This is the reflective (mostly) blog of Adam Sutcliffe, a teacher of Modern Languages at The Gordon Schools in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.
All opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own. Any complaints should be expressed directly to the author.
I would like to celebrate my first year of broadbandedness by congratulating my provider. You hear lots of stories in the media about bad customer service, slow connections speeds etc. I have no complaints thus far with my Eclipse Evolution Broadband service. I have the cheapest option and everything has worked supremely well, touch wood. Could it be because its not some big promotional offer which is soooo good everyone wants it and the systems can't cope. I don't know but it works Thanks Eclipse for your super service. (How about a month or two free for the promotion.)
Over the recent 2 week October holidays we have here in Scotland I spent an inordinate amount of time watching and listening to various presentations from the K12 Online 2007 Conference.
The last day of the conference was devoted to a marathon 24hr live online discussion via elluminate which I was lucky enough to visit on 2 occasions; quite early on when I "met" Joe had a first verbal contact with Paul Harrington. I was enjoyable but there were too few participants to ensure a wide ranging discussion. I also joined later with about and hour to go and it was fascinating. There were educators from all over the world, all kinds of time zones, all talking about the wonderful world of the web. This was great and I feel happy about my contributions...and shhhh maybe I'll get a few more readers. However it really brought to mind a couple of big questions that have been turning around my head for a while. Questions to which I have my own ideas for answers but questions which I feel we should all be asking of ourselves and others.
1. I love web 2.0 stuff and can see the advantages it can bring to education but how can I persuade the 30 year career teacher that it might be worthwhile (for the kids sake) to take a step out of the worksheet comfort zone and take on the risk on potential failure in the classroom by trying something new? The thing that just kept leaping into my mind whilst enjoying K12 was that whilst it is great to find same-minded people across the globe, where were the doubters, those that would force us to counter their arguments to help us prove our point. I think that the answer to this conundrum lies in Derek Wenmoth's presentation Holding a Mirror to Professional Practice. The persuasion will come I am sure when more and more of us seriously evaluate the work we are doing and prove to the doubters that this is not just another passing educational fad...like non-competitive sport.
2. When you look at the cluster maps posted on blogs you see swathes of red dots over North America, Europe, Australia/NZ and parts of Asia. The world is often still green across Africa, South America and large parts of Asia...Hmmmm I wonder why? Could this be the developing world? Not only do these parts of the world often miss out on even basic educational (and health) needs how far behind us are they going to be in the wonderful world of the web. (I have often thought about trying to help my brother-in-law in Cameroon set up a cyber cafe, but as he says there's no point, they only get electricity every other day...30km away from the capital city.) How can our use of web 2.0 technologies help my little nephews and nieces "au village"? Yes you all cry there's the One Laptop Per Child Initiative, which is a fantastic idea, but they are relying on governments, who struggle to ensure a simple basic level of education for all children, to purchase a huge number of units. If there is intermittent electricity there is hardly likely to be the capacity to create large bandwidth. The thing I find most frustrating is that at the moment I don't think there is all that much we can do to help. Our governments and big multi-national corporations need to get serious...more serious. STOP ENFORCING ALL DEBT REPAYMENTS, STOP STEALING MINERAL RESOURCES, STOP BRIBING EASILY ENCOURAGED OFFICIALS. Then maybe individuals like myself and many of you out there in blogger world can kick in.
This article from the BBC shows people are starting to think abpout how to address this issue. But where will we be in comparison by 2012?
We welcomed our partners fro Lalilbela and Windhoek to our school for the first time and the week was a whirlwind of activity. Rather than write about it again click here to read about it in the partnership's wiki.
Let me add however that I am rather pleased with my use of varied applications to spice up the pages.
I love things for free... but I love the idea of sharing my good fortune. Thanks to ewan I have just found out about fon, free wifi access, as long as you share your connection with those around you. Rather than me trying to explain what I only vaguely understand click on the fon link to find out more. Here's a little tip as well, until 31st March they have 2500 free wifi routers to give away. Find out more via the english blog. I have signed up but will have to wait 3 weeks now to become wifi.
A whole new world has just opened up before my eyes. I've got broadband at last. As I'm writing this I'm downloading swathes of linguistically minded podcasts. I've already updated the missing album covers on iTunes and I took my first peek at Google Earth.
To paraphrase The Fast Show "I'nt broadband great".
More seriously, as befits a reflective log (use a grave tone of voice), I can now really start to research all this web 2.0 technology to help with my continued drive for improving my teaching...does that sound good? Good, HMIe are in next week.