Saturday, January 31, 2009

Technology January

I just use the stuff - don't ever bore me with binary or any other technical aspect of the stuff .
I can usSee full size imagee it and if forced I can talk it - and if it is interesting then I have probably already had a go at it .
Never imply that you have to be terrifically clever to
a.Operate the stuff.
b. Control anyone else's access to the stuff.

Since Christmas two things have delighted me - I am really enjoying Apple TV . It seamlessly plugged into back of our TV and picked up our wifi - we actually don't use 80% of it's functionality but late night with a glass of wine watching last 10 years of family photos with Ken Burns Effect on, with our music from i-tunes playing as a sound track it is hard to beat.

The other thing that looks great is gmail voice and video chat. I have high hopes that we will soon be able to build an e-portfolio out of google aps. I was very impressed with it this week when I had a chat with Leon Cynch . There is some great coverage of BETT on his blog too.

BETT 09 Reflections



BETT is now two weeks behind me . Plea to organisers - you must have free wifi that works next year. I could have summed up by Friday of event.

Ollie Bray has spent a lot of time and thought and captured a lot of the technology I looked at on way around as has Andy Black from Becta. You can pick up a lot of buzz from a google search, technorati search or twitter search for BETT09.

Things have stuck with me

1. Patricia Wastiau, Principal Adviser – Studies & Development, European Schoolnet did a wonderful presentation all around why and how we get the learner to drive learning and our education systems - we need to move from content based to skills based curriculum. BECTA represents the UK in European Schoolnet.
2. Ricardo Semler, CEO of Semco and author of best-selling book ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Seven Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works’ - did a session that started with current teaching skill set and knowledge has been superceded ( so compelling that some education folks walked out as his presentation got into full flow ! ) Ricardo painted future of project based learning designed around the needs of the learners but still within a national curriculum. He has turned around education - interesting too that Brazil and South America have led on a lot of educational thinking. Is he the next Frierie ? where are the Scottish thinkers and doers ?
3.Andreas Schleicher, Head of Indicators and Analysis Division, OECD PISA, gave a stunning presentation on how quickly education is changing across the world - if you get a chance watch this - South Korea and some new ascension states in Europe all catch up with Finland while USA and UK stutter - I was most impressed on these stats with Australia progress in creating strong vocational system also really obvious.
4. Microsoft, Cisco and Intel - have started project with OECD to look at global curriculum and assessment models - worth watching this space - you'll see our own Ewan McIntosh on front door too.

5. The determination that exists in England to get broadband and a computer into the homes of every learner and to close any digital divide - more evidence of this - this week.

It was great to see strong Scottish contingent of real teachers at Teachmeet BETT 09. Only sorry I couldn't stretch my stay out any further - it was useful to have a stand at BETT and be able to offer a base for folks. We did very well on building up international and business links and I am sure this will be reflected in more posts over the year. I am still closing off actions. We offer a broad range of awards and have centres across United Kingdom - a fact that is little known in Scotland and seldom reported.

This was a good BETT and believe me there have been some pretty ropey ones in the past.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BBC Won't Broadcast DEC Gaza Charity Appeal

For the first time in 43 years the BBC refuse to Broadcast a video form the International Disasters Emergency Committee. I couldn't find it on youtube or it would be appearing here.

Here is official line why public sector broadcasting in UK cannot support the International Community. Shame on you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yeah Friday

With best of intentions I did whole week at BETT last week and have been hammering through meetings this week and had a day in London today. I'm not catching up..
My wee brother sent me an image last night from a wall in Krakow that I'm going to stick on a t-shirt. A hero -it cheered me up no end.

Now I am going to eat Haggis mostly and drink whisky and see if I can stop working My twittering , friendfeeding, blogging, thinking about the future of education has got me pretty frazzled..

Looking forward to Homecoming Burns Night Dinner on Monday at Oran Mor great spot in west end of Glasgow.

