Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Towards a New Improved Scottish Learning Festival ?

I am a fan of the idea of the Scottish Learning Festival and have chipped in many times over the years on how it might be improved.

I looked at the advice and like me it has aged - but some of the principles are still just as valid and have not really ever been picked up.  I guess just the changing guard in the Education Department and Education Scotland and tight budgets keep it sticking to one formula or another.

If you follow my blog you will know I've been attending since the last century and before  there was SLF,  there were more modest gatherings of Learning Techs at the Scottish Council for Educational Technology. 

I think this years regional and blended approach was a great idea. Will be interested to see if it converted into true national participation. 

  1. To truly be a Scottish Learning Festival it has to include pathways for more than schools. So let's see Colleges , Work based learning providers , Universities , Community and Adult learning in the programme. For our economy to work we need life long learning. 
  2. It has to be accessible to grass roots educators - my original proposals were around having workshops and events on Saturday morning.  BETT does this in London and teachers and pupils ( pupils mainly London based ) travel in for sessions. But now this should include on-line sessions that teachers and learners can engage in all across Scotland - perhaps the new blended sessions achieved this ? 
  3. Support dissenting and grassroots voices - help Teachmeet and teachmeeters - Was there a blended equivalent of teachmeet and if not why not ?
  4. If you are going to use any central venue-  have workshops and use the space around the SEC - 
  5. Unpopular in some quarters but have an exhibition area - either real of virtual.  It is important that there is a platform for Scottish education to talk to those who wish to sell things to education.  Better and easier for all if it's in the one place once a year. I'm not sure that bit was managed correctly this year.  I attended SECC and was embarrassed for the vendors who had supported https://www.scottisheducationexpo.com/  
Main thing that was missing from proceedings - though it may have been there and I missed it. Was an overview of digital learning initiatives across Scotland.  How 1-1 device roll outs are moving and being sustained in these tough economic times and what is on the horizon for learner and teaching staff digital literacy. 

You can access recordings of all of the proceedings. Key sessions to look out for are around  'The National Discussion'  this was launched at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival. The discussion around the future of qualifications and assessment in Scotland. You’ll be able to watch the launch recordings on the SLF online portal if you register at http://SLF2022.com.

Monday, April 04, 2022

Fujitsu Scottish College Ambassadors Gathering

Last week in the splendid surroundings of the  Glass House Hotel in Edinburgh I outlined what we had intended to do and what we will actually do with our new Fujitsu learning Hub. 

It's a none technical presentation and does not cover the systems we use in learning technology nor our current journey to Canvas by Instructure.  You can find these in more detail on the Learning and Teaching Academy site.

It was great to meet my fellow ambassadors and hear about developments across the Scottish College sector.  I am looking forward to the next chapter as we deepen our relationship with Fujitsu and industry partners. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

#BETT22 , #BETT2022 What I will be up to.

 


I'll be around for another flying visit to Bett22 . I think there will be lots of good things to share and I am sure the educational community will be excited to be back together again.

I'll be around Thursday and Friday - as usual heading home as #Teachmeet Bett stars 

At moment I am visiting and/or meeting 
  • ThingLink
  • Intel 
  • Fujitsu
  • Click-View 
  • Microsoft Education 
  • Google Education 
  • Advantis Systems/Class VR
  • Instructure Canvas  
I am looking for innovative partners and potential sponsors for our annual Learning and Teaching Conference scheduled for Tuesday 28th June 2022. A great way to bring innovative solutions to the Scottish College Sector.

My focus on hybrid learning and how best to support a large ambitious metropolitan College with 30,000 student population and broad curriculum. 


My diary is almost full - if you want a meeting reach out to me on twitter @joecar


I look forward to meeting friends old and new.


Reflections last few years BETT

Friday, March 04, 2022

We interrupt this Service #Ukraine No to War #FightForUkraine #FreeUkraine


I've been doing all the normal work and family routines this week and increasingly being upset and angered by events in the Ukraine and generally feeling helpless. 

Here is a simple mode of resistance and civil disobedience. It's not my idea it is one doing the rounds on social media - but it is easy to do. 

Search google maps for cafes and restaurants in large Russian cities with large numbers of reviews. Use google translate to post a pro-Ukraine message directly on to their website. I suggest the one below but you may prefer a more subtle message. 

Encourage Russians to be opposed to Putin's illegal war and to demonstrate.

Уважаемые россияне, ваши СМИ подвергаются цензуре. Кремль лжет. Тысячи ваших солдат и украинских братьев гибнут на Украине. Узнайте правду в бесплатном Интернете и в приложении Telegram. Время свергнуть диктатора Путина! любовь из Шотландии

Dear Russians, your media is being censored. The Kremlin is lying. Thousands of your soldiers and Ukrainian brothers are dying in Ukraine. Find out the truth on the free web and on the Telegram app. Time to overthrow dictator Putin! Love from Scotland.

Messages are easy to generate just go to https://translate.google.co.uk/ and ask for your politer appeal to be translated into Russian. You may prefer the threat of No more Scottish single malts ! Больше никаких шотландских односолодовых виски! if you are uncomfortable with the blunter over throw of Putin. 

You could also let the Russians know what is happening in #Ukraine by sending a random Russian a text message via http://1920.in  

We need to tear down the wall of Russian propaganda and censorship! and let them know the truth. Let them know the eyes of the world are upon them and that we support them even in these terrible times. 

