Thursday, 26 June 2008

Will there ever be an end to exercise books?

I feel like I'm plodding v-e-r-y slowly towards the end of term. We're all counting down the days to the summer holidays and spitting at the very thought that some idiot politician could consider doing away with the long break.

I've made some (very laid-back) plans for next year, generally organisational ones, which lead me onto my pet hate. Exercise books. I hate them so much. They're just awful, limiting, miserable things. The kids complain because handouts fill their books and can't be stored anywhere. They forget to bring them ALL THE TIME. Then they lose the work they do on paper. Paper and pens are a daily annoyance to me and pretty much everyone else I speak to. Surely there's a better way?!?
Well, it turns out that there is. New Line Learning Academy in Kent has been featured on Teachers TV recently:
'Every pupil has been given a portable tablet computer, the school has provided wireless internet access, and has designed a virtual learning environment called Schoolbuk ... the academy has been developing a classroom of the future, with the school hall converted into a high tech Learning Plaza where open plan areas allow students to work in small groups, and an area for whole-class presentations.'
How fantastic is that? Or would they just forget to bring their laptop?
To see the video, go to Teacher TV. And if you have any 'overcoming an irrational fear of exercise books' advice, PLEASE get it touch!!
*Image credit Just_Tom, Flickr.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Does life move too fast in Web 2.0 world?

I'm thinking in particular about here about Edupunk, a term first coined on May 25th 2008, a whole two weeks ago.

I read David Warlick's blog post 'What's this about Edupunk?' on the 28th of May, followed by Doug Belshaw's 'Are you an 'Edupunk'? I'm not' on the 30th, five days after Jim Groom's initial post The Glass Bees. Within as little as three days the term had 'totally caught wind, spreading through the blogosphere like wildfire' (Introducing Edupunk).

So, I've been following it on and off, agreeing with some bits, laughing at others, until I read this post today 'Enough about Edupunk'. Posted today, the 8th June and I agree with a lot of it, especially:

"Good educators have been creating “student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced” learning experiences for centuries. It is JUST GOOD PRACTICE. Let’s assume we are all well-read, well-versed educators who have studied the theory as well as had the experience. We have all read Piaget, Skinner, Postman, and Montessori. We have been teaching our students (maybe even through trial and error? God forbid!) and we have learned what works best. We know that “hands-on learning that starts with the learner’s interests–and makes them relevant” is the best — whether that includes digital technologies or not. So why do we need to label it something other than what it is already? It is already GOOD PRACTICE. To paraphrase Tina Turner (who definitely was not punk): What’s punk got to do with it?"

Reading 'Enough about Edupunk' would give you the impression that the term has been around for donkey's years when it's only two weeks old!

Regardless of your opinions on Edupunk, it's a perfect example of how sometimes, things appear to be over before they've begun. No wonder I feel so out of touch half the time! I just can't keep up!