One of the interesting aspects of the the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s reform of Junior Cycle education in the Republic of Ireland is the roll-out of an online space for teachers, from the schools that are piloting the programme.
It is called JC2.0 and the application used to support it is Ning.
Ning claims to be the world’s largest platform for creating social websites. Social is certainly a possibility with 1,116 members of JC2.0 at the time of writing.
The site is password protected and is by invitation, generally via fellow teachers in the pilot-schools. Teachers can then join various groups or set up their own. Some examples of the current fifty-four groups are
- School Management
- ICT Integration
- Art Teachers
- St. Colmcille’s Community School
- Link Personnel
Like any online site some groups are more active than others.
There is access to resources, online booking for events, surveys and a Frequently Asked Questions section. The NCCA also use the site for bulk messages to members (not too many thankfully) and there is access to video-hosting, as teachers begin to upload worked-examples from their own practice.
I have participated in some very active discussions e.g. Introducing the idea of Junior Cycle reform to your school and ePortfolios. This sharing of ideas has been very positive in my own context both as support for what I am doing and as an opportunity to discuss with like-minded colleagues issues as they arise.
I find it interesting that as teachers we are not only moving beyond our classroom, but beyond our own staffroom to a space that allows up to appreciate the challenges of educational reform, across varieties of schools and subject areas.
I have no access to the log-files but I imagine there are many non-active participants. Inspiring these teachers to become involved is a challenge not just in JC2.0, but in many such online spaces.
Quality content and discussion will encourage them. It is important that as teachers log-in they see updated material and discussions that engages them initially to read and in time contribute.
Teachers in the Republic of Ireland are experiencing huge asks on their time at the moment, as part of the many reforms that are expected of them. JC2.0 should become a space where’ to use the cliché, teachers will work smarter and not harder.
J.C2.0 will be a year old later this year and it is in my view a definite addition to the education ecosystem in the Republic of Ireland.
Photo at top: Screen-grab from JC2.0 website.