Saturday, November 26, 2011

#sveaconf Next Generation Learning Conference

The prospect of getting up at 3.45am to cross Scotland to  catch a very early flight from Edinburgh to Brussels was only challenge in getting  to hear about this specific EU Project in integrating social media into vocational and adult education. ( some great new resources will be available from project in November).

 Just as significantly the European Commission gave a presentation around the vision of the future of learning and the funded projects and calls that will come next year around digital competency and e-literacy. It looks like there will be a lot of great things coming out of the "creative classroom" initiatives. The first projects will be aimed at school learners and up-skilling school teachers.

Refreshingly and reassuringly some great presentations from Grainne Conole   , Helen Keegan  , Mark Stiles @markstiles  , Stevan Verjans    and Tom Wambeke  . The UK is often in the lead in thinking we're just not joined up enough would be my reflection.  Great none the less to hear work of JISC , ALT and other UK organisations cited as European and world leading.

Thanks to twitter I caught up with Theo Kuechel @theokk on his way to European Conference on multi-media and education . He is curating a great collection of video resources for learning. Testament to Theo's good company and interesting work I managed to stay awake til midnight.

Telecare and Telehealth Conference #teleconf_2011

conference logo

A week after CompTIA and back at the same venue the cavernous Edgeware Road Hilton Metropolitan .

An opportunity to talk about developments we've led with NHS Scotland around qualifications for those working in the telehealthcare industry.  Great too be sharing platform  with partners offering the  on-line delivery of learning materials and assessment.

Nice introduction from George Crooks CEO of NHS 24 in Scotland . Scotland is out in front in providing on-line services for those in need of health and care services thanks to the National Telecare Development Programme started in 2006.  Lots of interest from around the UK.

Quote of conference -" health services across UK will soon be overcome by the silver tsunami - " which I thought was a nice metaphor -  until they put up some timelines and I discovered I'm  going to part of the tsunami.

I wonder too how many careers advisers know about the growing digital health industry.


I combined a visit to the annual CompTIA conference with some other business meetings in London. A number of CompTIA certifications can be delivered within National Certificate and Higher National Awards. This event is always a useful place to hear where skills developments are moving globally , an opportunity to meet industry trainers from across Europe , Africa and the Middle East and a chance too to meet with some folks from the FE and HE across UK.

Julie Meyer from Dragon's Den kicked things off - highlighting how technology was driving change and creating amazing new employment opportunities around the globe. Developments happening fastest at the moment in Digital Health , Smart Cities and around the development of Mobile Money ecosystems

She highlighted some services she has made  investments  in
Alert Me   - Helping households manage their energy consumption and bills
Beat that Quote - now successfully sold to Google

On the technology front discussions were all around growth of Virtual Machines and Cloud Computing
To get even more technical presentations were on
Web Ontology Language 
 around making RDF links between data sets 
IPV6 and Cloud Computing 
HTML 5 and its impact
The future of gigabit to the desktop and challenge of building national infrastructure to support this.
The advent of mobile adhoc networks 
and how 802.22 will once again drive on change.

To get a feel you should have a look at the cloud challenge website  Great for learners of all ages
and I think someone in your technical department will be wrestling with this challenge right now.

What is clear is that technology is now virtualising whole industries . Some folks from audiio visual industry at conference told tales of disappearing manufacturing , sales , delivery, installation and servicing  as cheap wireless devices replace studio and venue systems and mixing desks become virtual systems based in the cloud.

On way back I read how BA cabin staff now have access to i-pads to automate their manifest and other reporting duties giving them more time to look after passengers.

#govcamp SCOTLAND

Govcamp Scotland - Home

It is great to see initiatives beginning to move towards one another is probably the best description of what will hopefully become a growing momentum to join up ICT strategy across the public sector.The Scottish government  partnered with Microsoft  to give the national  ICT strategy a push.
The aim of this event was to bring  together government, business, the third sector and academic institutions to promote collaboration between the different groups in advancing the use of digital technology across Scotland. We had an opportunity to 

  • Explore our vision for Scotland’s Digital Future;
  • Establish the baseline – where are we now?;
  • Understand the potential;
  • Establish a shared set of outcomes; and Seek commitment to work in partnership across the sectors to increase digital uptake and to develop a programme of work, for the life of this parliament, which maximises collaboration to achieve Scotland’s full potential.

