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Josie Fraser
UK-based social & educational technologist
Interests: community development, cyberbullying, digital literacy, digital rights, e-safety, education, greenICT, identity, open access, open education, open source, open standards, participation, personal learning environments, public value, social media, social networks, social software, technology
Recent Activity
I'm moving! If you're old school enough to subscribe via a feed reader (or via email) - many thanks! Please do continue to do so over at SocialTech's new home, Updates are likely to continue to be irregular, but I'm not abandoning blogging, just moving house. If you prefer to take your chances on getting updates, I'm still active over at Twitter & I'll post alerts over there. I'm still not interested in hosting adverts or writing PR pieces for products and services, & probably this notice won't stop me getting requests. Many thanks! Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2014 at SocialTech
Hi Crispin, It's clear from the length of and passion of your response that you, like me, think this is a very important area. I am not a member of ETAG - I'm an an individual responding to an open call. I understand that you don't think my response is a good one, and you are dissatisfied with the consultation process. I've elaborated on my position above with regard to your comments, but I'm not sure what you think I can do in relation to the eventual ETAG recommendations, or indeed how or if any of these recommendations get acted on. Consultations of this nature come without any guarantee - between the consultation and the recommendations and the recommendations and any eventual actions or implementation. The value of an open consultation is in asking for ideas and opinions from a wide range of people, many of who will hold opposing views, and have differing priorities and agendas. I've tried to express mine here, but I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I have said.
1 reply
Hi Crispin. I haven’t previously talked about teachers - I’ve been referring to school staff throughout my response here, not just teachers. My experience of working with teachers doesn’t really relate to your characterisation of them. In relation to quantitative learning outcomes I presume you mean research that can be directly related to improved results. I’m not personally of the mind that the only purpose of the school system is to produce good grades, and that there can be no value in any other use of technology. I think technologies can be used in ways that are very valuable for supporting community development, inclusive governance, and also for just having fun. Some of the schools I work with use technologies to support learners with severe learning difficulties or disabilities which reduce their life spans, and I believe these uses are incredibly valuable, but won't produce the kind of evidence you refer to here. I also think there is an existing body of evidence about what works in terms of raising attainment, and what approaches have made a difference to learning outcomes. Many of these factors can be implemented, supported, or extended by the use of technology. Informative feedback is an example of this. Building effective partnerships around the school is an example of this. Improving professional expertise is an example of this. Peer support is an example of this. Given that we do have evidence about what works, I don’t understand the value of dismissing technologies on the grounds that just using them for their own sake doesn’t improve anything, or what the point is of looking for ‘solid evidence’ that just using technology will make things magically better. In terms of ETAG, I can see one teacher who is a member of the action group, and one organisation which works with schools and industry partners. I don’t know how many teachers and teachers representative organisations responded to the open call, but hopefully it was quite a few. I don’t think that this represents a monopoly on opinion though.
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Hi Crispin, thanks for taking the time to comment. A quick reply to your comment that “I disagree with your basic premise that "school staff are best placed to effectively develop practices that make best use of technologies".” I agree that pedagogical expertise is not the exclusive domain of school staff. Of course I am keen to see staff supported in connecting to external expertise and research, as well as to the expertise and experience of other educators. To be explicit: I am not suggesting that the best way to support school staff is to encourage them never to talk to anyone outside of their profession, or read anything not written by a school employee, or use any technology not developed by a teacher. Educators and schools of course connect to and work in the context of a wider range of practitioners, organisations, experts, research and practices. This is not an easy thing to do, and more difficult without the confidence and skill to use technologies to develop professional networks and collaborate at distance. I have confidence that school employees are best placed to do their own jobs and develop their own practice (which includes using technologies), and I don’t see how it is possible to meaningfully work with school leaders, educators and support staff without having this confidence. Your point is of course that in relation to the consultation scope, we don't have to work with education communities, or at least that shouldn't be a priority - that the market should be supported to lead, and if effective technologies are developed, schools or the government will buy them and staff will learn to use them. Personally, I'm significantly skeptical about this claim. I also think that there are technologies that can be used effectively to support learning, teaching and school communities, but for a wide range of reasons, aren't being made use of by all staff or all schools. My priority would be to invest in the development of school communities, and increase staff confidence, in making use of the wide range of technologies that can effectively support learning and teaching practices.
