In the meantime, we have created our very own YouTube channel called TallisTube. There is such a lot of great stuff going on in school at the moment that it would be shame if we didn't share it with the rest of the world and, now that YouTube has been unblocked in school (hurrah!) and we are developing a mature attitude to the use of Web 2.0 tools, it seems only right that we should have an official YouTube presence. There are always risks involved in broadcasting on the internet, but I think these are far outweighed by the massive advantages. We are also exploring the possibility of setting up an iTunes U presence. This is a service dominated at the moment by American universities who supply students across the world with pod and vodcasts of course material free of charge. Imagine if Tallis was able to publish its own curriculum material online for students. Some subject areas have made progress in doing just this using the school website with promising results. Staff and students are using Tallis Talk more and more to debate issues directly related to their learning in school. Recent examples include Mr Greig's question bout the Kobe earthquake in Geography and Mr Walsh's request for thoughts about the use of mobile phones as learning tools as part of the Personal and Economic Well-Being course. I have attempted to put all my current Year 12 photography lesson content on the site, including links to websites and access to relevant images. If nothing else, students can no longer claim that, because they missed a lesson, they didn't know what to do. This seems like a small issue but, I think, encourages them to think about their responsibility to manage their own learning and become more independent. It is always interesting to note which students find this a liberating attitude and relish the opportunity to exercise more control, compared with those who are keen to be spoon fed.
There is no doubt that the preparation and publication of these resources takes time and energy. My view is that the school needs a proper strategy and suitable incentives to encourage both staff and students to get more involved in this kind of "anytime, anywhere" learning.
Do you have any bright ideas about how this could be achieved? Would you like to have more access to learning materials online? Would you like to be able to email your homework to your teachers? Do you already do this? If the school created an iTunes U account and uploaded course materials, would you use them?