Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to completely kill sharing

The old SSABSA email lists worked but were becoming slow with limited conversations.  There was not much happening but there was a glimmer of action. A little mouth to mouth could bring it back to life.  At the start of 2010 we got the new SACE website and to support sharing they have a clear link to 'Connect'. Good, they were seeing the importance of this sharing and it was right there on the front page. The system however changed from an email list to a forum based service.  With this new service we can get email updates if we know how to make that happen in the forum settings.  I suspect that teachers by and large do not know how to do this.  This means that these teachers would have to actually go to the website, login, go to the forum to see if there had been any action.  We can no longer post via email but instead must log into the SACE website and go to the forum to do this.  It has become too hard and too complicated and what conversations there were are now silent.  It is dead.  It is no more. Deceased. Gone to see its maker. Es ist kaputt.  Fix it dear Henry.

Free and Open education for all

Why is it important to share?

I'm watching the Ewan McIntosh Masterclass "Professional Learning and Productivity".  I couldn't attend and so it is good to be able to download the session.  He is currently creating a blog post using email via Posterous in his presentation.  I've had a posterous account for some time and not really utilised it.  [putting that on the to do list and intending to post this via posterous]. My blogging has dropped off of late because 'I've lacked time' (and he has made an issue of this that has stirred my pot) and he has made the point that this professional sharing is really important in finding ways to improve our practice.  This improvement in practice is the single biggest factor that impacts on student learning.  

So, why is it important to share?  Is it the sharing as such or is it the consequent conversations.  I could lurk around teachers that are sharing and learn a lot, so why share myself?  Isn't that sharing risky for me?  I wonder what motivates the other educational professional sharers?  Sharing is the way that we learn best.

How to share?  I'm back to thinking about blogging more regularly.  Must also think about class blogs.  I'm really interested in ways to bring parents back into the school, like it was 30 odd years ago, this time virtually.  One of the key things here is that leaders need to be doing this and showing by example so Principal blogs are very important.

Making it easy.  I must more use of posterous to make this task easier or just use email to send my blog posts maybe.

Getting others involved.  I'm currently making a presentation for Reidy Park Primary school about online collaboration.  I wanted to say that everyone should have a professional blog.  Ewan has reminded me that I need offer invitations. [makes modification to presentation]

Free and Open education for all

Friday, August 20, 2010

Virtual Staffroom - the future of professional organisations questioned

It was rather impromptu but last night I was once again part of a discussion that today is published on the Virtual Staffroom. It was interesting the way that this happened. About a half hour before the recording Chris Skyped me to indicate that it was happening and come along. I was, at the time, in a training planning meeting for a school where the focus was on web2 and collaboration. My planning partners reckoned, in jest, that I set this up but felt that it was a great example of what we had just been talking about.

The podcast discussion was all about the use of free software in education. I had to leave the discussion early as I had another online meeting to attend to discuss arrangements for Richard Stallman visiting my city in Sept 17th. He is one of the founders of this free software thinking. His statement about "Why schools should exclusively use free software" is a worthy and very quick read.

It felt like dominoes falling, the celestial bodies were aligning.

The dominoes keep on falling.

This has got me to thinking about the place that professional organisations have in the education food chain.

One of the things I've been struggling with for some time is the value of professional organisations now that we have access to the 'big thinkers' and 'movers and shakers' in our fields via Twitter, blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, .....................

For people that are connected in this way, when was the last time you learnt something new via a professional organisation? and if you did, was the cost of membership and attendance at the event worth it?

My guess is that the professional organisations are struggling more than ever with membership and conference attendance. Perhaps one of the key benefits of these events is the chance of meeting F2F some of the characters you have been mixing with online, but I notice that people are doing this via Twitter now as well with broadcasts like - I'll be in [location name] tomorrow, catch up for coffee at [venue name] at 2:00pm.

So, professional organisations, what is their future? Are they really dieing? Should we persist or let them die?

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