Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Scottish Colleges #DigitalAmbition



I am part of this working group, so good to see this consultation now rolling out.

The College Development Network is running a series of consultation events on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council to inform the work of the #DigitalAmbition working group.

What is it all about ?  :  To find out what staff working in Colleges think the future of learning looks like ! 

Why is this important ? : There is a pot of capital funding for College buildings, but perhaps we need a pot of capital available for some national digital learning initiatives !

So the question is :  What Digital Ambition do you have for Colleges in 2030 ? 

Booking is now open for #DigitalAmbition roadshows.


This is your opportunity to shape the future! :

What will learning look like in 2030? 
What will learners expect? 
What will colleges look & feel like? 
What will staff need to meet learner and employer expectations ?

Check out https://www.cdn.ac.uk/courses-events/ for all events.

Book here for Monday 11th of November City of Glasgow College Event https://www.events.cdn.ac.uk/ereg/index.php?eventid=488121&


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Business Breakfast #heraldAI

Guest this morning at Herald AI briefing - so these are some quick jottings on proceedings.

The Sponsors:  Cathcart Associates , Brodies , The Herald , Incremental Group and Strathclyde University. 




Image result for data science hierarchy of needs

Everyman Cinema Glasgow Princes Square - is a nice venue but no wifi.

Pre meeting coffee, met microforming man from Strathclyde, charged with buying NMIS kit for next 4 years - Strathclyde have VR suite for developers - had useful conversation around www.nmis-skills.org and the establishment of the new manufacturing centre that is centerpiece of National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.


To see other tweets from event check out #heraldAI on twitter.


Event starts with great marketing around GPT2, too dangerous to release into wild,  apparently. You can check out the back story here,  example implementation called Talk to Transformer.  And follow creator here @adamdanielking ,see it in the context of other current  AI solutions here 


Perhaps how Herald will be written soon, spotted Donald Martin Herald Editor in audience. 

Thinkpiece keynote from Dr Adam Sroka @adzsroka


Incremental Group data and AI . The organisation do Digital transformation through microsoft and associated technologies. 
Presentation gave some good examples :


  • AI and manufacturing - can now scan and find faults in sheet metal etc - autonomous inspection -
  • Retail - AI to analyse transactions around buying and returns - could focus sales and avoid customers who bought and returned most.
  • Insurance - predicting - risk and wealth - use satellite images of addresses - it’s illegal to price on ethnicity - but you can do scrabble score in surnames though. ( Hmmn  ) and hope HMRC are using the matching postcode to house image - wonder too how GDPR compliant this all is. 
  • Banks can monitor millions of transactions and stop your account when they see outlier behaviours.
  • Most banking communications now driven by AI people can text and get answer from AI not a human. 
  • McDonalds can do speech to order with AI  find Drivethru.wav speech recognition to burger order - good example.
  • Ethics and things like driverless vehicles - autonomous systems need rules
  • Data science hierarchy of needs - see heading. 
Then on to Question and Answer and some of the usual suspects on the panel - 

  • Digital Health and Care directory looking for more AI examples around Healthcare.
  • Centre of excellence in Satellite Applications Strathclyde - good question -. What are limits of data collection it does cost money and energy to collect and crunch.
  • Craig Patterson Data Lab - the aim to make Scotland famous for data - education advisor.
  • Aggreko ( the generator people )  have team of data scientists.
  • Stachastic solutions Sam Rhynas < girl geek scotland > commercial supporting data analysis for private companies - putting data at heart of business.
  • Prof Crawford Revie - data analyst working in health - data driven models to predict health outcomes - delivering new masters degree in artificial intelligence.
  • Stevie Grier Microsoft. AI example -
  • How do you analyse the data set from colonoscopy 40,000 images AI is better than consultant.
  • Martin Sloan Brodies LLP and Deryck Smith Clydesdale Bank.

