Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Steering an Oil Tanker?

I had a really interesting day with the Suffolk ICT co-ordinators in Bury St Edmunds today. I came home with a mission - set up a wiki for us. The main speaker this afternoon was Mark Allen aka @edintheclouds http://edintheclouds.posterous.com/. Among other things Mark advises and sets up Google Apps for Education in schools - mainly primary and mainly in Suffolk. We started using Google Apps at the beginning of this academic year instead of using the decidedly clunky and expensive VLE recommended by our LA. As his nom de net suggests, Mark is a great advocate of all things cloud based and I'm totally one with that. So I'll be using Google Sites for the task of "wiki" creation...
Suffolk's redoubtable Kathryn Tipper gave a presentation using the Paul Hynes prezi I've embedded above
I've used most of these tools with children or have at least looked at them. What really surprised me was how few of the other teachers had. Wondering about this as I drove home I had a few thoughts as to why this might be.
The teachers present were mainly from the secondary sector. There is a huge investment for them in units of work that build towards examinations, often working in departments with non-specialists, they are also expected to support ICT in other school departments as well. Add to that all the other stuff that fills a teacher's life, and it adds up to a dead weight that can make steering innovation in an ICT department slower than it could be.  After all, if ICT departments cannot keep up to speed, who can?
So howcome I'm not affected by this problem? Mark described me this afternoon as a maverick - which I find flattering. Having spent time out of the system freelancing, being in a school that will close next year (and has had its last Ofsted) I don't feel the constraints (aka fear) the way I once did. How do the teaching profession put up with it?