Thursday, September 06, 2018

News from the Centre of Professional and Technical Education Citylearning4.0

Had an excellent day today with group of staff focused on moving forward learning and teaching practice in this superbly appointed College .

Thought worth sharing some of the things we have been up to over the last 9 months - it's been really busy and only achievable through the support of some great teams in the library, digital collections team and from the learning technologists along with the innovators in the academic and support teams . Citylearning4.0 is starting to move

I am sure our journey is similar to that of many other institutions .

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Intcas Useful system disruption.

Eighteen months  ago,  I spotted Intcas and saw an organisation becoming a  disruptor in a sector that has for too long relied on very long paper trails. 

It is worth having a root around their homepages to see seamless compliance in action. 

International study is a maze of uncertainty for both the international student and very often just as complex for the receiving institution. 

A signatory to the Groningen Declaration  I've been following Intcas's development closely as they expanded their global footprint

Intcas brings artificial intelligence into international student recruitment,  this offers huge benefits for centres and for learners .  Already affiliated to 500 global banks and connected to students and institutions  across the world .The platform allows learners to explore, design and build their careers using a single system.

As an international recruitment officer, imagine a guaranteed pipeline of learners with authenticated entry qualifications, verified visa entry requirements and with the pre-verification that learner has the funding in place to meet their financial commitments . This including access to  learners supported by national and other scholarship funds.

For the learner and their parents guarantees around the robustness of the degree on offer,  and that an appropriate accommodation and support network is in place - including in some subject areas a clear pipeline to employment .

In the UK domestic market too a glimpse of a system that  with a bit of thought could do much to re-invigorate  a more unified approach to matching employers , awarding bodies and apprenticeships and refreshingly an organisation that is thinking about the expanding global market for both higher and further education. 

Intcas will appeal to learners and their parents and schools , colleges and universities recruiting in the international market place around the world .  It will be of direct interest to agencies and government departments and to global awarding organisations looking for a partner with the systems in place to with the systems in place to support their accredited institutions and learners

https://www.groningendeclaration.org/intcas/

https://thepienews.com/news/intcas-wins-funding-for-ai-platform/

https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2018/03/19/edtech-company-intcas-secures-2m-series-a-funding

https://www.buila.ac.uk/news/2018/intcas-raises-4-1m-funding-for-ai-platform

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#Citylearning4.0 and #OneCity





Next week, we are doing the all staff development thing - and have a really packed programme.
In among some real gems are some sessions that I think the broader Scottish education community should be tuning into .

Grainne Hamilton is running a session around - Cities of Learning, this is a new place-based approach to enhancing lifelong learning through digitally connecting individuals to learning, employment and civic opportunities across a city. This session will introduce the approach and enable participants to define what a Glasgow City of Learning could look like. Grainne is a star in the vocational sphere across the UK . Grainne's session is on Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 10:00 to 11:30

While Dr Doug Belshaw's track record around educational innovation is amazing - and he continues to amaze - his employers include Mozilla and he is currently a consultant  for Moodle.Net . His session is all around working in the open - The Theory and Practice (mainly practice) of Working Openly on Friday June 22nd 10.00 - 11.30 am

You will also get opportunity to see around the splendid surroundings of City of Glasgow College.

I hope some of the educational innovators from across Glasgow and beyond can join us





Monday, May 21, 2018

Digital Literacy heading to become new Core Skill in Scotland


I had to ask special permission to do this .  The SQA have been busy and have produced some excellent digital literacy standards to replace the current core skill of IT.

This is in line with what is happening across the rest of the UK  and in rest of the world . It has taken our system a bit longer than other parts of UK and rest of the world to get this moving.  But good news that work is now on  the move - I've been dripping in global , EU and UK models for some years now and I think  the fresh approach really aligns well with changes around the world and will empower learners.

I'm particularly pleased as we have squeezed in relevant references to understanding open licensing as part of the core standard.

It is a big change from the current framework https://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/ICTCoreSkillsFrameworkV1.pdf 

I'm sharing frameworks here and inviting you to comment on them.
The links below take you straight to a document you can comment on.

Providing/Creating Information



Accessing Information 




I'm also trying to show SQA that this a more effective way to gather feedback that the more traditional model of emailing the usual suspects and asking for feedback .

If you are a College or a school who has been sent the documents and the invitation to feedback - this model can will help you too . Why not simply add your comments to these google.docs

The formal invitation to comment from SQA team is below .  There is a tight timeline on getting feedback in. In any event I hope you find the new standards of value and this approach useful .



Dear Colleague,

Most of you will be aware that the Research, Policy, Standards and Statistics team has been undertaking a Thematic Review of Core and other essential generic skills. This approach uses research and evidence to inform and support qualifications’ design, assessment and quality assurance. The findings from our recent national survey and from the more detailed focus groups suggest that substantial change in the Core Skill: ICT to include more of a ‘digital literacy’ approach would be welcomed by all sectors.