Q and A 

Can you retrain business analysts to be Data scientists ? good question - I think Business Analyst covers lots of job descriptions.

Big focus on how AI is used to understand the customer actual and potential and their behaviours.
There is real fear and lack of understanding of how AI can bring benefits and a lot is simply still process automation - look where you have seen AI drive value and how you apply this to your own business.


AI danger of introducing bias in workflow - if not thought through.
Amazon example - used past data and then found no change in recruitment metrics - bias had been built into system - by using past data as system training methodology - they built in bias.

AI as seventh consultant - offers another opinion- human experts evaluate this - perhaps improves decision making.

Stephen Grier cites - thriving Modern Apprenticeship programme - but still 10/12k people shortfall digital skills - Stephen - banish word computing - industry pays on average 25% more than other occupations. Amen but familiar cry.

Check out 99% invisible podcasts and articles

Brexit is starting to drive skill shortages - BI < business intelligence systems > programmers not enough people doing this.

How do we promote neural diversity , maths is creative , mix of skills , data lab supports placements , daydream believers creates learning materials for teachers to help them understand . I knew about this but good to share again.

In banking used to prevent fraud - almost AI v AI and money is becoming obsolete.
In remote places card machines are easier than cash - when there is no bank to bank the cash. This is to me counterintuitive .  I think this is wishful thinking from the Clydesdale bank - case study Argyll where apparently you are most likely to see signs saying card payments only. I am wondering if this is, as all the rural banks have been closed down. I'm still used to seeing cash only in remote communities in Scotland. 


Usual collective moan from panel mostly composed of industry, it is  all education's fault apparently. 

Kudos, I think to Strathclyde who have just started an MSC in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. 

As a throw away someone recommended
Book -The 100 Year Life


Useful event now scrambling back to work.


That's all folks ! 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Wednesday 2nd October 2019 16.30-18.30 Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh College #NMIS #Openscot Please RT


 NMIS Skills

I haven't posted on this for a while but this has been keeping us really busy and attracting a lot of interest around both the open assets and how we did this . The model is applicable to lots of cross educational partnerships. The NMIS is finally making the news more regularly too - as bidding opens for construction of the physical centre.


Here is an opportunity to meet the team and find out more - book up now event is free , places are limited.


The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) www.nmis-skills.org is a unique networked partnership of Colleges and Universities across Scotland with digital learning resources for everyone and tailored programmes of CPD for those with an interest in Industry4.0.


Come along to our Edinburgh Teachmeet to find out about the partnership, the resource and how to become an ambassador. This is relevant to all staff in Colleges, Schools, Training Providers and Higher Education institutions interested in digital skills and industry4.0.


Edinburgh Teachmeet
You are invited to our Teachmeet to promote digital skills, sharing and collaboration.
A Teachmeet is an organised (but informal) meeting where participants are offered a variety of nano (two-minute) or macro (seven-minute) presentations on any aspect of education.
Participants can be actively involved as presenters, or can simply relax and listen to all that will be on offer.


Click to book your place as a participant or as a presenter now!


Date: Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Time: 16.30-18.30
Location: Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh College, Bankhead Ave, Edinburgh EH11 4DE

Please share this information widely with your colleagues- we look forward to seeing you on 2nd October!







Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Musings on Educational Technology and Learning


Thanks to ALT and CMALT Programme Pages for image 

I was asked by a commercial organisation some questions around where I think technology around learning and assessment is currently and where it might be going .  I was presenting this week too at the Scottish Qualifications E-Assessment Group - so probably good time to share this generic thinking. Think some of CEAG stuff will be shared at a later date. The questions here specifically about work based learning.


What do you recognise as the current, most effective methods in training and assessment?


This is two questions but I think you mean in a formal learning and training setting where assessment is linked to training and competency assessment for regulatory purposes in the workplace.



Is there particular types of training you feel would best suited to deliver through technology, and is there other types you feel should stay the same in the way it's delivered?

