Dimmed Glow is welcome

16th September 2011 at 01:00

In January 2011, writing in TESS, I argued for a moratorium on all future development of Glow until a rigorous review had taken place to assess what had to be done to sort out the various problems with the intranet. So it was with a sense of vindication that I listened to Mike Russell's announcement of the scrapping of the Glow Futures process, which would have led to a Glow v2.

I am pleased that a wide-ranging consultation will take place to shape the future strategy for online technology and practice in our education system, with the aim of incorporating all of the internet tools many of us now use, together with those which might be developed in future, into a user-friendly and more widely used portfolio than the Glow system ever was.

For, despite the optimistic rhetoric, Glow never was a truly national intranet. Issues of connectivity, infrastructure and bloody-mindedness on the part of local education authorities led them to flex their control muscles, lock down and prevent effective use by starving schools of the funds needed to train users properly and facilitate the creation and sharing of resources.

Future consultations will have to address these issues, as well as the need for much better project management than that which so blighted the progress of the first iteration.

Glow was successful in raising the profile of IT use in education, albeit sometimes with a negative effect, and it is important that we build on this awareness and effect a cultural change in our schools which leads to more embedded use of technology in learning and teaching, where learning without technology is the exception rather than the rule. In fact, a focus on this cultural shift in pedagogy, rather than the technology or tools per se, is the approach which, in my view, holds out the best hope for real progress in our schools.

Finally, the significance of this announcement being made on YouTube will not go unnoticed. More widespread use of such tools to effect change in education must surely be the ultimate goal.

Jaye Richards-Hill, former principal teacher, now retired.

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