Wednesday, 7 July 2010

More on Personal Learning Networks

Last night I followed the Twitter hashtag "#edchat" conversation.  Tweetdeck allowed me to filter the conversation so that only tweets containing that hashtag were shown, so making it easier to follow.  That's if everybody wasn't tweeting simultaneously!  Maybe it takes a while to get into (this was first time for me, after all) but there was no real flow to the discussion as far as I could tell.  Nevertheless, there were some good ideas thrown into the ring, and a huge amount of enthusiasm/passion for education generally, and the topic: "How do we as leaders promote engagement of teachers, parents and students?" specifically.  Curiously, other stakeholders (governing and funding bodies for instance) were not really included.  To me, that would be essential, to get them on side and perhaps stop them from perpetually moving the goalposts and then blaming teachers for students' underachievement. 

I don't expect to be able to contribute much to such discussions as I'm an amateur, not a professional like these guys, and I'm sidestream.  But it's more grist to my PLN (Personal Learning Network) mill.

A couple of postings back I had a comment from @whatedsaid - Edna Sackson, a teacher at an International Baccalaureate school in Melbourne.  She said to email her.  If you're reading this, Edna, please send me your address because it's not on your blog.  And Twitter doesn't allow messages to be sent to people who don't follow me - people who don't have me in their PLNs.  (I'm @CliveSir, BTW.)

This just highlights the problem as I see it - how does someone like me, a non-professional, attract professional followers who might be able to give me teaching guidance.  I'm optimistic that some of these folk using latest technology in the classroom may still be able to relate to the problems in schools with negligible technology - a couple of computers perhaps, a dial-up connection maybe, sometimes no electricity because the education department can't pay the bills, no printer, or if there is one, no money to pay for ink or paper.

Yesterday I visited a small rural school and spoke with the IT and English teachers.  They have one OK-ish computer and another ancient one, and a dial-up connection.  My aim was to get the teachers to attend the ICT coaching lessons I'll be giving very soon. They were not keen to start with since their days were packed but I won them around in the end.  I think I'm approachable, if nothing else.  They managed to persuade the Principal to give them four two-hour sessions with me.  And while at the school I fixed their camera and PC which were riddled with viruses.  The IT teacher hadn't heard of antivirus software - she just knew she had a problem transferring the photos.  She was also the school's librarian and science teacher.  I guess she'd been seconded into the role and she probably taught IT by following the book without any real understanding.  Still, there's hope: she had an email address (though she couldn't remember it) and they'll come for the coaching.  It's a start.

No comments:

Post a Comment