Sunday, December 14, 2008

Digital Literacy The Next Generation User Skills Report

We are always looking for what next especially in the computing and ICT area. There is a minefield still to be sorted out around who teaches young people and adults the basic skill set they need to be digital citizens. Many of the people who inhabit the blogosphere assume that everyone under a certain age are already growing additional thumbs to cope with all the technology they use and those who teach in the computing area feel they are natural deliverers in this gap. There is also no consensus around what the basic skill will be for adults.

Most studies show we are not adopting technology in efficient ways and that we do need support in learning the basic skill set. It is also the case that as technology becomes ubiquitous it will not solely be the job of learning technologists to ensure that citizens can bridge the digital divide. In Scotland we have a productivity gap in the workplace - which higher order ICT skills could help close.

The starting point needs to be trying to define these.

The Next Generation User Skills Report has a look over the short range horizon. It looks at developments in US , Europe rest of UK and looks at defining a basic set of skills and identifying the gaps that exist in provision. It does not tackle the who and the how.

We are going to use it to help us shape what we put into this space. In Colleges and the workplace and we will share it with our colleagues who look after the assessed element of the Schools Curriculum in Scotland. I think there is a lot in this report for policy makers in the rest of UK . We hooked up with an ambitious project in Yorkshire and Humber to help give us the UK perspective that we needed. I am really grateful for the work that David Kay, Bob McGonigle, Barbara Tabbiner and Walter Paterson put into this.

A really useful Christmas present. We launched the research on Friday at Heads of Computing Conference for Scottish Further Education. More details on what we offer in this space can be followed on the SQA Computing Blog and the official SQA Computing home page.

Love of Education: A Shifting Paradigm - for LeWeb08 by Robin Good

Education can change any time we want.
I hope next year there are a few more Scottish voices like Robin Good's - I like the bit at end on -the rise of the professional independent educator - I have seen folks like this come out of the UK College and Univesity system . Ewan Mcintosh probably first export like this from Scottish School system and I think watching the blogosphere we have couple more in the making.

I am still not sure about how many of those in school system are ready to drive through changes required.

A few more talking heads like this from across Scotland would do lots to stimulate dabate. It sure beats more dissertations on comparative education systems.. or blogs about why change can't happen.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Microsoft Innovative Teachers – UK and European Competition Details

I am going to circulate this through some more official channels. This email arrived today to ask that SQA and LT Scotland get news out. A number of Scottish centres and teachers benefited from earlier rounds of the Partners in Learning Project. Here is hoping we get some bodies to the European Finals and on to the World Final this year. If you twitter or use an rss feed reader - then why shouldn't you be first to know.

The details of the UK virtual competition can be found by joining the Innovative Teachers Network (ITN) at The top ten entries will be invited to the UK Innovative Teacher Forum to be held in Microsoft Reading on 20 th February 2009 to share ideas and for selection to go forward to the European round (travel and expenses will be paid by Microsoft).

The ITN contains further details of the competition, examples of best practice and a forum to discuss the competition and pose questions. Entries will be sought that demonstrate technology making a difference in the classroom, are innovative and are transferrable in enhancing the learning & teaching practice of other teachers. The closing date is 1 st February 2009 .

A selection of teachers from the UK competition will go forward to the European Forum to be held in Vienna on March 24 th – 26 th (travel and expenses will be paid by Microsoft). UK teachers will be able to share best practice with others from all over Europe and also compete for places at the world final to be held later this year (this year’s world final was held in Hong Kong).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tennent's Lager

Hey it is still good and an interesting study in denotation and connotation.
I can see why I liked this advert then and I still like it - those crafty corporate advertisers or was the guy in advert giving the finger to the Saatchi Bros and coming up for job at Leith Agency.

Scotland - The Homecoming 2009

We're doing our bit at SQA with a Burns Supper in January and more stuff through the year . Not sure about celeb version of this I liked it better when it advertised my then favourite lager.

For international audience if you find a way to escape the credit crunch then next year is a good one to visit Scotland. The Tartan Carpet is out

Open ID not enough

Just a wee footnote - yesterday I Pete McCudden I am looking at how to secure big internet experience for young people. I am not sure if there is any other work going on in this area in Scotland. Pete is happy that I post his contact details

Open ID means you only need one password for everything but we still can't authenticate with any degree of certainty who you are. Systems like Netidme give us more of the authentication we need around who we are dealing with on-line. They have system that works for big people and a parent/guardian hook up for the under 16s.

I am looking at it from point of view of delivering assessments and perhaps having trusted communities for learners. Info will also feed back to Internet Safety qualfication.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Networked Student

Useful think piece for those who want an example of how all the bits fit together.

It's from Wendy at link arrived in a tweet and I was eating my porridge - so sorry for no plug - we've got some folks working like this but still a tiny minority in UK

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Curriculum for Excellence

The results of consultation are published today and we now move into the development phase for the qualifications. I spoke to Roderic Gillespie today and he is looking for Curriculum Specialists, Policy Managers , Technical Editors to form teams that will build the awards on what has been done to date.

No small challenge - I've done it twice as a practitioner in my own subject area. Those who carp contructively and loudest about the system can sometimes be best at engaging with this. Reform like this does drive change in system and while there will be lots of consultation as developments start moving forward, it always beats being a spectator, unless of course your contribution to education is to be a perpetual critic ;-) and hey we need you too.

I've just got my fingers crossed we make the system a bit more vocational this time.

If you read this and may be interested in leading on design of qualifications in schools please contact and he'll let you know what lies ahead.

I can't believe Standard Grade isn't disappearing any faster and I'm sure most things will be built to accommodate e-portfolios and roll on and off e-assessment.