Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Changing Face of Social Media

Dorpsomroeper / Town-crier
When I started blogging regularly in 2000 I knew that social media or social publishing was the future for most things. But it would take a long time for the world to catch up.

When I moved from the Scottish Further Education Unit to the Scottish Qualifications Authority in 2003.  I was not really surprised by the high degree of suspicion around things like blogs and then things like twitter .

Even though I have always made it clear that I used these things in an unofficial capacity.  I had to go with SQA's then CEO's blessing to our Scottish Govt sponsoring department to get permission to blog in any capacity. 

I was not doing it to be subversive but simply to reach the parts of the world that a more official means never really reaches - perhaps that is subversive. I was pleased too to see schools and what was then Learning and Teaching Scotland staff getting the blogging bug.

I have to say everyone in the end was always reluctantly supportive of what I was doing usually when I pointed to who and where we were generating business through my use of social media - but there was always, a sometimes silent  majority and sometimes some quite vocal and threatening pokes, usually from other agencies,  that would have quite liked a bit less blogging and tweeting from my direction .

The world has changed - I enjoyed reading our organisation's  latest social media metrics report this month.

·         Within those authors directly referencing SQA, we are encouraged by the continual engagement created by Joe Wilson and Tahir Mohammed, with both authors continually growing their following and becoming authoritative voices in the education sector.

Yes we do social media metrics now -  and  we now have an organisational social media policy.

I hope that means that New Ventures and innovation is getting a bit closer to the heart of what we do and not that I am now being overtaken by events.

If you are a lone educational blogger or twitterer in your organisation - keep the faith and keep sharing - it really will be alright in the end.

I would still like to see a much longer list of SQA staff on this list and I think that many other public organisations have a long way to go too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

#altc2013: Building New Cultures of Learning

Every year  I meet lots of people having either that ICT eureka moment or being stuck with some challenge that other folks in a different education sector figured out a while ago.

The ALT Conference is a great opportunity to both have your own eureka moment and to solve that technological hang up that is stopping your learners and your institution making progress.  In this most exciting of all learning frontiers.

The 20th annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology
will be held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University of
Nottingham from 10-12 September 2013. This year the conference
features keynotes from Stephen Downes, Wendy Hall and Rachel Wenstone,
as well as special events to mark the 20th anniversary.

Late registration will be open until approximately two weeks before
the conference so book now to avoid disappointment! If you are an ALT
member you are entitled to a 20% discount on all conference fees.
Register via

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Open Badges Scotland and SCOOB Group #openbadges

Really just using a range of vehicles including my own blog to promote membership of the Scottish Open Badges Group.

See communication below from Grainne Hamilton JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland

Over recent months there has been increasing interest in the digital, standards-based, open accreditation framework called Open Badges The Open Badges Infrastructure, which is being developed by Mozilla and shaped by an international community of people interested in accreditation, can be used to issue, display and earn digital representations of awards. A number of high profile organisations, educational institutions and communities such as NASA, Microsoft, De Paul University and the City of Chicago are already using Open Badges to reward and recognise hard and soft skills, achievements, attributes, contributions and so on.

In Scotland, interest has been growing in the opportunities afforded by Open Badges to augment traditional accreditation routes. A recent Jisc RSC Scotland event, the Open Badges Design Day, provided an opportunity for people to work with the Mozilla Badges and Skills Lead to consider the framework and possible badge-based pathways to learning. At this event, there was consensus that it would be useful to bring together interested parties to identify areas where Open Badges could add value to education in Scotland and to co-develop such badges.

The Jisc RSC Scotland has, therefore, convened the Scottish Open Badges (SCOOB) Group, which has met once and agreed that members will perform an overview and mapping function of Open Badges developments in Scotland, set up a number of sub-groups to jointly take forward specific areas of Open Badges work (to be agreed) and consider and develop badge pathways. The group hopes that through the input of representatives from a variety of educational institutions and agencies in Scotland, we will be able to consider synergies between different stages on a learner's formal and informal learning journey and contribute to the development of a badge eco-system within Scotland.

We want to ensure a broad representation on the SCOOB Group and sub-groups and would like to hear from anyone in Scottish education interested in joining them.

To note interest in becoming a member or if you would like more information about the kinds of areas the sub-groups might cover, please email Please include a list of any particular areas of interest you have regarding Open Badges.