Really just finally getting around to a reflective post on an unexpected opportunity I had about two weeks ago to speak for an hour to a group of post graduate secondary school teachers in training at Strathclyde University . Thanks Cristina Costa for inviting me. Felt massive empathy as I did the same course 1986 at Jordanhill Campus - English and History .
I spoke to them about all the new things already happening in the online world of learning . I did warn then at the start that they would experience some cognitive dissonance in that the world I was describing of reflective blogs , e-portfolios , on-line assessment on demand , open educational resources, open badges , MOOCs for school pupils, individualised learning pathways ; would not be the world that they were currently experiencing .
But it will be the world they experience within the next five years . Well some of it . The tyranny of the timetable will still constrain options available to learners.
The feedback and questions at end of the session were excellent. It was great to meet an enthusiastic and motivated bunch of new teachers . The dissonance for me was that here was a group learning about learning technology but still grappling with the fact that many of the services that they can use in the University are blocked in schools. The Challenge was not just around filtering, one student told me of a school history department struggling to get enough computer access in a school to access the primary sources needed for the new highers. But question was framed "How could SQA expect teachers to deliver these new courses without the correct resources ?" . We talked about how subjects changed and the importance now of primary sources or in other areas data management . I hope I convinced them that keeping professional skills up to date and having access to the right tools is not all about the SQA . The rate of course change is only going to get faster in the future and more individualised. We need all the support agencies lined up around this and the resources of local authorities too as well as a professional outlook on continuing professional development.
What can you do with classes who hate maths ? On exploration it sounded a bit like a school who hates maths and hoped my answers about numeracy and literacy across the curriculum helped. There are lots of apps and sites that try it make maths stimulating and engaging and it is a life skill.
You could feel too some folks questioning learning of new skill sets or about new online resources if they were blocked at an institutional level . Remember learning happens everywhere now. You and your learners can access lots of these resources at home and lots of other places . But there is a real issue around giving all learners access to a browser - how can we help learners who don't have internet access ?
GLOW I thought how many of you use GLOW ? I think four hands went up, which is a real shame as the new system is looking amazing . You need to all go and log on and have a look around the new GLOW with Microsoft 365 I understand that all teacher training institutions can give you access to GLOW ?
Teachers do need to be skilled in making the best use of all available resources, that will never change, but I do feel that the system should be doing more to ensure that learners and teachers have more access to digital windows on the world. At moment some folks are just glimpsing the future through a keyhole.
Good luck to all those in
And I really do believe that within the next five years you and your learners will be operating in most of the world I described
Sound advice Joe! Did you get any sense that the students were experiencing their own learning in a way that was digital?
For those concerned about providing an engaging maths curriculum I would also recommend reading Jo Boaler's book "The Elephant in the Classroom". And I think that maths lends itself well to the flipped classroom. If you look on YouTube there are topics put up by Scottish teachers (your students might prefer this to hearing a US accent!).
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