I was very impressed by the following post http://markc.visibli.com/share/GwIYOZ entitled “Edmodo – Could this be the new Glow?”. I was impressed by this post not so much because of the product featured but the general commentary about its usefulness and ease of use.
What Glow needs to become
I have written a number of posts in this blog recently concerning how Glow might develop into a system which addresses the weaknesses of the current platform and exploits its strengths. It seems to me that the above post does a great job of highlighting in a very rational manner some of the barriers present in Glow to wider and easier adoption. Edmodo certain ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to ease of use and I definitely support the need for Glow to adopt a similar approach in the future. I am not shy about referring to Glow in a future context as I do believe that does have a future which builds on what has already been achieved in this context.
Edmodo – signing up for an account
I do have an Edmodo account which I was able to set up simply by going to the website and completing the registration process. But here-in lies one of my concerns. All new users need to go through a self-registration process and there appears to be no need for corroboration of the users identity and profile information. In order for any future system to be adopted for use in Scotlands schools, I strongly feel that user accounts should be created using a tried and trusted mechanism. For Scottish school users, this system already exists so it must be possible for this system to be deployed alongside any new platform components so that we can know that only people trusted by the education system (schools, local authorities and the government) can have an account.
The account should be auto provisioned so that each user should be able to access their account by entering their known UID and PWD.
Facebook-like ease of use
This point is very well made in the post. I feel that services like facebook have set a pseudo standard in terms of ease of use and user interface etc. I commend any future Glow development to adopt the general goal of achieving the same ( or better ) level in terms of ease of use etc as is already available through tools like facebook. Another requiremet here is a need to support access from a range of devices – so there is a fundemental need in my view to have developed in parallel apps which provide native access on mobile devices.
The need for a contractual relationship
I do not believe that it can be acceptable for Scottish Education users intellectual property to be trusted to any system where there are no guarantees regarding availability and feature development. The value of establishing a national platform to support teaching and learning should be a national priority. The continued development of Glow should not be allowed to occur in an ad hoc and undisciplined manner. Whichever products are used to build the platform it should be ‘a given’ that the service provider(s) is/are under an obligation to provide, develop, integrate and maintain solution to provide a coherent, easy to use, predictable and dependable experience for all of its users.
Another important consideration here is who will own the contractual relation ship. I consider this to be a major factor which needs to be addressed – to suggest that we can get the quality of service needed from some “free offering” is a very high risk strategy in my view. I should be unacceptable to consider any strategy for Glow Futures which puts the service on any platform where there is no contractual relationship which helps to ensure that Scotlands learners and educations receive the quality service they deserve.
The Scottish Government needs to step up and take the leadership role acknowledge its responsibility for ensuring that the next version of Glow builds on the current service. It is vital that the Government continues to invest in order to realize real transformation in the use of ICT in Scottish Education – lets demonstrate that we have the bottle to “finish what we have started”!