Friday, February 22, 2008

Democratising Knowledge

I was really excited by our Subject Leaders event last week. These are always energising and exciting times, not just for me but also for all those who take the time out to turn up. The day was the usual mix of hands-on with new software, news, advice and web links, but today we added an unconference element. This meant that anybody could stand up and share what had been going on at their school, with or without Powerpoint.

For me this was one of those wow/hair back of the neck moments. It was one of those times when you just step back and get excited by what is happening in some of our schools. It also proves to me that democracy of knowledge is worthwhile and that when we share our ICT knowledge in this way we do not reflect Huxley's typewriter apes in our blogs and thoughts, as Andrew Keen would have us believe. There are still those who say to me, 'so you're the expert'. No I have knowledge and skills, and expertise, I am not the expert. If ICT was guided and inspired and directed just by me, then what a narrow vision we as a borough, and I as a consultant would have.

Below is a selection of some of the things that were shared. Maybe next meeting we should turn the event into an evening with food and drink, a la TeachMeet @ BETT.

Dancing Lego Robots @ South Park Primary :

Thanks to Hermina De Wet

Proper Podcasting- the work of the Redbridge Podcasting Network and the impact of Podcasting @ Redbridge Primary

Thanks to Rob Spriddle @ Redbridge Primary

Anca Pauwells @ Highlands Primary , who showed us how to embed ICT into school, simply by having an appointed ICT advocate in each year group,and thus the applications and innovations are spread far quicker than the lone coordinator/expert. It seems when and if OFSTED comment negatively about ICT in a school, they are more likely to use the comment bank statement,

'use ICT to support teaching and learning in other subjects'

They are doing this in Highlands, without the need to shout about it, what's more through the advocates system many more of the staff are on board.

Thank you Anca

Sue Bell from Churchfields Infants talked to us about the Talk Time photo albums. It was thrilling to hear how these had been used with less able children to promote speaking and listening. A simple tool with a powerful outcome.

Thank you Sue

Lucy at Manford showed us how her school had been using blogs to showcase the schools activity week and visit to Glasbury Outdoor Education Centre centre.

Click here to see the blogs

A further tool for sharing and collaborating is of course GOOGLE docs- and here I have taken my inspiration from Tom Barrett and the wonderful joint presentation on SMART BOARD tips and the more recent GOOGLE Earth presentation. I created a sharing presentation and invited everyone present to create a slide to reflect what is going on at their school. It was very exciting for Nicholas and I to see this slide show update throughout the day and though the finished product is a bit rough around the edges, it does show what can be done.

Here's hoping that next time the finished collaboration is even sharper!! and that I can build on Tom's work with schools in Redbridge that I work in. I am also using a Google Spreadsheet to collect information on dates and preferences for a Video conferenicng project, it is proving a far more versatile data collection tool than survey monkey or a member of my admin team and a phone.

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