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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

#BETT14 #BETT2014 Day One

There is a curious juxtaposition this year . Opposite BETT is an exhibition by companies selling fairground equipment and gaming machines to lure in young people and inside BETT....

Was an illuminating day Mr Gove rightly talked up the strengths in the UK education system and some of the companies  doing a lot of exporting .  One that was new to me was https://www.littlebridge.com// now with over 5 million global English learners .

I took a lot of notes about what he then said about ICT in the classroom and the new English computing curriculum - it did not square with the  debates I have been following and I think this TES piece probably captures this better than I could express as an outsider.  Still I am interested in harnessing and harvesting any resources that come out of this for computing teachers in Scotland . He did mention open education as the way ahead but then used as his example MOOCs aimed at school pupils notably the Raspberry PI OCR partnership putting GCSE materials on-line http://www.cambridgegcsecomputing.org/   
Highlighted too that Cambridge University are about to launch a transitional maths mooc for school pupils heading towards Maths or Engineering at University.

I then contributed to a lively debate with peers on the Miranda Net Programme http://www.mirandanet.ac.uk/researchexchange/mirandamods/programme-january-22nd/  It is running all throughout BETT and worth finding and popping in . A view from the audience here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7WAmvFiQk4
I think it shows that higher education folks are still not sure how to react to open learning - I think they still hope it is a passing fad rather than something that allows them simply to reach more learners and help them.
Donald Clarke probably stole the show .

Next I was another talking head being interviewed for the European Open Education Challenge http://ec.europa.eu/education/news/2014/20140122_en.htm . Seed funding for start ups in and around learning . I was asked "The how is learning , assessment and certification going to change over the next few years question" .  Look foreword to seeing this and seeing if I made any sense

Ended day with meetings with some of our long term commercial partners and quick hellos to Microsoft and some other folks I'll be meeting later in week. Spotted too a few well known Scotsmen on the make  but acting independently.  We really should have Scottish stand at Bett see Korea have one this year. Had a chance to mourn passing of BECTA with some old colleagues - certainly feels that schools could do with more independent advice on IT procurements - lot of very slick sales people here. Not even sure who is capturing good practice on classroom use of new things down here - but perhaps that is just passe - as a thousand flowers bloom.

You can see why role of membership organisations like http://www.naace.co.uk/  and  http://www.alt.ac.uk/ and ofcourse http://www.mirandanet.ac.uk/ are important places for folks to share .. but can't help thinking there should be a bit more leadership here. Would help the exporters too.

Now frazzled - glad I was not at #Bettawards this year but looking forward to finding out who won what.




Saturday, January 18, 2014

#BETT14 Here we go again !



I am heading down to BETT14 on Tuesday afternoon for some pre-meetings and then the usual busy diary of meetings in and around the conference.  Staying back in familiar territory near Gloucester Road Underground this year,  after last year's foray to Greenwich, so hope to be able to network longer without worrying about missing the last light rail train across the water.  Reflections last few years here http://www.joewilsons.net/search/label/BETT 

I can't claim to have been at this event for last 30 years but I've attended since the mid 1990's

My diary is pretty full but  - If  you have something unique and engaging aimed at any part of the assessment , e-portfolio space or you have some genuinely open learning or you are looking for meaningful partnerships with school , college or vocational learning space either in Scotland or internationally then I would be interested in talking to you.  I am easy to get hold of - just tweet something to @joecar and I'll respond.

Scottish Education really is very unique and very distinct to what is on offer in the school , college and vocational space in England.  Remember if you have attended the The World Education Forum http://www.ewf2014.org/  you may have been persuaded that we only do things in one way in the UK . In fact the Scottish Education tradition has been distinct for centuries.
I am not even sure if there will be a Scottish voice at this pre-Bett  Forum this year ?

My ambition of having a joint agency Scottish stand at Bett still has still to come to fruition - maybe one day.

When I arrive I'll share notes with colleagues who will have been down hearing about a major global learning project we have been tracking for the last three years New Pedagogies for Deep Learning: A Global Partnership https://npdllearningforum.eventday.com/ .On Thursday afternoon/evening  I am attending the related strand on new modes of assessment. I am hoping that we and Education Scotland can plug into this project and a relevant juncture.

Around conference I am meeting usual suspects from Microsoft , Google and other global vendors . It is remarkable change that over last 12 or so years many of the big global vendors tend to be in and around the event but no longer take stands - I think this just reflects changing business models - the resellers fill the gap and the stands are no longer just about the technology but how the technology is deployed in classrooms.
Great too the folks now talking about how it is done are teachers who really use the technology with their learners.

I'll be dipping in and out of the various strands of the conference programme too


  • School Leaders Summit
  • Workplace Learning Summit
  • Technology in Higher Education Summit


  • Here is a snap shot

    Wednesday morning I'll catch the ministerial address and then vendor meetings and then speaking at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mirandamod-moocs-for-international-cpd-tickets-9490017899 Talking about potential of harnessing massive open on-line courses for staff development incorporation into school and college classrooms - and probably a bit more too

    Picking up some meetings in afternoon with some business partners.

