GLOW – how to make it shine

Ewan McIntosh does it again. A perceptive and interesting article on the dangers, future and possibilities of GLOW.  He also makes excellent points about how we should strive to ensure that GLOW, far from keeping everything behind closed doors as it were should be capable of allowing students to take their work with them outside and after school. This is where the ePortfolios come in. Read the whole thing here

Main points:

Andrew Brown has indeed engendered “a new mood of collaboration” since he took over the Directorship of Glow, the national schools intranet in Scotland, in November – collaboration was something he, I and what felt like a small band of colleagues at the time felt was missing in so many parts of education. I can’t wait to see what he pulls off in the longer term; he’s already managing to move on from the hype of usage stats of sign-ins and sign ups and is talking about how he can make things better until a new version of Glow is commissioned later this year.

“the biggest challenge is the approach Local Authorities take in implementing the internet that lives around and within Glow. Most Local Authorities in Scotland continue to operate locked down or highly managed internet access, meaning many of the most educationally useful content and collaboration websites, services and tools are unavailable. This is not a-typical:
Hours of video archive on YouTube – blocked.
Weblogs where students can publish their work and accept feedback – blocked.
Wikis, where students can collaborate on writing documents together – blocked.
Social networks, where students can not only prune and make acceptable their ‘social’ face online, but also develop their future professional shop window – blocked.
Skype and other video conferencing facilities – blocked or made unworkable.”

We need local management of Glow to open up.
Local Authorities, the ultimate “deliverers” of the national intranet, either have to be encouraged to open their networks or, quite simply, overruled by central Government to do so. The latter should never have to be invoked.”

and finally:

“This is where Glow has been making some of its biggest gains, in taking new ways of working, learning and teaching to more teachers through its regular Glow Meets. I say “new” – many of us were working on low or no budgets to train colleagues in these tools up to six years ago, but with blocked tools and lack of support from those that believed “Glow will do that” we’ve seen great delays in schools being able to take advantage of what the rest of the world have been using more proficiently for some years.”

Go forth and read and spread the word (and the warmth), especially to your Local Authorities!

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