Working together with representatives from across Scotland’s education community, we have been updating Core Skills Framework standards to make them more relevant for today’s and tomorrow’s digital world.

Please find attached the proposed draft standards for the two components of Accessing Information and Providing/Creating Information. Also, we have provided a link below to the current Core Skills Framework: Information and Communication Technology standards in order that you can compare those current and with the proposed/updated ones.

We wanted to share them with you today, in case of any RED FLAGS! That would tell us there is something specific in the proposed standards that you just cannot live/work with. We recognise that there may be instances where some staff development and exemplar materials might be needed. Following approval of the updated Framework, new Core Skill units for this area are planned, along with associated support.
We do plan to caveat everything with “to be formally agreed/approved”; however it would be good to get your GREEN FLAG to include these as standards in the proposed, updated Core Skills Framework, if possible.

Please can you let us know by 25 May whether this is a green flag or, if there are any specific red ones, please let us know your reasoning. A nil response will count as acceptance of the proposed draft standards.

If you have any questions regarding this final request for feedback, please get in touch with me (andrew.kerr@sqa.org.uk) or Margaret (margaret.tierney@sqa.org.uk).
Thanks again for all your continued support.

Kind regards
Andrew Kerr

Thursday, May 03, 2018

UNESCO is drafting an Open Educational Resources #OER Recommendation. Work from Ljubljana #openscot #Unesco




UNESCO is drafting an Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommendation.

When I have a moment with my #openscot hat on I'm taking this back around the Scottish agencies who still don't get open education .
I hope we get some more engagement in this - for sake of learners and Scottish Education we need a proper cross sectoral policy position on this . Good to see ALT pulling together a UK Response  This is a useful vehicle for folks who want to make an individual or an institutional response.

This is an official UNESCO instrument that will both advise national governments on how to support open education in their countries and report on those efforts.

The draft Recommendation text has been prepared by a group of open education experts from UNESCO, researchers and practitioners from all world regions. The OER Recommendation builds on the Ljubljana OER Action Plan, a product of the 2nd World OER Congress.

The online consultation process is now open. This is an invitation to contribute to the draft. In addition to providing your own comments, please share this opportunity through your networks.

The text is available in English and French:

https://www.oercongress.org/unesco-oer-recommendation

https://www.oercongress.org/fr/recommandation-sur-les-rel


The deadline for submission of contributions is: 1 June, 2018.
You can comment directly here 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#OER18: Open to All - some quick reflections


Some musings with some hacking of Storify to pull this together - I think that is in the tradition of #OER Conferences - and it will probably be my final 'storify' as another useful tool disappears from the free web. ( I've jumped ship and moved all posts across to Wakelet )

Yes, not hacked very well , I'll tidy up later ;-)




It is always a pleasure to get involved in the organisation and running of an #OER series conference . The open education community across the UK and internationally, may come at Open Education from lots of different perspectives but the shared interest in opening up learning in an inclusive way binds us all together and means too that everyone is open to sharing - The Watershed in Bristol was a great venue . Thanks to ALT and our conference chairs David Kernohan and Viv Rolfe for leading an excellent conference.

Here are some edited highlights with some links at the end This is not a shout out to all the great key notes, chairs and presenters and all the great folks that gather for these conferences you all know who you are - you all make this gathering great !

If you don't know about this gathering have a poke around #oer18 hashtag on twitter or have a dig around this year's programme

Graphics and key messages were just right !







@MarenDeepwell kicks off #oer18 #oerconf and reminds us about #iwill campaign @A_L_T have been really active in leading the battle for open pic.twitter.com/kLFfvlt4bp





@LornaMCambell set conference theme superbly and some great questions from floor

@OERConf #oer18 good question from @pbacsich institutions are good at business cases but less good at framing initiatives that are for the civic good . I’d challenge College Boards and University Courts on this - Still think driver needs to come from Govt policy though #openscot

I must have a root around UCL publications and see what fits with further education . Potentially some useful home grown open publications.




John Casey City of Glasgow College - led great session and looking forward to rolling out handbook across College and beyond.





