A great piece on Google Apps for education. I guess we are all aware of just how much Google are the productivity suite of choice in Education, and this article looks at how Google is achieving some fantastic market penetration. Do we make full use of Google potential in our schools and classrooms? and might there be improvements we could make to our collaborative practice using Google,or MS365 or any other productivity platform for that matter?
Posted May 11, 2013on:
A very interesting article.
I was given some interesting figures recently. Although these are restaurant napkin calculations, so don’t take them as absolutely accurate… Apparently, to equip all late stage primary and secondary pupils and their teachers in Scotland with iPads could cost in the order of £ £25 Million a year (including servicing and upgrades). I suppose the question has to be asked about effective use of resources. Spending on current ICT projects including Glow vs state 1:1 provision.
Might this be a debate we should be having?
The Scottish Government ICT website has just been updated. The new site contains much more useful information than before and contains all the minutes from the ICTEx process, as well as clear explanations of the current situation, future plans, and a route map to GlowPlus. Its good to see our discussions about the need for transparency and better communication have been taken on board
Much needed clarity and openness. Well done to all those involved.
Yesterday was Ascension day. Some forty days after Easter, its the celebration of Christ’s being taken away from his disciples, who were still reeling from the resurrection, and disappearing into the clouds on his way to Heaven. After the emotional rollercoaster ride of passiontide, from Palm Sunday, through Pesach, the seering pain of the crucifixion and utter despair of Good Friday when all the troubles of our present-day world seemed to merge with those events two thousand years ago, The weeks since Easter have been a time of unremitting when the hope springing from the resurrection overcomes doubt and fear and the possibility of the world being put to rights comes more into focus. In fact, anything seems possible. Ascension day puts the seal on this, with the promise of hope realised in Jesus’ promise to be with us until the end of time. As Kelvin put it in his homily last night,not looking down from some heavenly place up in the sky, but with us, all around us, ever present in everything we do.
The Cathedral Choir were outstanding last night, with the setting for the mass being the Messe Solennelle by Vierne. The Kyrie was particularly amazing. A sonic blast of glorious musical contrasts. Stanford’s anthem, Coelos Ascendit Hodie was also a delight, with the composers almost trademark descending chromatic scales working their way into the music (listen to his Te Deum for more…). Topped off with a joyous Saint Saens Toccata and Fugue on the Cathedral organ. Anyone who has a thang for choral and church music needs to checkout the Cathedral Choir, directed by Friki Walker. Hard working, dedicated,and with a passion for music so evident in everything they sing. Kelvin has a blog post going at the moment about the things which get folks going to particular churches. For me, it has been the music that originally brought me to St Mary’s and that music has been a major factor in keeping me there. Of course, the inclusiveness,eclectic make up of the congregation as well as clergy not afraid to speak out on current issues of fairness and social justice. Have a listen to the Easter Sunday sermon if you want a great example of this message which is absolutely current and relevant to the world in which we are living right now.
But even if you are not too hung up on the religion, the music alone is worth the trip along to Glasgow’s west end. And with Pentecost, Trinity,and Corpus Christi coming along in quick succession over the next three weeks, there will be plenty of amazing choral excellence to enjoy.
And whilst you’re there, you’ll be captivated by the art , the history of the building, and maybe, hopefully too, by the message of hope you’ll encounter.
I read an interesting article in the Washington Post recently, all about the support for the new ‘core standards’. Its a loose collection of outcomes, with the actual nuts and bolts of the curriculum being left to individual schools and teachers. The same sort of situation currently exists in South Africa as well. All very similar to A Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.
The common issue in all countries is that teachers are asking for more guidance. Despite complaints stretching back years that curriculum reforms have been too prescriptive, teachers the world over are still asking for more and more guidance on what and how to teach. The Washington Post article articulates this feeling very well.
I think that no matter what reforms take place, the issue will always be one of examinations, testing, and performance measures. Teachers are all too conscious that they are expected to produce measurable results year on year. Consequently, they will always teach with one eye on the exam or test. This mutes the improvement hoped for by the architects of curricular reform, whatever country they operate in.
I’m inclined to revisit blog posts and press articles I’ve written before on this subject of exams, and how assessment founded on memory serves no one at all, teacher or student. We’ve Google (and other search engines) for that. Real school reform must be based upon assessment reform,which is radical and revolutionary, even. National 4 in Scotland is a good start,but its effect is also muted,but this time by being cast as the poor relation of big brother National 5 and its external exam regime.
I’ve often been reminded by wiser heads than mine that exam regimes are led by demand from schools and colleges. The question now is how do we mobilise support for real meaningful assessment reform when league tables and performance measures are still in place and still play a huge part in school annual improvement planning cycles as well as remaining as the key performance benchmarks?