Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#EAIE2014 #Articulate Prague

I In Scotland we call the link that allows a college based HNC or HND candidate progression with advanced standing into a university's second or third year 'articulation' . We have articulation agreements in place all around the globe for both Scottish learners and for our many students who complete our programmes around  the world.  Chinese students want the option of 'articulating' into universities around  the world not only UK institutions  

We as the awarding body broker many of these 'articulation' routes you can see some  examples of these here . These allow students to move around tne world and gain entry to the 2nd and 3rd years of specific degree programmes. We do this by negotiating with individual institutions. 

Yet many of our own learners might call these progression routes rather than 'articulation' routes or agreements .

As I visit #EAIE2014 this year and meet many of our existing and potential new articulating centres I hope I can come up with a new word for 'articulation ' that is easily understood by learners and institutions around the world .

I am also here to build more links to European institutions offering undergraduate degrees taught in English . Agreements here will support the mobility of Scottish students into Europe and build bridges that Scottish Colleges and European Institutions can use for shorter Erasmus funded exchanges .



#oer Universities and Open Education in Scotland

Last week I did a short session in a Scottish University with the head of departments around the challenges and the opportunities around open education.

I did not touch much on massive open on-line courses as in many ways for this and other institutions this could be a step too far. I highlighted that they could do much more by simply opening up more of what they do to the communities they touch already and by doing more to harness the staff resource that they have by encouraging much more open practice across the institution .  This could be the precursor to some MOOCs at a later stage but in the short term it would get academics thinking about how they become open practitioners .

I'll stick up my presentation here when I  get back into the office . I borrowed many of my slides from previous presentations on open education. I spoke about past and current developments in Scotland 

The rest of the afternoon comprised of some excellent presentations from the library and learning resource staff. They are actually well on the way to developing open policies that will permit much more open practices . This is probably the right response from institutions who don't have massive marketing budgets to invest in the development and the staffing of massive online courses. It was good to hear that many of the academics already knew and used resources from services like JORUM the challenge is that none of them had ever deposited a learning resource there.

I hope that the new programme from the funding council led by OU Scotland , Edinburgh , Glasgow and University of Highland and Islands will make its focus - not the creation of massive open on-line courses that may prove hard to sustain  but the creation of an open culture that encourages open practices and the sharing on on-line content.



Saturday, September 06, 2014

#altc 2014 University of Warwick



I've supported and/or attended the Association for Learning Technology conference since the last century when folks interested in technology and learning were really on the outer fringes of education or even  mainstream learning - at institutional level just starting to come out of cupboards where the audio-visual technicians lived or like me realising that as electronic typewriters vanished there was more we could do with computers in the classroom.

Without prejudice (I along with   Linda Creanor and Sarah Cornelius  was a conference chair )  I think the conference went really well this year. The venue , accommodation , food , wifi and technology on site all worked well . The keynotes , each in their own way pushed on the boundaries of learning and teaching while highlighting the opportunities and pitfalls that lie ahead. While the other sessions provided great insights into a broad range of current practice , highlighted useful changes in institutional and government policy or simply explored the challenges of big data , learner analytics , open badges and other new forms of delivery in the post MOOC - yet non apocalyptic world of learning.

They are worth tuning in to - I think they set the tone for learning for the next decade . Not the opening bit but skip to Jeff Haywood , Catherine Cronin and Audrey Watters keynotes


The three things that made me think most - beyond the excellent keynotes - were

1. The Big Red Balloon - offer on-line support for school pupils who have been marginalised by bullying and cannot attend mainstream schools .  Made me think about the support that is available for learners in schools in Scotland - it is a great example of how the world of on-line is transforming school education and supporting learners in new ways

2. The FE day focused on FELTAG - ( it could be  some new select perversion - ) but the feltaging debate was to a degree shaped by the non appearance of the new government minister in England . In corners around the conference there was a lot of private and public feltaging going on.

 The previous minister Matthew Hancock had laid out an ambitious vision for 10% of all further education in England being available on-line in the coming year with targets for 70% being available on-line by 2017.  The realities on ground from the sessions I attended are very different . The big institutions are making some headway but are not sharing learning materials . The private creators of content are touting their wares to fill the void and lots of policy,  not least changing regulations forcing folks to focus on more traditional methods of assessment make the ambitions hard  or expensive to achieve . What seemed lost in a lot of this debate was a sense of the learners . Too much discussion,  particularly those  by organisations with a commercial interest in these changes start off with revenue sharing models or cost cutting models or looking at other efficiencies none of which  benefit learners. It would be good to see more use of open educational resources and some sensible open on-line course activity in the English FE Sector . They could learn a lot from their colleagues in Higher Education.