This is the best way to communicate with the people of Russia, as Twitter , Facebook , LinkedIn  and other social media platforms are blocked in Russia.  The Telegram app is their equivalent of Twitter or more accurately WhatsApp. 

If you are not sure how to do this here is a simple set of instructions.
You could move on from restaurants to reviewing hotels - they all have websites with visitor and comments books.  Remember to put your chosen comment onto their website and not as a Google review. I am guessing that Google maps may soon be blocked in Russia too. 

If you are not sure how to do this get one of your family or friends to show you how and donate too to one of the many charities raising funds for Ukraine. 

Russians can't do this for themselves as they would get 15 years in jail for saying that Russia has invaded Ukraine. 




#FightForUkraine #FreeUkraine

Friday, December 31, 2021

Reflections on 2021 #oerxdomains , #phygital , #Fujitsu , #openscot , #Bett22


The end of another strange year - this year without the lockdown beard. 


It's all been a great team effort. This year topped and tailed by two College Development Network Awards both reflecting well on the work of the Learning and Teaching Academy

Amazing really as the team have battled the frustrations and heartbreaks  of  CoVid like everyone else.

    

Highlights 

  • Continued staff support for webinar training and development .
  • Chairing #OER21 
  • Launching College Fujitsu Hub.
  • Sourcing speakers , open badges and chairing sessions at  #Phygital conference
  • Staff and Student input to business case that led to procurement of Canvas.
  • On going cross College work on transition to Canvas. 
  • Trying to figure out what hybrid learning and teaching actually means.
  • On going sanity checks from colleagues in College  and  from ALT and many others across the sector ( you know who you are) and patience, kindness, consideration and teamwork.
On personal level - I am still frustrated by the Scottish systems ongoing disregard of Unesco's guidance on Open Educational Resources - startling really in year of COP26. I will keep doing my bit at institutional level and through Open Scotland

We once again missed our French fix on the Ile De Re and had none of our usual foreign jaunts and as CoVid restrictions are back in place in Scotland there will be no #Bett22 for me this year. 

We did manage two great escapes to Isle of Raasay and to Isle of Lewis. We also juggled cases of household CoVid - we still are, currently spending Christmas and New Year in splendid isolation.  

I know 2022 will bring more challenges.  I think the main message in these strange and disrupted times is not to be distracted, keep your eye on the horizon and show compassion for all those around you. 

And just noticed this marks 21 years of blogging ;-). Open reflection and blogging will eventually catch on. 

Happy New Year to one and all when it comes !  Slainte ! 


Monday, November 08, 2021

#COP26 Week One Glasgow

As a Glaswegian it’s been great to welcome #cop26 to Glasgow. I am sure our visitors are picking up friendliness of city. The friendliest city in the world. There were some cracking placards on Saturday reflecting humour of crowd. I am posting this as I was asked twice today in external meetings about what's it like to be in Glasgow at moment. 

                                                https://twitter.com/PuddingPop0802
I’ve been working remotely most days but in the city and College on Tuesday, and on Friday in College as duty manager. The city campus has a great range of Cop26 events on and the Riverside Campus is hosting the large International Cop26 Maritime Hub. Both building and libraries are open for students and there is a full programme of events for learners and the community.

My commute from south side into City centre has been pretty much as normal and if anything the city is much quieter than I expected it to be. I’ve not experienced the disruption and road closures around the UN Blue Zone north of the river. But was very aware of the increased police presence across the city centre. Particularly on my walk back to central station on Tuesday evening I was suddenly in a phalanx of armed police but I think Leonardo DiCaprio was doing some shopping nearby. 

I thought there would be more going on and a more visible presence of all the visitors. I do hope they are getting out and about and enjoying the city. The autumnal rain has been torrential this week

I was kindly invited to participate and contribute to a Herald and Epson sponsored event on education and #cop26 on Tuesday morning. Thanks to Doug Belshaw for line and it was a 'white manel' but the audience was diverse and included school pupils.
There was some pessimism about role education can play in whole carbon neutral agenda 80% of school buildings today will still be with us in 2040 and they are hard to heat and insulate. Consensus seems to be that without gas boilers best way to heat schools is by biomass boilers.

Our domestic gas boiler went on blink to this week so I had a chance to talk to a british gas engineer. Old houses will never be able to take all the insulation needed for ground or air source heat pumps.  Hydrogen is apparently the answer. We'll see I hope boiler has a few years left of life. 

I am really fortunate to work in a new build and an institution that has thought through its own contribution towards the zero carbon agenda and as a skills based organisation leading out changes to other sectors of the economy. 

There has been lots of progress around getting a green curriculum into schools in most subject areas. This is easy to understate and some in the audience felt that special new green subjects should be shoehorned into the curriculum.

My bigger reflection;  the schools and media do need to end their fixation on SQA  changing its name is not going to change culture. One of the panel even suggested that everything can change, but attaining 5 highers will still be the gold standard,  that’s not really change at all. The debate strayed for a while onto global warming is really all SQA's fault.

We really need to get away from a knowledge based curriculum and move to a competency based system. What you know is good , what you can do is much better.

On Saturday I did my own bit and went out and enjoyed the #COP26 demo. I think there was around 150,000 people out on the streets and met many international folks and protesters from across the UK. Not tens of thousands as the BBC reported - pretty shocking really. The rain was torrential. 
I hope next week brings some sensible and workable actions from #COP26 .