Monthly Archives: April 2010

Algodoo⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

I was at the TeachMeet Student Edition Glasgow (#TMSEG10) last week at Strathclyde University and had planned to do a short demonstration on Algodoo.

What is Algodoo?
It's a clever piece of software (available for PC, Mac and Linux) that allows you to create two dimensional physics models that can then be animated (it's a 2D physics model sandbox).

It lets you model real world objects and see how forces such as gravity act upon them. Here's a short video that demonstrates the simple activities available with the software.



You can download a copy of the software from here.

Algodoo⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

I was at the TeachMeet Student Edition Glasgow (#TMSEG10) last week at Strathclyde University and had planned to do a short demonstration on Algodoo.

What is Algodoo?
It's a clever piece of software (available for PC, Mac and Linux) that allows you to create two dimensional physics models that can then be animated (it's a 2D physics model sandbox).

It lets you model real world objects and see how forces such as gravity act upon them. Here's a short video that demonstrates the simple activities available with the software.



You can download a copy of the software from here.

Neuroscience and Learning⤴

from

I have recently been looking at research calling for nuroscientists, psychologists and teachers to work more closely together to improve and specifically target learning and teaching. There are some interesting developments going on with brain imaging technology and research into dyslexia and dyscalulia. Neuroscientists believe that with further research they can identify how teachers can better support those pupils and correct the fault with brain wiring.

I have also been looking at neuromyths – the idea of left and right brain and innovations such as Brain Gym. Recent reports in the press have also highlighted recent research in to the benefits of Brain Training software – another neuromyth.

Reading around this subject has certainly intrigued me to finding out more and possibly participating in some research of my own.

I Lost My Web-logging Voice…⤴

from

It has been a while and the last year has been a very busy one for me personally.

For the last six months I have been studying a part-time MSc in eLearning with the University of Edinburgh. As part of the course students are required to write a private web-log. Following a recent conversation with my tutor, I thought it worthwhile to note a few thoughts on my own personal history of weblogging and share them openly here too.

I started my professional weblog in October 2006. At that point in time I was piloting the Scottish Schools Digital Network, Glow. I was doing this with my Intermediate 1 biology class. Throughout the nine-month pilot I used my weblog to share my thoughts and experiences with fellow educators globally. My posts offered a window on to what this revolutionary new learning environment could offer teachers and learners. My posts would often include screen shots and hyperlinks that would allow my readers to gain an excellent insight. During this period of time my weblog became a source  of feedback to educators and Learning and Teaching Scotland. It had an important purpose. Following the pilot of Glow I continued to share relevant information via my weblog. In October 2008 I was appointed as an Education Support Officer for ICT in east Lothian. During my time in this role I would share my thoughts on my daily work with colleagues, pupils and establishments. In the context of teaching and learning I would regularly discuss topics such as current projects in East Lothian, hardware, software and web 2.0 media.

Along side my weblog I also held a Flickr Pro account. Flickr allowed me to catalogue educational images under Creative Commons (i.e. images that could be used by fellow educators that were free of copy right or Intellectual Property Rights IPR).

During the last year my professional weblog has somewhat ‘dried up’. Though this saddens me slightly, I feel that it has somewhat lost its purpose. When I was actively blogging I was reporting and sharing information on groundbreaking movements in education. People wanted to read what I had to write. With the explosion of professional teacher blogs and the growth of Twitter I feel that I have lost my blogging voice. I feel that there are now others out there who are in a better position to broadcast. I have become a reader of blogs rather than a contributor. I could share thoughts on Twitter and other web 2.0 technologies but I feel it has already been done (more than once). Colleagues who were once blogger associates have largely become friends over the last three years and I feel I would probably be somewhat ridiculed if I started to ‘knatter’. In addition, at present, I am not teaching. I am project managing. I am thoroughly enjoying my new job and the challenges it brings however I choose not to share my thoughts and reflections here. I am also (as you may have guessed) very pushed for time in my new role. I find my spare time is better spent reading relevant blogs rather than writing.

For me a weblog has to have purpose. I am in no doubt that one day my professional weblog will gain its purpose again and I will start singing with my blogging voice  soon.

I might share some of my MSc private blog posts once they have been marked :-)

Photo Credit: http: hiddedevries

*Under Creative Commons (CC)

The Future of ITE⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

What's next for Initial Teacher Education in Scotland? This is the question being explored by Graham Donaldson in a Review of Teacher Education in Scotland (RTES). In an article recently in TES, Mr Donaldson poses the question, "How can we support our teachers and the wider education community to engage with confidence in this agenda (CfE), and with an unknowable future agenda?". He also outlines the process of the review and finishes by encouraging readers to engage via TESS forums and RTES Discussion Page (a feedback page is available but not a discussion page).

As an interested party (GTCS registered teacher, University Teacher in Faculty of Education, Tutor on both PG & BEd teacher education courses) there are numerous ideas and questions that come to mind.

Firstly, should the profession accept a government lead review which does not include an executive member of the GTCS? Whilst there are teachers on the Review Team there does not appear to be a representative of the GTCS. However in the report from the Council meeting, 20th January 2010 the Chief Executive in response to the RTES stated: "The Council would need to play a central role by offering advice and assistance throughout the process of the review."

