Sunday, 7 March 2010

Glow and worksheets

As I explain in the comments section of the TES Scotland two-page feature on website blocking (1,2), relevant material for this came in late and in the end we had too much of it. This led to rather severe editing and cutting at short notice.

However the research for the article – talking to people, surveying practice across the authorities, studying national policies in Scotland and England – took me several months.

Right at the start of that period, last October, I had a wide-ranging conversation with Ewan McIntosh, in the course of which he raised the subject of Glow and expressed several opinions about its educational value at that time. To support these, Ewan cited recent research on the effects of virtual learning environments on teaching and learning.

In writing the article in late February, I relied on my notes and memory for what Ewan had said. After such a long period there was a risk in doing this, to which I was insufficiently alert.

I have now taken the time to listen to my full audio recording of the 80-minute conversation. This confirms what Ewan suggested yesterday (3), but was unable to be certain of – because of the intervening time and because he, quite naturally, took no notes or recording.

Ewan never, at any point in our conversation, said, “Virtual learning environments like Glow are the modern equivalent of the worksheet.”

What he did say was “When educators use these systems [VLEs] they begin to see teaching as an administrative task to get through. It’s the modern equivalent of worksheet syndrome.” In my notes-aided memory those words and another comment he had just made about Glow became compressed and concatenated.

The quote is a serious error on my part. After such a long time had elapsed, and given the recent debates about Glow, I should have used notes, memory and audio recording in writing the article, rather than relying only on the first two.

For some problems with the article, such as the misattribution of words to Neil Winton and the failure to link online to its other half, responsibility is shared across TES Scotland writing, editing and online teams.

This error with Ewan’s words is entirely mine. I sincerely apologise to Ewan for making it.

Online references

  1. Are schools in the dark on internet safety? 5 March 2010.
  2. Action plan for e-learning leaves some holes in the road to excellence. 5 March 2010.
  3. Clarifications: Glow, VLEs, School filtering. 7 March 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Douglas. And thank goodness for good ol' fashioned cassette tape (or MP3 players).