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.