Last year I posted an image of Red Rabbie - this year Marty ..
A man's a man for a' that..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday BETT Last Session of Learning and Technology World Forum


Not live blogging as I can’t get on to the “free wireless” at BETT09 ( next year I’ll bring a dongle or a satellite dish) -session starts with video coverage from last few days – now available on Forum Website - presentations from last three days to be available too.

Learners Voice

Students presentation – voices from around the world . Have you asked the learners what they need in terms of ICT support or have you already decided ? – Have you given your learners a voice in this domain ? ( nice questions and I think in most countries at this level the answer is no, non, nein , niet etc)

Challenges for coming year from students across Europe – to ministerial audience.
You are all spending lots of money on big projects but maybe more small ones might have more impact – this has been lessons from the Internet small startups succeed....
People who run system don’t use social networking or games or any of the new things –means the models are still very top down and often not appealing to learners.
As you restructure the curriculum make sure that how to use new technology is part of this.
Now a days most parents work across Europe – but you still need parent child dialogue – many of students surveyed got into technology because of their parents .
New assessment criteria needed to free teachers to be more experimental
Can education be allowed keep up slow change we really need radical innovation
Change needs international collaboration – national systems are not really doing this yet
Why can’t education system work across borders – why not have a global curriculum.

Everyone is a learner now – and systems should reflect this – standard specifications needed – we can change and pick up knowledge and skills on-line when we need them.

What a great set of learners, I'm biased, I agree with most of this.

David Blunkett


If we had money the banking sector is getting now – too often we pretend we understand technology when perhaps we don’t Dolphin Pen mentioned and all technology for learners with special needs Learners who were excluded being included all over the world.

70 countries ministries represented at the Forum – Education Ministers should be able to use technology to make connections – directly. Thanks to Andrew Pinder for his great work - he is stepping down from BECTA.

Learning Grid planning started in 1998 Ed Balls and Jim Knight have done a lot but we still have not overcome digital divide – to ensure what is available in homes of wealthy is also available in homes without the means to access this learning. We need homes linked with school, college and university. We need to change procurement policies to let new innovative solutions in to the system there must be better ways of virtually providing a set of learning tools to every learner.

Will be announcements on further UK developments on Broadband – the world is opening up and we need to make it work for all learners – we need to simplify the way we speak about technology so everyone can understand it.

Ed Balls invites us back to World Forum Next year and hope is that we will all use conference on-line forum to help plan next years event.

Next dinner with Microsoft

Dinner at World Forum

Tipping last Tuesday's notes into blog -

Great music and dancing display from London pupils. Useful exchanges with Becta Directors and
Caught Chris Yapp – need to follow up around NGUS Report.

BECTA have done us proud with this event.- well done Doug Brown and team - some really useful networking – both with UK and International delegates. I am looking forward to reading Laurie O’Donnel’s take on ministerial stream.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Teachmeet and Teacheat


I was sorry not to get along to both of these events but happy to offer some sponsorship.
I am relieved to hear that Teachmeet at next year's Scottish Learning Festival will be on a normal school night and not a Friday.

You can get a flavour of teachmeet here and teach-eat too if you want to check out who can stick a whole pizza in their mouth at once.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BETTO9 The UK Educational Technology Fair




















I'll post more over next couple of days as I come back down to earth from what is always a very busy week in London . BETT is always a bit unreal sometimes portentous of a better reality and sometimes frankly it can be bit nightmarish too. One year electronic tagging of learners seemed to the fore ;-)

This year I think was a good one - there was a lot of content worth more than a second look, there were still all the electronic whiteboard peddlers but content rather than the technology was more to the fore.

There was an announcement from Microsoft, Cisco and Intel of a partnership to look at 21st Century Learner Skills and Assessment.
Cisco Press Release
Microsoft Press Release
Intel Press Release

(We stuck to Next Generation User Skills - we thought this was bold enough. In 1908 did they really know the skills we'd need in 1998 or even 1914 - Sample - 1908-1914 First Model T Ford, Movies with sound and Ecstasy were all developed in this period )

I can confidently predict that more educators or those who are interested in moving learning on a bit quicker will start using Twitter - was great as last year to meet with in real life or follow all the educational twitters around Bett - search for #Bett09 , #tmbett09, #bettr09 and you get a flavour both of the event itself and some of the great fringe events. Teachmeet and Bettr.

