Thursday, March 08, 2007

BSF Leadership Phase 3 Pilot

I'm in Oxford to present an oh my goodness how early in the morning? (8.25am since you asked) session for the NCSL Building Schools for/of the Future) BSF Leadership programme - mainly to representatives from schools in Wolverhampton and other LA representatives involved in the BSF. Last night's speaker (at the end of a day of activities) was Russell Prue who was (as usual) very entertaining and engaging, a cross between an end of the pier barker, pantomime dame and ICT evangelist. He presented lots of evidence to support the position that kids are doing it for themselves - where "it" is learning, discovering, creating and dealing with new sorts of information, literacies and competencies, such as:

  • Sony PSP language tools
  • Wikipedia text speak dictionary - highlighting the fact that there's a whole hidden language for when your parent is watching you on your computer
  • GigaJam (hurray for the BucksGfL GigaJam project!)
  • The oh-so lovely Sony Mylo (if anyone's going to the US, could you buy me one please?)

He makes some very interesting points, including the fact that something like BBC Jam will enable learners to learn without needing teachers, schools, formal curricula... home teaching (and learning) will soon be achievable without a parent (or someone the parent knows well) being formally or informally qualified as a teacher. How many challenges for schools are there there - and do they even realise it? With the OU's OpenLearn, MIT's OpenCourseware initiatives and Wikiversity reshaping the way learning could be done in the future, who's to say that something similar isn't around the corner for school-aged education?

I think that 8.25 in the morning was a teensy bit early for a presentation on the truly gripping subject of A Modular E-Learning Framework rather than a Monolithic Platform (the title I was given - or did I supply it?) and it showed in the fact that lots of people weren't all there (understandable, I think if I had to listen to me speak then I'd lose the will to live too...). I mentioned Macromedia Breeze Adobe Connect a few times and gave some examples of relevant content and video meetings - at the end someone from WMNet told everyone that they too had a Breeze server available to them (again, for free) so they might want to get on and use it. This afternoon I'm going to the Teaching & Learning Centre in Aylesbury to work with a group of primary schools in the second session introducing them to their Moodles - almost a replication of yesterday's work at Iver Heath Junior, but with only one (larger) group.

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