Ethos and re-adjustment

2020 April 2 Thursday 17:29

Is the ethos of a school manifest by the resilience shown to adjust to unforeseen circumstances? Today's thought during the "permitted" exercise earlier. Reading the educators' internet comments, noticeable was the variation in response to this "virus pandemic". Some teachers worried about their students' ability to adjust to the concept of the virtual school. Some were nonplussed. Some reported a good study ethic of their students in a (presumably supportive) home environment. Others' students were deafening in their silence as far as "study work" was concerned. What was apparent this week was that if the ethos of the school is; self-discipline, motivation, resilience, these attributes will be evident in another environment. Is a "laissez-faire" school environment conducive preparation for today's uncertain, remote, environment to learn? citc will hope that after the Easter holiday, there is evidence to the contrary...

Are teachers destined towards the "gig economy"?

One positive revelation of the #remotelearning environment we are now in, the total absence of tedious behaviour management. Wouldn't it be great to see schools transformed into optional learn centres? A natural consequence, lower demand for teachers? In which case, the search for additional, supplemental skills and incomes, needs to begin sooner rather than later.

Perpetual battle, open or proprietary?

2020 April 18 Saturday 13:27

Unsurprisingly, people look for quick, easy, convenient tools to do their jobs in new, unplanned-for circumstances. Who has got time for evaluation of data security, those terms of conditions (always agreed without so much as only a cursory perusal), data ownership, "lock-in", commercialisation, etc.? The majority often don't care or consider the whole concept of 'open': open source, freedom software; open access publication for dissemination of knowledge; open data for scrutiny; open document format; open communication (de-centralised social media, telephony, multimedia); open hardware (raspberry pi, arduino, fairphone); open agriculture (seeds unowned by corporations); it's a mentality of, rebellion.

At the time of writing, there is an alternative to those proprietary systems that shall not be mentioned here. Instead, please try 'Unhangout', for meetings. Surprisingly, the multimedia technology using 'Jitsi' functions well using Mozilla Firefox (unlike direct use of their server). Criticism? References to corporate social media. Where is the ability to sign-up via 'indieweb', or 'openid'; what about 'activitypub'? Test event is here.

Permanent temporary measures

2020 April 21 Tuesday 21:24

British income tax was (in)famously introduced as a "temporary" imposition to finance the wars against France during the 18th century. Similarly, the recent so-called sars-CoV-2 global pandemic has forced a few changes to normal life, such as the cancellation of exams. As a result, amendment of summative assessment has been proposed for this year and is now open for consultation.

The document is interesting reading. The idea of asking schools to rank the order of probable performance of students within a cohort, in confidence is going to make national comparison fascinating. How can unscrupulous schools and "pushy" middle-class parents corrupt the system now, one may ask? If the "Head of Centre" will be required to formally declare the school's judgements to be "objective, evidence-based and holistic", why not do this every year as standard practice? The proposal should go further than malpractice or maladministration, to personal misconduct if confidentiality is proven to have been broken.

Performance tables of schools for 2020 will not be published. If the centre assessment is to become a permanent component (what proportion, 50 %? Who knows?) of final grades of students, why not reduce the frequency of performance measurements. The statistical data generated by this new assessment of centres could instead be used to analyse for extremities (why is school X consistently over-assessing? Let's make a visit...). The consultation doesn't mention if the statistical model collates data from all exam boards; it should. Overall the statistical model as proposed is good and consideration should be given to how this could be incorporated as part of standard summative assessment in future.