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Saturday, August 19, 2006

There you glow - it's official

I'm sitting here reading the TES Scotland (as you do on a Saturday morning).

Two seemingly unlinked articles grab my attention. Having all been sworn to secrecy for so long, it turns out that the TES Scotland is the first to unveil the new name for the Scottish Schools Digital Network (SSDN) in print - from now on the SSDN will be known as 'Glow'.

Was this the publicity it deserved? The article takes up a tiny corner of page 11, whilst a worrying article on 'the dangers of MySpace' takes up half of the preceding page.

Teacher's should be wary of what they say on social networking sites. There is a lovely wee quote from Derek Allen of the company Sercurus - "My advice to teachers is be extremely careful about who you are talking to and what you are saying" - in my opinion, if teacher's don't know this fundamental rule about online safety, then I am even more troubled by this article. Our kids are flocking to use MySpace and Bebo - we should be asking why, not issuing public health warnings. We should be capitalising on the social networks created in these environments from an education perspective, instead of merely pointing out the negatives. Sure, people have to know the risks, but let's get this in persective. Interesting that there is relatively no mention of how kids are using the site - for example: do you know how fast homework tasks spread across this type of network? I long to read the TES do an article on the positive aspects of social networking?

Back to Glow though. The tiny article quotes a LTS spokesperson who said "Pupils will find Glow easy to spell and remember, while teachers will see it as a pool of resources that will help make lessons more interesting and interactive". Are we still talking about a 'pool or resources'? Teachers are going to be incredibly disappointed if this is the case. The SSDN does not offer resources per se, it offers communication and collaboration tools - if these are the resources to which the LTS spokesperson is referring, then they need to spell it out. Ask any teacher what is meant by resources, and I'm fairly sure they won't say 'tools'.

Glad to hear that Glow is also easy to spell and remember - with my limited knowledge of language, SSDN has fewer letters (owing to the 2 'S's?). Will pupils have to remember it? Why will pupils have to remember it? Will they have to type in a URL to get to it? I understand browsers in school will default to it. Local Authority websites will presumably have a link to it. Here's what you get if you look for Glow - this, or this are the most obvious ones. To top it all off, there is also an IT company Multidmedia with a product called Glow.

Don't get me wrong - I am right behind the concept of a digital network connecting all scottish schools. I can't wait to see how teachers and pupils make use of the collaborative tools, and see learning evolve in so many new ways. This really is an exciting time. It's maybe just a marketers nightmare.

Were these two TES articles related? I think so. We need to learn from the importance of social networking from the likes of MySpace - this is true collaboration and networking. Oddly, one of the things that the SSDN, sorry, Glow, should be seeking to achieve.


Blogger Elspeth Davis said...

Glad you finally backed the SSDN glow at the end of the posting - and although I liked the mutimedia package, I did prefer the bikinis.
They did, however, only serve to remind me of the holidays which now appear so distant...

1:16 pm  
Anonymous Bob Hill said...

I don't think we should necessarily wiat to see what changes teachers make as a result of Glowing.

I hope that here is an opportunity to push change.

8:39 pm  
Blogger ab said...

Elspeth - I am completely behind the concept, I just despair at the marketing.

Bob - we will need to wait - without access to the glow tools, we are unsure what staff will do with them. My slight worry is people are already doing things that could be regarded as more advanced at the moment, without the use of glow.

11:59 am  

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