3. I probably covered this in opening - but really just overall sense that in all sessions technology is now at the heart of all things learning related , not an adjunct , not a bolt-on but something that all institutions have strategic plans for and something that learners expect when they decide they wish to engage with learning.

There was a very active twitter stream and it is great to see all the other themes that caught folks attention.

My biggest disappointment was the poor turn out from Scottish FE. I think this is probably just a temporary blip given the scale of restructuring that is just coming to a conclusion in Scotland. I hope by next year and Manchester 2015 the regional colleges will not only have settled down but will already have a range of on-line offerings to offer both their region and beyond. There is a lot of great work happening in Scotland we could have used a few more voices shouting out about it.

If you missed this year's conference you can see the keynotes and much more on the conference website. An an individual or institutional membership of ALT is invaluable in providing an overview of learning technology both across the UK and internationally,  it  gives you a personal learning network who are active in solving practical problems,  pushing at the frontiers of learning , drafting policy at institutional or national level all to make learning better and more accessible to learners.Maren Deepwell  , Martin Hawksey and the ALT backroom team are a pleasure to work with too.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#Openbadges Simplest Possible Message about Open Badges

I've been working with colleagues to try and refine a very simple message about #Openbadges .

Here is work in progress - it is aimed at a Scottish schools audience but could be used in a range of contexts when introducing the concept of Open Badges - comments welcome !


Digital /Open Badges – What Exactly Are They?

This is a guide prepared for an audience who may never have heard of Digital / Open badges.

Badges are not a new phenomenon in learning.  The Girl Guide and Scout Association and many other organisations have used badges to reward achievement or to recognise skills development for many years. 

To earn a badge the recipient has to meet a certain level of competency or demonstrate a specific attribute.

Digital Badges are really just a simple extension of this philosophy into the digital age.  Digital badges rather than being physical artefacts handed out and  then sewn on to a sleeve are issued digitally and are designed to be displayed on the web.

The advantage that a digital badge has over a cloth badge is that a digital badge can contain a lot of additional information (called meta data).  This additional information might include details of the organisation and individual who awarded the badge, the specific competencies the learner has demonstrated and even contain  links to some of the learners work to illustrate their competence.

So a digital badge becomes an on-line way for a learner to show evidence of their learning.  The badge could be called a data rich digital icon.

The open in the heading comes from the technology that has been used to support the creation of digital badges. The Mozilla foundation has created some open source systems that allow any organisation to build, design and issue an open digital badge. There is now an open community established around the initial products and they are developing the software further. The tools to build open digital badges are freely available to any individual or organisation. There are links to some of these in the reference section at the end of this document.

The illustration below captures the idea of how metadata can be embedded in a digital open badge.


 “Badge Anatomy” by Class Hack. Creative Commons license CC BY-SA


Badges could be suitable for everyone whatever their age or previous accomplishments. Badges can recognise and communicate an individuals ' skills and achievements and display them in online environments – such as social media profiles – in ways that may help with future career and education opportunities.

 Employers, organisations, schools, colleges and universities could gain a richer picture of an individual’s learning by exploring the meta-data behind a badge.

The philosophy of open badges in the recognition of wider achievements could sit well with the principles of the Curriculum for Excellence.

In October 2013 the Scottish Qualifications Authority issued some guidance to colleges, community and work-based learning providers encouraging them to consider the adoption of open badges.  A number of Colleges and work based learning organisations in Scotland are now issuing and using badges and there are a number of case studies now available.

Institutions globally are seeing the potential benefits of issuing badges. These include NASA, the Girl Scouts, New York Education Authority , Khan Academy, Google News, MIT, Harvard, The Open University and City and Guilds
  


Why think about using Badges?


  • To recognise small steps in learning - smaller than SCQF – and/or steps towards a qualification;
  •  To create a culture of learning and achievement and support innovative ways of recognising learning and achievement.
  • To motivate learners to come aboard and take advantage of the opportunities on offer;
  • To build the confidence and self-esteem of current non-participants in learning;
  • To support profiling of learners
  • To motivate staff to develop skills and accumulate learning which will improve practice
  • To be recognised as early adopter of new approaches.

What are the current challenges?