From many sessions I picked up some great models of open practice in action and I am going to point my own team back to explore some of these

In no particular order I was impressed by work with web.hypothes.is/

How the University of British Columbia uses an institutional wiki wiki.ubc.ca/

The self hosted Splots from Reclaim Hosting http://cogdogblog.com/2017/09/instant-splot/ and some more information on this approach at institutional leve

I've blogged about Reclaim Hosting before - but tool to clone wordpress blog template - is really useful and or will be when more centres realise what a great way blogging is to empower learners https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/ns-cloner-site-copier/

This is a great institutional project to get learners to reflect on their digital identities - and their digital profiles around the metaphor of their digital tattoo digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/

If you want to reflect on what being an open practitioner is and a lot more a good place to start is having a look at Dr Catherine Cronin's presentation https://www.slideshare.net/cicronin/continually-becoming-open-learners-and-open-educators

I flagged up some innovations to my former employers as I watched themes that have been covered in internal papers for years as I watched an open system for standards and outcomes design being presented and a great example of Wales using Wikipedia in formal assessments in the school sector ( waving to SQA higher education board member who thought Wikipedia was an aberration , it was a long time ago ) I can't do them justice here but I chaired an excellent series of lightening talks - hope the images are just enough to get you to go and find out more







I did it again and will probably forget my user name and password - but I have another Reclaim Hosting Wordpress Blog . I really must do something with it . I've stuck by Blogger since 2001,  Gosh if I switched I could have quickly moved this across from Storify ! The clever folk at Reclaim hosting built a system that moves Storify Stories across to a Reclaim hosting Wordpress Blog with the click of a button.

It was great to see the GCU copyright resources released into the wild https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/2706/ And being given many timely reminders #OpenEducation needs driven by government policies #openScot





Thanks to our splendid hosts and I look forward to following many of you on twitter over the year ahead








And looking forward to next year already !





and now here is Storify to Wakelet version




Thursday, March 08, 2018

Appearing on Radar - Some blockchain Strangelove around Qualifications and Certification



Follow these links and and you will quickly see what they have in common .

https://gradba.se/en/
https://appii.io/
http://www.learningmachine.com

Digital certification , credentialing call them what you will - as blockchain technology matures it is becoming easier to create verifiable certificates to authenticate learning.

Add this backend to an #openbadge and things will really shift
You could have really tiny bits of learning authenticated in ways that the current system has always really struggled to certificate.

But for the mainstream, no more costly replacement paper certificates to take to interview .

If your university , college or awarding body uses one of these systems , then in a few clicks , they will be able to check your qualifications .

Good to see innovation arriving in this space.







Tuesday, March 06, 2018

#digifest alternative - Scottish Stakeholders Event Stirling





Well done Jisc for putting on a mini-event in Stirling,  as an alternative to the longer trip to Birmingham for Scottish Universities and Colleges.  Though it was another scary snowbound driving day - a final highland fling from the Beast from the East ( a wintry front hitting the UK currently) and that probably impacted the number of Universities and Colleges in attendance.

The proceedings included a number of the keynotes streamed live and an opportunity to ask some questions to Paul Feldman Jisc CEO on stage in Birmingham. 

The local agenda was a useful update on Jisc services and some brain storming around what services Universities and Colleges in Scotland will need in the future.

If you hunt down the #digifest jisc youtube channel you will find the rest of the sessions and the streaming sessions due tomorrow.  All the presentations are available here https://www.jisc.ac.uk/events/digifest-06-mar-2018/programme

Here are my notes / probably shaped by my own selective attention.

1. There is a new free to FE service being launched from Jisc procured through  Airbus Geospatial,  as a service  The new collection gives better and deeper access to mapping tools in the FE collection . The new collection includes as standard access to nautical maps. Can see some staff development needs emerging around new service. There is so much scope to bring maps with layers of other services into so many more areas of the curriculum. I can't find authoritative link for this.

2. Jisc is about to roll out a new set of learning and teaching resources aimed at supporting Health and Social Care courses in FE  across the UK . Fifty centres are already piloting the content and it is getting very positive feedback . This is Jisc's first foray into paid for content and service charges will be announced shortly . I am hoping we can get a preview of the materials soon.

3. Jisc is expanding the bibliographic knowledge base ( NBK) in expectation that every HE library will eventually be a member . ( begs question what about HE in FE ? )

4. Gratifying to spot in one of the beamed in sessions that Jisc is adopting and supporting the further roll out of Citizen Maths well done Jisc !

5. In Scotland - the Scottish Government has agreed that all relevant buildings should now be broadcasting wifi access to both Eduroam and Govroam - this is good news , I can't find an authoritative source for this - but it makes great sense. Providing seamless access for those in education and or working for Scottish government as we move between public buildings.  I'll ask if this has been implemented at City of Glasgow College.

6. Jisc has greatly expanded its network security training portfolio for Universities and Colleges. New services are available through the Cyber-security Portal   including a DDOS mitigation service . A new X-Ray network security service in about to arrive along with CISO Services (chief information security officer)  , an intrusion detection service and a cyber threat intelligence feed.

