In my last post I wrote about the concept of Internet Proficiency for Learners and Teachers- see here.
It seems to me that in that post I suggested that GlowPlus should facilitate the progress of young learners from a starting point of being a novice through to being a advanced Internet user. With this passage comes a gradual move from operating in a very resticted online world to the Advanced state where the learner has full access to the internet.
So how does the concept of internet filtering apply in this situation? I think the current position in Scotland is one where the Local Authority applies a set of filters which can prevent access by school users to content and service which may be generally accessible from home/non LA internet access services. I am not about recommend that LAs need to abandon their general approach to interent content filtering – I think that would be wreckless. I do however want to suggest that when a user achieves Advanced Status that they will enjoy access to the Internet from schools which is much less restricted that may be the case today. This implies that we have a situation where Intenet filter policies need to be responsive to agreed learner/teacher needs.
Coupled with this, there is also a need to ensure that in order for the learner to have access to a much wider range of content than is the case today that LAs will need recognise and be able to meet the increased demands on bandwidth. This implies that schools will need to have improved bandwidth on the path between the desktop and the Internet.
When considering how Schools and LAs provide appropriate access to online resources, from what ever source, I believe that there is a need to improve on the current situation. We hear so many reports of pupils and teachers being denied access to many online resources which are considered to be useful in a range of curricular contexts. So this raises the general point of Learner Entitlement in realtion to access to online resources. It will be necessary to first agree what this translates to in terms of what services and content need to be accessible and then to apply what is agreed across the country.
I attended the NEN 2012 conference last week where a paper was tabled dealing with his issue. See the following documents which have been evolved over a few years and which deal with a range of entitlement issues. Interestingly, these documents were written collabouratively with input from the English RBC/LAs, Wales, Northern Ireland and of course Scotland. I think these documents are worth reviewing to see what they have to offer in relation to the developing debate and work of the ICT Excellence group relating to GlowPlus.
A short flyer which summarised the main issues
A two page overview of the National Education Network
Future Learning – the Learners Entitlement
The paper which was tabled at the NEN Conference 2012 – which is based on work does previously with input from a range of organisations including BECTa – this is a work in progress.
Building A Broadband Entitlement
A much more detailed paper which deals with a range of issues in relation to the infrastrure needed for connecting the user with the online resources needed. This paper starts to deal with some of the issues which can become a focus for complaint such as lack of bandwidth. We realistically need to acknowledge that the provision of infrastructure must be provisioned to have the capability to scale as time passes.