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Yahoo – Delicious

One idea that particularly got my attention at BectaX was to utilise social bookmarking for teachers. It made sense to me, afterall I have been using Delicious for many years now and its my own personal record of my time online. I regularly use it to share multiply resources on a single topic with students or just to find an odd resource I remember bookmarking some time, way back when I didn’t know what I would use it for.
Delicious for UK education? #Becta tags? I have tried to share social bookmarking in school before, in fact colleagues sitting either side of me at the conference had tried as well, but sadly it was unsuccessful in all accounts. What would make it difference this time. I have never really understood the ’50 Best Web Apps’ lists when Delicious already provides a referenced crowd sourced moderation of whats good and whats not?!?!
So I have decided to do something about it.
Dear Yahoo…
A key idea was to utilise Delicious as a national teaching resource. To showcase social bookmarking to a wider teaching audience. For Becta to talk to Yahoo, to discuss such a service. Now it was one of the best ideas to come from a truly inspiring conference day. #BectaX was No1 on the ‘Twitter UK’ trends list on Weds 31st March – so you know it had many of the right educators, forward thinkers present. However, as with many good ideas, wings are easily found but the landing gear is so often forgotten.
I am hoping that this email may prompt further conversation. Creating a national, structured, social teaching bookmarking space is a truly inspired idea and Yahoo have the capacity to make it happen. Every school teacher, every school student potentially – could make contact with Delicious before they leave education, and I personally think that in itself is an invaluable experience. I do hope you will help develop this idea, even better, investigate and provide the landing gear.
And now we wait….
In the meantime I will continue to think over how social bookmarking could be implemented at a National level. Think over how groups such as Edtechtalk and other social groups use Delicious to good effect. Who/how they manage, moderate, categorise and tag bookmarked? From here, the questions become more open…. How the network gets connected? How these bookmarks could then be publicised, shared and archived (if necessary). More questions please….

BectaX

Taken by Ian Usher

BectaX is a one day conference which will congregate the very best thinkers and doers from education, digital media and policy. Together they will find pragmatic solutions to aid the transition towards 21st Century schools in a connected world

I have wanted to write this post for a few days, but our busy working and personal lives means that I finally get to write my reflections on Sunday evening, 10:43pm. This is my personal space/time, my after teaching / teacher marking and school business time, husband, father and family time. Consequently, until now, I have read three blog post on my Mobile RSS reader, listened to the post BectaX hum on Twitter, seen the BectaX Wordle and taken part in the discussion that followed Dai Barnes post. I have tried to see BectaX from more than my own perspective and here are my conclusions, drawing heavily from the discussions on Dai’s blog.

First to add to the first, poorly written first comment on Dai’s post.

I did feel let down on two fronts @ BectaX; a) BectaX unconsciously reverted to looking at the NOW senario rather than at the what could be. b) Did we hear loud and clear from the learners? I respect the efforts made. But did were really hear them, more importantly did we listen? Review the tweets – I felt many teachers in the audience we urging for a more effective way to engage with the learners.

From reading around the blogs and tweets, the first may well be justified, the second, perhaps biased towards my own view point, that of being a teacher.

Next, I wanted to give Terry Freedmans comment,

Just out of interest, what does your gut feeling tell you about the usefulness of the day?

Time is a hugely valuable resource. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the event a 6:30am start, home for 8:30pm, represents a considerably school / personal investment. As yet I am unsure whether BectaX delivered on value / time invested. Those who experienced the event remotely seem to have experienced a similar BectaX to those attending in person, (I recognise that this is a backhanded compliment as well as a personal observation). The speed meeting activity and small workshops, the opportunities to reinforce existing online professional connections and identifying new contacts was valuable. If just two of the four new connections bear fruit, then this will add value to BectaX. It may even tip the balance in favour of BectaX, we will have to wait and see….

As to Ewan’s point of responsibility.

I do worry, though, that folk seem to think the onus is on Becta (or worse still, on that one day event) to sort out the present or even the issues of five year’s time.

Steering the best use of education technology is an unwieldy task and I am ‘green’ in my understanding of policy making – however does Becta not shoulder a large slice of responsibility here? In my short experience in schools I have come to perceive Becta as the piano maker rather than the piano tuner? What I do respect was the efforts to redefine government consultation exercises. Will BectaX update delegates? They should at least attempt to.

Now, perhaps a more personal viewpoint on responsibility. Like Dai, I feel that I have personally invested and worked hard to development my PLN. I have had minimal help from Becta, my employer, my school or any education affiliated group. Ironically, the reason I attended BectaX was due to a recommendation from Mr Stucke, who until 4 weeks ago I had only ever corresponded with and collaborated with online. The point is this, there is a small growing, guerilla edu-network born out of early adopters and enthusiasts and BectaX see them as a valuable allies. No mention of 21st century learners or classrooms here Ewan, just the need to evaluate and define where we are NOW and then to conceive where technology will enable us to go.

My finally point, we need learners involved in this process. In the final presentations of the day we discussed a concept called Schoogle. A place where school and Google meets. It was recommended that ‘Schoogle’ should in fact be copyrights. I was bold enough to say that Hamble College had the domain name. By the end of the presentation, ‘Schoogle’ had in fact been purchased and was proudly announced as under Copyright. My point – Hamble College Student Voice also conceived the same idea for our VLE – only the students asked us to purchase ‘Skoogle.’