I got lots of detail on how the Home Access Programme will work to ensure that those who are digitally excluded have home access to broadband and a device/laptop in England.

As last year my days were filled with meetings our education vendor partners and others - who do so much to support vocational learning in Scotland and around the world. I have a few specific updates to follow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

@LATWF London

Wireless went down at 5.30 last night - I am guessing network technicians went home and they closed the door - last sessions were great presentation from Alaska on redesigning the curriculum and from Commonwealth Countries on challenges they face.

Worth having a google for @LATWF there are couple of bloggers and more twitteratti here too.

Richard DeLorenzo, Leader in education reform and organisation restructuring
Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General

Some key points..
Current status of schools in America - Schooling for all but only learning for some
Need leadership to embrace ambiguity and dissent -
Dealt with these challenges.
Unemployment in Alaska 52.3%
One College graduate in 20 years
50% of teachers leave every year.

Richard has taken seriously under performing school system and turned it around and written a book about the experience

Delivering on the Promise: The Education Revolution
Challenges in Commonwealth could fill a book -talk highlighted the inequalities but fantastic ambition that burns brightly.

Then informal buffet and networking.

This morning we were all buses out to schools in the London area I picked one that works with 5-18 years olds with profound Autism. Whiteboards and e-learning resources have had a dramatic impact on these learners. Really humbling. This afternoon is looking at library, museum and other learning infrastructure - I am foregoing to get through day job.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What is 21st Century Skill Set and how do we organise for it

Frank Green CEO of The Leigh Technology Academy(s) a visionary was Principal now CEO

Have rebuilt building to support changed delivery strategy

A trust that now runs two schools - in Dartford - year in six modular chunks - 6 reports per year
Vertical Tutor Groups - not age groups - children learn best from other children year or two older - this operates top to bottom tutor group year 1 to year 6 20 of them in one form class.
Vertical Curriculum - year 1 and 2 work together , year 3 and 4 work together
Double size spaces 60 children three teachers - much more like a primary environment
Runs a Mac environment - wireless and open to learners to bring in their own devices
You prepare lessons in a team and you make most of ICT Resource
Lessons children don't like are from teachers who haven't adapted new ways of teaching - and we monitor this.
Every teacher now needs to be a learner too..
Only move away for art, PE/Sport and workshop activity.
We use technology extensively across the curriculum it is not an option in this environment
Vocational Programmes - run large number of programmes
Schools within Schools to work at human scale
Industrial Links with all areas of learning
would like to be a consumer led school and get rid of timetable.
Students will ask for lessons when they need them - learners access learning 24-7
Teacher becomes your educational GP - on hand to help you when you need it
Deals with pupils who have failed 11+ in this area ( still in operation in this bit of England)
FE and HE Providers start having presence in schools - some learners are already ready to start programmes in these areas before they leave school


Gap national curriculum in England all about content but what employers want is all hard and soft skills. Example we have more science labs in UK Education than almost any other country but we hardly use these for practical things - we only have three labs but when they use this space they are doing lab work. - New focus has improved results.

Cisco needed 1.5 million network engineers so they developed Cisco Academy . They could not wait for education systems around the world to change.

Curriculum upgraded every 6 months
Assessed on-line when you are ready along with a practical portfolio to evidence other skills

You might need a learning network in the future but do you even need schools in the future.
Ones that survive might look at this - some examples -

High Tech High, Alameda Community Learning Center, New Tech High Foundation, The Big Picture Company, Australian Science and Mathematical School (ASMA)
Could be argued that best school in America takes in drop-outs and has no timetable

I'd add Islay High School as model to look at ;-)

ICT in Education Global Philanthropic Perspectives

A session on what and where are the Global philanthropic initiatives in ICT
Rough Notes ..