    Thursday morning meeting with vendor partners and in afternoon meeting some companies with new models for on-line assessment - then picking up New Pedagogies Conference . Meeting some folks who are into gamification and virtual worlds for assessment in evening.

    Friday - Morning to explore exhibition area and catch some of the presentations - business lunch and catching up with James Fanning of Education Scotland before running back to Airport .

    My top tip - you will hear a lot of self centred crap from those who have not spent a lot of time in front of real learners - if you work in Education policy - please do not feel inadequate in front of lots of expensive glossy technology .

    If  you really work in school , college or work based learning - then challenge these policy makers , tekkies and pseudo education leaders to deliver things that help the learners in front of you. Think ahead too what will help learners over next 3-5 years.

    A learner without access to a browser and wifi - is at an educational disadvantage.

    Have a mind open enough to see what you can do to change things for your learners .. but be street wise enough not to buy the latest gizmo with a fifty year lease back and a maintenance licence that will mortgage their future.




    Tuesday, December 31, 2013

    2013 in Review

    Waterlogue  App One of this year's discoveries 

    Some quick reflections on 2013   ( 2012 , 2011, 2010, 20092008  etc ) . A lot of this year has been spent trying to push on with the new while getting bits of the system to understand and hold on to the best bits of some of our legacy projects. In everything it is all about communication at all levels. If anything the ever increasing flow of great ideas across education just highlights more how structures and hierarchies need to change to become much more open.  We are still trying to do the same things with new technology plugged in - we are not yet confident enough to really use it to fundamentally change how we do things for learners - and this needs system change and open minds across the educational system.

    This year started with an interview for the Times Educational Supplement talking about some of the big changes that are coming and then filled out with usual range of practical projects to support learners.

    1. International Articulation work took me to Istanbul and some other exciting places. The work here helps students doing HND and other awards move around the world and cements the international value of our qualifications for Scottish learners. This will open up the doors of more European institutions to Scottish learners  in the coming year.

    2. We spent some time looking at the appetite of colleges , schools and training providers in Scotland for more support in direct delivery to learners . There will probably be more developments too here next year
    With common units across Scotland there is so much more we could be doing collaboratively in schools , further education and into the workplace - there is huge potential for much greater flexibility for learners.

    3. Open Badges .. and finally .. after almost two years of pushing policy changes through system we were able to say some sensible level headed things about the benefits of open badges . I think many folks are just beginning to understand the potential here for learners and there are still some challenges too to be ironed out around display etc

    4. Open Educational Resources . Have to thank the on-going support of JISC , ALT , CETIS , RSC Scotland , College Development Network  and many others for helping to open up the policy debate around open educational resources in Scotland . ( It should not be a debate - we should have some national policies here) Special thanks to Lorna Campbell  of Cetis for going  extra mile on this.
    We have made some tangible progress . The Open Scotland event was very successful and we suceeded in getting all the right agencies along and engagement from policy makers . Please follow the blog and join ALT and the join our Scottish sig .  I will be moving this debate on again in coming year supporting organisation of both ALT-C 2014 and OER14 

    5. I usually get to meet most of the folks with interesting content or ideas for education - this year a lot of these meetings were with different groups trying to get more programming into schools one way or another - robots , gamification , computational thinking . All good stuff but was clearly the year of computing panic across UK . I hope for sake of learners and teachers this gets more coherent next year. At qualifications end the new national 4 and 5 awards in computer science should be able to embed most of this - badges and some other developments should help further down schools.

    6. In the evenings and quite a lot of evenings this year I played my part in merging three Glasgow colleges to become Glasgow Clyde College. I am currently chair of the college's learning and teaching committee - having been through the pain of merger and of  regionalisation, next year we will all be looking for the dividends that the new regional structures should give Colleges across Scotland.

    And looking on across next year - Early in the new year folks will come to realise how useful the new Glow with Microsoft 365 built in will be for teachers and learners.  In the spring there will be more active debate and finally some action around digital participation across Scotland. By summer the new National 4 and 5 qualifications will be in place for all learners across Scotland . In the autumn and beyond we will see if all the work done to support volunteers , stewarding , security , broadcasting , catering , customer care and more for the Commonwealth Games  Glasgow 2014 delivers the legacy it promises and we will too find out where Scotland's destiny lies 

    Over year too I expect to see more coherent attempts by a range of agencies to open up data in Scotland in a way where learners can finally track their own learner journey and they can see potential value of different courses in supporting their journey.

    Some observations on my own use of technology this year

    Blogging less and less and using twitter more and more
    I miss Google Reader , found Digg Reader as replacement but use it less that I thought
    Probably picking up more info from Twitter than from RSS Feeds ?
    I like my tablet for consuming information and taking notes in meetings .
    But I still need a computer -lap-top or desktop to be really productive
    I bid farewell to my corporate blackberry and hello to a new shiny Sony Xperia and apologies to all who keep getting twitter invitations  and reminders to join me on twitter from my new phone - still haven't figured out how to switch these off

    Finally thanks to my team and all those in SQA for continuing to support me and give me the opportunity to explore new ventures . Thanks too to all of you and all the folks in my broader personal learning network across Scotland , UK and beyond for all the great ideas and support over the year.

    2014 will be a great year for global learning - Happy New Year when it comes -