Yesterday’s thoughts on Extreme Learning, where we talked about using the term “mashup” to describe a form of output material, is supported by Becta’s second volume of its Emerging Technologies for Education paper , out this week. It includes this description of the way that use of social software supports the way young people like to learn.
But perhaps more interesting is the fact that (social tools) operate at the intersection of technology, teaching and creativity, which is a need that Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert on innovation, identified so eloquently at the 2006 TED conference. In this respect, the fundamental pattern of learning and innovation using social tools – find –> remix –> share – seems ideally suited to the way most young people like to discover and make sense of the world around them, which is reason enough for an optimistic view of their likely impact. (from Chapter 1, by Lee Bryant of Headshift, Page 10: Link)
I’ve never seen this connection made so explicitly before. It makes me wonder if, as we develop East Lothian’s new learner-centred social software site eduBuzz.org, our current main menu options, Explore and Share, might be complemented by a third, Remix? That could link learners to some of the tools now starting to appear which explicitly support the remixing activity, such as Dapper (thanks Robert) or Yahoo Pipes (thanks again Robert!). It’s early days in this area, but there’s no doubt use of these tools is now within the capability of some secondary school students, and they’ll only get easier to use.
Very disappointed to hear that BT may not meet the committed dates for the East Lothian schools WAN upgrade given here, and may even be asking for more money despite the whole project having been subject to competitive tender.
This would be extremely disappointing if true. I had a number of attempts at using the internet in Science and Maths classes over the last year or so, and ended up concluding that it simply wasn’t viable.
We have large secondary schools with less WAN bandwidth than many people now have to their home PC. Not only that, this bandwidth is shared with internal applications like web-based email. Email, of course, is so slow that many people don’t have time to use it. Most emails I get from teachers come from their home email addresses, and are sent in the evenings.
The bottom line is that if it’s impossible to get the WAN motorway in on time, we need to build a temporary bypass to get those packets flowing faster before we get gridlocked.
Even a single domestic ADSL link, running at up to 8Mbps, could be used. Maybe BT could bundle a couple of these, and we could connect schools using VPNs over the internet instead? Ideas, please!
Today – at last – a pilot of WebsiteBaker was installed for Preston Lodge High School. This was promised for Monday, but I fell ill. Sorry Linda! Experience from Pete Gray at East Lothian’s Museums Service indicates it’s a product that people familiar with a modern word processor find easy to use. This is true: it’s realistic to consider S1 students as potential authors.
The bones of the site are here – but there’s nothing much to see yet. Curiosity led me to try a Wrapper Page, which was a surprise – have a look at this.
Current thinking is to use it as a Content Management System to enable multiple users within the school to easily update the “notice board” type content that people expect to find on a school web site.
Experience has shown that if this isn’t easy enough, the site will soon become stale. Also, it’s important not to be over-reliant on a single editor. We’re keen to build a network of contributors within – and perhaps beyond – each school, and avoid funnelling every change through a single person.
WebsiteBaker is already in use at Dunbar Grammar, where Anne’s migrating existing eZpublish content across. Ollie Bray at Musselburgh Grammar is having a look at WebsiteBaker too, as it could solve the same problem there.
Why would schools need yet another bit of ICT kit? With laptops, PCs and cheap MP3 player /digital recorders like iRiver’s T30 and even mobile phones all capable of recording podcast sound, we don’t need anything else. Or do we?
A press release trawled up today by a Google News search I do on education has made me wonder. It reports on a college professor who’s using a Marantz PMD660 compact professional sound recorder to make podcasts. The benefits for school use? It can: Continue reading Digital recorder for every school’s web toolkit?