Lessons in Leadership

Whether you are a classroom teacher, a middle manager of a school leader you will have a leadership role, so how much thought do you give to your style of leadership?

This light hearted article on the leadership of James T Kirk make an easy ready but makes some sensible points.

    1. Keep exploring and learning.
    2. Ensure that we encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions.
    3. Occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so we understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty.
    4. Understand the psychology of others
    5. Radically change course when circumstances dictate.

It’s easy to dismiss these but there is some useful stuff there if you are ready to think about the first point.

Article

3D Scanning – on a massive scale

The Smithsonian has been experimenting with 3D scanning for some time now, using tools like laser arm scanners to map models of whale fossils and other ancient artifacts.

Now the museum is utilizing the technology to preserve its collection for posterity. They are working full-time to record items for future generations, as part of an extensive effort to digitize 14 million prioritized objects (a list that also includes artwork and lab specimen).

The video also shows the use of 3D printers to reproduce some of the artefacts – cutting edge technology indeed.

Expect constant change

Both Adobe and Microsoft are moving to a pattern of constant updates.

The new ‘improvements’ to Windows 8 (codenamed Windows Blue) will the the first edition that will undergo constant modifications.

Adobe will be moving away from it’s ‘Creative Suite’ and concentrating on offering it’s apps (for rent) in the cloud.

For schools then this means that every time you start up the software you could expect some small change so the step by step guide might have a shorter lifespan than normal. 

The other issue (of course) is cost. Whilst many might actually prefer a rental model as the costs are more consistent (I believe most schools use the ESS agreement for example) it does mean that you can no longer delay upgrading a while longer to save money.

Microsoft Blue

Adobe CS

When was the last time you discussed the news?

Most days I listen to the news and most days I hear a story that is almost pure ICT (ie not centred on ‘coding’ but of real interest none the less).  Id estimate that I hear about 5 powerful stories a week.

Wouldn’t it be a great start to a lesson to just open with ‘todays news’?

The story in the Telegraph today (7th April 2013) was a really shocking one – the use of a 3D printer to make a gun that worked yet avoided all metal detectors.  I imagine that many schools would find this a difficult topic and it would definitely be necessary to handle this sensitively but it could really spark a debate about a huge variety of issues that really matter.

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Windows 8 hit by 2 system cycle?

It’s been a feature of Windows since Win98 that every second version is not warmly received:

    • Windows 95 – Hit
    • Windows 98 – Hit
    • Windows 2000 – Miss
    • Windows XP – Hit
    • Windows Vista – Miss
    • Windows 7 – Hit

Maybe Windows 8 is the latest ‘Miss’ on the chain.

The story on the BBC website suggests that there has been a lot of negative feedback and that Microsoft are working on “Windows Blue” ready for release later this year.  Personally I always wondered at the decision to prevent the OS from booting directly to the desktop but then I’ve yet to use it seriously yet so am not really able to comment.

One to One is doomed?

Most discussion about the takeup of individual computing devices that I get involved with quickly becomes about apple vs PC or iOS vs Android.  Sometimes we spin off in the direction of better infrastructure or maybe even about physical problems (labs or not, charging etc)

It’s seldom that I talk to anyone about what really matters – changing the way that pupils learn.

Focussing on the technology is (IMHO) doomed because there will always be a different piece of kit tomorrow (same applies to teaching ‘software skills’).  It was just over 3 years ago that the iPad was launched, until then we didn’t know we needed one.

This interesting short article from Alan November sums up some of the key concerns about technology in Education.  It’ll take just a minute to read.

I’m keen to say that OF COURSE you need to teach how to do things – we teach the mechanics or writing so that pupils can communicate – the physical act of writing is never an end in itself.  To continue this analogy – much of the time we’re not worried about which device is used, pencil, pen or chalk.

Unless the school leadership has a clear focus on where they want to take teaching and learning any technology driven program will not return the investment.

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The Draft National Curriculum

There has been so much nonsense spoken about the National Curriculum over the past few years that it hard to know where to start to comment but the current draft proposal is so wide of the target that it probably tops the lot.

It isn’t that I disagree particularly with anything that is in the document it more about what isn’t in it. 

I’ve spoken to many people about this and the most positive comment is “just ignore it”, nobody (not one person) has said that it is (anything like) suitable for purpose at it stands.   Part of me cries out that the National Curriculum is probably redundant now in any case so there is no point in getting too excited and part of me wonders why anyone would go to such lengths to create something that is so strongly disapproved of.

If you’ve not seen it yet then here it is.

You can check that you have the right document by looking for:

  • Key Stage 1
    Pupils should be taught to:  Understand what algorithms are

(yep – KS1 – 5 years old)

The document is currently in it’s final consultation stage.  There is an online form for uploading a document in Word format.  Submissions have to be complete by 16th April.

DfE Submission form

There is also a template Word Document hat can be used:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/doc/n/responseform.doc

Another tablet

A couple of days ago Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp launched the Amplify – a tablet for US Schools.

The tablet will sell for around £200 and should be ready for the 2013/2014 term.  I don’t know if there is any availability in the UK yet but the price point seems good.  The ‘stand out’ feature for me is that there will be a structure of support behind the tablet that is specifically for education, provided by ex teachers.

There are probably more questions than answers when it comes to using mobile technology in schools, a ‘standard’ device is certainly attractive – I’m not sure that it’ll be attractive to the pupils though … the debate continues

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BBC Article

Another blast

Some of you will have noticed that ICT Nuggets has been very quiet for a while …..  This is because I was wondering “What’s the point?”

I still wonder but thought that maybe the time is right to give it all another go with the hope that I will get some feedback and encouragement to carry on.

I was looking for an image for ‘BLAST’ and found this one – I liked it because it also conveys the idea of ‘impact’

blast 

Bob

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