In 2006 I will…
Understand users better
Having created something like Yacapaca, you would think we would know why and how people use it. But I am constantly surprised by what is, and is not, important to real users. In 2006 I shall ask more, watch more and listen more.
It’s amazing the number of customers who have turned into friends over the years. As well as making the job more satisfying for all of us, they also push the company forward by teaching us the potential of things we have created but do not always understand. In 2006 I shall be more diligent in creating new friendships and in looking after the friends I already have.
Authors are the lifeblood of any publishing enterprise so in 2006 we will look after our Yacapaca authors with additional services and events.
Focus on learners
The ultimate aim of all of this is to enrich the lives of young people. But how do they really respond to all this? I need to see for myself. In 2005 I managed just four days of classroom observation. In 2006 I aim for one per month.
Embrace Web 2.0
I could write you pages and pages on what Web 2.0 is, and why it should be important to Chalkface. But I won’t. Read Tim O’Reilly’s explanation or, if you prefer put it in that box labelled “techy stuff” and wait for the consequences of the embrace to become apparent.
I remain mystified as to why Grids for Learning and Regional Broadband Consortia are so keen to spend huge amounts of money on proprietary VLEs. Ever since I started working in the elearning area, the best services have been free. Not just the Chalkface ones (we charge for content but not service); Think.com is another excellent example, and of course there are free blogging and wiki services all over the place.
Of the free VLEs, the best-supported is undoubtedly Moodle. There is a big developer community behind it now and new features appear all the time. So it was great pleasure that I discovered my old friend Drew Buddie was setting up a stand to promote Moodle at BETT. Drew says
We want to promote Moodle as the first choice learning platform for UK schools, by presenting it as a viable, and we would argue preferable, alternative to the commercial learning platforms on show at BETT. Were giving our time and expertise for free, as our way of saying thanks for how Moodle has transformed learning in our schools.
Drew and I have been Skyping about it all evening and as a result Chalkface is now proud to be one of the stand’s sponsors. If you are interested in VLEs, and you’re going to BETT, then I strongly recommend you stop by the Moodle stand at SW154.
Blimey, that was quick! We added 50% more schools in just a week. It’s those quizzes wot did it, but the really cheering thing is the number of teachers who are now starting to experiment with quiz authoring for themselves.
Round about midnight last night we passed 1000 schools landmark on Yacapaca. Approximately 20% of UK secondary schools now have Yacapaca accounts. I’m over the moon.
This year, Mike and Miranda have replaced Christmas cards with Christmas quizzes, running on Yacapaca of course. They come in three flavours:
If you want to run them with your students, and are not already a Yacapaca subscriber, you can sign up here for free.
You’ll find some suggestions for using them with your students here