  • The morning largely focused on the benefits of data sharing , of more efficient government procurement and use of our combined computing resource. The afternoon around moving towards signing a Digital Participation Charter.  Check out govcamp website for details.
    In the background McClelland Report and now a more detailed National ICT Strategy and running alongside that private organisations looking at how they can support a new public sector landscape.
    Usefully we have regular meetings with Skills Development Scotland , Scotland's Colleges , JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland , The Scottish Funding Council and Education Scotland all looking  at ways we can improve the learner's journey - a lot of this may be one way or another around more effective data and system sharing. 


    Scottish Stakeholder Group on Internet Safety

    facebook 2

    We've been actively engaged with Government , Police, Education Scotland and a range of agencies through the national stakeholder group for the last two years. Early this month  I was delighted to bring Ted Hastings along to the meeting on this occasion to provide an update on our qualification developments in this area. Thanks to some European funding and some innovative thinking we set the pace across the UK in this area five years ago. We've been grateful throughout for the mult-agency support we have had. At UK level we work closely with CEOP.

    One of the reports highlighted at meeting was from OfComm showing the changing media consumption habits of young people.   (Thanks to OfCom for image used above)

    • 8-11 year olds spend 8 Hours per week On-Line
    • 12-15 year olds spend 15 Hours per week On-Line
    • A third of 8-12 years olds have on-line profiles in Social Networking sites - where technically they should not be 

    There is a clear feeling that just like teaching learners and citizens to swim - so we need to guide them to navigating the open waters of the Internet safely.

    I'll not report all here-  but lots of statistics on growth of digital identity theft, fraud, stalking , bullying , blackmail and intimidation , grooming of young people -  all going on at national and international level. But reassuringly too data on how police are making inroads.

    There were warnings this quarter about some activities on specific services like Meebo and  reports of a disturbing facebook service "take this lollipop" which through the wonders of mash-ups can present a video of a knife carrying maniac studying pictures of you ( culled from your profile ) before appearing to arrive outside your house - thanks to an ingenious overlaid image using google street view ( having culled your location from your profile). Was apparently all the rage over Halloween but really scared many folks.

    Finally a useful date for diaries 22nd March 2012 Heriot Watt University will host E-Safety Live in Scotland
    Should add to lots of great advice available on the internet - Google has some good resources for surfers of all ages.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    November Madness

    This has been an unbelievably busy month and I am only finally getting around to doing some reflection. All change is not an understatement. The draft outcomes for the new National Qualifications are out for comment . Last weekend the  SQA offices were crammed with new appointees joining our new awarding teams for National 4 and 5.. In the school space too we are awaiting more information on life after or Glow Futures I'm no longer sure which term to use - but will be significant and exciting when it comes.

    It's been awards , dinners  and conference month.
    • SQA Star Awards
    • Oracle Board Dinner
    • SCDI Engagement Dinner with Hewlett Packard
    • Scotland's first EGovernment Forum
    And next week Scotland's Colleges Annual Awards ceremony.

    Combine a Holyrood Cross Party Skills Committee, a government continuing employ meeting ,  a Scottish Stakeholder Group on Child Internet Safety and some other high level engagements and it makes for hectic time.

    In Further Education sector we have the most radical reform since Incorporation in the 1990's taking shape . I was privileged to hear Mike Russell the Cabinet Secretary set out the ambitious reforms and the ambitious time scale for changes in the sector along with College Principals and Chairs. At Anniesland College where I am a board member we are already planning our way ahead.

    While in rest of UK there is still rumour and counter rumour about funding and the role and place of qualifications within modern apprenticeships and also the continued support for functional skills.

    All this against a backdrop of highest level of unemployment of 16-24 year olds for a generation and the political and financial machinations across Europe and in Middle East it's been a mad month.

    What follows are some postings from a few of these conferences and events

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Life In A Day Now Available on YouTube

    On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the world recorded videos of their lives to take part in Life in a Day, a cinematic experiment to document a single day on earth. From more than 4,500 hours of footage recorded and uploaded to YouTube, Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald and executive producer Ridley Scott created a 90-minute feature film that offers an entertaining, surprising and moving view of life on earth.
    Made from 80,000 submissions from 192 countries .

    I can see lots of uses for this in classroom. Whast about a crowd sourced day in school from around the world .
    I posted about this in June 2011 when film came out.

    You can watch Life in a Day on YouTube, available with subtitles in 25 languages. So if you haven’t seen it yet or want to relive the experience that The Times of London considers “a thrilling piece of cinema” and the Washington Post called “a profound achievement,” now’s your chance