Another week of lock down and the death toll in the UK has jumped to over 28,000, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of slow down. One man’s recovery can not make up for the needless loss of thousands of lives. Everyone seems anxious for some kind easing of restrictions.
We are promised a menu of options next week . . .a tracing app is being piloted . . . this worries me almost as much as the virus. Our NHS and government don’t have a great track record of implementing any kind of large scale IT project, it will be anonymous they say but what data will it need? Where will it be stored? How long for? What handy things could it be “easily” extended to?What about the deprived communities where the virus hits hardest – how will it work there?
Speaking to a friend of my who lives in Cyprus earlier this week (this weeks zoom drinks party) she couldn’t believe why the UK population wasn’t rioting at what was happening. Perhaps because there are too many people like me – worried, but ultimately comfortable in our safe, lock down houses with food, money and data aplenty. However, watching Googlebox is I think the best way to get an accurate sense of the sense of the nation. I hope some of the No. 10 advisors were watching to see and hear the consistency of dismay across UK households at the speech the Prime Minister gave outside Number 10 on his return to work on Monday.
Meanwhile, back in my world of work it’s been less zoom-tastic. This week has been the week of MS Teams and just for a frisson of excitement a web-ex call. I also watched a comedy fund raiser on zoom. That was weird, comedians in their houses, a selected “front row” who could be seen and heard . . . not sure that really worked, but hopefully it raised some money.
On Monday I facilitated a session for CDN (College Development Scotland) as part of their Leadership and Development Series. Originally planned as a face to face workshop, it moved online to zoom, then to Teams. The session worked well I think. The planning for the session did encapsulate what is happening in terms of delivering anything just now.
I had hoped to use the group function in zoom to get a bit more collaboration but of course couldn’t do that in Teams so I just used mentimeter to get a bit of interaction and participation. Originally the session was about the potential and impact of technology for 2030, however given the current circumstances, I changed the focus more on what people are currently dealing with and what they are learning just now. That seemed to work and there was a good level of participating in the chat and also from people willing to speak on camera. This particular group were quite experienced Teams users (there were a nice range of backgrounds on display to prove that!), so I think that helped too.
I don’t think we can plan for the future without evaluating and learning from what is happening right now. Stable internet access for students is a top priority – particularly in more rural areas of Scotland. As are questions of location and space. Personal, mobile learning “on the bus/train” aren’t really an option just now. How many people are trying to get online at home? Do students have any quiet/sharing/safe spaces no campuses are closed? You can get a flavour of the session from the slides below.
This week coming I should have been in Galway at the GMIT Learning and Teaching conference, but you guessed it I will be there virtually instead. Do you remember dear reader, back in the day I used to write posts titled “where Sheila’s been this week” – could easily now update that to “where Sheila’s not been this week” . .. so lots of thinking just now about what the online pivot actually means. In the meantime, stay safe and well.