Secondly, is there a place for Universities in the education of teachers? Prior to the Universities taking on teacher training in the 90's the responsibility lay with dedicated colleges of education. Are the demands being placed on faculties and schools of education in the universities undermining the quality of teacher education in Scotland?

Thirdly, there's a large number of approaches to teacher training in England. Would teacher education in Scotland benefit from adopting some of England's approaches? Would PGDE students be better prepared to teach if they were educated in schools full-time? The problem with this would be one of cost: you would have to salary the beginning teacher rather than the tuition fee cost of a student teacher.

Fourthly, should teaching in Scotland be a Masters Profession? This depends on how you define a Masters level qualification. Is it an academic qualification that is only based on reading and research or a postgraduate qualification that validates learning which is a balance between reading and practice.

Finally, if we keep debasing the knowledge and skills required to teach and elevate the knowledge of educational theories we will fail to educate teachers for the 21st Century.

The Future of ITE⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

What's next for Initial Teacher Education in Scotland? This is the question being explored by Graham Donaldson in a Review of Teacher Education in Scotland (RTES). In an article recently in TES, Mr Donaldson poses the question, "How can we support our teachers and the wider education community to engage with confidence in this agenda (CfE), and with an unknowable future agenda?". He also outlines the process of the review and finishes by encouraging readers to engage via TESS forums and RTES Discussion Page (a feedback page is available but not a discussion page).

As an interested party (GTCS registered teacher, University Teacher in Faculty of Education, Tutor on both PG & BEd teacher education courses) there are numerous ideas and questions that come to mind.

Firstly, should the profession accept a government lead review which does not include an executive member of the GTCS? Whilst there are teachers on the Review Team there does not appear to be a representative of the GTCS. However in the report from the Council meeting, 20th January 2010 the Chief Executive in response to the RTES stated: "The Council would need to play a central role by offering advice and assistance throughout the process of the review."

Secondly, is there a place for Universities in the education of teachers? Prior to the Universities taking on teacher training in the 90's the responsibility lay with dedicated colleges of education. Are the demands being placed on faculties and schools of education in the universities undermining the quality of teacher education in Scotland?

Thirdly, there's a large number of approaches to teacher training in England. Would teacher education in Scotland benefit from adopting some of England's approaches? Would PGDE students be better prepared to teach if they were educated in schools full-time? The problem with this would be one of cost: you would have to salary the beginning teacher rather than the tuition fee cost of a student teacher.

Fourthly, should teaching in Scotland be a Masters Profession? This depends on how you define a Masters level qualification. Is it an academic qualification that is only based on reading and research or a postgraduate qualification that validates learning which is a balance between reading and practice.

Finally, if we keep debasing the knowledge and skills required to teach and elevate the knowledge of educational theories we will fail to educate teachers for the 21st Century.

Exploiting Probationary Teachers?⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

Are local authorities in Scotland exploiting Probationary Teachers by arranging staff induction days prior to the individual's contract start date?

I came across this issue last year when I was talking to a student teacher, who indicated that she would be participating in two days induction training prior to the start of term. I asked if she was being payed for these two extra days, she was not. I asked where in her teaching contract it stated that she was required to work 2 additional days, no mention could be found.

Whilst I'm not arguing about the merit of these induction days, I can imagine them to be extremely useful, I am wondering why councils feel it's acceptable to invite beginning teachers on their probation to meeting prior to the start of their contract. I'm also curious as to why none of the teaching unions have raised or addressed the issue. I'm also surprised that the GTCS are promoting these days by posting the dates on their website.

Let's take two examples, starting with Renfrewshire Council. According to their website teachers return on Monday 16th August but on the GTCS website they will expect probationers to attend for two days on the 11th & 12th August. In East Lothian teachers also return on the 16th August, whilst the probationers are expected to start a week earlier on the 9th August and to work for three days.

Perhaps these probationers receive additional pay (not likely in these fiscally prudent times), or perhaps they receive commensurate holidays instead. I will be interested to hear from any interested parties (EIS, GTCS, Council Officers) on this issue.

Exploiting Probationary Teachers?⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

Are local authorities in Scotland exploiting Probationary Teachers by arranging staff induction days prior to the individual's contract start date?

I came across this issue last year when I was talking to a student teacher, who indicated that she would be participating in two days induction training prior to the start of term. I asked if she was being payed for these two extra days, she was not. I asked where in her teaching contract it stated that she was required to work 2 additional days, no mention could be found.

Whilst I'm not arguing about the merit of these induction days, I can imagine them to be extremely useful, I am wondering why councils feel it's acceptable to invite beginning teachers on their probation to meeting prior to the start of their contract. I'm also curious as to why none of the teaching unions have raised or addressed the issue. I'm also surprised that the GTCS are promoting these days by posting the dates on their website.

Let's take two examples, starting with Renfrewshire Council. According to their website teachers return on Monday 16th August but on the GTCS website they will expect probationers to attend for two days on the 11th & 12th August. In East Lothian teachers also return on the 16th August, whilst the probationers are expected to start a week earlier on the 9th August and to work for three days.

Perhaps these probationers receive additional pay (not likely in these fiscally prudent times), or perhaps they receive commensurate holidays instead. I will be interested to hear from any interested parties (EIS, GTCS, Council Officers) on this issue.