  • To use a digital badge a learner needs to have digital place to put these. Not all learnersespecially in Early Years and Primary sectors  may  have a suitable place to position an open digital  badge.
  •  The technology is new and is still undergoing ongoing development. In some cases it demands a level of technical skills set be available if you are thinking about designing and building badges or creating a badge issuing system. However, there are a number of organisations who can support you through the process.


Find out more

·       JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland co-ordinating Scottish Open Badges Group; http://www.rsc-scotland.org/?page_id=3068
·       The JISC Regional Support Centre have a range of case studies showing open badges in operation http://www.rsc-scotland.org/?page_id=2223
·       Across the UK there is growing interest in badges http://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/so-what-are-open-badges-28-aug-2013 =
·       The SQA Academy – are building badges linked to General Teaching Council Teacher Standards;
·       A template for thinking about badge design http://www.digitalme.co.uk/badgecanvas/   http://www.digitalme.co.uk/assets/pdf/DigitalMe-Badge-Design-Canvas.pdf A platform for building and awarding badges https://credly.com/
·       The Scottish Qualifications Authority, Scottish Government and Education Scotland taking active interest
·       Universities are  looking at range of models; The Open University in Scotland are currently working in a specific initiative.
·       Lot of interest from Industry who are using badging for their internal CPD
·       Look out for Digital Design days run by a range of agencies  that  help folks figure out how to design, create , issue badges







Thursday, June 05, 2014

ALT Scotland SIG - Open Scotland (AM) #openscot







Amazed at how fast this can now get straight out on to YouTube many thanks to the hard work of https://twitter.com/mhawksey

Thursday, May 22, 2014

#LTaward #ALT ALT Learning Technologist of the Year

I know there are lots of pockets of excellence in ICT all across Scotland in Universities , Colleges , Schools and in Adult and Community Education. 

Here is a chance to give some of these unseen heroes of learning some recognition and this is a chance too to shine a light on great institutional practice.

In a year of hype around massive open on-line courses and apocalyptic predictions around the future of institutional learning as we know it - never has there been a better time to celebrate the folk who simply make the technology work for our learners.

The ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards: Entry deadline extended to 30 May 2014 http://goo.gl/KCJfxb

Every year, ALT recognises and rewards those who are making excellent use of learning technology in education.

Past recipients include school teachers, academics, researchers and learning technologists from all sectors of education.

The awards are sponsored by the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) and supported by Nesta.  More information on how to enter, see http://goo.gl/KCJfxb
#LTaward

Thursday, April 03, 2014

#dlld14 Cognitive Dissonance







Really just finally getting around to a reflective post on an unexpected opportunity I had about two weeks ago to speak for an hour to a group of post graduate secondary school teachers in training at Strathclyde University . Thanks Cristina Costa for inviting me.  Felt massive empathy as  I did the same course 1986 at Jordanhill Campus - English and History .

I spoke to them about all the new things already happening in the online world of learning . I did warn then at the start that they would experience some cognitive dissonance in that the world I was describing of reflective blogs , e-portfolios , on-line assessment on demand , open educational resources, open badges , MOOCs for school pupils, individualised learning pathways  ; would not be the world that they were currently experiencing .

But it will be the world they experience within the next five years . Well some of it . The tyranny of the timetable will still constrain options available to learners.

The feedback and questions at end of the session were excellent. It was great to meet an enthusiastic and motivated bunch of new teachers . The dissonance for me was that here was a group learning about learning technology but still grappling with the fact that many of the services that they can use in the University are blocked in schools. The Challenge was not just around filtering, one student told me of a school history department struggling to get enough computer access in a school to access the primary sources needed for the new highers. But question was framed   "How could SQA expect teachers to deliver these new courses without the correct resources ?" .  We talked about how subjects changed and the importance now of primary sources or in other areas data management . I hope I convinced them that keeping professional skills up to date and having access to the right tools is not all about the SQA . The rate of course change is only going to get faster in the future and more individualised. We need all the support agencies lined up around this and the resources of local authorities too as well as a professional outlook on continuing professional development.

What can you do with classes who hate maths ?  On exploration it  sounded a bit like a school who hates maths and hoped my answers about numeracy and literacy across the curriculum helped. There are lots of apps and sites that try it make maths stimulating and engaging and it is a life skill. 

You could feel too some folks questioning learning of new skill sets or about new online resources if they were blocked at an institutional level . Remember learning happens  everywhere now. You and your learners can access lots of these resources at home and lots of other places . But there is a real issue around giving all learners access to a browser - how can we help learners who don't have internet access ?

