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I guess from a certain perspective these five scenarios could be perceived as innovative. There is, for example, the 'polymath university', where nobody is allowed to specialize in a single program, but rather, all must specialize in a mixture of distinct programs (like this for example). Or there is the 'nomad university', where participants gather at different locations from time to time, and classes are problem-based. Or the 'ludic university', which is based on the idea of 'the university of play' (and an unfortunately shallow sensitivity toward the origins of the ludis). But throughout all of these ideas, the fundamental model of the university remains unchanged. There are still students. There are still classes. And there are still professors who run the show.[Link] [Comment]
This article is interesting in its own right, but I found it interesing to reflect on my own attitudes toward the piece after reading that the author had scored a low IQ. And it underlines the main point, that "Testing is compromising the future of many of our able students. Today’ s testing comes at the expense of validity (strong prediction of future success), equity (ensuring that members of various groups have an equal shot), and common sense in identifying those students who think deeply and reflectively rather than those who are good at answering shallow multiple-choice questions."[Link] [Comment]
This is a brief update from Cisco describing the latest evolution of its 'evoloving technologies' domain, outlining subject areas for expertise in the area. It's an interesting glimpse into what they think is important. "For today, the 'Evolving Technologies' section will focus on the three subdomains of cloud, IoT, and network programmability."[Link] [Comment]
Today's little bit of coolness (I can't wait to try it): "Anyone can now create learning resources for students in little more time that is required for a normal explanation of a topic... almost anything that I would normally write on paper to explain to a student I now do on my computer (a pen-based Windows tablet — in my case a Surface Pro 3). The time overhead is minimal, and students can replay the explanation whenever and wherever is needed, as many times as is needed."[Link] [Comment]
All three of my children attended Woodford, but my youngest child, who was then in the process of being diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder, was the one who benefited from her care the most. His condition made him very difficult to manage in class, as he oscillated between sudden, volatile behaviour and social withdrawal. It was a difficult time for our family and also for his teachers, but Carol was incredibly supportive, making sure my son had all of the resources to ensure he received a quality education. Her care and attention, her sunny disposition and her decisive intervention were instrumental in ensuring that my son was educated to the highest standards. The children in his class were also incredibly supportive, which is a further testament to the high quality of the teaching at Woodford School.
Over time, my son has learnt to manage and surmount the challenges his autism presents, and now, aged 20, he is in his first year at Plymouth University, studying on a degree programme in computer graphics and games design. He's doing very well. As a family we can't thank Carol enough for the hard work, dedicated care and superb encouragement she gave us all during my son's years at her school. We would love her to know that he is now studying at university, and that her efforts from all that time ago have paid off. We would love her to feel proud of what she achieved with him. But she will never hear it. Sadly, she will never know, because Carol took her own life at the end of the last school term.
The heartbreaking tributes from children currently at the school, and those from her family show just how much she was loved, and the high esteem in which she was held. Tragically, Carol's life came to an end when she could no longer face the pressure and the ignominy of a poor OFSTED report. Her health and mental well being declined rapidly following the government school inspection. It had been conducted while the school was experiencing disruption from building works. The report said the school was inadequate, because communication with parents was 'not always effective', and some bullying incidents had not been recorded. These are questionable criticisms of a school that has enjoyed an exemplary track record for decades. Did the school deserve such a damning report on the basis of these small failures?
It's impossible to say what other pressures there were in Carol's life, and what finally caused her to decide to take her own life. But for those who knew her, and knew the pride with which she led her school, and looked after for the children in her care, it is clear. The OFSTED visit would have caused a tremendous amount of unneeded pressure on everyone, and the trauma of receiving a report that showed the school in a bad light would have been a major contributory factor to her death.
It can only be speculated upon what went through the minds of the inspectors of Woodford School, when they wrote their report. Some of my colleagues are currently school inspectors, or have been in the past, so I am aware of the pressures they themselves face from above. OFSTED's leadership is not famed for its friendliness. Established as the government's education watchdog, many believe that OFSTED has evolved into an attack dog, coached to act aggressively. Regardless of the hype and media surrounding OFSTED, we need a reality check. Schools have improved tremendously over the last few years, and many are now asking whether OFSTED is still necessary. This simply adds further fuel to the fire.
Life is precious, and the lives of teachers are fraught with challenges and pressures. You don't need to look too far to find accounts of teachers suffering from insomnia, anxiety, depression, alcoholism and stories of the culture of fear in schools. Caring for the mental health of teachers is an issue that is not addressed sufficiently in our society. How many teachers entertain suicidal thoughts because of the extreme pressures brought on by a school inspection? Most educators would agree that the additional pressures created by a school inspection do nothing to improve the quality of teaching. In this case, it seems a school inspection cost the life of an excellent teacher.
Carol Woodward was one of the best, sadly taken before her time. In time, the OFSTED report will be forgotten and the school will move on. In her time, thousands of children have benefited from Carol Woodward's excellent teaching and leadership. That will be her legacy. May she rest in peace.
Related item: Head Teacher suicide verdict
Photo: Evening Herald
One of the best by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
Synereo, Nov 20, 2015
Thisis very similar to what we are building in LPSS (it's also quite different in many ways - we're not building out own type of money, for example). Either way, this future - the distributed, personal, secure web - is the future of the web. Mark this.[Link] [Comment]
OK, I'm just linking to this because I want to have it available for a long flight or something. That is all.[Link] [Comment]
Vídeo Coral Regí.