sars-cov-2 still shines a light

2021 Feburary 2 Tuesday 19:29

It was amusing to read the ofqual blog post about the aforementioned consultation; when is a "mini-exam" not an exam??? The fiasco last year, consultation this year, all leads to a determination to make sure that this time, any public anger will be directed towards that occasional favourite target, the "it's an easy job" teacher (haven't heard recently of course), rather than the managing director of another quango.

Despite what the amgaf protagonists will claim, educational technology is seemingly in-effectual to narrow the attainment gap. Lazy and/or weak students are not going to be transformed into top performers because of a piece of vulture capital (cr)ap(p) software; am getting tired of the self-proclaimed experts (including some teachers) on software X, Y, etc..

On the topic of software, having noticed the flood of fellow teacher appreciation in a mailing list about the teachers' time-saving benefits of using microso$t forms to collate students' tests results, couldn't help but wonder about the benefits (any?) to students. Long-term, are students who already consume vast time in front of screens and data entry via type skills, losing valuable ability to write (along with the associated cognitive development to synthesis information) if test answers are typed instead of written? At gce a(s)/btec level 3, it is more evident that such communication skills are under-developed, which is probably one of the most important (self-)employment skills to acquire. Even though it is doubtful that future jobs will necessarily value chirographic skill, it is still valuable.

"Lock-down" lesson observation

2021 Feburary 9 Tuesday 19:10

It has always been an annoyance to witness the "observer effect" when a (senior) staff member enters a class to comment/criticise upon teacher practice during said observation. It is a funny profession in that, since everyone was once a child, everyone has an opinion about what constitutes good, bad, better, what if, why not, why didn't you, etc. teacher activities. With the remote lesson, an opportunity now exists to remove completely the observer effect. Senior staff that observe teachers, should take such an opportunity to see what really occurs in a remote lesson: late arrivals; eerie silences; good participation by a select few; total disappearances. Ed-tech is not a panacea to transform the recalcitrant student into the remarkable progress student.

Portable apps saviour

It the bad ol' days of being a regular micro$oft user, encountered the web sites 'old version' ("because newer is not always better") and 'portable apps'. In response to recent frustration with IT people trying to force the amgaf mental slavery into education (!), the latter was found to be a welcome, subversive release from such captivity. Considering how much it has grown from a single programmer, worthy of a donation!

Can you recommend a video please?

Apparently, video content is a "powerful" medium to learn. Maybe, but always initially sceptical, hostile when a student asks for a "video to watch" (emphasis mine). For a generation already too passive, the notion of being a curator to that famous video host, is not met with much enthusiasm. Equally, maybe more, annoying is the increasing common trend for people to post video content to demonstrate a (computer) task instead of the effort to write good documentation (those early days of learning this brand new GNU/Linux world via the linux documentation project...). Having said all that, will succumb partially and announce the existence of a 'peertube video channel, on the 'TubEdu' server. As the name suggests, it is a server for educational content; nothing original, just content republished onto a server free of data collection and adverts.

Disinterest ≠ disadvantage

2021 Feburary 26 Friday 18:57

There is much debate about dis-advantaged students, but for those interested in arbitrary categorisation there are other types. The well-motivated, well-supported (by willing, family environment); well-motivated, insufficiently supportive (dis-interested family); un-motivated, despite supportive family; un-motivated and insufficiently supportive family. Anecdotal interaction with most classes is an approximately equal distribution of each aforementioned category.So what? A fallacy of the cliché "ed-tech revolution" is that if these amgaf protagonists were so effective, so fantastic, so able to deliver fantastic "personalised learning"(!) so able to replace the teacher, why is there a clamour to end "remote/blended/virtual/etc. education" and get children back into classrooms? Despite all this interest in remote education and the wonders of "ed-tech", there has been scant change in educational inequity during the last twelve months. Generally, the same types and quantities of children are in pursuit of education pre-"pandemic" and perhaps soon-to-be post-"pandemic".

One of the banes of a teacher is marking, reviewing student work. It is a nice task to do, when class sizes are small and therefore each student may benefit from more than the cursory "tick-and-flick". If teachers are so appreciated when schools re-open to all children again, are taxpayer parents prepared to pay for smaller classes? One consequence of this remote-ed, is the increase in correspondence from students to reply. All those messages, waiting for content to be downloaded, viewed, etc., all takes time...

Webmention: de-colonisation of mfl

Reply: Turing student exchange scheme

It is inherently discriminatory and Euro-centric to proclaim "modern foreign languages" to be a euphemism for European languages. Nonsense. Despite the usual negativity, the imminent Turing scheme should be considered an opportunity to think beyond Europe, but without the colonialist mentality. Most European countries are hostile to a significant proportion of London's student population. Instead, there collaboration opportunities throughout west Asia (Arabic), South Asia, East Asia, Africa, Aoteorea, etc., with of course a much wider diversity of languages to expose British students during such exchange schemes.

Rush to vaccinate

Apparently, certain demographics should be prioritised to receive sars-cov-2 vaccines; let that urgency to vaccinate be replicated with a similar rush to provide equitable shelter, employment, healthcare; cures for other neglected tropical diseases also could benefit from such "urgency".