Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday Reflection!

Somebody left their Freezer door open!

Well we have had an icy blast from the north or was it Siberia?  the snow came down on Monday which was not too bad. I have been travelling to Ely about 30 miles away everyday (and will do today as well) since Tuesday.  Luckily knowing the area I have avoided the 2 to 3 hours queues on the A14 and A11 roads when accidents have happened.  More snow predicted for later today but hopefully I will be on my way home before that starts.  

The temperatures have been on average about -5 C.  Might not seem a big deal to other countries but it is in the UK.  The get of jail free card played by the local authorities is that we rarely have these conditions.  If rarely (but frequently have them in winter) have them then the contingencies should be in place rapidly.  This is potentially where Teleworking should kick in, relieving the roads, the emergency services and the cost of heating buildings above frost protection.  It is not usually the first day when it snows that there are staffing problems since most will attempt the first day.  The subsequent days when people develop colds or are more stressed owing to the journey to work is an added problem.  All those commuters sitting on iced up and delayed trains are not being productive!  

Anyway the Friday Reflection.  It was good to get into the classroom this week and see how ideas of online learning could be matched as an aid to traditional class room learning.  The blended learning scenario.  We always assume a lot of prior knowledge when we walk into a classroom whether we are a regular teacher of that class or a substitute or supply teacher.  There is more worth in several "I get it" exclamations than an hour of  child minding and hoping that what you have imparted has the building blocks to support it in the first place.  In science (my subject) one dispelling of a misconception which can last a lifetime (ie the mass/weight conundrum for many pupil) and can often being the difference between the light coming on for the rest of the curriculum, not just science.  That little bit of success and understanding can be the brick that causes the dam preventing  further learning AND understanding.

Assumption is a problem with MOOCs when they are too big.  Overcoming the group inertia against against admitting you do not understand.  The hierarchy that is being set precludes as in traditional settings questioning of the instructor whether they are Professors of Oxford, Cambridge or the local Community College and school.  Challenges such as this are best addressed in a peer to peer online learning community or tutorial setting.  Moves away from tutorials by British Universities has been a feature with some arts courses having only 6 hours taught time a week.  You have to question are people being given a fair deal when this happens?   

Will update the Haverhill Online Learning Community Computer week later in the day.  To quote  the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, if don't stop now I am going to be "late for a very" important date in Ely! 

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