Outstanding Assumptions!

In his post ‘Don’t Believe the Hype!’ David Mitchell makes the point that if we have a PLN we can often assume that everyone else in our world comes with the same understanding, knowledge and enthusiasm when it comes to IT.

I have recently visited an outstanding school. It is a small one form entry school that has had the outstanding judgement from Ofsted since 2007. Their SATs results are obviously good and they have done marvellous things in areas such as Rights Respecting Schools and International links. I went along to talk to the staff about the 100 Word Challenge.

It is often not until you come out of your comfort zone that you really look at things that you thought were quite simple. My presentation I realised is based on the assumption that most schools have class blogs. The reason for that assumption is due to the interaction I have on twitter and other activities link to schools with class blogs.

I found myself surprised that this school not only did not have class blogs but only had a limited school website that does not have the capacity at present to support blogging. Speaking with the staff, I found no tweeters among the young staff and some very nervous folks when it came to talking blogging.

Now this post is in no way a criticism of the school. My dear friend is the head and she and her staff have done amazing things. No, this piece is about my assumptions. I clearly had expectations linked to that ‘outstanding’ label. I had expected an interactive whiteboard, class blogs and keenness to further extend the children’s experience of IT.

What I got and left was a desire to join the 100 Word Challenge. I left folks thinking creatively about how they could take part in an online challenge when they have not got that facility (thankfully there is an opportunity to take part even without a class blog – just get in touch!)

The biggest thing I left with though, was the understanding to check my expectations at every stage and make sure the presumptions I take with me do not colour my thinking to the point of not being able to support schools whatever their position is with the ‘hardware’. My ‘Twitter Bubble’ is very tiny and I must remember that!

however, in another of his posts ‘My Toolbox is MY Toolbox’ David explains that IT is not the b-all and end-all of promoting great learning. I agree but I would suggest that in order to grab those amazing experiences out there, some basic IT is becoming an essential in that toolbox and class blogs are moving into the ‘basic needs’ category.

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