Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Twenty or so schools in a room

A long day starts with my successfully vacuuming my own car (see previous posting) and ends with a list of twenty schools on a piece of paper.
I collected Tony Richardson from High Wycombe Station and we drove to Chalfonts Community College to meet with Greg Hodgson (Leader for Art at CCC) and Dan China (County Adviser for Art) to show Tony what's been done at the school through the use of the Chalfonts VLE. It was interesting to sit out on the terrace that's rather cunningly built-in to the Art block and reflect on where the school's got to in two years.
Chalfonts run an unendorsed GCSE in Digital Art (moderated by Edexcel)and also run a wide variety of other Art courses that are fully supported by the VLE. I sat back, listened and munched my lunch as the others discussed the use of this sort of technology in teaching art, the fact that the Digital Art courses are packed with boys wanting to do something creative, how the art they create is more "them" - i.e. derived from short videos taken on a mobile than the skull and bowl of fruit they might be expected to draw in a traditional art course, and how the progression from year to year is frightening. As an illustration of this, towards the end of our lunch break we looked at some examples of the VLE work in the digital art room (a room in the Art block equipped with a decent number and spec of computers) - at the end of this we were joined by a Year 7 group who have not long started using Flash after using PhotoShop for a year. They have already been rotoscoping using Flash over digital video - something that the previous Year 10 GCSE students have been doing - so what on earth will these students be doing in Year 10? I can't wait...
After Chalfonts we travelled to Disraeli School for the High Wycombe / Beaconsfield Primary VLE Meeting - something that's been long in the planning and late in the execution (down to me, that one...). I supplied the strawberries and bite-sized cakes and the school provided the conference room, tea and coffee and an excellent impromptu demonstration of Doodle (think Disraeli crossed with Moodle...) by Roz Burch, the ICT co-ordinator. We had about thirty people - as well as sixteen primary schools, representatives from four local secondaries were there, which I hope was useful in some way. Most people took copies of the DfES Learning Platforms - Making IT Personal booklet. I think everyone liked the idea of sharing resources and I think a number of the primaries will join together in a group and work together with the schools in the Aylesbury Vale group - I've already had a couple of emails this evening saying "yes please". The suggestion was made for a monthly afternoon Inset rather than the fortnightly after school Inset sessions that I floated - and that we should pay supply cover. Well, I'm always saying that if SLT in a school are committed to the idea of online learning then they should fund / release staff during the day - so why don't I take my own medicine? Let's see what we can do about funding something like that... (oh, and I forgot to take any decent pictures. That's what happens when you're at the front all the time). I hope the day was useful for everyone - Tony said it was nice to back into the real world of schools - it's also clear he's the World's Busiest Man. You'd be busy too if you were in charge of implementing the e-Strategy for Becta...
In other news, I'm having an email exchange about a system to support the sharing / rating / recommending of Moodle courses on a regional / national level... might just be pie in the sky, but it could be a great tool if we can implement it.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like the work you have been doing - the double digging of the LP world - is going to bear fruit Ian. It's fascinating to see how everything is joining up - the exemplars of use and the future. Funding for release is crucial funding but also funding to provide seeding of localised projects based on the aftermath of all this training otherwise there is just the halo effect and that sudden endorphine rush of getting out for the day which won't be translated into hard nosed let's get down to it and make it happen stuff...

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  2. Looks like the work you have been doing - the double digging of the LP world - is going to bear fruit Ian. It's fascinating to see how everything is joining up - the exemplars of use and the future. Funding for release is crucial funding but also funding to provide seeding of localised projects based on the aftermath of all this training otherwise there is just the halo effect and that sudden endorphine rush of getting out for the day which won't be translated into hard nosed let's get down to it and make it happen stuff...

    ReplyDelete