New system helps Falkirk school kids to GLOW

GLOW will help teachers share resources and pupils to collaborate on work for school
GLOW will help teachers share resources and pupils to collaborate on work for school

A new computer system will allow pupils to complete their school work remotely from anywhere in world.

GLOW means that students no longer need to have programmes such as Microsoft Word on their computer at home as they can access them by logging on to a website.

As well as Office softwear, GLOW offers Wikispace, Wordpress, a blogging service and One Note – a digital ring binder allowing teachers to share resources and pupils to collaborate on work.

The website allows every primary and high school pupil to work on a PC,mobile or tablet device from anywhere.

Students and teachers can host their own blog using the website and pupils can interact with their teacher and each other.

They can also bookmark sites or pages for their course work and a programme which allows teachers to make notes on the work of students has proved popular since GLOW was launched just before the schools broke up for summer.

GLOW, which is an update of previous programme of the same name, was discussed at a meeting of Falkirk Council’s education executive last week.

Malcolm Wilson, ICT curriculum development officer said the upgraded facility was a big boost for pupils and a good tool for teachers.

He said: “This allows multi-user collaboration in a safe place. It is an excellent tool for education, allowing children to see resources from their teacher or to work together on a group piece without actually being together.”

Members welcomed the new programme but teacher representative Margaret Smith questioned how pupils without access to computers at home would cope.

She said: “This seems to be an excellent tool for pupils, but I am worried about those that don’t have their own laptop or tablet at home, will they be at a disadvantage?

“These pupils are already at a disadvantage and initiatives like GLOW will widen it.”

Mr Wilson reassured the executive that school made devices available to children during school hours if they did not have their own but admitted there were no plans in place to hire out tablets or laptops to those without.

The teacher also raised questions over the increase in work for teachers using GLOW would bring.

She said: “The feedback from teachers who have been using the site since it launched earlier this year is that it increases demands.

“Pupils are submitting work at 9pm through GLOW and expecting it to have been read by a teacher and have feedback supplied by the following morning.

“It’s another demand on teachers time and they are increasingly expected to be available 24 hours a day.”

Mr Wilson said in other schools, teacher give realistic time scales to the students as to when the work will be looked at after submitting it via the site.

He said: “The majority tell pupils their work will be looked at 24 hours after submitting.

“This means the teachers aren’t under pressure to mark work outwith their normal hours.

“It’s not to be an additional pressure on teachers, but to make it easier for teachers and for pupils to learn.”

Council leader Craig Martin welcomed the new programme.

He said: “ This seems to be a great educational tool and one that will help pupils to learn and teachers to teach.

“Technology is moving quickly and it is essential we give pupils the tools they need to be fully competent in the modern world.”