Category Archives: Professional

A research- aware profession? It’s not so easy.⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

I think one of the greatest problems we’ve seen in teaching has been the apparent disconnect between research being undertaken in the University sector and the reality of what is happening in our schools. If we’re ever to truly consider ourselves a profession then we need to face up to that. I would doubt that there is anyone out there who would question the the importance of research but wonder exactly how many of us access the latest findings, and what do we do with it when we do? There is a huge issue here and I don’t think we need look too far to see the difficulty.

Beyond the world of Twitter, it’s pretty clear that teachers are not in need of any addition to their workload. The preparation, the admin, the feedback provided: we tend to find ways to fill up out working day. And while that doesn’t negate the fact that research-based improvement is essential, it still begs the question of what needs to change to reach that point where our profession is research-informed and comfortable with that. So the next time I see a teacher crying in their car, either before entering school or as they prepare to drive home, asking them to do some further research isn’t on my mind.

We teachers are forever sponges. We meekly accept that other thing we have to do. It’s the nature of it at times, isn’t it? But sponges get full too. We end up doing lots of things adequately rather than a few excellently. So we must inevitably reach the point where any new initiative needs to come at the expense of something else we’ve been told is vital. And that’s not a healthy situation for anyone. For those of us twenty or more years into a forty year career, change is not always as easy as it seems to others. In order to prepare a research-aware profession, support needs to come for above.

Many things happen in schools but I’m more and more convinced that if we sway too far away from a focus on Teaching and Learning then we are in trouble. So, if we are to agree that what happens in class must be the best we can offer then we need to create the conditions for that to happen. Asking teachers to ‘stop doing good things in order to do better ones’, as Dylan William argues, is not an easy task. We can be creatures of habit. But leadership teams must help to develop an environment where we have the space to work together on the best things: that doesn’t exist right now, not enough anyway.

The question we need to ask ourselves as a profession is about what we can afford to drop in order to do these ‘better’ things. We can’t just jump to research because it’s a thing. It needs to be embedded in the everyday routines that we have; it needs to underpin any professional development we undertake. And that ain’t easy. It’s one of the greatest challenges we face in school. Having created an unsustainable workload for our teachers, how do we pull back to ensure there they can be the best they can be, for every kid, in every classroom?

7 black and white photos of your life⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

A bit over a week ago I got a tweet from Athole

The premise is simple enough, for 7 days you take a B&W image, tweet it and ask someone else to join in.

I did:

Day 7 is the featured image of this post.

What is interesting about this project is that there is no hashtag. You get mentions from the folk you invite, if they take the invite up and perhaps from some of their invitees.

An enjoyable experience, I though a bit about photography (or at least my phone snapping) and enjoyed seeing other folks images. It felt a little more relaxed than hashtag type collaborations. More meandering perhaps…

Thanks to Athole and the folk who I pestered to join in.

Online (educational) community, micro.blog and #DS106 thoughts⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

I am finding micro.blog a really interesting community.

From an educational POV the most positive experience and the one that I would like to see replicated (in Glow and elsewhere) is #DS106.

DS106 influences the way I think about ScotEduBlogs and the way I built two Glow Blogging Bootcamps 1.

In particular these sites aggregate participants content but encourage any comments and feedback to go on the originators site.

Micro.blog is making me rethink this a little, there you can comment on micro.blog (the same as the blog hub in DS106) and that comment gets sent as a webmention to the originators site. This makes thinks a lot easier to carry through.

Micro.blog also provides the equivalent of the #ds106 twitter hashtag but keeps that in the same space as the hub/rss reader.

Manton recently wrote:

Micro.blog will never be that big. What we need instead of another huge social network is a bunch of smaller platforms that are built on blogs and the open web.

from: Manton Reece – Replacing 1 billion-user platforms

Which made me think.

Firstly it reinforces how Manton really thinks hard about making micro.blog a brilliant place, avoiding the pitfalls of huge silos.

Secondly it speaks to idea of multiple social networks. Imagine if DS106 and ScotEdublogs where both platforms in this sense, I could join in either or both along with others using my blog to publish. I could decide which posts of mine to send to which community, and so on.

It is the same idea I’ve had for Glow blogs since I started working with them 2.

Class blogs could join in and participate in different projects.

It would be easy to start a local or national project and pull together content and conversation from across the web into one learning space. Although I’ve spoken and blogged a lot about this idea I don’t think I’ve made it stick in the minds of many Scottish educators. I wish I could.

