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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Land of confusion



Whether you are a young whippersnapper and thought instantly of the Disturbed song, or are a little longer in the tooth and remember the original (with Spitting Image created video) from Genesis, it is basically describing a whole load of things about the way I am thinking currently.

Image result for wordpress vs blogger'The first is that after a hiatus and brief dalliance with Wordpress, I am coming back to this blog. I am keeping Wordpress for my genealogy stuff now, having found that it does not play as nicely with other Google toys as Blogger does! So yes, I will now be posting my educational / technology ramblings here again. Having said that, my average of 3 - 4 posts a year is testament to the fact that it doesn't matter what platform I use...

Secondly, the school I work at chose a few years ago to embrace Microsoft tools for educational purposes, which is fine by me. We have been promoting OneDrive, OneNote, Class Notebooks and latterly Microsoft Classroom. For whatever reason, we have experienced sync issues, fragmentation of OneNote notebooks (especially with Chrome extensions running - the IT guy told me to use Internet Explorer... seriously!) At the start of the 2017 school year we gave staff PD on using Microsoft Classroom. It looked like it was a little late to the party (it was a rehash of a product they used to call Teacher Dashboard, no relation to the Hapara tool), but it was working after a fashion. But then we noticed that posting a message in the stream was a seamless experience for teachers, but involved going to another app for the students. One or two other small woes appeared. Then Microsoft allowed Class Notebooks to be shared with parents and guardians - excellent job. Unless you created the Notebook via Classroom. What did this mean?
In a nutshell, Classroom was dropped  with about one month's notice at the end of June. It was to be replaced by Teams, which was launched to much cheering from the community. But, and there always seems to be a but, it was launched before it was ready and several of the features teachers want are not available yet. In the fullness of time, it will be a good product.

Our feeder schools are all Google, and with all of the issues we have been having, we have started to make the move towards going Google too. We plan to still give the staff and students access to the Microsoft tools, and yes, I will be revisiting them at some stage, but for the mean time, confusion reigns!