First, let me make a confession. Whilst I'm not a complete technophobe, I do have my limitations when it comes to new technology. After all, when I left school many years ago at the age of 16, the 'personal computer' as we now know it had not even come onto the mass market. I'm old enough to be able to tell my children about when 'playing a computer game' meant moving two blips backwards and forwards on a screen. Having said that, over the years I've got to grips with quite a few bits and pieces of ICT - I've created several websites, including this one you're looking at right now.
In the past I've had my concerns about the over use of technology in education - where the teacher relies too heavily on that electronic whiteboard, and forgets to get the children hands on with actual, living things. Equally, I've wondered how schools are going to come to terms with the dilemma of the mobile phone. That is to say: your school policy says confiscate the evil items on sight, but actually if you do that, you're denying the huge potential for learning that these new web enabled gadgets offer.
Well, this week I've been convinced of the educational merits of one particular technological advance - the one with which I'm talking to you right now - yes, the humble Blog. It makes sense, really - as a writer, the Blog offers a whole new way of communicating with readers. Anyway, I was doing some training last week for some new teachers, and one of them got in touch with me afterwards, and said 'do look at our class blog, to see how we've been using some of your techniques'. Well, knock me down with a feather - it was wonderful! There were photos, film clips, writing, examples of the children's work. And all there, for the parents to see (and indeed the world to see, as well).
So it was that I created a Blog in a similar vein for our little village preschool, to counter parent comments about 'not knowing what my child does while he is at preschool'. That Blog will let us communicate, instantly, with any parent who has access to the internet. What a wonderful web indeed!
Elephants in the Classroom
You know that saying, about there being an 'elephant in the room': something everyone knows is there, but no one wants to mention? In teaching, there isn't just one elephant in the classroom, there's a whole herd of them, rampaging through the room. In this blog I plan to turn a spotlight on some of the unspoken and sometimes unpalatable truths about our noble profession (and the good stuff too). Because if we can't be honest about what makes a good learning experience, an effective school, or a good teacher, and equally what makes a bad one, then everyone loses.