7. Jisc is now offering more services around cloud migration strategies for centres that are ready for this . Services are via Express Route , Amazon direct connect and a range of other services. It is simply more cost effective than having local server racks and rooms.

We discussed a range of other services , live projects and support from Jisc


Jisc Financial X-Ray for analysing a centres IT spend
Learning Analytics -  still on-boarding centres
Student Digital Experience Tracker  -  a useful tool for supporting learners
Staff Digital Capability Toolkit  - being piloted with one hundred centres across the UK currently
Kit Catalogue - a means of sharing real and virtual kit across institutions
Safe Share -   for managing the secure sharing of sensitive research data sets


Other useful shares from the day - 

In England, FE Colleges are to start paying an annual subscription charge on a  banded basis for Jisc services . SFC in agreement with Colleges Scotland are continuing to pay a national fee for Jisc services in Scotland.  But might be shape of things to come .

Some chat about sharing best practice around systems and support , in Scotland we have lots of agencies and gang huts but perhaps not enough cross sectoral work - one for HEIDS UCISA etc
Have to confess UCISA fees are more reasonable than I thought they once were.

Colleges and Universities in Scotland would like more access to the resources of The National Cybersecurity Centre   , specifically the webcheck, mailcheck and DNS checking tools.

Advantages and challenges around changing market for plagiarism software.
Some chat among College folk of benefits of staying of leaving the Copy Right Licencing Agency agreements currently in place.

And we duly gave Jisc lots of ideas for new services and projects

And home in time for parents evening.














Thursday, February 08, 2018

#assessmenttomorrow An Overview





Last week,  I chaired the 12th  Assessment Tomorrow Conference . It was great to see a packed house and to see that e-assessment has moved from being the preserve of a specialist few to something that everyone is now trying to mainstream. I think we filled a very small room at the first conference.

 The slide above is from an excellent session from Prof Linda Creanor on the GCU approach to making digital assessment the default across the University.

We still have a way to go to make digital assessment accessible to all. We have a real opportunity in Scotland , if we can get all of the sectors that support learning to work together to make some strong progress in this area.

We still need to recognise that online assessment can take many forms and that it can be much more flexible than more traditional forms of assessment. In my opening I did some plugs for the Association of Learning Technology , Open Scotland and for new European standards for digital educators, significant in that they include a section on understanding digital assessment .

The link to all of the presentations arrived today and prompted me to share some of my notes, as the chair, there were some excellent insights over a very engaging day.

Here is quick summary of what we heard on day - it is my shorthand, so hope I am not short changing anyone .

Gill Stewart Director of Qualifications SQA
SQA has ambitious plans to move things on - but always concerned about access for all and the speed that the whole system can move at . This impacts the speed that SQA can move at.  But good to hear that SQA is finally working with Skills Development Scotland around the vocational landscape. Think there is still a way to go in both speeding up and making things much more transparent here. It has to happen fast or the Scottish system will be overtaken by vocational reforms that are now well underway in the rest of the UK . I hope things can move faster on all fronts. I know it is not SQA but all the baggage - that is educational establishment - that really slows things down here. But I'll come back to going at the pace of the slowest.

Liam Cahill Scottish Government
Working to make sure that changes in assessment,  principally in schools space are evidence based. The government has lots of ambition and some clear policy drivers - the government challenge is often to get 32 local authorities to move forward together. In Scotland government set policy but it is interpreted and delivered by 32 local authorities. 

But tellingly this presentation was all about schools , school teachers.
I think there should be a bit more thought here about colleges and work-based learning. We need government to think about life long learning and not in silos

Brian Clark  Education Scotland
It is easy to forget how useful GLOW could be in delivering lots of things - there remains a real opportunity for SQA and Colleges to work in and around GLOW -but it needs some better partnership working. In my narrow view not using GLOW should not be an option for any local authority or any teacher . It needs SQA and Education Scotland to work together on things like models of self evaluation and quality systems - and they both need to use GLOW to engage teachers.  That would make system work.

There is a huge irony that Education Scotland still not making GLOW the main means of engaging teachers ?

GLOW is good - go and have another look at it !

Robin McGregor North East College
A super college presentation , putting North East College on my radar as a centre for innovative learning practice . They have  created a supported model for learners around BYOD and a clear model for staff development that supports learning into a digital learning future. I am going to get in touch with Robin as we progress CityLearning4.0  . This was the week Glasgow schools announced biggest European partnership with Apple to add a new dimension. Heading towards ipads for all in Glasgow.  I love my ipad but see earlier postings I am not sure about this approach - I like laptops.
I'm still looking for an authoritative link to Glasgow story.

Dr Claire McKinley / School teachers perspective West Calder High School 
A good presentation on the use of SOLAR the current SQA online assessment system. Key message learners enjoy using on-line assessments and want more. I wonder how many centres are monitoring learner satisfaction and driving up the use of SOLAR . Learners want more online assessment - are your colleagues , your institutional policies and barrier to delivering this ?

