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Monday, February 27, 2006

Ditch the paper!

Tonight I was in Inveraray Primary for a twilight session on ‘Inspiration’ with all the teaching staff in the school. The reason behind this? The Head Teacher there is very keen to move to a more visual way of planning. When asked a few months ago if I could help them in this, I jumped at the chance. It is so encouraging to hear of a school being brave enough to ask the fundamental questions of why we plan in the first place. In case some of you have forgotten in amongst all the bureaucracy, we don’t plan for the sake of planning, or even to keep the Local Authority/HMIe happy – we plan so that we give structure and balance for our students learning. The less of a pointless paper-chase we can make this the better!

On reflection, I don’t think that ‘Inspiration’ (or any concept mapping for that matter) is the answer. What we need is an integrated database driven system that pre-populates data based on our outlining. Now if that could be fed from a personal learning planning and then in turn pre-populate a reporting system we would finally be making effective use of technology to plan, track, monitor and evaluate in education. What should I be more concerned about – that I know how to do this, but don’t have the time, or that we continue to hand out entirely unsystematic A4 documents that end up in huge ring binder folders on a teachers desk that on occasion a Head Teacher asks to look through? How can anyone effectively manage that?


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