Yesterday I attended, and gave a presentation at, a conference entitled
The Digital Environment for Education -
- Obvious Propositions and Contentious Issues
This was organised by Roger Broadie under the auspices of the European Education
Partnership. I won't report on the whole conference, as I don't wish to
second-guess Roger about what he wants to be made public and what needs to
remain behind closed doors, at least for now. I will, however, say a few words
about my own contribution because it was about codifying good practice so as to
make it available and accessible to others, which is what I've been talking about recently anyway.
Here is a summary of the points I made:
1. Teachers are reluctant to say "Hey, I am doing good stuff." I base this on
anecdotal evidence but some big numbers nonetheless. Of the 30,000-ish people
whom I estimate to have read the first edition of "Coming of Age: An
Introduction to the New Worldwide Web" only about 6 have responded to my
request for information about how they or their colleagues benefited from it,
and most of those are apologetic in tone.
2. Because of (1), I think there is a case for "allowing" teachers to put
forward things they're doing not as examples of best practice, or even good
practice, but examples of any practice, in the spirit of: "I'm
trying this out. I don't know if it will turn out great, but...". There is a
precedent for this. On the Teacher Resource
Exchange, teachers post some resources as works in progress rather than
finished worksheets or whatever. Why not apply the same idea to case
3. A lot of teacher research is, in effect, lost. Yes, there is plenty there:
if you know where to look. A commonly accepted folksonomy of tagging, such as
the one I suggested in Good
Practice, Best Practice, would help.
4. One advantage of implementing proposals (2) and (3) would be that we would
have more examples to choose from.
5. The official view of the world in terms of what government agencies regard
as good practice is not necessarily helpful, because your circumstances may be
different from those of the schools cited in official documents. Suppliers are
not guiltless either. Ask a supplier to recommend a school where you can see
their product in use, and they invariably give you the contact details of a
school that has spent a hundred grand on the product, and given the Technology
Co-ordinator one day a week off for a year in order to get the full training
package. That's no good to me: I need to go and see a school that is,
metaphorically speaking, just up the road. One that looks like mine, has similar
problems, and which when I get there the Tech Co-ordinator is in headless
chicken mode because the network just crashed. That's reality, not some Arcadia
on a hill.
6. There is value in the process of identifying what is good practice and
why/why not. Schools could and should engage in such processes themselves, and
in England at any rate this would not be alien to the culture in which we
currently find ourselves. I suggested a may into such a process in my Good
Practice, Best Practice article (see above).
7. Finally, I said I think it would be great if, when you looked up a case
study, you got an Amazon-type message along the lines of "Teachers who found
this case study useful also looked at the following...". I then said, "I
wouldn't know how to go about creating such a thing, but Leon (Cych, who was in the audience and who had been
a presenter earlier) probably does. So, today I received an email from him
referring me to a mash-up he's created but
which he urges me to not take too seriously!
Incidentally, Leon has written a brilliant chapter on video for Coming of Age... 2nd
Ed. I say "written": every time he thinks it's finished something else
happens, like Google buying Youtube (which he predicted a while ago).
Web 2.0: The Coming of Age project
You can see the latest version of the table of contents at http://web2booklet.blogspot.com/2006/10/draft-table-of-contents-16.html.
If you found the first one useful, please drop me a note to say in what way it
was useful. I'll assume that you're happy to be cited unless you tell me
otherwise. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with
the subject header Request for information about Coming of
Thanks very much in advance for your support in providing me
with some information, and thanks to the peeps who have already written to me:
I'll be responding individually when I can finds a spare few hours.
Every Child Matters
I recently asked people to let me have some information about what they're
doing in this area, and I have been overwhelmed by the number of replies. I
promise to respond individually soon.
|K12 Online Conference logo
As you've probably seen by now there is going to be an online K12 Conference
soon, which you can find out about online. It starts on the 23rd
October and runs for two weeks. I'll be presenting a session in the second week
entitled "Selling Web 2.0 to Senior Management". I'll also be hosting part of
the closing discussion on the 4th November.
This is a great opportunity to take part, in some way, in a pioneering
exercise. The idea was, I believe, first mooted by Will Richardson. It's being
run by Will, in conjunction with Darren Kuropatwa, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, and
Wesley Fryer, all of whom (apart from Will) are contributing to the second
edition of Coming of Age. The first keynote to kick off the conference is being
given by Dave Warlick (another contributor).
The presentations will be podcasted, so you are not tied to a particular time
zone. So why not check out the conference website and think about which parts of
the conference you will use, and how. The conference is themed, and some of it
may be more relevant to you rather than your colleagues. Perhaps you could weave
some of the presentations into a training event you're running. Check out the
website and think about these things: no sense in reinventing wheels!
RSS Feed Generator: Help!
For some reason, the RSS feed generator I use is playing up. I have two main
feeds: one which contains only the headlines and summaries of my articles, and
one which contains the full story. The first of these is perfectly fine, but for
the second one is picky, all of a sudden, about which stories it will display
and which it won't. Well, life is too short to spend lots of time trying to
fathom it out, so I'm wondering: can someone recommend a feed generator please?
I am even willing to pay for one if necessary. It has to have these
- Run on a Windows platform.
- Have a graphical interface.
- Be easy to install.
- Be easy to use.
- Support graphics.
- Let me choose my own name for the feed, so that I don't end up losing all my
It is nearly 1 am where I live, so I'm off to bed. Thanks for reading this.