It is actually all about cost and efficacy, some things are always best demonstrated in real life - so the skill and assessment at same time , But increasingly simulation will be used for formative assessment - how can AR and VR be used to give candidate experience without cost of running full summative assessment . Been happening for along time in things like pilot training or even container ship skippering - where people spend hours working through simulations both to develop basic skills and to deal with hazardous situations that could not practically be assessed in real life .You are also beginning to see good application artificial intelligence to both guide learners through materials and to assess their capabilities.


Training should be as real as possible and observed and recorded for reflection and evaluation, that should be staying the same.  


What are your reasons for that?

Almost everything that is knowledge and understanding should by now be assessed on line - dependent on nature of content by MCQ , Short answer questions etc - or simply assessed at same time by candidate being filmed performing the task and through this demonstrating they have the underpinning knowledge. This is within all organisation reach. 


What technologies do you use or know of that are in use today to train, develop and assess the workforce?


It is actually all about cost and efficacy, some things are always best demonstrated in real life - so the skill and the assessment at same time , But increasingly simulation will be used for formative assessment - how can Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality be used to give the candidate experience without cost of running a full summative assessment . Been happening for a long time in things like pilot training or even container ship skippering - where people spend hours working through simulations both to develop basic skills and to deal with hazardous situations that could not practically or cost effectively be assessed in real life.

Policy can be real barrier. In England the switch back to End Point Assessment in apprenticeships will actually skew the value of the assessments and have added a lot of cost to the assessment process. 
What are the benefits or challenges with using these technologies?

I've worked as an  independent educational consultant and  in large organisations, I use and appraise regularly a range of platforms and technologies - they all come with own benefits and challenges - the main thing is to pick technology that fits the aims and outcomes of the learning. Make sure it is as future proof as it can be and uses standards that are open. 


For training it's got to be video - at entry level a youtube channel - but you can use lots of platforms , for delivery you need a Virtual Learning Environment  or Learning Management System  - you choose - VLE normal in education LMS in workplace learning - systems have own strengths and weaknesses .  An e-portfolio and reflective approach if done properly along with some MCQs probably the most effective approach for learner - but often regulatory requirements stipulate assessment strategies. 

VLE/ Moodle/ Canvas / Brightspace/ Google Classroom - I am seeing as core currently or relevant LMS Totora , People Soft , Bridge etc in workplace environment 
The main challenge is getting whatever platform embedded in practice - the default for many trainers is still paper and or email. 


Do you know of any future technologies that will enhance training, development and assessment? What are you doing, if anything, to prepare for these new methods?


I am working with City of Glasgow College currently they have the full package of useful platforms that enable on-line assessment and feedback - Turnitin , Gradebooks etc 
We've invested in content Blended Learning Consortium , a platform for video - ( Clickview) , we are working out how to use Google Apps for Education and Microsoft 365 particularly teams in supporting our training.


We train training staff in use of H5P so they can build their own interactive content when they need it and we are working out how to get them thinking about learning design. So the VLE is more than a collection of powerpoints and word documents and 
we  are no longer reliant of a few staff with higher level learning object creation skills. 

We are looking at systems around artificial intelligence - how it can support learner journey , Blockchain - how badges can be linked to certification and verified evidence 
In a College setting we are looking at how we can share more open educational resources - massive open on-line courses may be beyond us - but we have platforms that can do the same. We should have offers for students and the broader community who can't engage with formal education .  Where you can everyone should be giving away learning materials. See Open Scotland Declaration. 


But it does mean we need to get all staff to think about digital learning design - it is more than blended learning or flipping the classroom - you can plan and use new delivery and collaborative learning strategies. - you need to re-think your engagement strategies.  In old money you lesson plans need to be different. Have a look at ABC Learning Design.

What are the barriers to using technology to train, develop or assess staff?  


