In the early part of this decade I was busy travelling around Schools and Council Departments, desperately trying to get them into blogging. the main premise was,
“You’re doing great work, you should be shouting about it.”
Blogger was pretty much the leading, free platform back then. You could publish without paying a penny, you didn’t need a web server of your own or access to geeks who knew how to set up databases etc.
Let Teachers Choose Their ICT Solutions
Local Authorities were their own worst enemy though they were hell bent on blocking innovative change and fearful of implementing change for fear of breaching their duty of care to students.
Don’t get me wrong, I understood such concerns, but steps could have been taken to build a framework that ensured child safety.
There was plenty of money in education when Labour was in Government. Perhaps that was the problem, the big decision makers were more interested in rolling out authority wide Sharepoint Servers, that precious few people understood, and even fewer people enjoyed using.
These solutions cost huge amounts of money (of budget that had to be spent or reclaimed) and such deals tied schools into expensive inflexible contracts.
Working as an educational technologist, I believed at the time, that it would have been better to enable individual schools and departments to take control of the way they wanted to use digital media. Fair usage policies could have accommodated that and schools would have been creating great shareable content in much higher volumes, years ago.
Implementing blogs, and podcasting platforms was frowned upon at every level, only a few lucky CLC’s (City Learning Centres) managed to influence their local authorities enough to start innovating in a way that engaged children and teachers alike. They actually started to provide quality content for the educational community. Change was driven by innovative teachers and small independent educators, working hard to kickstart change, putting new ideas in front of the money men and providing workshops to seed new ideas.
Shift Happens, Deal With I.T
Fast forward a few years later, we’ve had a change of Government and the spending cuts bit hard. From inside education it looked as though this would mean less for schools, but looking from the outside, it seems to have had at least some positive effects. Schools have had to become leaner and more effective. Cuts forced schools to come up with cheaper more manageable solutions.
Today many school websites have an integrated blog, if indeed the whole site isn’t just one big blog. Schools sites increasingly make use of a CMS (Content Management Systems) that enable their staff to make regular updates with minimal amounts of detailed technical knowledge.
Instead of paying people to write content, Schools can put together their own content, teachers and students started to come up with their own solutions and the content became authentic. Not everyone agrees, but for me, one piece of authentic content is worth 10 over sanitised, over edited & spun press releases.
Great Teacher blogs
- Digital Roadtrip – Julian Coultas ADE
- ¡Vámonos!– Language blog by Lisa Stevens
- Jentunes.com – Musician, Teacher & Ipad Educator Jenny Hulme
Previously he worked in Education as an ICT Trainer delivering I.C.T / Audio/Visual solutions for Education and Business. Connect with Phil on Social
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