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Weighed in the balance … BYOD October 28, 2011

Posted by IaninSheffield in Inspiration, Musings, Tools, Twitter.
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At midnight on Tuesday, just before I retired to the Land of Nod, I made the mistake of a quick peek at the Twitterstream. #edchat was just about to start on the topic of BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. This is a topic very near to my heart at the moment, since we’re improving our school infrastructure to allow us to enable BYOD should we so choose. Hearing (reading?) what people have to say on the topic took precedence over my need for sleep, so I joined the animated discussion.


Pro Con lists

Wanting to be able to refer back to what people had said and catch up on the myriad of tweets I missed, I checked out the archive. Having thought I might Storify the stream, adding the numerous extra resources that people had referenced, it soon became apparent that wouldn’t be possible. The following day (after a good night’s sleep) by the time I started to pull the Twiiterstream for #edchat through, there had been so many subsequent tweets with that hashtag, that Storify couldn’t go back far enough to the BYOD discussion.

Instead then, and because the debate raised many issues both against and in favour of BYOD, I turned to Pro|Con lists. Using the archive, I pulled out all the comments on each side of the argument and listed them in Pro Con, then applied what I felt were appropriate weightings. The results are here, BUT they’re clearly only my opinions. The great thing about Pro Con lists is that others get the chance to influence the results – democracy in action? Hover over each of the arguments and you can say whether you agree or disagree (you do need to sign up (free) or you can log in with Facebook).

Overall then, it would appear that I tend to favour BYOD … but maybe you can change that! For or against! (Do check the interactive elements of the results chart)

Wouldn’t this be an interesting and useful tool to use with your students for summarising a debate on a controversial (or non-controversial) issue? Have the discussion in class,  create the Pro Con list from the group’s responses, then perhaps as a homework task have them visit it to contribute whether they were for or against the group’s arguments.

Thanks to all the good folk of Twitter who participated in the aformentioned #edchat session for your ideas and advice. In particular the following who provided the Pros & Cons: @fereydoon1975, @sammorra, @Jena_Sherry, @MrsBecks25, @Luke1946, @cybraryman, @mmebrady, @diginativenick, @patjlee, @Digin4ed, @tomwhitby, @mrsblanchetnet, @drdouggreen, @drdouggreen, @DMS_Principal, @DaretoChem, @mrnichol, @mrsgosselin, @irasocol, @javafest, @blairteach, @MrReidWSS, @MisterTelfer & @tomgrissom

(Hope I attributed the right people!)

#PurposedPSI Barcamp – Student Voice May 1, 2011

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, Inspiration.
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Initiated and facilitated by Peter, the group session centred on how the student voice could contribute to the #purposed debate. An eclectic mix included colleagues representing primary, secondary, independent and maintained schools, together with colleagues from business, enabled the discussion to range far and wide.

Recognising the importance of securing student input into the debate, we quickly acknowledged the possibility that undertaking this exercise might prove rather inimidating for many teachers and/or schools. Students are likely to be forthright and perhaps unguarded in what they say and the outcomes might prove uncomfortable for some. One forum through which student opinion might be enlisted is Facebook and whilst its popularity and ubiquity (at least in older students) might seem appealing, the possibility of releasing a genie gave further cause for concern and this would need to be a route taken only with the greatest care.

Clare shared a simple way she solicited student opinions, asking each of her classes to provide their answers during a lesson plenary. This was done using sticky notes which she kindly brought along and we were privileged to have the chance to read. (Hopefully she’ll get the chance to share these responses more widely later!)

Student responses to #purposed from @dailydenouement

The discussion also ranged beyond student voice to parents and that a shift in mindset might be necessary before many would even begin to consider this a topic open for debate. Many have very fixed (and perhaps narrow?) views concerning the purpose of education; lifting the lid may benefit most from initiating local initiatives within local communities.

Concern was expressed that this might be perceived as one more opportunity for a tokenistic approach to enabling student voice, yet this clearly depends on the way it is approached. The range and depth of the responses Clare’s students provided shows they clearly have opinions; we just need to find ways to allow them to express that in open and meaningful ways.

Discussion courtesy of:

Let’s get the party started . . . July 19, 2010

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD.
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Last night on EdTechRoundUp, Doug raised the question of #ukedchat and what people felt they got from it.  There were plenty of the moderators there to respond (@colport, @dughall, @janwebb21, @ianaddison), in addition to others who also take part in these weekly Twitter unconferences/discussions.  Without wishing to put words in Doug’s mouth, I guess he was asking whether it’s possible to draw value or sense from the cacophony of tweets . . . or whether it’s just like coming into a noisy room where everyone’s talking (shouting?) at once.

I guess I look at it a bit like a party.  Being there from the start allows you the chance to acclimatise, perhaps start off a few conversations.  If you walk in when it’s underway however, the room can seem incredibly loud and perhaps a little intimidating; difficult to pick out threads from the general hubbub.  But then you join a smaller group and chat with them a while, become more comfortable and settle into the ambience.  If the conversation in the group isn’t to your taste, or you want to speak with other folk, you politely move on.  Maybe you find a group in which the topic is particularly stimulating, so you linger a little longer.  Whilst nibbling from the buffet, you might ‘lurk’ on the chat from a group nearby.  It’s pretty much the same in #ukedchat – you might lurk for a while, add a contribution, follow those of others, reply to them and follow up replies to yours.  A bit less relaxed than a party perhaps and there’s a lot to squeeze into an hour; I know I find it tough:


My Tweet after the session on 15-07-10

It’s certainly a jam packed session, but is all the effort worth it?  For me, yes.  I’m exposed to issues and standpoints I might not enjoy during a normal working day.  And I’m exposed to a discursive form which demands a different approach to the lingering discussion I might otherwise have over a cuppa or a pint.  So it challenges me because it’s not my preferred way of working. . . and I like that!

Students Teaching Teachers? May 2, 2010

Posted by IaninSheffield in Inspiration, research, TELIC.
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Whilst out on the bike today, I was catching up on some of the podcasts I tend to accumulate and the one that caught my attention was episode 190 of Teachers Teaching Teachers. The theme was the role that games might play in school, an area that’s recently piqued my interest. Although it’s a podcast I’ve only recently become aware of, the folks on TTT occasionally invite students into the sessions … and that’s where it got really interesting for me.

The students (Jake, Riley and Matthew) were Seniors, incredibly articulate and I guess it’s fair to say, experts in this field. The teacher participants were trying to tease out the effects that gaming could have on learning . . . with only modest success. This resonated with me as I’d been attempting to do the same with the student involved in the pilot study for our 365Learning project. My initial impression is that students perhaps don’t have the vocabulary to articulate thoughts about their own learning – why should they; it’s something we rarely ask of them. (It’s also the case that I need to develop my questioning skills a little more!)

Although I didn’t find out much about the effects of gaming on learning, it was still fascinating listening to what the students in the podcast had to say. There was a marvellous moment when one of the teachers suggested to Jake that discussion about the narrative and content of a game was difficult, since other students may not have played it and only at higher levels is there sufficient complexity to warrant serious discussion. Jake’s immediate response was that the same is true in the non-tech world if some class members failed to read the set book, or had read the first chapter only. Touché!

Student discussion

From St. Gallen Symposium on Flickr

I came away from the session thinking that we perhaps don’t do this enough. i.e. provide a forum within which teachers and students have the opportunity to engage in serious discourse about learning. Surely there’s much we can learn from each other, given half a chance?