Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PMOG, Creepy treehouses and Mobile Phones

I have been having fun with PMOG ( passively multiplayer on-line game) over the last two years or so. It is not quite a game more a fun take on what I spend my time looking at on the web - it is more fun than i-Google history.

There is quite an interesting debate on the public/private face of web2 developing on John Connell's blog. Creepy treehouse could be a goth band ( probably is). It is really all about being appropriate in your conduct and communications. As a learner I would find it creepy if the school wanted my mobile phone number - I'd need a pretty good explanation and maybe even some bribe before I'd let this space be invaded by learning or worse .. teachers.. The mobile learning brigade would not endorse this.- though nobody has ever explained to me who pays for the texts or web phones ?

Though I have to say both as a pupil and a teacher I witnessed some "creepy treehouse" conduct long before the advent of the web. There is some really sensible ethics emerging in this debate around both engaging learners and the yawning digital divide which is still there.

Worth a look before you add your entire address list to that new web2 application that you really like or invite lots of folk to manipulate some on-line system that they don't understand.
Every one has rights and the Creepy TreeHouse isn't just in learner space.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I have followed Elliot Masie since the mid 1990's - periodically reading his weekly postings.
I have just joined this on-line community and was instantly pleased to see a lot of kindred spirits .
It may be a bit techie for some - but this looks like an interesting experiment in those who are interested in on-line learning , social web , web 2 and can see that it spans school , college and the workplace - the life long learning thing.

It looks as though Learning Town has already built some critical mass. Worth a look if you are interested in all of the above . Gordon McLeod of Learndirect has already started a Scottish Connection Community.

Scotland Glowing

A great article in today's Herald on Glow. My wish is that we move faster at getting SQA inegrated into the system. We have a lot of goodies that could only be improved by sharing with school community ( especially internet safety and social software stuff) and for a Curriculum for Execellence it offers the perfect platform for designing the individualised programmes and assessments with teachers and I hope pupils . Hope we can report progress here soon.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Next Generation of Qualifications

We finally get underway with the consultation on new shape of assessment at SCQF 3- 5 in schools - the next bit of a Curriculum for Excellence.

The maelstrom has just started . The comments on this report in Scotsman shows that it will be as hard as ever to reach a consensus on what replaces standard grade . This is the fourth time I have worked through this bit of the system being reformed .

If we answer criticisms in recent OECD study we will deliver for Scottish Learners. Laurie summarises issues well here

It is a shame that study did not take a look at vocational education out with schools in FE Colleges - I think the answer still lies there for many of our young folks 16-18 who simply outgrow school and need new challenges - I hope whatever fills the gap re-engages these learners.

I have watched schools in Glasgow where I worked in FE cast off hordes of very able youngsters who were simply bored and disengaged by their schooling. That was of course in the last century.
I wonder if anyone has told Primary Six yet ;-) 2012/13 is their time

Social Bookmarking Arrives on SQA Website

Find something you like on SQA website - the finding still may be a challenge (there's a lot of stuff) - and now you can share it through , digg , facebook , reddit

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Internet Safety and Future of Computing

An excellent article and an excellent leader in last week's TES on the Internet Safety Award . Some schools and Colleges have already adopted it as a course delivered to all of their learners , Strathclyde and other Scottish Police Forces have adopted it and we are attracting centres from other parts of the world too.

Well done to Bobby Elliott and the HN/SVQ Computing Team

I hope many of the other challenges that computing is facing in the school sector are addressed through the new technologies draft outcomes . There is a general panic in industry around the lower numbers taking computing in the University system . We have been monitoring this closely see earlier posting numbers have been holding up on the vocational side of things but always room for improvement and through our Qualification Support Teams we continually update our offerings working with Industry.

Monday, April 07, 2008

What Price National Assessment ?

We are in the middle of reviewing one part of our National Assessment system through a
Curriculum for Excellence . The new system will be based on what is best for learners . There is
an interesting debate in the following pieces from the BBC , the Guardian and The Times and
covered elsewhere in press on the escalating costs of the exam system south of the border.

It is worth looking south to see what the system becomes when there are multiple commercial companies selling exam services in the schools and vocational education space. Shouldn't this
mean that prices should be going down ? There will be a economist out there who can explain
this I am sure.

There is some irony that the regulator QCA had to do a study of this kind to get this data. We are
similarly in dark on prices for NVQs and VRQs that are being charged in the vocational sector -hope they do a study on prices in that sector next.

As a public servant involved in delivering this service I should probably be quaking in my boots
in the face of private money delivering the exam system south of the border. I'm not. There is
room for improvement but we don't have challenges on this scale. Privatisation does mean you
can make big profits on delivering services like this Mmmm? The Times . However, it is more
complex than Private Greed versus Public Good - food for thought.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Skills Development Scotland

Skills Development Scotland Skills Development Scotland is formally launched today (Tuesday 1 April). The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop MSP, announced in September 2007 that Careers Scotland, Scottish University for Industry, and key skills elements in Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise would be brought together to form a new single skills body to take forward and deliver on the vision set out in the Scottish Government's skills strategy 'Skills for Scotland'

This is big news for us and for the many learners and training providers in workbased learning.We have always managed to maintain a sensible approach to life long learning in Scotland . To date we have managed to avoid the chaos that is happening south of the border -remarkable given the very open market in Scotland . We have managed to develop a uniform unitised system with clear progression routes in most vocational areas.

Reflected well in these pieces from the Guardian "Government to axe City and Guild courses " , " Hundreds of qualifications for teenagers likely to go in vocational diploma reforms "

The official announcement is here