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General Chat Thread, Do you add value to the learning experience? in General; What is Miles aiming for, exactly? To have the school network a free-for-all and instead let the "techies" help teach ...
  1. #16

    webman's Avatar
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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    What is Miles aiming for, exactly? To have the school network a free-for-all and instead let the "techies" help teach lessons?

    schools which lock down their internet connections, desktops, pupil and even staff owned laptops to such an extent that it's only the technicians who can unblock websites and install applications are doing themselves a huge disservice.
    I disagree. Try running a successful, reliable and secure network without any of this locking down, and the "techies" will probably end up fighting the fires that comes from this openness. Therefore, less time can be spent making the network run well making sure everyone gets what they need from the network in the first place.

    Just because we have little or no direct interest in what happens in a classroom doesn't mean we can't keep the IT equipment running properly and accessible by all - isn't that what (most) of "us techies" are here for? Networks don't run themselves, back up themselves, maintain themselves; nor do broken mice magically re-appear on their own.

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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    I think the whole techy as teacher thing is a red herring. It's more about general attitude. Whether we care more about running a network to meet the approval of inustry peers or providing a resources which enhance the learning experience.

    When a teacher asks if something can be done do you think of 1001 reasons to say no or how you can do it without being reckless.

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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    But I have found being more prominent to the students helps out a lot. I do go into classes, I have been on trips, help with a climbing club and do get to know some of the kids even if it is just to the extent of a nod in the corridor. I have found that then it can make things easier in that we are more approachable if a student has found something or heard about something. Also when I have found someone has done something really stupid I can go to them and do the whole "dissapointed not angry" (well not exactly but you know the jist) routine and it's not just some random bod telling them off. I can relate it to them that if I'm clearing up their silly mistakes then I haven't got time to show them this or help with that. It does give them a little guilt I think. Also where we are not teachers we can play that angle (not being devisive) that we are looking after the network for them so if they kill it then it only hurts them.
    There are of course some that this method will never work on but sometimes it means the difference between having to give a 10 minute rollicking for something as the kid (who I haven't had much contact with) doesn't get what the problem is and is trying to get out of it to a 2 minute telling off as the kid (who I know and have helped) apologised and knew he had been stupid and wasted my time.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    It's not that I don't get involved with the kids or distance myself from them; I supervise up to 30 of them on a lunchtime which I don't mind and help with technical problems in the class when necessary. But I believe that a technical person's role isn't that of a teaching assistant who's based in the ICT department.

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkGeezer
    When a teacher asks if something can be done do you think of 1001 reasons to say no or how you can do it without being reckless.
    I prioritise, students' needs come first.

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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    In a previous job around 9 or 10 years ago now, I managed a small network of Apple Macs, around 70-80 desktops. We had an apple server and it took minutes to lock down the network, set up user areas etc etc. This meant I had a lot of time on my hands and I used to give class support. I even went as far as to set work and take lessons in the presence of a supply teacher. Yes, other minor computer stuff was going on in other departments but it took up very little of my time. Yes, those were the days.......

    Times have changed. Year upon year, schools have wanted to do more and more things with ICT, complex things. Wireless networks, video conferencing, remote learning, web design, online tests, video editing, musical composition, the list goes on. Yes, some of these things have been done for decades now, but not on such a grand scale, and not with the same degree of professional hardware and software. All of this requires, knowledge, skill and most of all TIME. What's more, the quantity of ICT hardware has increased 10 fold.

    So that is where our time goes. I would love to get back in the classroom again. I'm not saying I want to be a teacher, I wouldn't like the resonsibilty. Our school is being OFSTEDed this week and the teachers are pulling their hair out. But a light involvement can give much enjoyment - you get to see first hand your hard work when the kids benefit from the network resources. I just don't get the time.

    Another thing that has come to the fore in this discussion is classroom management. In my previous job, the ICT Co-ordinator was in full control not just of his own lesson, but the whole department. That was his character. He was controlling over me too. I used to hate it. But when you looked at his lessons, the pupils worked. In most cases there was silence. Internet was a privilege. If you were caught playing games, you were punished. The pupils knew what was expected of them and they conformed. The odd rebel would be removed from the room but these where few. Pupils who disrupted other lessons never disrupted an ICT lesson. And it worked. Good GCSE results proved that. And so classroom control is everything. I'm not saying it's easy. I'm not saying I could do it. I'm just saying that many of the new teachers that come through today aren't able to cope with modern day pressures of teaching. The focus has moved from 'Discicpline then teach' to 'Teach then dicipline if you need to' but this rarely works because once your class is disrupted, it's disrupted and very difficult to get back on track.

    In my current job, pupils are allowed on the internet when they like, the noise levels are usually too loud to concentrate, pupils listen to their mp3s, and the teaching staff resort to only teaching those who want to learn, while leaving the rebels to break computers at the back of the class. It's heart breaking, but it happens all the time, and we spend lots of time fixing the stuff they break.

    So I agree with others on this topic. Teaching staff do need to get a grip on their lessons with the full support of SMT. Discipline has to be restored to the classroom and then good teaching practises can resume.

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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkGeezer
    I think the whole techy as teacher thing is a red herring. It's more about general attitude. Whether we care more about running a network to meet the approval of inustry peers or providing a resources which enhance the learning experience.
    Yeah ... it is not about techies being teachers .. or teachers being techies ... it's about how we work with one another to ensure that the students have the right environment, with the right resources ... stuff that will make a difference to how they learn ... and in some cases *whether* they learn.

    [quot]When a teacher asks if something can be done do you think of 1001 reasons to say no or how you can do it without being reckless.[/quote]

    You just know I am going to nick that quote :-)

  7. #22

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    Re: Do you add value to the learning experience?

    I am not trying to upset the teaching professionals in any way shape or form and i help with everything and yes i mean everything to do with the teaching and learning environment. It is when things are not there for them to use immediately so they stamp their feet like little babies and spit their dummies out. Some of the less experienced teachers instead of asking more experienced professionals for advise just go ahead like they have blinkers on, this causes more trouble and before you know it you are the made the scapegoat.

    as woody say's networks have become more and more complex as the hardware demands more services. I have a lot on my plate whole school environment with the requests of all who use the IT facilities. It is no slant on Miles who as a headteacher should know the responsibilities of a NM but most do not as we are still regarded as support and not the professional body of people we are. He has got a protected salary which i would estimate to being well up the pay scale compared to NM salaries.

    I am not the only person in the school with responsibilities but i feel very strongly about the difference reflected in the salaries of one professional to another.

    forgive me if people take this as a personal vent but believe me it is not meant to be personal. Common sense should above all prevail and yes i do think above all that the pupils do come first in everything and in my case they do definately.

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