This is the transcript of a podcast episode I posed at edutalk: #EDUScotICT small things

I had put my name down to talk for 3 minutes at the EDUscotICT conference on the 17th of October. I didn't get picked. The mail rejecting me suggested that I posted a presentation anyway. This is it, at least I am not limited to 3 minutes.

I've now seen the list of speakers and topics they will talk about, they sound great big important stuff, I want to try and make sure we don't miss the small stuff, the detail.

I had put down that I'd talk about the section "Implement the next generation of Glow, built upon freely available tools and services, and open source hosted solutions" I had "Some thoughts about software, open source, Glow 1 & paid for. From the point of view of making the tech as invisible and future proof as possible."

I had what I was going to say worked out in my head, but I had a real rethink last week, just after I read about the death of Steve Jobs and just before I got my rejection mail.

I have never really been a Steve Jobs fanboy, in fact the reason I got really interested in computers, HyperCard, was steved, abandoned, when Mr Jobs returned to Apple, but by that time I was a mac user and do appreciate the way the mac and ios platforms have developed.

I am also not a glow hater, I've trained and helped 100s of pupils and teachers get onto glow. I've seem some outstanding practice using glow. The majority of my working day for the past couple of years has involved glow and promoting it.

Last year I went to the Technologies for Learning Workshop #eddif blogged here a great discussion of how ict could develop in Scotland. On that occasion, as it recall, I tried to talk about interface and design but I felt that attempting to bring up this was sidetracked, as if the mistakes of glow one, now seen, would ensure a good user experience for the next one. I don't think it will not unless someone sweats every pixel to make glow work better.

For quite a while this mantra has been popular among educational technologists:

It is not the Tech it is the Teach 1

I think the tech does need to be discussed, and more importantly the User Experience needs to be discussed.

We can best use technology to teach when the tech is invisible. The problem with glow as it was all too visible.

The function of a hotel is a place to sleep and eat, what we remember and the reason we return is the user experience.

So Steve Jobs, here is a wee quote:

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that. 2

We need that sort of attention to detail, if ICT is going to be used invisibly, if we are going to get on with the teach.

I am an iPhone user, I've watch the system change, seen features added, not when they were asked for but when they work properly. The first iphone software couldn't copy text, this essential feature was not added until Steve Jobs, or Apple, decided that it worked really well.

I am also a user of many of the online web 2.0 services that have been suggested as glow replacements, a lot of these have far better user experiences than glow. We should learn from and use them or the user experience they give. One reason that many of these tools work is that they are constantly evolving.

Jobs famously said:

You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new. 3

One of the problems with Glow 1 was it was feature locked, recently new features were added but the inherent difficulties with the portal made these additions harder to use than was necessary.

I want a couple of things

  1. I don't know what sort of technology I'll want to learn and teach with in a few years. I want to be able to use new services and techniques as they arise.
  2. I also want to be able to alter and change these tools that some folk are excited about. Give me a wordpress blog, but one I can change, hack, repurpose add plugins and theme when needed, easily without fuss.

A couple of recent #EDUScotICT tweets spring to mind:

Kenny Pieper @kennypieper:

#EduScotIct Teachers not resistant to ICT 'cause of Glow. They're resistant to ICT 'cause they're resistant to ICT. Blaming Glow is tiresome

Robert Jones @jonesieboy

Sharepoint for glow was a terrible mistake. We all know it. Those with vested interests will never admit it. Time to move on #eduscotict

I think we have to:

  1. remove the excuse and
  2. remember and learn from the mistakes as we move on.

It's not the Tech, it's all about the Teach – Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Learning seemd to be a quote from David Warlick "Can you teach? The answer is hopefully ‘yes’. Why then do we forget to teach when we are thinking about technology. Stop thinking about the Tech, think about the Teach."


Steve Jobs: The Next Insanely Great Thing By Gary Wolf The Wired Interview.
Found via This: Dianamania is a slur on Jobs • The Register

2.The Entrepreneur of the Decade | Motivating Employees Article |

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