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.

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.