Had an LA subject leader network meeting on Friday. There was some excellent discussion about a number of things (some of which don’t affect me in KS3), like “Functional Skills” which don’t really crop up in my school (although “Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills” do) and some sad news regarding the way in which LA consultancy is now going to be organised.
But the main point I wanted to mull over, in the open, was the for-want-of-a-better-word-for-it… prevailing attitude. The deal had always been that, even though the consultancy team was being scaled back, they could organise these network meetings provided that we all chipped in and put forward some kind of idea of a talk that we could give on something we’d been doing in school.
So, first off, in a group of 16 or so ICT subject leaders (not just teachers… although, come to think of it, I’m not a subject leader so there may be others in the same boat) there were 3 people who were willing to come forward. Actually, make that 6 as 2 had already spoken on the work they’d been doing to introduce APP in their schools and another gent got a different slot as he had a specific target and audience (more on this onem in a second). But, in essence, 30% of people had something they could/would share? Really?
Putting that aside, the talks were mostly rather interesting – obviously aside from mine, but that goes without saying 😉 – one on how to introduce annotating, another on how he’s been introducing a “facade” pattern to get his staff to use APP and SIMs. The one stand-out talk for me, however, was the one on e-safety using Facebook as an example – obviously not really using Facebook in a classroom, as that might be dangerous, to actually allow us to give pupils access to the very thing they keep using in an unsafe manner at home, y’know? – and it was a genius example. The short unit (couple of lessons, I would imagine, if you took your time but the learning… oh the learning!) was essentially based on the idea that teenagers don’t listen, so no matter how many beautifully-shot educational videos you showed them on the dangers of social networking sites and how you really ought to think about what you post… they don’t listen.
So instead, he let them prove to themselves how dangerous it was. He mocked-up a Facebook page (which he told them he’d had to save locally as he couldn’t acces FB in school) and then slowly, gently, nudged them through how to work, effectively, stalk someone from the very small nuggets of information that people just don’t think about when they post. Like, what school they were at. And, what clubs they went to. And, what gigs they were going to. And… before the children realised it… they had a pretty good idea of where/when to find this person, where they lived (which they could find on Google) and even which window was theirs! Genius, I tell you! Of course, as ever, some weren’t happy. But personally, as I say, genius!
And then came the slump… as we tried to think about the next SLNM and how to share all these fab ideas and web-sites, the inevitable “I wouldn’t know how to find these out” or “as if I have time to do all this” came through. So I gritted my teeth. I bit my tongue. And I just made sure to swap email addresses with those that plainly *could* make the time and *do* know how to go about finding this out.
And yes, I’ll go to the next one and happily swap all the information I can. But I can’t help feeling a little disappointed that those attitudes are still prevalent in teachers whose very job is supposed to be to enthuse and inspire learners into making better use of technology.