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Last Monday I was invited to Sanctuary House to contribute to two face to face meeting relating to the Data and Infrastructure strand identified by the Education Technology Action Group (ETAG) as one of its three key workstreams. ETAG, as outlined on Group Chair Stephen Heppell’s website, is an independent group set up at the behest Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education), Matthew Hancock (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for further education, skills and lifelong learning) and David Willetts (Minister of State for Universities and Science). The purpose of the group is to make recommendations that will “aim to best... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at SocialTech
Yesterday saw the launch of the Childnet STAR Toolkit – a free online resource I was responsible for scoping and commissioning on behalf of Leicester City Council. The toolkit offers practical advice and teaching activities to help schools explore internet safety with young people on the autism spectrum. The launch took place at Leicester's New Walk Museum, in the beautifully just-refurbished Victorian Art Gallery. The STAR toolkit is one of the Council's DigiLit Leicester projects, a professional development approach designed to make sure that staff have the confidence and skills to get the most out of the investment being made... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at SocialTech
I'm happy to announce that Dr Björn Haßler, Helen Neo, and Janet Blair, who will working with Leicester City Council's DigiLit Leicester project to create guidance for secondary school staff, designed to introduce and promote the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) across city schools. OER describes teaching, learning, and research resources that are shared by people in the public domain, or released under an open licence which allows others to use and remix them. There are millions of free to use resources that have been shared globally as Open Education Resources. These resources have been created and openly licenced... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2014 at SocialTech
All school staff benefit from engagement with continuing professional development (CPD) – keeping up to date in their subject and curriculum area, and in teaching approaches and methods. Web and mobile based technologies have changed the landscape for school staff in terms of how they can connect to other educators both locally and across the globe. Personal Learning Networks (PLN), developed and managed by educators, allow school staff to discover, discuss and share relevant ideas, resources and approaches. Twitter is jam packed with educators from all over the country, and all over the world, who are interested in sharing with... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2014 at SocialTech
The DigiLit Leicester project is a two year collaboration between Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and 23 of the city’s secondary schools. The project focuses on supporting secondary school teaching and teaching support staff in developing their digital literacy knowledge, skills and practice, and their effective use of digital tools, environments and approaches in their work with learners. Using recommendations generated from the 2013 Survey Results, a wide range of activities, projects and events have taken place across the city - designed to support and develop staff confidence in the use of technology to support learning. In keeping with... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2014 at SocialTech
The core project team - Lucy Atkins, Josie Fraser and Richard Hall -are all delighted theDigiLit Leicester project has been selected as one of the five winners of the Reclaim Open Learning innovation contest, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, the Digital Media and Learning Hub, and the MIT Media Lab. Being selected alongside other projects of such high caliber is a real honour: Digital Storytelling 106 (DS106) (US) FemTechNet (US) Jaaga Study (India) Phonar-Ed (UK) It's a great win, not just for the project, but for the city. Our project is a partnership between Leicester City Council, De Montfort University... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2013 at SocialTech
The DigiLit Leicester project has been up and running for nine months now. We've been incredibly busy, working with schools across Leicester to design and implement a digital literacy framework situated in secondary (11-18 year olds) school practice. We've linked this to a survey open to all schools in the city's Building Schools for the Future Programme - in order to capture where school staff are across the city in terms of their current practice. This will help us promote and share the innovative and effective work currently happening, and support staff of all levels of confidence to move forward.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2013 at SocialTech
I've been working with Leicester City Council's HR Department, in consultation with secondary schools, to create a new school post - Educational Technologist. The career grade post - with three grades defined - will be of particular interest to schools who make use of ICT Managed Service provision, although schools who provide their ICT Service in-house may be interested in how the new post sits within existing or planned provision. The overall purpose of the post is described as: To provide support to the school/college in identifying and implementing the use of technologies which enhance learner outcomes and experience, and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2013 at SocialTech
Leicester City Council's BSF ICT strand is all about using technology to support learning, teaching, community development, and (very importantly) about having fun. So it was no surprise that the whole team were enthusiastic about supporting the ClubClub Minecraft Meetup event at LCB Depot, which took place on Saturday 18th May. Around 180 people of all ages decended on LCB Depot for the Meetup, which included talks, activities, and competitions. We've rounded up all of the resources from the day in one handy place! Check out photos from the event here! Contents Introducing Minecraft Minecraft Papercraft Minecraft Raspberry Pi Minecraft... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2013 at SocialTech