Charlie Love Aberdeen City
The city is moving to chrome devices for all supported by Google Apps for Education and this is changing the learning and assessment landscape for all learners and teachers across the city.  Driving learning at all stages. Clearly huge synergies in this and developments at North East College

Philip John Scholar
Scholar continues to provide a range of learning and support across broad range of subjects and is well embedded across the school system , complete with diagnostic and formative subject assessments . Now about to do all the training for the new national school literacy and numeracy tests, the Scottish National Standardised Assessments , to give them their full title . The local support commissioned from Scholar and Twig Learning.  This should herald a new wave of understanding of models of e-assessment in primary and secondary schools.

Prof Linda Creanor  GCU
Making digital assessment the default is helping drive a broad range of digital practice across the university and so supporting digital learning in all of its forms. Yes, the  University still has big end of year exams but by switching all other assessments towards digital the staff are finally moving towards a changed culture.  Colleges and SQA should take note

Matt Wingfield - Digital Assess
A useful plug for free membership of the UK  E- Assessment Association - gosh was founding member more than 10 years ago with vision to get public and private partners to work together - still not seeing everyone pulling together. If you are interested in E-Assessment Membership is still free for ordinary members with institutional members picking up the running costs.

 Also a useful plug for ACJ Assessment of Comparative Judgement . I still don't understand why this approach is not embedded in national systems for learners and teachers around understanding
standards. There is an irrefutable evidence base that it works . Actually I do understand but I still can't go public . A version of this should live inside GLOW to help teachers and learners understand standards. Maybe someone in Education Scotland will eventually pick up on this.

Martyn Ware SQA Head of Assessment Futures
A grand finale - SQA as an engine of change - absolutely - I know Colleges are ready for a lot of this.
I think more than ready,  champing at the bit , and looking around for new models and other suppliers. Colleges are now settling down and ready to drive on in this space.

Know too from experience what SQA is wrestling with - but there is a real opportunity - if system can work together around the needs of the learner and the learner journey.

Martyn has all the right ideas but needs joined up thinking from both within SQA and from all the stakeholders, if we are to see real change. We need much more visible partnerships between Education Scotland, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council - with learners rather than their self interest at centre.

I just look at my own two school learners accessing a whole raft of excellent on-line learning and certificates and open badges from around the world - that is where Scottish education should be and not moving with the slowest . Our system should be moving with fastest and providing  inclusive solutions for the institutions not ready for wholly on-line assessment and not waiting for them to be ready.

Great too to meet some of my clients in private sector in audience, the event would have benefited from some more private supplier and or training provider input. To give us the full picture.  The private sector is pushing on with online learning and digital assessment in all of its forms.

Thanks to all  at  http://www.assessmenttomorrow.co/    and the brains behind  it , Jeff and Martyn for a really excellent conference,  it was a pleasure as ever, to chair.



Saturday, January 27, 2018

That's #BETT18 #BETT2018 #BETTShow #Bettshow18


Joe Wilson cc Leon Cych @eyebeams

That the delegates , exhibitors and conference organisers never seem to be quite able to agree on a unifying hashtag probably sums up the UK's biggest Educational Technology gathering . There is at once something for everyone and always that feeling that the really interesting , paradigm shifting piece of the jigsaw is tantalisingly missing , perhaps it is a virtual piece or in some other augmented reality ( no shortage of augmented and virtual reality in the show)

This year for once the meeting app worked well but the wifi I'm told was abysmal as usual.

If there was a unifying theme among the polished rabble of  hawkers , vendors , sideshows and keynote speakers this year,  it's probably the theme of 'Industry 4.0 '  This sits well with our mission to transform learning at City of Glasgow College through Citylearning4.0

It is a great privilege to get to gatherings like this and with that I think comes an obligation to share! 
I wonder what those I spotted from Education Scotland and SQA thought of this year's show.

Day One 

The usual running order and , as is often the case at BETT,  a new Education and Skills Minister. They appear to be upgraded every two years , like phones , but rarely come with new features.  The change of guard often comes in a new year reshuffle which can make it a tough gig for the incoming minister . While Anne Milton set out the stall
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/anne-milton-speech-at-bett-show-2018 many folks knew that there was a more ambitious vision that had been prepared for her predecessor. I hope some of these ideas around digital literacy for all  arrive later in the year. It does present a more unifying vision than you find in other parts of UK . Also in this sphere it was  interesting that a new coding institute was announced not at BETT but at World Economic Forum  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-20-million-institute-of-coding in same week.

I had my usual schedule of meetings with those I think have the tools and ideas to move learning on . Here is a quick summary of what I was having a look at.

