Glow has taken a real knock over the last few years, and rightly so to be fair. It was a great idea that got a bit lost and left behind for various reasons that I think are now best left in the past. I still think though that there’s potential in the idea, if done well.
That’s why it’s such a shame that it has become almost impossible to have a positive conversation with fellow teachers in Scotland which mentions the dreaded ‘Glow’ word. It’s got a difficult legacy to overhaul. There’s an argument that they should’ve started the rethink with a name change, but I disagree. A change of name would achieve nothing and would be seen as a cynical ‘rebranding’. No, what Glow needs is not a new name but to become genuinely useful to teachers and their learners. And anyway, Glow is such a brilliant name for writing bad post titles for blogs about Glow!
Glow needs to intuitively solve problems in Scotland’s classrooms and then folk will begin to actually use it. In my opinion, they’re getting there.
So, what do I like about the ‘new’ Glow? Here’s just a few things…
- Not only have they not changed the name, they haven’t even called it ‘new’ Glow, or Glow 2.0 or Glow365 or anything like that. It’s just Glow. There’s no big switch on date. There’s no great fanfare. They’re just quietly, and continuously, making it better.
- The RM Unify system makes the whole user experience a lot better than what there was before. Logging in, changing your password and changing other people’s passwords is a whole lot easier and much more pleasant than before.
- Office365 is really well integrated now and such a powerful tool. Full web-based Office functionality with cloud storage and huge potential for online collaboration between learners – be they school pupils or teachers. If we didn’t already have access to Google Apps through eduBuzz in East Lothian, I’d be all over this feature.
- They’ve retained, and are improving, the WordPress blogs and Wiki functionality.
- The public and purposeful approach they’re taking to sharing progress and engaging with schools. I think the new Glow Connect site is really nicely done. It’s attempting to be genuinely useful and doesn’t come across as primarily ‘marketing’ as some previous iterations have done.
Seriously folks, whatever your experience of Glow in the past, I think it’s time we all gave it a second chance. I know if I worked in a Local Authority which had limited access to web tools and cloud computing, I’d be giving it another look.