Good news we work with these and more in Scotland - but couple we have not hooked up with.

Dawn Foundation Charles Hawkin ?? Canadian Charity based in Montreal - failure of education to develop young people for a global knowledge economy. 200 million dollars in a delivery platform working with 50 schools across Globe in next 24 months will - can't find this in Google.?
Uses Cisco's teleprescence network
Building a global classroom ( Cisco, Panasonic, Dell)Chicago , State of Illinois

Anne Rochelle Nokia Design
What are the unmet needs of the users - anywhere anytime learning and handheld learning and other ways to achieve this. Have an evidence base to help lead thinking working with partners - Pearson Education Mobile Learning Institute takes technologies into schools to create new system - 50 hours of staff development to show teachers how to use the technology. Materials are developed and shared by teachers and pupils - In South Africa a gaming programme developed for mobile phones around the science education. In philipines one million learners use a cell phone learning network and work with International Youth Foundation . Looks like content is with Pearson Education Foundation

Bill Fowler CISCO Learning
Equipping every Learner for 21st Century
As employers Cisco demand a different skill set and engaged for this reason.
In Morocco,Mexico, Jordan, Egypt and lots of places who can see how technology can change things quickly.- students are really the same the world over - Cisco goes out to find partners in countries and then works with the country to help them meet their needs. New Programme in Africa ..Teacher without Borders,


Dr Martina Roth Intel Director Global Education Strategy
Work in specific way to contribute at national and globla level - work in public private partnerships, Teacher Training project based learning and work with acadmia to get innovative thinking included not just research and development -
We offer number of programmes - 6million teachers trained in imprroving use of technology in the classroom
IntelTeach Programme and
IntelLearn Programme
We run biggest Maths and Science Competition in the World ( 1500 finalists 50 countries 4million scholarship.
IntelHigherEducation Programme 200 universities and 34 Countries
Will be announcement tomorrow from CISCO INITEL and MIcrosoft on more help for teachers and learners

Microsoft Partners in Learning Paul Goris ??
106 Countries - has touched 125 million teachers goal to reach 250 million aim to get pupils better access to technology and actively promote teacher skills and to promote leadership skills. Innovative Schools , Innovative Teachers and Innovative Students. Hope communnity of teaches sharing resources teaching materials not just ICT in the classroom. grow to around 10 million, we have an awards ceremony every year - this year in HongKong, Schools and pupils will have access to this next.


Oracle Education Foundation Director - Orla Nichorcora
Thinkquest for primary and secondary schools and Oracle Academy for Higher Education
Thinkquest now being used fairly extensively with global competitions - materials go back into Thinkquest library get 30 million hits a month used extensively. Partner with organisations and governments around the world. Working with Egypt, Jordan and other big global initiatives.

"Mark" from Pearson Education Foundation
An education company more than a technology company

They all take general programmes and try to make it sustainable - host countries need to have appetite to make transfomational change - all look for organisations willing to engage with multi-stakeholder partnerships and who understand the needs of their own learners.

Teacher Training Resource Bank

TTRB is a trusted repository and makes available a professional knowledge base to raise practice in teacher training to ensure that teachers and teacher trainers improve their own practice . The site provides an evidence base for people to change their practice. The database pulls together evidence and research on teaching and learning and the use of technology in the school space. The sources are from national stakeholders in England. ( HE, BECTA, Future Lab, Teachers TV, ITTE, GTC(England) ELearning Reports and many more)resources are mapped on to the teacher training standards in England.

Site contains orginal research and provides reviews of research and suggests key implications. Review of research. Reviewer get paid for this and part of their own professional development.

This aims to become one authoritative source for this. Supported by Training and Development Agency in Schools, Lighthhouse Education, Canterbury Christ Church University, Institute of Education, British Education Index. Quality assured content

The information and resources here will be used for teachers CPD as well as those coming in at entry level. Even comes with an e-librarian who can help with specific defined questions.

