Friday, 14 March 2008

The train moves on....

I haven't been at the keyboard blogging for a while but that doesn't mean things aren't happening. Sometimes I have a whole set of things on the go that come together at a certain time and it is time to write. This has been a positive week in many ways .
My year 8 bloggers are all writing more confidently and in a more sustained way and bubbling with enthusiasm when we have a blogging lesson. Many are doing lots of extra entries at home and are really proud of their blogs.I am trying to make it fun and they are able to have some input into what the posts are about. As time passes hopefully the tasks will involve deeper thinking and reflection and exploration of ideas, but for now confidence is building!
Unfortunately there has been some disappointing news; one student had his blog hacked by someone who knew his password. I found the damage and dumped the blog and we were able to find who did it and deal with them. It was initially a moment of disappointment for me and the student involved, but also a 'teachable moment' where he realised the importance of a unique password for the blog. As he is the most techno-savvy student in the class, it was interesting for him to see how he was opening himself up to problems with some of his silly mates. He now has a new blog and we move on, but we had a good class discussion on the issue.
On another continent however a teacher has lost his job for having a link to a personal blog on the class blog. He had to resign and this has been a great concern and disappointment among twitterers this week.The reactions of his students were really heartfelt and I hope that he can move on and see it as a learning experience too ,no matter how hurt and bruised he may feel at the moment.
As I write, a teacher in Adelaide Australia, Al Upton,has been instructed by his department to shut down his student blogs after organising to have adult educator bloggers - including me- be mentors and readers of their blogs. He is shattered and the discussion and dismay on twitter is quite powerful and disturbing.This new technology is not going to go away, and this teacher is trying to teach these kids how to live in the tech-rich world safely but instead of being recognised for his pioneering efforts , he is pilloried. Change comes so slowly and at times it is almost imperceptible, but I believe it does happen- it must.
On a happier note my network continues to build and the screencast above is from a trial session of Twiddla. I have enrolled for the Constructivist conference in San Antonio before NECC and have paid my deposit for the trip. On Wednesday I hope to go to a conference /demo session at Coburg Senior Secondary college to see a fully linked school using macs and lots of integrated software. I will take photos.I am also going to the ICTEV annual conference which should be really interesting as it is all about success stories using IT.
The final thing I want to reflect on is a post by Tom Barrett about his use of twitter to tech the idea of probability to grade 5's in Wales. His post about his lesson on a global scale just blew me away and I have been trying to explain it to others all day, with many bored or confused expressions on peoples faces in response. Ah well the train goes on. I WILL keep trying.


Howard said...

thanks Sue, i feel you have brought me up to date for the week.

students not being able to blog is a bit like not being able to speak in public. well done for the efforts with your own students.

Bill Gaskins said...

I enjoyed reading this post. It is unfortunate about the password issue but you seem to have handled it well. I tell my teachers is only a matter of time before you have to deal with similar issues. We must be prepared to teach when these things happen. We have to make the most out of the moment.