteacher of a primary school in Bucks thought that a teacher's PPA time would be ideally suited to the preparation of materials on a learning platform - "otherwise it'll get filled with marking" was his opinion.
So what is the point of the internal school network? Chris Gulker speculates that, ignoring the issues of trust, that more and more people are happy to keep a shedload of personal information and applications on Google, should an LA / RBC simply be providing as-much-storage-as-it-can-lay-hands-on and then enabling schools to use efficient services to exploit this on top of a decent (synchronous) broadband connection. Where would you rather your (not your students', your) e-portfolio was stored? Locally and 'safer' (that's a relative term) on a school network or online?
I'm s'posed to hand in my PowerPoint slides, but since each presentation was different, I may just make a Breeze presentation and do it that way. I wonder when Google (or someone) will bring out an online PowerPoint replacement? Now that Google Minesweeper's out, it can't be long...


  1. Are you aware of any research into the amount of preparation a typical school teacher would be doing in a school with a mature VLE serving an indvidualised learning programme? I have a real concern that it will be far more than is spent now, on preparing resources for whole-class teaching. The result would be a reduction in the time spent actually working with kids; a major retrograde step for education.

  2. Far better would be research into seeing how the "pupils" as well as the teacher are using a learning programme surely...