Skoogle CPD Day, Nearly

July 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

Today was our only full ‘VLE day’ for staff and I am left with a strange mix of reflections.

The positives, bringing in an ‘outsider’ added assurance to our staff that we were not misleading them. Toby Holman, Asst Head at Kingswood School gave a very fair, balanced yet passionate introduction to what Moodle ‘could do.’ I particularly liked his ‘ducks, waders, observers and the reluctant’ categories.

The simplicity of Moodle. Staff we able to include activities very easily and I am keen to investigate the use different activities and to get case example from the departments.

Tim Dalton, for Wildern College also supported on the day. Having already experienced this very rare occasion (VLE intoduction) at Wildern, his experience was very valuable. Also, his calm, patient, respectful coaching was well received. Again being an ‘outsider’ left the staff unthreatened and in my observations, he single handily inspired the Food Tech team from reluctants to waders.

Finally, as with all teaching, I learnt more about moodle and about the dilemmas / issues facing staff from other departments. This empathy is essential and was a key feature of Toby Holman’s keynote. I am more confident that this ‘role’ (VLE strategy and management) is best suited to a VLE manager and not a middle leader. Here are my reasons. Firstly the Moodle management skills can be readily acquired and ‘teachers are learners’ can readily supported by most competent coaches. Second, most middle leaders do not have that flexibility in their timetable to support teachers, when they need supporting and not just during CPD events. Finally, where staff are more than reluctant, as a middle leader,  I do not hold sufficient school authority to address this concern. Toby has the authority and Tim, as a non-teacher simply feeds the moodle reports onto the senior leadership team, avoiding conflict, yet able to support when needed.

The points that need to be addressed and to what level was I accountable?

IE8 failed. This should this have been installed and tested on Friday? I did not check and I should have, but I was running my department INSET.

Moodle staff accounts failed to associate with categories not set up by HODs. We were not responsible for HODs not preparing the subject structure but we did not chase this information down. I am fully responsible and its the first agenda point on our VLE managers to do list. I am not sure he could have tested every staff member anyway, but I will be impressing on him the importance of getting the architecture correct. The VLE will be thorough tested for Sept.

Confusion over scheduling. We placed our team in the rooms as outlined. The staff guidelines were unclear and some teams returned to their departments. This is not my direct responsibility but meeting our VLE objectives will ultimately depend on staff confidence. We did not see some staff all day and I feel this is an opportunity missed, I only hope it was the waders wondering off back to their departments and not the reluctants.

Toby Holman was not introduced professionally, although thanked at the end. In future, if I invite a guest, I will introduce them and thank them, not wait for the CPD day leader to do so. Simple lesson learnt.

VLE support software not yet pushed out to staff – particularly AVC and iSpring. We have known about this for 2/3 weeks. Why was this not pushed out?

So, in conclusion, we have more left to do than we should have at this point. We need to now get the CPD schedule together and confirm VLE opportunities and offer a series of training sessions, no more than 30 mins long covering the 10 activities we have on offer.

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