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Alan Thwaites
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A brief description of me? Umm .. tall ... aging ... I don't care about descriptions ... something, something ...
A brief description of me? Umm .. tall ... aging ... I don't care about descriptions ... something, something ...

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Alan Thwaites commented on a post on Blogger.
We are shaped by others opinions and behaviours, both good and not so good. It was interesting to see that the personal attacks on Alec Couros resulted in part of his online community siding with him against someone who wanted to use the connections for a purpose considered unacceptable by the group. I don't think this is being radical - it's just knowing why you are connected an preserving that reason - not allowing others to hijack your purpose. Also, while it may be to some extent true that the "loudest" dominate, this happens in face to face meetings too. You have to learn how to handle that. Online forums provide excellent opportunities to develop the skills you need. You get to see how others respond when you do, or do not, say something. How to you handle the abusers? To what extent do you engage with them?  How can you tell the difference between someone who is just being contentious and someone who just has a different view to you and is merely expressing that view. What will engaging in dialogue with someone who does not share you view do for your leadership skills and your understanding of people? Radical? Not at all. Being abusive, being a troll, that is radical ie extreme. Engaging in a spirited, respectful, rigorous dialogue - that just hones your skills, firms up your views and improves your ability to articulate and justify (or modify) your position.
Do You Have to be a Radical to be Connected?
Do You Have to be a Radical to be Connected?
readingwritingresponding.blogspot.com
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Alan Thwaites commented on a post on Blogger.
Having implemented Compass over the past 9 months in our school (1000 students and almost 2000 parents), I can say that it was much easier than the Ultranet. I feel I can speak with some authority in this as I was also responsible for the reporting trials with the Ultranet in our school in the first Semester of 2013. Compass is far more intuitive. Login in issues can be handled within the school. Tech support is much more responsive. We have 80% of parents connected, have moved to formative online assessment this semester - all visible to parents, students and teachers. Having said that the issue you mention above are indeed there. There does need to be a key implementer of the system. Once it is up and running though, it is important to give control of the various functions to the people who would normally look after those functions if they were done in the "old" ways. It is also important to realise that changing from one way of doing things to another, particularly with some 3000 people involved, is going to be a process that takes time. Adjustment will take time. People have to learn something new, which will bring conflict, confusion, annoyance, upset, but in time acceptance, particularly once everyone realises what the changes mean. (Explain it as many times as you like, in a group that large will take a long time to absorb the reasons for the change there can be a very loud minority flooding out complaints. Marzano Research Laboratory: Dr. Marzano on 2nd Order Change ) Is it worth the effort? Well, what is the answer to the next question? Will student learning improve if parents can "see" what is happening in their child's classes on the day of the class, can read the feedback their child is given on their assessments, can email the teacher if they have a question or concern, can see communications between their child and their child's teachers? What if we could do that? That is what we have done this year - not will do or could do but have done. We are far from finished too.
Compass and the Spectre of the Ultranet
Compass and the Spectre of the Ultranet
readingwritingresponding.blogspot.com
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Alan Thwaites commented on a post on Blogger.
I recently commented on people speaking of "Technology" as being good or bad and made the point that technology is so diverse that, unless you are more specific, you may as well save your breath because I won't really understand what you are talking about. It's a bit like saying 'I do (or don't) like Europe'. What do you mean? Are you talking about Spain? Italy? France? Switzerland? Greece? Denmark? Surely you cannot lump them all together as if Europe is one place. It's not! Neither is "technology" one thing. So when I read in this post "the digital revolution has failed to deliver all that it supposedly promised" I don't understand who the "it" are who made the promises, nor what the promises were, nor of exactly the time line of what it's delivering. 

Changes in "technology" are so rapid fire that this "revolution" cannot be defined as occurring between say 2006 and 2012, or whatever years you choose to suggest. This "revolution" (stupid word to use in my opinion) is a work in progress that cannot be clearly defined. It's like we are builders trying to build a house and someone keeps changing the house plan. So how has the "Revolution" "failed to deliver?"

Let's go controversial! The Ultranet was besieged with technical problems, political problems and conceptual confusion for many. It was also unique, courageous and absolutely on the money in its intent. It didn't fail; it was murdered. The Government, the AEU and those who did not understand what they were looking at kicked the stuffing out of it until it was dead. Edmodo has some elements of it, but is not a replacement and the same can be said of other web platforms/applications. Compass School Manager has rapidly moved to occupy the space the Ultranet once occupied and has resolved the technical clunky slow response of the Ultranet, but fundamentally it the same idea (except it really does work!). Conceptually though, it was the Ultranet that moved us to a place we had not been before, not so ambitiously, and so it played an important role in the "Revolution". If Ultranet Coaches had been better funded and better deployed teachers would have better understood what the Ultranet was and what it could have done for students, teachers and parents. The coaches were a fantastic group of switched on people and could have done a better job had they been enabled to do it. The schools that now have them on staff are very fortunate indeed!

So the "Revolution" failed did it? Well all I know is that we are light years from where we were the first time I ever laid my hands on a school computer in 1985 when I was so excited that I could cut and paste a whole paragraph of text without having to retype it! Last night I met a fellow teacher on Twitter @bucharesttutor and we video conferenced in Google Hangouts, he about to have breakfast in Bucharest, Romania and me about to have dinner in Melbourne and we discussed pedagogy around teaching Maths with students who do not have English as their mother tongue. It was nothing remarkable - and yet it was indeed remarkable. So the "Revolution" failed did it? We are now on the cusp of moving into BYOD (although many schools currently claiming that are actually BYO School Specified laptop, not BYOD), but will get there. We are moving forward. Maybe it feels like we are not because we HAVE come such a long way? We have come so far that we are so much more aware of what we don't have; we can see further. I'd like to know when will the "Revolution" be complete? I think the answer is when the technology stops advancing. So the "Revolution" failed? Nonsense! 
What Digital Revolution?
What Digital Revolution?
readingwritingresponding.blogspot.com
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