Another year begins

‘Another Place’

On Monday of this week I did an ‘opening’ stand-up to 172 PGCE and Schools Direct starters at the University of Leicester School of Education. Mindful of my closing comments to students at Plymouth University in June I suggested to these new professionals that there were a number of things that should be important to them right from the beginning. Particularly getting organised, extending their ‘Personal learning Network’ and always carrying their towel with them just in case.

I was heartened by the fact that they had already organised their Fb group and that 135 of them had already joined. I forgot to introduce them to SNOT … when it came to needing help … Self – Neighbour – other – tutor … but stressed time and time again that the strength of the course was in the people on it.

I spent the rest of the day helping them to log on to the VLE – Bb and getting Eduroam up and working on their iPads and smartphones … great to see how things have moved on. But only a handful of Twitter users!

I shared with them the gist of an email that I sent to a friend’s daughter who is just about to start a teacher training experience in New Zealand …

I just want you to be clear that as you go through your course. Some ideas will resonate with you some will not … make sure that you sit back and enjoy the ride … There will be notes/slides or many presentations during your year but the important things you will take with you in your head and your heart … and maybe, on a small piece of paper … I am passionate …. About teaching and learning … and I would want you to be for …We live in a world where the transformational power of technology has opened up areas and interests that we could only dream about a decade ago and we can now make connection with people and ideas that are far beyond our geographic limits.

Today, and in the future, no-one’s learning should be tethered by where they live, their gender or their culture – the connections are open and growing . Education, in its widest definition, is the key to the safe navigation of the opportunities that advancing technology has created.

And we all must be able to play our part. You are privileged … you will teach other peoples children … WoW !!
The boundaries between teacher and learner are blurring more and more as our world is getting flatter and flatter. And change will be an inevitable result of this … Are you ready for managing the change? As an example ….Do you know what a basis skill for tomorrow or next year or 10/20/30 years time will
look like? Can you see the connections… and will you able to make them? Is your chooser chart of what is available constantly being updated both in terms of knowledge and capability? Does your PLN (personal learning network) keep you in touch with developments or is your learning closing in?
Remember when you are working with young people and the day has been
tough:There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly (Buckminster Fuller).

Sir Ken Robinson argues that we are educating young people into a world in which we have no idea of what skills and techniques they will need to get the best from their lives in order to become active, healthy participants in developing and supporting the lives of others. He says that there are 3 drivers for educational change: Economic, Cultural and Personal … the latter being the key …

The more education becomes standardised the more impersonal it becomes. We as educators/mentors/supporters and props need to find the individual keys that opens the doors to a world in which people respond to challenges and passions in a way that marks them out as individuals but also fits them as
engaged participants in an exciting, developing environment. So where will you sit /stand in all of this? What will be your total power …. Who will you be when it comes to helping the young people of today to be
world citizens of tomorrow? For now, as I have said, the world is flat and noone’s education should be tethered by their geography, their age, their race or creed.

Technology has the potential to institute change in a changing world. But it is not without its downside … the newspapers are full of the wows of the current digital revolution in terms of social networking .Just make sure that you know where you stand on this and make sure that your digital footprint on the planet is professional and what you would wish it to be.

Please read this material today … as a start to your continued professional use of ICT to support you and your teaching and learning

But most of all … good luck … enjoy and welcome to teaching.

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