iPhone launched – will it really change education?

iPhone2

Apple’s sexy new iPhone launches in America today, though it won’t be over here for some time. When I blogged its announcement in January, I drew a storm of (largely critical) commentary. That notwithstanding, I am now more convinced than ever that kids will get the point of a truly pocketable, always-connected computer. The price has to come down first, but in the mobile phone industry that takes only a few months. This, and devices like it, will quickly come down to the cost of a commodity mobile today.

The big question as far as I am concerned, is how long will it take teachers to adopt these as teaching tools. Read the comments yourself, and join in the debate!

Not a forward-thinking Prime Minister

So Gordon’s in post at long last, and we are all wondering what he is going to do to for education. So far, his grand contribution is to rename the DFES to DCSF. If everything he does is that inspired, we are in for reasonably quiet time.

In fact, as I posted in January, we do have evidence that Gordon is singularly uninspired when it comes to education. Much as I would love to see some of our structural problems addressed, I can’t help thinking that most teachers will welcome any lessening of the initiative overload.

Flowol

flowolMartin Molloy from St. Paul’s School in Milton Keynes has been authoring nice stuff for a while. Here’s his latest; a couple of nice little quizzes for assessing students’ knowledge of Flowol.

Incidentally, quite a few people have authored Flowol resources in Yacapaca. If you have something you think merits inclusion in the public space – especially if it has a different flavour to Martin’s – let me know!

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Spanish resources

We are starting to see competition hotting up to become the main Spanish authoring group. There are now seven groups. All are set as ‘public’, meaning any teacher can join them. Two have no questions or tasks, so they don’t appear in the author group list yet. spanish

As you can see, it’s very early days for any of these groups. Only one has more than one question, only one has more than one member and two don’t even have colophons yet. Surprisingly, none have a concise and attractive description yet.

The general rule for any group moderator trying to get their group up to critical mass is that you have to push like fury in the first few weeks. Here are my tips for early-days author group building:

  • Get the basics in place – Name, colophon, good description, open access.
  • Write at least 20 questions as quickly as you can. Keep them simple, so they are quick to do. You can do the fancy stuff later.
  • Compile one or two quizzes that people can try out. Even if they are not perfect, they will build both your confidence and that of other group members.
  • Write at least one short-text test, and perhaps an ePortfolio task. They are quick to do, and will appeal to¬† teachers who don’t particularly get on with quizzes.
  • Write to every teacher who joins the group and welcome them in. Find out what they hope to achieve and what they might contribute. Keep your expectations low, though. In most groups, only about one member in ten actually contributes.
  • Notwithstanding the above, the day the group takes off will be the day you recruit one other teacher who can match your energy. I’ve seen this time and again.

And meanwhile, good luck to all the Spanish group moderators!