Site has been live for five years around 100,000 views per month
16,000 registered users - aim of session to promote international use - wonder if this is used extensively in Scotland ?

Big question how does evidence impact practice in your national system.

@LATWN 2009 Session One




pinching image from Andy Black who is sitting beside me. Image is of Andreas in full flow.

Doug Brown says hello to international audience -( just met Laurie O'Donnell from LTScotland , Stuart Robertson and a few other familiar Scottish faces over coffee we should do this more often in Scotland) In chair for event will be Willie Roe new Scottish Chair of Skills Development Scotland.

Stephen Crowne CEO BECTA says hello and introduces Andreas Schleicher to talk about OECD PISA study - best power points I have seen for while he is using latest statistics package for graphical explanation of statistics. Some great movements depicted - will be available through forum website.Australia get large number of people through vocational education at a relatively low cost. Have seen and heard this stuff before but very good presentation.

The skills that are easiest to teach and test are the ones that are less and less in demand. We fill people with content but not applied skills in real situations. Called Routine Cognitive Skills - we need job that involves non-routine cognitative skills - these are skill sets needed and the jobs that cannot easily be moved.

We need to assess how people solve problems work with others, coordinate and manage - how we synthesise find parters and solutions. Debate moves to Skills for 21st Century - how quickly can you become a specialist how fast can you evolve and adapt and solve new problems this is real test.

Evaluation and Assessment systems need to change - identified as driver of change.

UK - High Average Performance but Low Social Equity - some countries have achieved High Educational Performance and High Social Equity.

Finland debate on teachers rewards and fact that teachers play large part in developing the system - much more engaged - a lot of local responsibility but still national system . If you get accountability systems right teachers drive educational reform and quality at a local level. Best systems have teachers who can make strong professional judgements at a local level. Not direct relationship either between investment in systems and performance of systems

Monitoring will continue through to 2018, individual , institutional and systematic factors
harder how do you measure growth between primary and secondary schools. How do we bridge gap between formative and summative assessment. PISA uses computer delivered dynamic assessments will be fully implemented by 2012 - you get tailored adaptive assessment.

All about how assessment can change if we want a better system - what I signed up for when I came to SQA - I still wonder how much schools and universites are ready for the major change in assessment system that needs to take place - we'll see as we push ahead with Curriculum for Excellence.

Learning and Technology World Forum

Over next two days I will blog around what is happening at the Learning and Technology World Forum organised by Department for Children Schools and Families , BECTA and DIAS this is an invitation event for global educators - planned to run before many of attendees will move on to BETT. This is great idea and would be useful to do on back of Scottish Learning Festival.

Day 1 8am we get briefing on English education system structures, agencies, policy drivers - huge wall of information for 8am. Hope these slides are available later.

Mark Briscoe BECTA - "Childrens Plan" and plan for "World Class Skills" are key policy documents main drivers will be that local centres will choose what technologies to use - money to be invested at local level less central funding from government initiatives.

Shift from ringfenced funding to local decision making - one remaining push home access 300 million pounds being devoted to buy equipment for households and families who are being digitally excluded. Expectation that education system will be able to reach into every household how this happens will be planned at local level.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Twitter What , Why and Who I Follow

I see John Connell , tongue in cheek , is pondering why we blog and Tim Buckteeth (sic) is looking for the three reasons why we use twitter.

I am amazed that at the moment three hundred people now choose to follow me on Twitter - though I don't do regular trawls through the follow list - it may be that the list is full of automated spambots of one kind or another. You know waiting to steal my id or tell me unprompted about latest bestest thing I don't want to know about. At least up until this point I have had no tweets of the kind I get spammmed with in my inbox. I am receiving no kind offers of friendship, surgery or non-prescription stimulation.

However, I do know from the feedback I get that there are some great real people on the list too who have offered many kind and helpful comments - and if you can be bothered reading this thanks for the follow.

Why and What I Post

I tweet (I hate this term) about the daily grind and excitement of working deep inside the educational establishment , domestic fun and when I find a tool or site that looks interesting.

