Recently in collaboration with a couple of colleagues on Twitter I wrote a letter to Nick Gibb, the Minister in charge of schools. It was in response to a section of a speech by Michael Gove in which for the first time seemingly acknolwedged the role of technology in supporting education. That letter was sent a couple of weeks ago and as of today the 1st of August I have yet to receive a response. Obviously any response I get will be blogged.
I have been thinking (and did receive some prompting online) about a letter to Andy Burnham, the shadow secretary for education. Andy is on twitter at @andyburnhammp and he seems to be an amiable chap who tweets occasionally about educational matters and a fair bit about football. He has responded to a tweet or two in the past but seems to be careful about picking his responses. More crucially though (and this may be symptomatic of general Labour shadow cabinet context) he doesn't seem to be leading in terms of credible alternative options and policies regarding education in the UK.
What I am going to propose is therefore to send a letter to the Labour shadow secretary of education to outline firstly what we wrote to the Tories about and see whether we can open up discussions with peers and fellow colleagues throughout the UK. I have a further idea which I will outline below but at the very least I hope the letter will at least be able to enlighten Labour to the potential and possibilities available to them in support, consultation and ideas from the wider teaching community in the UK.
I do have a further idea which could be incorporated into a letter to the Labour secretary. I have been thinking about how Teachmeets could be used to support any possible collaborative work with politicians. I think politicians have been invited in the past and I am not sure whether any have come or not. If they have I am sure they would be impressed at what is on offer however what is demonstrated is often very inward focussing ideas which can only really work on a smaller scale dependant on another teacher's enthusiasm and often creative use of a budget. These ideas therefore tend to be very micro scale and so they should be as the vast majority of attendees I would assume are normal teachers each with only a few classes and a school to influence.
I think Teachmeets could therefore be used for macro scale ideas where educationalists could demonstrate or pitch ideas and projects which could impact schools positively across the country. I envisage presenters therefore giving their ideas not only to an audience of fellow peers but also invited politicians. How the evening would be run and who would come up to speak are other issues which can be discussed another time if this idea has legs.
As for the next letter itself I will be wait to see whether this blog picks up any reaction and then probably begin it in a few days.
Tonight was the second Teachmeet I have attended and once again I thoroughly enjoyed myself. At the end of a long first week back after the holidays I struggled to concentrate so amidst all the fantastic presentations I only came away with a selection of resources.
Arriving at the Teachmeet I was impressed with the size and organisation which had gone into it – a case in point of how talented volunteers can pull off something very professional. Soon met @eyebeams although I think I came across as a bit confused in the head when I spoke to him – sorry Leon! Later on ran into @alex_kingston_ and also met @digitalmaverick who gave me some fantastic advice on using Moodle for controlled assessments and also @grumbledook over pizza who gave me some good tips on where to go at Bett on saturday for advice. Thank you to all!
As for the presentations these are some of the points which I noted down.
@lisibo on universal subtitles.org for MFL usage with youtube
@zoeross19 on ways of engaging girls with technology – being a head of ICT at a girls school i will be working through her presentation again – some very good ideas
- @oliverquinlan on Sugatra Mitra and passion projects. A point he made was about the importance of play in learning – something which I think is an important aspect of games based learning
- @dwsm on the #ictcurric site http://moodle.ictcurric.org.uk – some brilliant resources there
- @russeltarr on 5 tools for essay writing and marking
That is that – very late now and I have long day tomorrow