Unio by Harness
https://uniobyharness.com/ 
Already used by growing number of schools across globe, I can see the attraction in schools space.
I think some of this capacity already in side GLOW for schools in Scotland.

Lucas Nuelle
https://www.lucas-nuelle.com/
When someone says 'these are the training systems used inside the German apprenticeship system', you need to have a look. Highly developed and finished training systems for most kinds of engineering . The sort of kit that many Colleges and Universities need for training learners for both the practical and theoretical elements of industrial learning. Yes, some of this can be virtualised now, but nothing beats setting up and working with real equipment.

ITSI
https://www.it.si/
From South Africa now a global player. A provider of digital text books along with a layer for note taking , additional support materials and assessment. Pushing into the school space. The College and University sector with virtual learning environments make assumptions around how digital texts are used in their own systems - interesting to see new models to encourage better embedding of digital texts coming from the school sector.

Magic Software Inc
https://www.magicsw.com/ 
A super Indian company working out at the cutting edge and delivering content and learning solutions for publishers and large global corporations. A great example of the small world we now live in when it comes to accessing and harnessing innovation from anywhere in the world.

Techcamp / Invent Ed
https://www.techcamp.org.ukhttps://www.invent-ed.uk/
Interesting to see this summer camp model emerging in England . Wasn't there to explore that. They have developed lots of simple robots , circuit boards and bots that they use as part of these technical summer schools and are now marketing these too. There are lots of robots and circuit boards about at BETT this year. At least you know these models have been tried and tested through the techcamps.

Frog Education
https://www.frogeducation.com/
This was a select gathering of Scottish Schools folk to have a look at a simple way of comparing learners materials against national standards . Something you might think that primary and secondary schools would have at the heart of their learning infrastructure. I am sure we will be hearing more about this innovative system over next year.

INTCAS
https://www.intcas.com
An early evening meeting with the innovative team behind Intcas, who are well on the way to developing a system that will change the face of international student recruitment and worth tuning into. A superb system for verifying and tracking international learners, it will become invaluable to institutions, learners , their parents and sponsors - through the ingenious use of social media and the harnessing of big data.


Day Two 

Starts with a quick dip into a session on Education and Industry4.0 chaired ably as ever by Bob Harrison with input from the new College of High Speed Rail  . I think there is now a pretty standard slide deck doing the rounds on what Industry4.0  it is delivered well ,  but also some invaluable insights around how the new College will be using virtual and augmented reality in teaching and assessment.

We also hear how well funded all of this is . I think I would have preferred to hear that this was being delivered and funded by a set of pre-existing colleges. But all credit to new college for its vision. I think a trip to see it in action will be a must for many Colleges across the UK.

Annoto
https://www.annoto.net/
A layer ( this is becoming a recurrent theme) that helps teachers and learners make more effective use of video resources no matter what format they are in. The tool can be embedded into any VLE. Interesting and parallels with some other systems I am aware of . Also captures learners interaction with content for learner and for institutional analysis.

Microsoft
https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/education
They have a house this year at BETT - maybe they are betting their house on another successful year in Education and learning ? .  As always a lot of good things happening, if anything it reminded me I am overdue a sit down with Andy Nagle and the team in Scotland - they have a big part to play in raising learner and teacher digital literacy . I'm glad to see less minecraft this year and a sharper focus on digital literacy for teachers and learners.

Canvas by Instructure
https://www.canvasvle.co.uk/
If you have spotted some of my postings over the last year - you know I am a Canvas fan. It is just so learner friendly and now adopted by both Stirling University and Glasgow School of Art . There will be some more conversations with Canvas over the next few months and I expect other Scottish Colleges will join in too.

Blended Learning Consortium
http://www.blc-fe.org/
Grabbed some lunch with Peter from the BLC . Is it the best model ?  - I'm not sure - but it works for many Colleges across the UK and I know we are going to enjoy the benefits of becoming a member.

Google Education
https://plus.google.com/communities/103577237113072846685
I've used the link to the Scottish Google Educators Group. There is lots on the open web about Google for Education - there was one announcement around a paid for enterprise edition which I think some universities and training organisations will probably be interested in.

This was biggest gathering I've seen for a while of Scottish school learning technology folk at BETT for any offering, even free drink . The excitement was palpable and Google Apps for Education are excellent.  We will get all of this embedded in our own College's delivery. All learners really need to know their way around microsoft and google products. They should also be shown around a range of open source tools.

Fujitsu Education
http://www.fujitsu.com/uk/solutions/industry/education/
A pleasant dinner with the team from Fujitsu and their partners Intel , Netapp and more,  who are driving out an ambitious learning programme supporting learners and teachers - we look forward to supporting the programmes roll out in Scotland.

