Lockdown 2 day 1

Well we didn’t get off to a great start.

Working from home today.

I’d set out a light weeks program in a blog post for the pupils and emailed the parents. In both post and email I’d try to make it clear we were trying to really get every pupil involved from the start.

Planned our first Team meeting for 2pm as that was the same time we used in the first lockdown.

Teams seemed to get off to a bad start across the country.

A number of schools, pupils and parents have reported the technology running slowly or not at all.

This didn’t cause me as much problems as some. I upload most of the files I want the pupils to use to the class blog. I figure this avoids password problems. Also Teams slowdown.

It did seem to cause problems in our meeting. Only about half the pupils managed to get on. The others could access Teams but not get onto the meeting. Hard to know if this was related to the reported problem or not. It was certainly frustrating seeing the messages from the class repeatedly trying to get in.

Worth noting that I joined the meeting on my mac and iPad. The iPad on mute and used as a screen share. This has improved a lot since the first lockdown. Joining on the iPad second it gave me a choice to swap to it or join without audio. The latter let me share the iPad screen, and from what I could tell it was not to laggy (as the pupils say). Laterally in the first lockdown I abandoned screen sharing or using PowerPoint and just share files in the chat as we had a pretty bad experience. This gives me hope for an improved experience.

From tomorrow I’ll be back in the digital classroom. I can’t say I’m very happy about it. For all my love of technology I much prefer the real classroom.

I’ve been reviewing my previous lockdown experience, I continue to find reading my old blog posts useful.  Also interesting to see what happened in the first week of term last session.

Last time I felt I spent very little time learning new stuff or seeing what other people were doing. As I recall my head was down. I believed that I cut out social media pretty much. I just had a look at my 2020 twitter stats:

And was surprised to see I was wrong about that.

It feel like there is a lot more pressure on this time round. I think, as teachers, we put enough pressure on ourselves, not sure the idea of teachers, schools and LAs having to produce data to justify themselves is a great idea. I gathered my own last time, and held myself to account  blogged about it, that felt tough enough.

I certainly hope that whoever tries to hold us to account understands the situation, the amount of prep needed to teach online, whether preparing for a live lesson or creating asynchronous ones.

Replied to a tweet by Blair Minchin (Twitter)

How do we reason with people like this?

How do we prevent the next generation from being so utterly misinformed?

Urgent questions we need to address as a society and as educators...but remote learning takes a lot of time to put together so need to park this for now 😂😥 pic.twitter.com/PckIWiIik1

A good place to learn about detecting online disinformation is @holden’s site Hapgood. Aimed at undergraduates it would be great for teachers to help our own understanding.

How this translates into secondary and primary education I don’t know. In primary I’ve used the Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus site. Used to use Mozzila’s long gone hackasaurus to fake web pages to add pupils to BBC webpages. I find it hard to move pupils off the goole search results to an actual site, never mind comparing two.

Technology seem to be making things increasingly easy for us while hiding the possibilities of developing real digital understanding…

Reposted a tweet by Ben Williamson (Twitter)

This piece on edtech during Covid was written for a wide audience. Edtech can do good, but also anticipates big changes for education long term. Should engage teachers, parents, students, not just developers and investors etc, in this discussionhttps://online.ucpress.edu/currenthistory/article/120/822/15/114546/Education-Technology-Seizes-a-Pandemic-Opening

Lots to think about in the linked article: Education Technology Seizes a Pandemic Opening | Current History | University of California Press

An algorithmic worldview now permeates education systems and is encoded into the digital platforms that proliferated during school and college closures in the pandemic. COVID-19 has been treated as an experimental opportunity to scale up the use of algorithmic technologies, generate fresh forms of capital investment, and grow market share—while presenting a model vision for the future of the education sector itself.

Replied to a tweet by erin glass (Twitter)

for the launch of @ProjectReboot, i wrote about how edtech trains students to accept an exploitative, surveillant web, and how we might use it instead to cultivate critical digital citizens capable of shaping the tech they use https://thereboot.com/edtech-needs-recoding-to-transform-student-users-into-digital-citizens/

The linked article, Edtech Needs Recoding to Transform Student ‘Users’ Into Digital Citizens – The Reboot is interesting.

Institutions have chosen to submerge students in a culture of computing that normalizes surveillance, exploitation, and control as if these were the objective features of computing itself. Can technological practice within education look any different?

A part of the suggested solution

supporting students to collectively design and govern their educational tools. There’s no better way to show them how tools can affect their thinking and social interactions, and to prepare them to critically shape the technologies that in turn shape our world.

I wonder how this can be addresses in primary & secondary education. The normalisation of the culture begins, surely, in the home & early education. I wonder if many educators even start to consider this problem. In my own sector, primary, where would we start?

During the last lockdown I made a wee webpage to use instead of a whiteboard and magnetic letters for phonics. It might be useful to someone else: Word Makers. Made with iPads in mind. It presents a list of  words and you can drag letters around. Here is a 30 second screencast (silent).

The words are from NLC lists.

There is a table of contents:

and a general board:

Doubtless a few bugs but someone might find it useful.

Replied to https://twitter.com/MrMcEnaney/status/1346191952925122560?s=20 by James McEnaney (Twitter)

Some thoughts on the return to online learning, and what we can do to make the best of it https://www.thenational.scot/news/18986180.online-learning-learned-teaching-online-covid/?ref=twtrec

 First of all, I think it’s really important that we put kids first and don’t worry too much about “lost learning”. No matter what age they are, their schoolwork is not more important than their wellbeing.

Yup, it is a pity this needs to be said, but it does.