Supporting Absent Pupils

I’ve never understood how anyone finds the time for blogging, at least not regularly. So, I suppose this means I must be fairly excited about a recent development, if I can set aside time to write about it.

I spent a number of years “supporting” the early implementation of Glow in Perth and Kinross. All I’ll say about that is that it might not have been the best use of a fair chunk of my adult life.

However, recently my very enthusiastic colleagues and I have been considering how we might best support independant learners as we develop our BGE and N4/N5 provision. To this end we have developed bit.ly/physicsatkinross It won’t set the heather alight, but it works for us.

We are aiming to publish all of our resources there with guidance and support for students…but what about the ones who are absent for any length of time? Well, it turns out that even Glow might have its uses.

Upon receiving a guidance request to support one such scholar in absentia I emailed the usual list of physicsatkhs links. Then I wondered how useful a GlowMeet would be, posted instructions on our site and sent out the user details (yes, I had to do that).

The student involved “attended” the class that same day! What’s more they seemed very happy with the (fairly pedestrian) level of interaction. I ended up emailing out homework to be returned for marking as a photo from a phone.

Yes, I was an ICT Support Officer for more years than made any sense, so you might wonder why I get excited about such low level ICT.

The answer is that I find that ICT usually works best when it is applied like any other teaching tool…for a specific purpose and with a minimum of fuss: just a basic “telepresence” with them able to ask for help and perhaps follow an audio feed. GlowMeet, email and a digital camera (or phone), not a techno-behemoth. But, I expect anyone reading already knows all of this.

So, now we’re lining up a few other students for this kind of support. We’ll be be looking at what approaches work best and for whom. to this end we’d be happy to hear from anyone else with similar experience.

As things go on I’ll post any progress.

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