Day Three 

Like to Be
https://www.liketobe.org/
Well any excuse to catch up with Steve Wheeler . But the system is worth a look - linking employers to school learners at every stage and doing the important bits that careers guidance still falls very short on. While English and Welsh systems are different I've promised them an introduction to Skills Development Scotland.

Bonadrone
https://www.bonadrone.com/en/
This I think is innovative,  a drone that you print using a 3-D printer , build and at same time  build and create a controller and comes with all the associated teaching and learning materials. A small inside version and a very large drone for flying outside. Looks great for engaging learners of all ages in STEM



ReadSpeaker
https://www.readspeaker.com/
A really nice team and a very welcome cup of tea . I liked what I saw but I do wonder how the authentic voices they use will fair in a world of increasing artificial intelligence and automated voices.

Ollie Bray
http://olliebray.typepad.com/
He is so innovative and fast moving he is not keeping his blog up to date - lunch and a quick chat around both the movement and inertia in Scottish Education.

London CLC and Education Development Trust
https://londonclc.org.uk/
A quick chat about impact CLC and more broadly how the Education Development Trust has supported school transformation and teacher development in England . There is so much that could be learned here by Scottish system. See comment above about inertia.

Nisai Academy
https://www.nisai.com/
A flying visit to say hello to Dhruv and team  - and disbelief that Scottish system is still using peripatetic teachers to visit learners who can't make it to school - when  the learner could be part of an online class with a teacher and classmates everyday - see inertia ;-)

Texthelp
https://www.texthelp.com
Free for teachers still a superb tool grabbed a quick refresher course as I headed for the door

Northern Ireland Stand
https://www.investni.com/bett.html
I'll not rehash arguments I've made in previous years about why Scottish Education needs a stand at BETT . On one stand public education agencies and private companies that support learning in Northern Ireland



Surely one of these years SDS , SQA , SFC , Education Scotland and some of the upcoming learner companies in Scotland might get together ( maybe some Colleges)
Nice to be told I was doing a great job selling Scottish Education by my Northern Irish Colleagues as I ran for the airport.

Someone noted that Department for Education had a large stand - but it did not feature on the BETT Event map ! . The largest stand in the arena this year appeared to be that of CAPITA - shows how much money you can make 'delivering' services to the public education sector in UK.


That's it, quick shout out too to Tony Freedman, Charlie Love,  Lee Ballantyne , Malcolm Payton  and many others I met as I flew around the exhibition area to meetings and a wave to the  NoTosh team who were about too

You've got to move fast at BETT



I headed north just before Teachmeet Bett - looked good - but could not hang around longer.
















Sunday, January 21, 2018

UNESCO Experience V What it is like back in a Scottish College #oer18





Those of you that know me , know I've wandered around both the practical doing things landscape in  many sectors of education and the more reflective shaping and writing policy landscape too , this mainly around the vocational and assessment areas.

The former in Scotland at least can be easier .

If there is not a big sign saying don't do this then I think that gives anyone permission to innovate and experiment. It is a view that I wish more folks working in education and learning would take.  But , too many wait at the institutional or national policy bus stop before setting off in any direction. I think they are worried about setting off in the wrong direction. I think many are still waiting in some queue to seek permission to innovate.

I'll return to that metaphor.

Policy making sounds good , you can influence policy and that you may actually be able to change things. The  first part can be fun in the planning but often - the planning is killed off at the drafting stage as both other policy makers and the constituencies they serve, can be very cautious, conservative with a small c .  What about the unintended consequences ! Better to do nothing ! is too often the mantra.

'Sorry, we are too busy;  creating frameworks for educational content procurement , dealing with chronic under-funding , the impact of Brexit on education , figuring out what narrowing the attainment gap actually means, creating a new funding formula for , a new model for educational leadership  etc etc...

When you propose !

' Imagine we mandated that schools , colleges , universities and indeed anyone creating learning materials in the public sector were obliged to share these . That could be useful for learners'

You don't get much notice from policy makers,  even direct approaches to successive education ministers don't make much headway, beyond polite and supportive acknowledgements,  though thankfully Open Scotland continues to attract both a grassroots following and a great deal of interest internationally - thanks in a very large part to my co-founder Lorna Campbell and support from ALT.

When  UNESCO,  say that schools , colleges , universities and indeed anyone creating learning materials in the public should be obliged to share these. You get a bit more notice .  But policy for schools , colleges and universities is actually quite dispersed and in Scotland no one has a brief to look after open education - it is even actually quite hard to get anyone to respond to UNESCO officially from within the administration.

The systems that exist are designed to measure output performance and impact of  input measures are rare - in schools teaching and learning is inspected but it is patchy across the system. Open Education is a new area and no-one in government really knows what it means.

