I keep being asked what I've been up to, or what I've been doing - here is a whistle stop tour of some of the highlights. Thanks too to all my connections and friends across FE/HE/Schools and Work-based learning in Scotland , UK and internationally for harnessing my enthusiasm for learning and keeping me busy, by making full use of my breadth of experience, expertise and network.
If you follow this blog or keep up with my linkedIn profile or follow me on twitter you'll see what I get up to. Learning and development is an open activity ;-). You can still make a living outside but alongside the institutional atriums'. I liked this post from an old friend Eylan Ezekiel on the life of a freelancer.
There are still too many closed minds around, too many folks chained to the iron rice bowl, and not prepared to think out of the box or challenge the established orthodoxies or speak to those who wield power, but who often have little understanding of skills delivery in FE and or the development needs and motivations of those who work in vocational training sector. These folks are often badly in need of sage advice. You can break the chains, keep smiling and make a positive contribution. (Chained to the Iron rice bowl is analogous of prisoners within a system, who just keep their heads down no matter what changes are instigated as they know any challenge to the orthodoxy will cut off their food supply - this from a senior colleague still working within education policy circles)
Recent substantive assignments - I can't list them all here ...particularly all the events I've talked at or chaired over the last 18 months.
Whitepapers and webinars for international VLE suppliers to support entry in UK educational and vocational marketplaces. Example
Evaluation of the Socio and Economic Impact of Massive Open On-line Courses with recommendation for future development models ( client global UK University with courses on Coursera, MitX , and Futurelearn) Enjoyed working for Edinburgh University.
Bid writing and partnership building for a public tender for national on-line testing system for schools (client global e-assessment provider in need of curriculum advice to tailor product for UK market)
Papers , Workshops and Advice developed and delivered for JISC for Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. This spanned - advice on creation processes to enable digitisation of the national occupational standards development process , advice the creation of trailblazer standards to ensure that they are open to on-line and blended delivery , guidelines to encourage the creation of assessment standards to encourage best use of digital technology in assessment delivery and quality assurance, suggestions on better use of data management and the on-line rather than paper certification of apprenticeships, this for the UK Vocational Reform Programme in England. ( client Jisc) I do think we are missing some tricks around how to make best use of the Employer Levy in Scotland and will keep trying to be heard.
Advice too on the adoption of suitable new standards for digital literacy for learning, life and work. Based around the excellent work of Helen Beetham and Jisc and in line with the new essential skills framework developed in Wales. ( For various clients )
Identification of suitable international consultants for design and delivery of range of international vocational learning projects for a range of clients including large UK based awarding bodies for assignments in Middle east , Africa , China and within Europe.(clients international consultancies and international awarding bodies)
Advice and support for organisations around the SCQF Credit and leveling and the sourcing of credit and leveling services. ( international awarding body)
Partnerships and introductions around content development , campus apps , the development of digital learning spaces and associated innovative thinking for relevant Colleges and training providers. ( range of providers and clients )
Workshops for senior management teams - trying to find routes ahead for service delivery and for staff development in an increasingly on-line and cloud based world of learning.( Colleges, training providers and in company sessions) I'd like to do more of these. There are far too few open practitioners in Scottish Further Education and it is a poor reflection of the innovation and great teaching practice that I know exists.
I am enjoying the continued challenges : as Board Member of Youthlink Scotland , ALT as Co-Chair in Scotland and as a Board Member at Glasgow's Kelvin College.
As Co-Founder of Open Scotland I continue to support any initiative encouraging the open sharing of learning materials , collaborative learning and the development of teaching staff and learners' digital skills and I am looking forward to contributing to Scottish Government's Information Literacy Community of Practice as an adviser.
This year I supported #oer17 and the UNESCO Global Consultation on #OER as a chair and contributor. Thanks to the generosity of ALT and UNESCO for their invitation and support..
I still feed back where I can opportunities for Scottish FE , to individual colleges and to organisations I have worked for in the sector. The focus needs to get back on to innovation in life long learning.
It's been a fun 18 months and if you need to drive real change in your organisation along with your staff ( driven with them not at them or over them ) and or have an interesting project that is around collaborating and improving the lot of learners in Scotland, UK or internationally and above all you are positive and fun to work with - I'm always on the look out for my next gig.