Have a Glow @ IMS – The Staff Feed Back….
Feb 22nd, 2010 by H-Blog

Got to look over the evaluation forms from the Glow training I delivered recently and it made pretty good reading. Here’s a Wordle of the key terms lifted from the staff forms.

A Wordle of the Glow session feedback

Everyone seemed very positive in their feedback, both in the forms and in the surveys that were part of the group itself. As I had said at the time,  I felt having a chance to have time set aside to explore/play with Glow was as important as anything we were going to ask the staff to actually do, and they seemed to appreciate this as well. Reading the comments, it seemed that everyone enjoyed the interactivity and guidance of the ‘challenge’ approach and welcomed the chance to work with colleagues on them.

Overall, although I have come up with a few changes to the group that I would make myself, you have to be pretty happy with that kind of feedback. Let’s hope we see the use of Glow increases as a result of the training!

Come and have a Glow if you think you’re hard enough….
Feb 12th, 2010 by H-Blog

How does your classroom Glow?

So, today I was mainly responsible for the in-service training of all our teachers and SMT on Glow. I had decided, in discussions with Katie Barrowman at LTS to follow the model we had seenCon Morris use in his CPD Challenges, and so I set about constructing (with a LOT of help from Katie) a brand new Glow group called “Have a Glow @IMS” which was based round a set of challenges ranging from signing in to Glow all the way up to creating their own Glow Groups.

Often I find Glow confusing and almost too much information. For this reason, and based on the very sexy new National Site, I decided to go a different way:

The front page of the Glow National Site
The front page of the Glow National Site

As well as looking very nice, the new National Site utilised a graphical interface – clicking on various ‘objects’ on screen would take you to different places in Glow. I really liked the idea of using a visual menu, and Katie came up with a good way to put one together, utilising tables in a text editor web part. Over about a day and a half, I managed to build the whole group and its ten challenges from scratch, and without an iota of coding ability. I finally worked out about 10 minutes before I was due in school how to do the one picture, multiple links trick but by then it was too late and I had to go with what I had. Working collaboratively with Katie and Alan Hamilton (of Stirling High School) I managed to troubleshoot the group whilst taking part in the morning INSET activities.

Come the afternoon, we were ready to go. The teachers in my school are not, it is fair to say, Glow enthusiasts, so it was looking like a big ask. When I mucked up typing my password in on the first attempt, they all had a hearty laugh. Second time was better and we were in, and I pointed out the side menu links to the school page, and how to get to the group we were going to be working in. They were sent off then to find a computer in pairs or on their own and to work through the challenges. I was to ‘troubleshoot’ along with my DHT and one of the Instructors.

We spent a good bit of the first hour resetting passwords and helping people log in. The chat as I moved round was slightly negative – all the usual Glow Aunt Sallys; clunky interface, unintuitive, hard to get in to, etc, etc – but as the afternoon went on and they had a look round Glow the chat started to become a bit brighter. Once the challenges were getting completed, there was laughter and hilarity ringing round the school (in a good way I hope). There was even a decent number of (fairly simple) Glow Groups set up by the end of the day!

So what did I learn from this experience of setting up a Glow group and running it in this way?

The Glow Group with the 10 challenges
The Glow Group with the 10 challenges

First of all, I learnt A LOT about using Glow to create. Katie and  Alan were a huge help in keeping me on the straight and narrow, but I did all the graft myself, meaning I became more comfortable and proficient using the interface. I even managed to work out the National Site trick, and changed my own Glow Group front page to utilise the same trick.

Passwords should maybe be done as a separate, perhaps preceding session, as this would have saved a lot of time at the start of this session.

I decided that as well as a home button at the bottom of each page, there should have been a “Previous Challenge” and “Next Challenge” button.

I learnt that if you give people time to ‘play’ on Glow, along with adequate support, they will begin to see the benefits of using it.

User account issues were another thing that should have been done in advance of the session, to prevent troubleshooting in the middle, or people missing out on a challenge.

I was also reminded of the power of Twitter – I had a number of people looking to join the group even before it was finished

Finally, I decided that what Katie Barrowman doesn’t know about Glow just isn’t worth knowing! Also, thanks again to both Katie and Alan for their help and support

Building Glow Communities – Social Studies
Sep 3rd, 2009 by H-Blog

A very quick post about what I have been up to for the last 2 days!

I was lucky enough to be sent by my school on a 2 day Glow training course to build communities, and decided that the Social Studies group was the one to go for. It was held at the Stirling Management Centre, first time I have visited there and was very impressed. All the staff were very friendly and helpful, and the venue itself is second to none. The catering is more than impressive also!

Martin Brown, Katie Barrowman and Sat (whose surname I don’t know – how bad is that?) from LTS had a fantastic programme of events lined up for us to give us the necessary skills and information to set about creating our own custom built Glow groups. And by the end of Day 2, when the groups were all showing what they had come up with, I was so impressed with the ‘products’.

Two massive benefits I noticed of doing this course were these:

1 – Looking at what other people were already doing with Glow, and how they were using it. Also, seeing what they chose to do with their new-build group.

2 – Having all that Glow expertise ‘on tap’. Sat, Katie and Martin were all on hand to help us all with queries rather than having to struggle on and try and work it out for yourselves. What a difference it made.

Twitter was, as always, being used at the event, search for the hashtag #bgcss to see the tweets.

The Glow group I was working on with Frances is here
and I know that Alan Hamilton’s Fair Trade Glow Group is proving very popular too – check here

All feedback gratefully received!

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