That is why #OER18 and the community around it is so important.

Now I am back in a College and following my mantra - I am just going to push things on.

At the moment we have all the usual learning tech tools ; a VLE, a plagiarism checker , a couple of e-portfolio systems , nationally ill defined competencies for staff and learners around digital capacities and lots of conflicting priorities.

Open educational resources are just part of open educational practice and perhaps a much bigger open and closed societal change,  there isn't a stop sign , so I will just push on . The vehicle I am going to use is called Citylearning4.0 I know lots of my network across the UK and Internationally will help us on our journey . I'll leverage the #oer community , ALT , JISC, the Wikimedia Foundation   and many other networks as we make the changes that will help learners across Glasgow and beyond.

And through Open Scotland we'll keep lobbying to get the national policy bus to head in a new open direction and most importantly we will get everyone on board.

If you are a newbee to #OER18 - start learning to be an open practitioner and carry the message back to your institution and to your national policy makers.


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

2017 - Phew ! Happy New Year 2018 !



2017 , What a quick year !

A chunk doing some international speaking, Valletta, Malta, Warsaw , Poland  , Ljubljana , Slovenia  with UNESCO  for open educational resource related policy forums.  Hoping great things will finally come out of the 2nd #OER World Congress.  Scotland could do so much more here. It's been great to be involved in this work with my co-conspirator +Lorna Campbell   around Open Scotland . This could be year when more institutions and above all policy makers in Scotland get on board. Bonus,  I had never been to Malta or Warsaw and Ljubljana is always worth revisiting.

It is always a pleasure too to work with the #oer18 conference crew and the #oer community globally, I've been on #oer bus since the first conference ( in fact part of sharing communities since last century) ,  and of course the Association for Learning Technology in the UK and my colleagues in JISC and those in and around #FELTAG.

Re-building the  Scottish international pages for Education Scotland and the British Council. Facilitating Indian, Uzbekistan  and other international visitors around the Scottish vocational landscape. Where it makes sense our vocational system sells well internationally.
I wear my British Council consultant badge with pride.

Coping with digital disruption; A road map for a global standards setting and awarding organisation. Systems, learning environments , repositories , new quality arrangements for centre approval to encourage and support digital learning .. all that jazz in a global environment with much less Ofqual etc regulation . The new landscape presents challenges to the public and private sectors. It was great to work with an organisation who operate globally and willing to challenge themselves and their centres to create a better offer for their learners. I look forward to seeing the new strategic plan come into fruition.

Facilitating an International Digital Learning Symposium - that was a pleasure, as was becoming an SCQF Reviewer and being in and out of Holyrood once again as a member of Goodison Group's Education Futures Forum.

Working with a UK based partner to change face of teacher training in Scotland - and being amazed and appalled  in equal measure by intransigence and self interest so obviously alive in the teacher training system in Scotland. I think there is probably more to run on this next year.

Ongoing work with innovative companies who want to shake up the virtual learning environment space , digital assessment space , social learning space and indeed all things digital learning.

On going work too , around UK vocational reform - mainly in England.

I can justify graded apprenticeships , I can see the positive impact of embedding a refreshed set of core skills including 'digital literacy ' rather than simply 'IT'  . I understand training accounts and why employers need a bigger say in what they access with their training levy. I can see large employers encouraging learners to take apprenticeships in areas where degrees in the past were the entry route - accountancy , law , financial services.  I can see too that all of this needs a lot more thought in Scotland. I hope the new overarching committee finally lines up the activities of SFC , SDS , Scottish Enterprise and HIE . I hoped that would happen last year . I still fear that whole Scottish system could be usurped by some of these changes

It has been a busy and rewarding year  - since my last report in April 2017 and I've probably missed some chunks out.

But now looking forward to #Bett2018 and driving forward CityLearning4.0 into the new year.

Creativity, Mindfulness , Resilience - I've got that in spades - but I would not have achieved all of this without the ongoing support of all the very capable folk who work in and around vocational education in Scotland, across the UK and beyond. You know who you are ! Thanks for the continued stream of interesting, challenging and rewarding bits or work.

Nor would I have kept this portfolio career going without the support of  my wife and family too - it's been tough sometimes to explain what an 'Educational Consultant' does, one day working from the home office - the next rushing to an airport along with the associated peaks and troughs in income that will be familiar to every consultant.

Thanks to you all for your continued support and all the very best to you and yours for 2018 !

For those looking for a change - there is a sea of opportunity out there -dive in and be the change you want to see in the system !

For goodness sake if you see something that you can fix - speak up and fix it !

In 2018 get your heads above the parapet and lead for the sake of learning and learners !

How is that for some mixed metaphors,  in these mixed up times !