  1. Blogging Bootcamp spring 2015 & Blogging Bootcamp #2 Autumn 2015 . I believe the potential for these sorts of educational activity is much underused in primary and secondary education. I wish I was in the position to organise and design more of these…
  2. For example:

The Magic-Weaving Business⤴

from @ edublether.wordpress.com

Sir John Jones is the most inspirational speaker there is on the educational speaker circuit at the moment. He is funny, passionate and down to earth kind of guy. It was a joy to hear him speak and I would recommend you read his book.

Episode 8 – Scottish education’s PRD⤴

from @ edublether.wordpress.com

In this episode, we carry out Scottish education’s PRD to analyse: what’s going well? What has been challenging? What are the next steps? And what support is needed in order to get there? We also have our usual features of #InTheNews #WeRecommend and #InspiredBy. We have been inspired by #PortyLF and @SirJJones #MagicWeavingBusiness and we recommend @Mattforde and @ThePoliticalParty podcast.

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/edublether/episode-8-scottish-educations-prd

DuckDuckGo⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Reposted DuckDuckGo on Twitter (Twitter)
“We are proud to have a profitable business model that doesn't rely on collecting personal data.  Our Founder and CEO explains how we make money and why companies like Google and Facebook could still be wildly profitable without invasive tracking: https://t.co/mkxTEvCdEe

I’ve ben using DuckDuckGo on all my devices all this year. Not found a reason to return to Google yet.

Update on Gutenberg — WordPress⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Bookmarked Update on Gutenberg (WordPress News)
Progress on the Gutenberg project, the new content creating experience coming to WordPress, has come a long way. Since the start of the project, there have been 30 releases and 12 of those happened…

WordPress 5.0 could be as soon as August with hundreds of thousands of sites using Gutenberg before release.

Source: Update on Gutenberg — WordPress

Although GlowBlogs will not be getting this until later in the year and after much testing I am still watching and occasionally testing Gutenberg.

From a selfish POV (my class uses iPads) I am still seeing some of the same issue on iPad as I mentioned before: Gutenberg on iPad. A lot better now, but the active text still goes behind the keyboard on occasion. I hope to do a bit more testing over the summer break.

Win , or lose, do it with dignity⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

Okay. So this is is not so much about education but it’s definitely about my own learning.

With England about to play in a World Cup semi-final and with a realistic chance of winning the whole thing, there something slightly unsettling about the experience. Not that I wish the team ill will but, and I know this will be controversial, my experience of sporting success for England is that it comes, unavoidably, with a certain amount of jingoistic destruction and celebratory chaos which renders the event slightly tainted. I do hope that can be avoided this time. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want them to lose. It’s just that I’m wary of the aftermath – as are so many countries around Europe.

That form of Nationalistic braying, sneering at others is no stranger to Scotland. As one who voted ‘Yes’ to Scottish Independence and would again in a heartbeat, I am very much aware of my ‘No’ voting friends who were harangued and called ‘Traitors’ by those who campaigned for a ‘new beginning to a new country’. No thanks, if it’s going to be led by you, my friend. We should be very aware of the ‘See You Jimmy’ wig-wearing nutballs before we start to point the finger at others. If we’re ever to become an Independent country again, let us step off the moral high ground.

However, there is something different about England’s progress to the semi-final. In the past, the arrogance and sense of entitlement displayed by commentators and media pundits has made it very easy to mock their eventual defeat on penalties. Especially when that attitude was displayed by the players and managers. This time, they have a manager who is extremely likeable, displays respect and dignity for others and a team which, more or less, mirrors his image. I really like them: despite the perceived lack of challenge they have done what they needed to do and done it well. I just wish all of the supporters – and most of them do – can reflect that if or when they win.

So why do the other nations in the UK, and Europe, often want England to fail? Yes, it is easy to dismiss the comments of a Scot as ‘small-nation syndrome ‘ or jealousy or bitterness. If you do then you’re missing the point. It’s probably because for a lifetime we’ve seen England, when they win, braying and sneering in our faces. It’s not enough to win: like Trump, it has to be seen as others have lost to the great power. The entitlement of an Empire now fading. There’s the Union Jack waving, National anthem thumping, mocking of foreigners in the press. The glee at Germany’s existence and France for that a matter, is evidence that it still exists. And England fans have to own that.

If England play well then I genuinely hope they win. The best team always should do. But support them? No thanks. Asking me to do so is to fundamentally misunderstand what football is all about. Rivalry is part of the game. If my team loses then we brush ourselves off and start all over again. But you don’t choose who you support; your team chooses you. If England win then they’ll have done fantastically well to be World Champions. It doesn’t means Brexit goes away. England have had a remarkable tournament with a manager who oozes dignity and respect. Let’s hope, win or lose, everyone follows his lead.