With only a few days left before the start of the new term it’s time to come back here and write something new. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since my last post. Needless to say I’ve been busy at school, but next term things should return to something more like normal again, and you should also begin to see more activity on the Ross High CDT blog.
One thing I have been meaning to post about has been the fantastic start that my friend
Krysia Mrs Smyth has made with her first year class at St Luke’s. Towards the end of the term there was a flurry of posts, written by the class, all about the projects that they have been working on.
This sort of thing is what I had really hoped to be able to do at Ross High. The excuse I’ve been using I suppose has been ‘I don’t have the time’ – the same excuse that I’ve argued against in the past. Truth is I really don’t know how I will fit class blogging into my classes, there isn’t space in the timetable in 1st year, especially when I lose my class a lot from Monday holidays, and with doing Standard Grades in S2 and S3, again I feel like it is a race against time to get the students prepared for their exams. Another obstacle to class blogging, and I mean real class blogging where the pupils do it not me, is that I am in workshops most of the time and getting access to the graphics room – and internet – is a rare occurrence. My other class, an S4 Graphics Higher/Int2 course over 2 years should be giving my loads of chance for class blogging, but the obstacle there is the pupils themselves – they aren’t so keen on sharing their work online, something that I’m going to badger them about. I know there are a couple of S4s who know about this blog, so maybe they can spread the word?
One final thing, Nick Hood, physics teacher and all round good guy, has closed down his wiki after it being blocked in his school.
Iâ€™ve also found that skills in â€œICTâ€ are so threatening for some in education that they have been a distinct career disadvantage for me. For this reason, I am not going to waste my time on these things I cannot use to advantage me or my students.
This is a huge shame, Nick had put a huge amount of his own time and effort into his wiki and previously VLE. That he has been left feeling he has no choice but to abandon it I think is appalling. I find myself feeling equally frustrated sometimes, using ICT in the classroom comes with a large number of advantages, often just using the usual stuff on your PC is enough. However it is so much better when you have control over your system and can configure it to work for you – something you can’t do with the locked down school systems; then when you find yourself some great software while using your machine at home you are fighting a losing battle, trying to use your machine at school is not worthwhile (you can’t get on the network) and trying to get software installed on your school machine is often not worth the effort (takes too long to get a licence, get it installed, or the machine doesn’t have a good enough spec). Why should teachers with the expertise to run their own machines, to securely set up a good productive working system (or run a webserver in the case of many teachers) not be granted privileges to either use their own machine on the network, or to tweak their work machines to suit them? On a related note, why should pupils not get similar rights?