If it needs more explanation or I feel I might want to go back and look what I am saying later - I use a Blog Posting for this. If I analyse my twitter use further I'd say -

The daily grind -tweets - are to relieve the monotony ;-) but I usefully get feedback from kindred spirits and good ideas too from round the globe and from those in Scotland who pick up what is going on.
Domestic fun ones are usually aimed at few folk who follow me locally in Glasgow
The when I find a tool or useful something- is when I hope I give back to my PLN.

Why and Who I follow

I follow far more folk on twitter than I do say with Google Reader or other RSS reader and my network now extends far beyond people I know or was aware of through my interest in learning -I think this has been main impact of twitter.

Unfortunately for my sleep patterns - I have always suffered from an eclectic nature I have just finished a stint looking after half of all the vocational areas in Scotland -my brain is packed with every imaginable occupation and their training and development needs . I also looked after Core Skills so I am interested in how we engage with vulnerable learners too and the development of core and soft skills in life long learners.

Who I follow is in reality pretty erratic - I set out to follow those in my immediate area of interest which is vocational learning and assessment ( I take this to cover on-line learning , e-portfolios, vles ) and new work/life skills like digital literacy and anyone who looks to have found ways to turn around the learning and teaching paradigm.

I am interested in business, social change and entrepreneurship at all levels. I do believe that education is about income earning and I do believe that entrepreneurship is catalyst for change. If you are Scottish or UK twitterer in one of these groups likely to get a follow.

But I love fun , travel, music and mucking around with technology and I may be following you just because one day you said something that caught my eye on Twitter Search.

I stay with you if you have conversations I am interested in and tweet occasionally - if you document everything in your life and broadcast to all rather than use direct messages to your closest followers - or suddenly become some sort of sales person then I quietly drop the follow.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year Message and New Job

Twitter.com

I had one of those familar conversations over Christmas with an HE Edtech who is giving up and going back to medical research. He reports that 10 years on and there is still too much research and papers based on 10 learners using pretty basic tools - was discussion forums now some web2 tools but not transformational and delivery in most UK HE still stubbornly the same. Same picture painted of HE Education research on use of Educational Technology in Schools and in Colleges ( I have hardly ever seen any informed research on edtech and vocational learning in UK from UK HE) - with noble exception of OU who I think are miles out in front on delivery side.

Made me look again at last year's predictions
I don't see huge movement in any sector I am enjoying twitter and maybe it will be tool to at least open more folks eyes to all that could be done to transform learning and I'm going to do my best to get more folks on board in my new role as Head of New Ventures at SQA.

Officially I started in post in October but now as new office comes together I think things can start getting underway - watch this space.



Seven Things and Happy New Year

Laurie O'Donnell has tagged me asking me to list seven things about myself others might not know ( not to mention may not be very interested in ) Looks like a useful way to enter the blogosphere in the new year. I have also been asked to tag some others.

Here are seven things I can acceptably share ;-) I'll save the darker secrets for the memoir.

1. I have worked in secondary schools, further , higher and community education.
2.I've danced on Top of the Pops Studio in audience and appeared in an episode of Grange Hill
3.I've been juggled inside a barrel in my kilt on stage at the Beijing Opera
4. I've made a Sun headline and a court appearance for sending off a head butting player as a rugby referee
5.I have worked all over Scotland but I have always stayed in the same area of Glasgow - The St Mirren end of Paisley Road.
6. At various times I have served on the NILTA, ALT , JISC Boards and committees at UK level and I did a stint at the Scottish Funding Council looking at the ICT development needs of Further Education Staff in Scotland.
7. I believe people are innately clever, inquisitive achievers, but that the expectations and structures in most life long learning systems do not serve them well - the next wave of change will be a global curriculum in some areas and that will really challenge the established order - goodie ;-)

And can I tag - Bobby Elliott, Noel Chidwick, John Edmonstone, Walter Patterson, Nick Morgan, Andrew Brown and Neil Winton and forgive me if you have been tagged already.