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.
We’re noticing that staff new to Glow view it through the prism of their existing model of how the web works. Most of the time, that’s fine, but in some areas it can cause confusion. Clearly it’s better if we can avoid that confusion, and we’ve been talking today about how we might do that.
The catalyst for the discussion was a planning meeting today with Martin Brown and Karen-Ann MacAlpine of the Glow team for a probationer training session on Glow in August. We expect the probationers will be very experienced internet users, so might be particularly at risk of this confusion.
So where is confusion occurring? Some examples are:
- an expectation that as it’s web-based, it will be possible to search for content with a search engine
- an expectation that if you’ve access to a Glow Group, you’ll be able to see it in your list of Glow Groups
- an expectation that because it’s a private intranet, you won’t be able to hyperlink to things from the public web
What is it that’s happening? We’re presenting people with a very large, complex system which is completely new to them. We do it in relatively short training sessions of only an hour or two, inevitably fairly jam-packed with new terminology. To help make sense of it all, people will use their “best fit” mental model – in this case the one they’ve built up over recent years of how internet stuff works, and – mostly – that’s fine. The confusion occurs, though, when something happens that doesn’t make sense in terms of that model.
What might we do about it? Today we were discussing the possibility of creating some big, simple, “building block” diagrams that could help speed teachers through the process of developing their own mental model of “how Glow works”. We talked, for example, about maybe showing Glow as an iceberg, with just a little bit – the web publishing facility – above the waterline and in public view.