Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hands up for Change #CETIS14 #oer #openscot #oeps




Earlier this year  at the #cetis14 conference in Bolton we were set the task of being from an imaginary country and setting out the case for a national policy on open educational resources around the lines of the Unesco Open Education Declaration . I did a similar presentation at the College Development Network last week.

When you ask most folks if they are prepared to put their hands up for the kind of change that is needed  you get a great response - when you ask the next question about who is prepared to lead or start the change that is needed - the hands stay down.

Here were some of the use cases I made .

Some might see some parallels with real places and people but of course this is purely co-incidental. This is an imaginary country with fictional challenges.

The teacher

If I were a teacher in my imaginary county I would expect a lot of regular open online CPD especially from some of the other institutions  that often knock standards in schools . I'd like teaching resources I can repurpose for my learners . If we start with a shopping list then principally  in areas where human knowledge is moving fast and curriculum is changing .. areas like the Human Genome , HTML5 perhaps how to set up and use a 3D printers but list could really extend into most subject areas .

I do acknowledge that I can already get a lot of these materials from the open web but it would be great if local colleges and universities could do more to help me and my learners particularly as  I've just been asked to look at ways of delivering more vocationally relevant programmes. How could colleges and employers help me here with relevant open materials ?

I'd like to to be able to take and repurpose for my pupils some chunks of the massive open online course I dropped out of as it was running over  a period when I had a full timetable. I need asynchronous access to these resources.

At  the moment this looks as though it is not possible as the licensing of the MOOC materials prevents me from using chunks of the courses with my learners.

I'd be keen too to embed a relevant MOOC in my classroom teaching but I am not sure how this will be regarded by my managers. Will they think I am redundant ?

I'd also like  to be free to share any learning materials I develop openly with both other teachers and learners and not be constrained by a contract that does not allow me to share learning materials with colleagues , beyond my school , beyond my local authority ,  with institutions or individuals that are not schools, or beyond national boundaries.

I am not sure if anyone other than my employers realise that this is currently a major constraint on enabling the sharing of learning materials .

I'd like some more information about Creative Commons licensing so I can share materials non commercially and still receive appropriate attribution.

Ok let's look to an other sector ...

The major employer

I am the CEO of a major company that specialises in .. Take your pick . Engineering , Telecommunications , Hospitality, computing, customer care etc .  We spend millions of pounds a year on the training of staff mainly,  we claim, repairing the damage that  has been done in schools , colleges and universities .  I'd be keen to open up some of our training resources,  they are online already . I can't get anyone in educational establishment to speak to me ?  Why is this the case ?

The school pupil

I am school pupil I am not sure what I want to do when I leave school . I have had lots of information describing lots of different occupations and courses, but I'd really like to try some of these courses before I commit to studying something for the next three or four years . Where can  I experience some of the courses that are not taught in schools ..what is involved in pharmacy , marketing , Webdesign  , this could be a long list..

What is the difference between the maths I do now and maths for engineering or computing ? . I can already sample some of this by looking at materials from a range of international institutions but there is not much experiential material available from my local college or university available on the web ? Why not ?

The school library has not bought any new resources for the last five years and we use 10 year old textbooks in class that are held together by wallpaper book covers.

I know there are a lot of other free resources on the web but they seem to come mostly from other countries and a lot of the really useful stuff still seems filtered out in school.

I have the online skills to do an online course but the school only offers classroom based programmes. I'd like to do some computing courses but our school does not have a computing teacher.

The Academic

I am an academic who despairs at the decline in standards in numeracy , literacy , computational thinking , problem solving , teaching etc ... I regularly vent my anxieties to the national  media . Though surrounded by experts and lots of materials that could support learners in schools , colleges and informal learning    I have not figured out a way to fulfil my social responsibility  beyond a once a year public lecture and the occasional column in the times educational supplement criticising the education system.

 I do publish articles in a well known global social science journal but as the annual subscription fees are £15,000 these articles don't attract a broad readership, beyond my own and the 5 other  reputable elite UK university libraries that subscribe to this journal.

I am deeply suspicious of the open research agenda. Why would anyone ever give away anything ?  I'm thinking about doing a Ted talk but only if they pay me my usual fee.

We do a MOOC a year funded from our marketing budget  to attract high fee paying  international students Openness is just a fad that will pass . 

The Adult learner

I am an adult over the age of 24 sometimes in a low paid job and sometimes out of work . My shift patterns and other family commitments prevent me engaging with education beyond occasionally dipping into Wikipedia and YouTube .  I am looking for some flexible online ways I can update my skills but I can only ever find stuff that is for university graduates or foreign stuff.

The policy maker

I am a senior civil servant . I've signed the official secrets act so I am really very uncomfortable with sharing anything .  The freedom of information act has honed my skills in redacting anything whatsoever that a member of the public might find useful . Open is already a minefield professionally and more openness in Education could,  we've been advised by our external legal advisors, only be dealt with on a case by case basis , any materials, to be made open would need to be scanned by our legal team page by page at a great cost . I've advised the minister that this area is highly controversial and we better take a lead on this from our biggest and richest institutions .Whatever they suggest,   after a few years research, we will then have a look into.

I can see some real benefits in schools , colleges and universities sharing learning materials but I am really not sure that they should be sharing these learning materials with anyone else . Above all, no-one wants the blame if some of these open materials are not very good .  If we open things up then the public and the press will see what schools , colleges and universities give to their learners. That might create some misunderstandings.

Endpiece

I am sure this could strike a few harmonious chords perhaps even some discordant ones.  These are purely imaginary barriers.

I used each of the cases above to make a case for some open educational policy  driven at government level to encourage open practice at institutional and individual level across life long learning It is what prompted the authoring of http://declaration.openscot.net/ and I have great hopes that http://oepscotland.org/   will push things on.

