Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rethinking Education

Guessing I'll see this a lot of times over next few months.
But real question is how are we are using these changes to shift education ?
Do you value the links and connections your learners make ?
Would you trust your learners to contribute responsibly to the sum of human
knowledge ?
How ready are you to support collaborative learning ?
Do you use primary data or real research in your class ?
How authentic are the assessments you set?
Which school , college , university has really changed the way it offers things ?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Scottish Twits Education Weekly

To track my own interests across Scottish Education I get a newspaper format report delivered each Monday morning. The report self publishes and provides a really a simple aggregation of what folk in Scottish Education are discussing on twitter. It is very easy to set up once you have identified your sources.

The newspaper is generated through the aggregation of the Scottish Education Twitter Community.

The content is as interesting as the technique for harvesting data - it also highlights the type of discussion that is going on about Scottish Education and helps highlight some of the  lead opinion formers. Note  those who participate in discussions and move issues on here are not on the whole the usual suspects - education departments of higher education , the national education bodies in a formal capacity , the education trade unions, the education professional bodies, the educational press,  rather it is those who choose to use blogs and tweets and work in the Web2.0 space - A criticism would be that these are  the views of a technically enabled clique rather than that of grassroots teachers opinion  but it presents  a no less valid a view on  some of the challenges facing education.

Have a look at this weeks issue here -

How To Create Your Own Paper.li

To create a Paper.li newspaper of your own, sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account and click on “Create a Newspaper”. You can create a paper based on:
a Twitter user , a Twitter tag a Twitter list a Facebook search Or a custom Twitter search.

The custom paper allows you to query Twitter with a more complex search term than just a #tag. You can also restrict the Twitter users that can contribute content to the paper by specifying a Twitter list.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A week and a headfull #LWF11 #EWF11 #ELB2011 #BETT2011

It is really useful to start the year immersed in ideas and that is often what happens around the BETT Conference in January. Here are some reflections and reports on a week among educational policy makers , educators , educational technologists and the business interests that circle education in the UK and globally.
I'll try and capture each event in a few bullets and offer some follow up links.

The Conference was aimed to be about disruptive education and did it well through informed and engaging speakers who in the main made good use of data to flag up the opportunities that lie ahead for education. David Muir has made a great job of blogging many of the sessions.
  • The education service that globally becomes the next facebook will turn up side down education as we know it - this was the underlying thesis.
  • Lots of focus on arrival of tablet devices or next generation mobile phones - not much mention of my favourite $100 lap-tops but these are part of solution - one solution a device, built by tech group Raspberry Pi, will provide students with access to a full PC experience. The USB-powered device includes wireless networking, a Linux OS, an ARM processor, an HDMI output. Richard Braben wants to trial the device later in the year radical in that was very low cost.
  • Speaker after speaker suggested that games industry and a large education partner may be the place to watch - new consoles and immersive games , growing on-line communities around these and their ever more sophisticated delivery platforms . Stephen Heppell predicts that Education is the next cartell that will be destroyed by people and technology. The argument that the next stage of technological paradigm shifts after hardware, software, databases, search and now social uses, will be learning. 

    My question would be which cartells move in as we move through period of disruptive changes.
  • BBC made announcement that more programming will be available free for education in UK

In the background the Education World Forum aimed at education ministers from around the world was going on in Westminster. The speaker line up looked remarkably similar to last year's event  - which included technology in the title. Still on look out for best blog post on this event  - there is actually quite a good summary in the press information on events webpage and some good observations on the twitter stream from John Connell and Ollie Bray not sure these will be curated so grab a look soon  Angela Constance Scottish Skills Minister made a good speech..  Here is Michael Gove's speech welcoming large number of  education ministers to UK

On Wednesday evening I attended useful session updating on developments coming our way through Microsoft Partners in Learning.  It was good to be joined at this event by colleagues from Learning and Teaching Scotland.

#Bett2011 Awards 

On Wednesday evening too - We brought back a BETT Award for a games based assessment platform for young people on our Skills for Work courses in Retailing, Health Sector, Energy and Uniformed and Emergency Services. Meant that there was a lot of interest on the SQA Stand on Thursday and Friday.