GLOW I thought how many of you use GLOW ?  I think four hands went up,  which is a real shame as the new system is looking amazing .  You need to all go and log on and have a look around the new GLOW with Microsoft 365 I understand that all teacher training institutions can give you access to  GLOW ?

Teachers do need to be skilled in making the best use of all available resources, that will never change,  but I do feel that the system should be doing more to ensure that learners and teachers have more access to digital windows on the world. At moment some folks are just glimpsing the future through a keyhole.

Good luck to all those in    and I look forward to following your careers on twitter and through  your blogs. These tools will keep you  plugged into a professional learning network and that will help you a lot whenever the going gets tough.

And   I really do believe that within the next five years you and your learners will be operating in most of the world I described

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#Bett2014 #Bett14 Day Three




Starting to get exhibition area crazy and to this point I have only been criss crossing the space for meetings but  I had a wander around finally.

Lots of on-line toll gated learning content , lots of international stands,  more I think than in past years  , but while I enjoyed watching some sessions on practise nothing really jumping out . This more about things I see over year - for many there may have been some new stuff.

 A lot of stands have all kinds of ways to lock down , store securely , charge, manage apps across class sets of tablets or laptops . I know these things are expensive assets but I am still not sure why we are not thinking of keeping these in learners hands more. I think we're missing the point somewhere here.

Also a fixation on capturing and analysing big data. It seems the natural adjunct to on-line evidence and assessment and perhaps heralds the way for more diagnostic and learner directed assessment.  I worry that a lot of this collection  is for its own sake .  Just because it can generate lots of data does not mean something has any impact at all on learning.

Think special mention to a Scottish company earning plaudits around world for their flexible filtering system for schools . Though I like my learning unfiltered ! I do appreciate need for this in primary schools http://bloxx.com

This Brazillian company looks really interesting http://www.competir.com/index_en.html check out the English version of the site - with 5 million users . Philosphy and technology all look very sound .

One thing and I guess it will be backed up by their financials Microsoft with new range of devices,
windows 8  getting better and  365 for education  really seem to have stepped up to the mark .

Managed to miss Skills Minister Matthew Hancock's speech which deserves a read ..already impressed by the work of FELTAG in England ..looks too more will come of this with Stephen Heppell at the head of things  https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/matthew-hancock-speech-on-education-technology-at-bett-show  . I think some of this shows that the spin doctors picked up the reaction to Michael Gove's opening address - perhaps this was the antidote.

Had a great lunch time meeting with Greg Butler and hope we can get Scotland to join the Collaborative Assessment Alliance

Final round of meetings with some customers , Jim Fanning of Education Scotland and some folks who had picked up conversation on twitter

Hear too that a few Scottish local authorities have been spotted doing the rounds ..
Another case I think for having some Scottish stand or a more formal gathering,  it would have been great to reflect on some more of these things with peers and share notes.

Know too there were a few more folks I could and should have said hello to. Sorry never enough time.

Then run for the airport  .

New venue is great , wifi worked , spotlight sessions excellent ..few I caught between meetings.

#Bett14 #Bett2014 Day Two



Seems strange to be almost queuing up to get in at 10am -

Meeting with Microsoft  partners - we are not doing all and getting all we could out of Partners in Learning , Kodu Cup , Global Forum and making the best use of the few innovative educator experts we have in Scotland. Was great to catch up with Stuart Ball on a high from winning BETT Award for Kodu Game Lab in UK . Hope we have now mapped out how to push this along . He gave me a few new contacts in Microsoft UK to help with this

Then meeting with Alison Drever  from Education Scotland so much happening and enormous potential in computing area. It is great that there is once more Education Scotland expert practitioner in this space and a real willingness to pull our collective assets together

Then in quick succession met Ollie Bray , Doug Belshaw and Jaye Richards - all presenting at #Bett2014
( Gosh do you only meet people with Blogs at Bett?)

Headed then back to Westminster for twilight session on new models of assessment with Collaborative Assessment Alliance . Some great ideas and met some old friends .

A lot of discussion around how technology is being used in different ways for assessment.
The technology for  pretty individualised assessment is already with us  but so much has to change around mind sets .  Some great examples of peer assessment around things like e-portfolios.

Finally met up with some pioneers of virtual worlds and online simulations and realising at this point I had skipped lunch had a late dinner in Covent Garden ,  picked  up some great business ideas too.