Annual Learning Log: what does it tell us where to go next?
1/5: Hit or miss? Spotting innovation that's worth spotting
2/5: The changing ways of the public sector
3/5: eduBuzz: East Lothian online publishing increases 5000%
4/5: Building a business
5/5: Having a bash - social media gets social
For me, it's been worthwhile in clarifying some of what I feel I can contribute over the next year. Here's what I can see happening over these five areas in the next year or so:
Turning innovations into ubiquitous practice:
Many of the innovations spotted earlier this year have yet to hit mainstream classrooms or businesses. In the case of Scottish education, I think we need to make a concerted effort to learn from these new tools to nuance our existing ones, especially in the national intranet, Glow. We might even have to start talking to their creators to see if they would be interested in widgetising just for us (with the carrot of other VLEs and intranets to conquer thereafter).
Showing change really is innovative:
Over the past year I've used a lot of tools. I despise those who play them down with something along the lines of "all the rage this year, but will it be around in 2009?". It doesn't matter. It's what we learn from these tools, however transient they may be, that is important.
However, there is still a need for more research and action research to make a case for the emerging practices which emerging technologies bring around. There's also a need for much more prevalence to be given to this work by national education agencies the world over, and by initial teacher education institutes, whose efforts to work with new technologies are handicapped by the attitudes of younger new teachers and simplistic attitudes of those longer in the tooth that "new teachers get all this already". They may understand how to hold the new pencils, but they don't all know how to write with them yet, let alone teach others how to.
Robust research is needed to make an intelligent case where one is there to be made.
Changing ways faster with frameworks:
Both business and education still lack a coherent example of togetherness when it comes to attitudes to online literacy, or media literacy in its wider sense. I'm working on some outlines for business which take their lead from educational practice, outlines which have proven very successful with some clients already. However, the educational understanding of media literacy still doesn't place enough importance on the digital element, and there is still far too much ignorance in the highest echelons of our establishments for anything transformative to work its way into the classroom. I think it's Learning and Teaching Scotland's job to do that, and we've already started our plans to put digital literacy firmly on the map this coming year.
The changing face of professional development
Companies need to realise that they have to be learning machines if they are to thrive into the next decade; those working in education need to realise that it's not just students who need to study. However, the social mechanisms we have worked on this past two years clearly work when it comes to showing teachers new methods and tools, and getting them to use them effectively in the long term. There'll be plenty more live events this year to bring more educators together to talk about what they do.