Early problems in collaborating with multimedia

Part of the difficulty about being a reflective practitioner is that its often easy to post stories of your successes on here; often its not so easy to discuss and try and pick apart what’s not going so well. Stay with me: hopefully there are lessons here that maybe lessons for you if you are thinking about trying to change the use of multimedia in your school for the better…

A brief recap for those who are first timers to this blog: My aim is to work with other colleagues to encourage them to use new and innnovative forms of multimedia. If they use them with their students: bonus. If they don’t – I might still judge what I am doing a success, mainly because of reflecting on how developing my own Personal Learning Network (PLN) through this blog has improved my use of multimedia in the classroom. Will Richardson writes (see bottom for ref.):

“While there is no doubt my classes were in many ways profoundly changed by blogs and wikis and the like, the bigger truth is that the transformation in my own personal learning practice is what informed my work with students.” (Page 8 )

This is how I feel about the potential of engaging multimedia to enhance the practice of teachers and underpins what I am trying to do at the moment.

What follows is an account of some of the things that have gone, err, wrong since I started trying to change things…

September-October 2009

  • I was using wetpaint to develop two wikis for school; one is for teacher reflection, the other was the development of a sports website for the school where the PE staff could provide out of school access to resources for students and allow students to contribute to the website. Unfortunately over the summer, wetpaint upgraded their service, leaving my school, which still uses Internet Explorer 6, unable to access the website properly anymore – they are virtually useless at school. This is a real shame; I have spoken to the IT technician at my school and he thinks it’s unlikely that we will be upgrading IE anytime soon, nor is it a decision that is in his hands. So, at least for a while, its back to the drawing board for me with these two small projects! I would appreciate any suggestions people had…
  • Inset – I was originally hoping to give a town-wide inset on using podcasts, wikis and blogs (there are 5 secondary schools in the town where I work). This would have been a fantastic chance to show some of the things I feel I have learnt from using these 3 different multimedia , but unfortunately I have found out that the session will be run in another school, by others. There is little I can do about this and instead I have resolved myself to attend the meetings (which have now been seperated into ‘podcasting’ and ‘blogs/wikis’) and make sure that I take advantage of the fact that there are going to be other colleagues from other secondary schools who clearly have an interest in this area – and see if they are interested in collaborating.

So, technically speaking, my ‘project’ should be finished (as if I’m ever going to stop doing this kind of thing now!) by around February, so the clock is certainly ticking. Still, the chance to reflect in this blog and hopefully develop strategies to build on difficulties should ensure I still have plenty to write about.

 

Recent Links worth checking out:

– Those who have been interested in my work exploring the use of diigo in the classroom may also be interested to read Katt Blackwell-Starne’s blog. She is planning to use diigo over the coming year to investigate if it can help improve students’ writing to specific audiences.

Doug Belshaw writes a series of excellent posts about how to use Cool Iris (a fantastic multimedia tool) for presentations; one for beginners, one for advanced. Well worth checking out.

References:

Richardson, W, (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful webtools for classrooms. London: Sage LTD.