These get lower all the time but often it is the digital skills of the staff who are being asked to change their delivery skills to a blended one that requires less face to face time. 
Learners in the main lap up being able to learn and be assessed at times and on devices that suit them.


It should leave trainers more time to focus on the learners who are struggling.
In Glasgow not everyone has broadband but most learners have a smartphone ! 


Our Skills Landscape work highlighted a shift towards new, innovative ways of learning including the use of simulation in training.  Do you think there will be a drastic change to the way we learn in the short term (5 – 10 years)?


Yes I do - what is holding things back is probably regulatory environment and the skill sets of training and assessment companies - and to be fair it is still the cost of some technologies,  building a simulation is still expensive and repurposing one - if for instance the assessment rubric changes can be equally expensive - I think we may see some more partnerships with games industry around building and creation of simulations. Or whole area may be rethought Augmented Reality and layering questions and problems over other media is probably more cost effective than full Virtual Reality. 


Have you received feedback from your workforce regarding recent training?  Any comments on what has worked well or what they would change?


A lot of the regulatory  mandatory training is simply bought off the shelf - repurposed slightly - company logo etc and delivered in chunks through VLE or LMS generally its is not very good - but delivers an audit record of those who have read materials and passed assessment - staff find it boring but realise it is a necessity - it should be better than this . As cost of development of materials come down we are creating and developing more materials in house. 
What is working well - re-thinking approaches building closer partnership with Google for instance - see www.nmis-skills.org for example 


How do you think we can assure competency using technology? 


Yes,  you certainly can - sampling and all the things you need should now be on line - audit trails , analytics , lots of things that should make both internal and external verfication easier across a very broad range of assessment strategies. And a lot of things I've suggested already - around real practical skills it is hard to fake doing something on video.
For the learner they should have an on-line digital portfolio showing their on-going CPD - 

.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

NMIS-Skills Soft Launch #NMIS

NMIS Skills I've sent out some initial invitations tonight to what will become a different sort of on-line community. The targets and mission are clear . You can find them here on the website . I'll move this post across to the project's blog site in next day or two.

While for some there is not much new in webinars and some teachmeets , nor in driving at the torpidness of the education sector and industry around sharing learning materials and knowledge. There are still many who have not changed their methods of working and we are really going to have a go at it in an innovative way.

What has been done before :

  • We are trying to summarise a lot of the excellent work that is already out there in one place.

What is new:

  • We are trying to model best practice by using open tools and resources and sharing with a creative commons licence.
  • We will showcase tools that are within the reach of anyone.  
  • We have quite a compelling offer for ambassadors. 
  • We are mapping our offer to the digital competency frameworks for education as they exist in Scotland, so that the offer is relevant to all who wish to boost their skills in collaborating , sharing and co-creating.
  • There will be plenty of space for collaborating and working together. 

The only thing that is out of scope is the kind of support that staff get already from within their own institutions and organisations . So we will be talking about learning design and tools for building learning content but we won't be talking use of specific virtual learning environments.

We have started by sucking up and pointing to the useful courses and resources that we know about already. We do know when the discussion gets going there are many that we have not discovered yet.

To some,  the website and resources,  might look a bit different . The whole resource is being built in a way that we hope can move from being a website with some interesting bits to being a community resource owned and led by the ambassadors.  This is thanks to some creative thinking and support from  Google Apps for Education.

I am sure this won't be without some initial technical hitches - but that is what learning is all about.

I'm afraid everyone can't be ambassadors, our target is membership from Scottish Schools , Colleges, Universities , Employers and Work-based learning providers with an interest in Industry4.0 and the innovation centres and agencies in Scotland around this. If we break some of the silos down around this we will have achieved our mission.

So why this post - if you work in one of the above please consider becoming an ambassador and start following NMIS-Skills . Have a look around the website and feedback please.

If you are from my network  and the bigger wider world of digital skills for education and open learning, then let us know what we need to add to help our community find your resources.