We need to create the next generation of open institutions and of open practitioners and it's not just a fetish for learning content.

The next generation of learners will be designing their own courses ,repurposing and developing their own learning content .. but that is another post.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

#FELTAG , #ETAG English FE Going On-line #OER

I was curating some links and advising a colleague this evening on the changing on-line landscape of further education in England tonight .  The ambition providing it is meaningful and rewarding to learners is a noble one - to increase the availability of on-line learning in further education to initially 10% then towards 50% and eventually up to 70% .  If these materials were #OER open educational resources this could benefit all life long learners . 

At moment I am spotting lots of commercial content providers rolling out their stalls .

I do hope it is not simply a cost cutting scheme.

If you want to find out about what is happening in English FE here are some of the key documents and sample  market response.  I am interested in capturing a few more market responses .  Is the content business going into overdrive to supply Colleges with the 10% or are Colleges ready to create their own content ?

Background and ambition


English Government Response
 


Including 10% this year and up to 50% on-line by 2017


Becoming policy here
 




Agency and Market Responses
 
http://www.trainingpressreleases.com/news/learning-light/2014/learning-light-offers-trainers-practical-expertise-in-the-light-of-bis-feltag-response-(1)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#Oepsforum14 #Openscot Reflections




I enjoyed the aspiration of this week's OEPs Forum http://oepscotland.org/tag/online-hub/    there is a lot of Scottish Funding Council money going into this programme and I am sure we will get something built from this that is distinctly Scottish and reaches into the challenges being faced in schools,  colleges , community learning  as well as higher education across Scotland.  The main thing I think we need to focus on is high level policy change - without this institutional blocks will remain the common denominator for those who wish to open up learning resources. 

The project objectives are here http://oepscotland.org/about/project-objectives/ 

Great too that the OU will match funding from SFC with DFID resources to build a new product for international markets - but would have liked some more focus on acting  local as well as thinking global. 

If Open Education is anything it is about life long learning , its about developing open practitioners and it has got to be about ground up practice and top down policy changes. 

I made point to organisers at end - when we were invited to come back and see them again early in the new year - that what we really need ASAP is an on-line community associated with the programme. There is already a lot of grass roots activity going on in Scotland and across the UK . I hope the partners in the OEPS project harness all of this .  Understandably a lot of focus at event seemed to be around what the Open University could do for us - question for long term sustainability should really be around what can we all do to open up learning.  The other question which I thought was rude to ask on day - was where were the other OEPS partners at the event - some thoughts from Glasgow University , Edinburgh University , Strathclyde or UHI in introductory presentations were missing from day - to make the most of this opportunity really requires broad range of stakeholders and thinkers. 

I highlight below some useful workshops being supported by ALT and JORUM really as indication that there is a lot going on in this space. 

The following webinars run and delivered by the Open Education Special Interest Group of ALT may be useful to members of this list. The content is a mix for those who are both new to and familiar with OER. Jorum will be supporting the webinar on Creative Commons in December.

1. How to write an OER workshop (for staff development)

Wednesday 5th November  13.00 - 13.40

This workshop will look at how advocates of  Open Education can use and reuse existing OER materials for training sessions cascading the OE message.

By exploring the huge variety of materials that exist, this webinar will demonstrate how your workshop can represent the OE agenda itself and act as an example of how reusing materials can be an effective and efficient choice when designing and creating learning activities.

Presenters: Alex Fenlon and Ella Mitchell

Link to webinar:

https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=7565&password=M.EB5A1870DD4B812AC04FD7BDAD8E0F


2. Title: Creating and using video resources for language teaching.
(Open Educational Practice)

Tuesday 25 Nov  13.00 - 13.40

The University of Warwick Language Centre and the Centre for Applied Linguistics are partners in an EU project called Video for All. The project’s mission is to support language teachers in all sectors in the exploitation of video for teaching. The Language Centre has been innovating in the use of digital media for some time and is the subject of a Jisc Digital Media case study. Video for All will produce exemplar practices for teachers which are searchable and available as Open Educational Resources. However, challenges are evident. The presenter has recently co-authored a submission to the Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) for a special issue exploring “Models of Open Education in Higher Education”. This webinar will discuss some of the issues we are dealing with in the hope that the OER sig will be able to contribute to our discussions and offer feedback on our decision making process.

Key words:

Streaming media; creative commons licensing; repositories; repurposing and remixing; copyright.

Teresa MacKinnon
LinkedIn Profile
Principal Teaching Fellow,
School of Languages and Cultures
University of Warwick.

To join go to:
https://ca-sas.bbcollab.com/site/external/jwsdetect/meeting.jnlp?sid=2012058&username=&password=M.7E015779A2D9581AF91B36BB9F5E97

3. Creative Commons - understanding the basics (CC for Dummies)

Thursday December 11th 13.00 - 13.40


Creative Commons (CC) licences are a simple way of retaining copyright whilst allowing others to reuse your work. The range of licences lets you define how others can reuse your material. This session will demonstrate how simple it is to use CC licences and what they mean in practice.

We will also introduce the UK repository JORUM, demonstrating how to apply CC licences to materials as you deposit.

Presentation: Vivien Sieber and Siobhan Burke
Moderator: Alex Fenlon

Webinar link

https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=7565&password=M.4F5E50E2B182B1FEE046461D9A8CA6

TECHNICAL NOTE

Please note that the sessions will take place in Blackboard Collaborate. Even if you are familiar with Blackboard, it is important that in advance you check that your system and connection are capable of handling a session, and that you have the (small) Blackboard Collaborate client successfully installed. Do this from the support page at http://www.elluminate.com/support/

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, 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.