Glow Meet could soon be enabling new links between schools and industry across Edinburgh, thanks to Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s Education Policy Group.
At today’s meeting of the Group, chairman Ray Harris of Edinburgh’s Telford College identified the development of school / industry links as one of the key themes to be progressed this year. This links strongly with the Curriculum for Excellence principle of Relevance.
Children should understand the purposes of their activities. They should see the value of what they are learning and its relevance to their lives, present and future.
Earlier discussions on this had flagged up that many of the barriers to developing links were associated with the overheads involved in organising the physical travel and supervision. Not only does this present difficulties for schools, there are similar difficulties for organisations faced with hosting school children on their sites. Glow Meet offers the possibility of developing virtual links at much lower cost, so I’ll be meeting with Roger Horam of the Chamber to explore the possibilities and get a pilot link-up organised.
Possibilities discussed included:
- Link-ups with a experienced professionals, to allow students to find out about their jobs
- Link-ups with recent school-leavers, to find out what was and wasn’t useful from school
- Link-ups with specialised people, of interest to only a few students, which could be advertised to schools Edinburgh or Scotland-wide
- Recording of these Glow Meet sessions for future careers staff use
It was also agreed to set up a blog to record progress, which will be set up on edubuzz soon.
Now that netbooks offer low cost, portable computing – and will only get better – how can schools best exploit them?
That’s the question behind a new East Lothian project starting this term. There’s been a lot of discussion of the potential of these technologies over the last year or so and we now aim to make a start on learning about the real-world possibilities. We’re deliberately trying to push this as far as we can beyond what we already do to improve the chances of identifying new benefits – and force ourselves to learn our way past any barriers that emerge. That’s why the project willinclude, for example:
- a focus on web-based collaborative working, using services such as Glow and edubuzz
- issuing netbooks on a one-to-one basis to every child (92) in the Primary 5 cohort
- giving children ownership of the devices, and allowing them to take them home
- encouraging connection to home or other wi-fi networks, such as in libraries, where possible
- encouraging multimedia use through provision of a few Flip video cameras in each class
We have been fortunate to have full support from our IT department for the project. The arrangement is that they will enable wireless network access for the netbooks in the school, but cannot offer software support – if any configuration problems arise, the devices will simply be restored to factory settings by the teacher.
Today Elizabeth Cowan and I met with the Primary 5 teachers at Kings Meadow Primary who will be involved to make a start on planning. The day included an intro to Glow from Ian Hoffman of the Glow team which included useful examples of work going on elsewhere.
East Lothian’s newly qualified teachers (NQTs) will be able to stay in touch, support one another and find their programme documentation, via their own Glow Group this session.
Their induction training before the session starts includes a day-long session on use of ICT in East Lothian schools. This year, the session will include some time on Glow. Of course, we wanted that to be hands-on and relevant, which is where the idea of a Glow Group to support the NQTs came from. By doing this, we’re hoping to make it easier for them to get their heads round what Glow is all about through practical experience.
So far the site has been populated with some sample links, Glow Meet, Glow Chat and a couple of documents from the Probationer Programme. It’s hoped that the group will have plenty of ideas for further improvements.