I can't blog too much on all the meetings I had around exhibition and I think my initial post is fairly accurate reflection of experience. Some good blogs are picking up more from event from a practitioner's viewpoint.

and looking forward to seeing work of Leon Cynch who seemed to be everywhere capturing coverage of teachmeet and lots more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

#bett11 First Impressions

I've been really lucky and very privileged to attend BETT the British Educatonal Technology Show for last 12 years either in my current role or in previous jobs. The picture above is of the main hall and the interesting thing is if you have a look at shots over last 12 years  ( probably last three here on flickr) remarkably it  has not changed that much both in terms of who is there and in terms of the solutions being peddled to an educational audience. As usual for me it is the side meetings with partners that matter. Anyway first impressions from day one
  • The changing of the guard - new government seems to mean much less top down guidance on ICT in education. This may or may not be a good thing - but quite hard to find folk on policy side who can set out direction of travel in England.
  • Last year there were shed loads of functional skills materials - this year hardly in evidence - would be interesting to see figures on how much money has been spent on reforms here.That appear to be continually delayed.
  • Whiteboards everywhere as usual but this year turned on their sides to make gigantic tablet PCS
  • Seems more crowded with stall holders than ever but footfall seems much lighter
  • Useful educational focused side programme and more informal teachmeet type content - always better than advertorial and getting better each year.
For those who don't regard education and learning as chiefly a money making enterprise BETT can be pretty harrowing. For a free pen or even a pendrive  there is only so much sales patter you can stomach. Combine lots of people selling stuff with hordes too of home grown or international educational technologists all on the make  and you get a heady brew and has any of it really changed the experience of learners in schools ?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#lwf11 Learning Without Frontiers

Lord Putnam and Jimmy Wales founder of Wikipedia debate in final session at Learning Without Frontiers.

I had a productive two days at Learning Without Frontiers and well done Graham and team for organising an event with a difference in a useful calendar slot before the purgatory of BETT.  The speakers were awesome , entertaining and informative and looking forward already to watching them be re-streamed and appearing on i-tunes and YouTube soon ( guess announcement will appear here)
I had some prejudices before I came - this was a relatively expensive event - and a free/discounted  i-pad was on offer if I signed some dotted line ( I'd love too but as attending is as part of my normal day job I can't pick up technology like this) . While I am slightly covetous I still can't figure out how owning one will help my day job. Did appear to be bigger version of i-phone for too wealthy short sighted guys ( guess they haven't worked out that it can't phone yet) sort of techno porn for geeks.
I did enjoy the best wifi I have had at a conference out with trips to States ..and so did everyone else - there is a fairly impressive twitter stream #lwf11 and was great too to find some friends picking up video feed from conference as it went out live.
So how could it be made better - event needs more back channels - a live twitter stream behind and beside presenters. - needs some more unconference stuff - there were some really great people in audience a few five minute slots from a few of them would have been really good. The event was about disruptive education - still not disruptive enough - one or two presentations were corporate advertorial.  Would have been interesting to have some input from open educational resource producers. A hook up somewhere with JISC in UK too would be really constructive - slight danger that it becomes schools silo.
Special tribute to David Muir who managed to do a blog posting on every session he attended.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Post 2011

It is the time of the year to make a prediction or two. This year I think more than any other you can feel and see the growth of services like facebook , twitter , linkedin . I've had a few conversations with folks in last six months who I know still have problems with keyboards and e-mails - yes they are still out there - but even some of these hardcore laggards are at least beginning to think about Web2.0. Must be mainstream now there is Social Network the movie!
  • I predict that the massive .. really seismic cuts that are happening in education and the disappearance of some national agencies  across UK will drive users to make more inventive use of social software.
I am on my way to a Learning Without Frontiers Conference .. interesting agenda ..but I'll judge value for money over next three days and then my usual round of meetings around  BETT11. Will be interesting BETT with a void left on the disappearance of BECTA and other national agencies. I wonder where drivers for change on adoption of open educational resources , on-line assessment , digital inclusion, quality of ICT at local school and local authority level and a host of issues move forward. 
  • I think now up to  ALT , JISC and membership organisations to fill void and see how much change can be driven at grassroots level when there is little money for grand national or regional schemes. Good to see lots of teachmeets happening.  Prediction two membership organisations take greater role in driving change.
Hoping too to get more of a grip on Scottish Government Technologies for Learning Strategy.
I didn't get an invitation this year to what was the Learning and Technology World Forum it has been renamed the Education World Forum  I am guessing that  leaders from around the world will be discussing how to meet their population's educational aspirations with a smaller resource. Shame they dropped the technology bit from the title .. the answer is technology but this still seems too tantalising for policy makers.
  • Prediction three more interest in global standards and on Open Educational Resources
Whatever I think 2011 will be a challenging year for learners and for all those who work in life long learning.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year

I did a bit of a spring clean around this blog including moving over to a new template. One day I'll spend some more time and set up a wordpress account . In the meantime I probably need to do a bit more hacking around with this blogger template to get the utility I'd like from it but it is starting to get there.

When I returned to blogging in 2006 I thought I'd probably blog about once a week - the reality is that with the arrival of twitter my posting rate is well down on this.

Hit rates are down too on previous years. The posts that attracted most traffic are mostly all from the end of year 

Should add my favorite post of the year ..first post last January tracking our amazing adventures in the Phillippines  http://www.joewilsons.net/2010/01/happy-new-year.html