................................Really what it says in the heading. I will play with this from time to time. A mixture of education and domestic ...............................observations.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Beginning of end or end of the Beginning
Now if learners had access to these algorithms -
Then maybe we could focus on what you do with knowledge rather than the facts on their own.
I have no idea how readable these books are - but if it saves you time researching the market for wooden toilet seats in Japan .. worth a look, the beginning of a shift in how we manage and access information.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
JISC and JORUM
Yesterday I had a very early start for a JISC JORUM steering group . Those who work in College sector will know all about JISC and the services they provide . I just wanted to capture some of what is happening in one UK University.
The norm is for main lectures to be Videoed and are available as web streams. These can be accessed by students in satellite centres on other continents.
500 podcast lecture library is also available to learners.
They have a repository that contains lots of images and film footage digitised from a range of sources used for variety of purposes in lecture theatres or in the Virtual Learning Environment.
Through JISC they subscribe to many other collections , academic journals and other learning resources nationally and internationally.
They have problems with what to do with all the digital material they are building up - eg student concerts from the music department
They have some projects running in High Performance Computing area that are very bandwidth and storage hungry.
Faced with the digital deluge they are researching a data storage strategy.
Being Academics they are very concerned with Archiving but are never sure where to stop.
They use an Eprints repository and have a publications reporting strategy that automates their RAE returns ( captures and publishes research publications from all the academics on campus) .
The academic community make increasing use of local and national repositories mainly for research but increasingly for teaching and learning.
They have a search tool that allows searches across their Virtual Learning Environment, EPrints, the library catalogue and their learning object respository.
They may move sophistication of this out to i-google or some other external tool to open their meta data to others and improve local searches further.
They have been building intelligent classrooms that can utilise these resources with learners .
Soon they may do an MIT and release freely a lot of their learning and teaching materials.
The feeling is that as the momentum has grown so Research , learning and teaching have moved closer together.
They have a lot of student, learner generated content and are not sure how to manage this.
They have a "dead professor problem" - identity management issues across the institution some staff have multiple idents and Shibboleth authentication has not sorted this out yet.
They have now come to expect most students will arrive with a wireless laptop and expect access to all of the Universities services on campus and off campus 24/7
It's not the same everywhere and will vary a lot institution to institution and department to department even in a single university - but I thought this was a neat summary of a University that has got it and what learners get when they arrive at a University near you.
Colleges are couple of steps behind but sometimes stronger on Virtual Learning Environment implementation. Eight years working with JISC and the changes have been phenomenal . UKERNA delivers the backbone for GLOW.
Rattled this off on the train home last night sorry if it looks horrible
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Little Britain Carol Sketch
Interesting and yet depressing debate over what schools in Scotland's 32 local authorities can and cannot access. Reflected in these postings
I should not have said schools I should have said learners and teachers. Those who wish to access the system for learning don't have the controls.
This issue is as old as the hills or at least as old as folks became aware that this could all be controlled. IBM counted keystrokes at one time as a measure of productivity maybe this could be used as a benchmark for educational computing ;-) t00.
It is so very "Little Britain" - "computer says no" and sets a fantastic example to teachers and learners on the flexibility of access to IT and probably does nothing to educate anyone about the dangers that do lurk on the unmoderated and unfiltered internet that we can all access in normal life. There is an institutional cowardice around this on a national scale at moment. But at least it means everyone in "education" has a clear conscience.
The filtering also hampers communication and prevents teachers becoming involved in national developments - some local authorities cannot access the SQA computing blog or other user groups - another reason that Glow cannot come fast enough. When computers say yes more often in schools we will finally get the majority of learners and teachers engaging with this medium around the serious ;-) business of learning. I hope this will at last provide fairly uniform access to the net ( with the exception of certain bits which will ofcourse strictly observe the Sabbath ;-) )
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
PMOG, Creepy treehouses and Mobile Phones
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 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.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The Next Generation of Qualifications
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
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Internet Safety and Future of Computing
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 ?
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
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
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Where has March gone ?
March is always the month when we tend to be most inward looking as we do all the chasing and finalising of projects and budgets - a flurry of invoicing and making sure we have squeezed every penny from the budget to get best value for the public purse. There has been much of that this month and a lot going on in the policy sphere.
Internally we finally commissioned and e-assessment platform that will be used across the SQA.
We devoted a lot of time to planning SQA's new structure which like the e-assessment platform will be unveiled over next few months. We did a lot of work with staff around new modes of assessment , unit and the design of arrangements in preparation for work around Curriculum for Excellence and the ongoing development of the national qualifications portfolio. We have had input from Dylan Williams and range of gurus from Scotland , UK and abroad.
Externally in policy terms we finally had the green light to move ahead with the consultation on what may be new courses at SCQF 4 and 5. We have also been asked to look at potential of some baccalaureates and Literacy and Numeracy Tests. The parliamentary debate is here.
We watched the formation of the new agency Skills Development Scotland - which starts operation in April and I attended the last meeting of the Sector Skills Development Agency in Scotland to update on the last sector skills agreements.
I did manage to get out to present the inaugural Youth Worker of the Year Awards at Murrayfield , present at an excellent event at Cardonald College for School , College and ETP Microsoft Centres and present at a Parliamentary Reception for the centres that are working with the Industry Alliance for Jobs.
Away from day job I fufilled some commitments as a Board Member at Anniesland College (new build is going to be a credit to the City of Glasgow). Managed an escape with Anne to sunny Rome for the Scotland Italy Rugby Match and had a great easter weekend with the family.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
When will education start working
However, today's Herald Article makes grim reading - are these young people getting access to the right kind of stimulation in schools ?
One in 10 Scottish school-leavers went straight on to the dole last year
raising fresh fears over the education of some of the country's most vulnerable
children. Scottish Government figures show that of the 51,000 young people who
left school in 2006-07, more than 5000 were registered as unemployed. Statistics
also showed the proportion of pupils leaving school with no Standard Grades has
remained static in the past three years at around 4% of the total. By the age of
21, a young man from the Neet group - now referred to by the Scottish Government
as More Choice More Chances - is three times more likely than average to have
mental health issues, five times more likely to have a criminal record and six
times less likely to have any qualifications. Nearly half of this group also go
on to long-term unemployment.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
John Johnstone , Robert Jones and Peter Liddle have been updating the platform that Scotedublogs sits on .They are stars and I was glad that SQA could provide some support for this . Think my comment says it all.
Well done guys – sponsorship is just small recognition for all of your hard work . I hope SQA and LT Scotland can do more to support work like this in the future.There is a lot more we could do to promote Scotedublogs as a means to link up bloggers in Schools to those in Further Education and Workbased Learning.
Let me know if there is anything else we can do.
I and colleagues at SQA make regular use of the RSS Feed on Scotedublogs. It is a fantastic barometer of activity across Scotland – The new Times Ed ;-)
Remember if If you are a Scots Educational blogger you can do your bit to support ScotEduBlogs too:
- Make sure your blog is listed.
- Make sure the tags on your listing describe your blog.
- Link from your blog to ScotEduBlogs (there are some images and help on the wiki).
- You might want to help out by designing a new graphic or in other ways, see the wiki again.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Curriculum for Excellence
Some debate on Ewan's blog on what makes communities work . I have lived and worked through at least five major changes in this bit of Schools Curriculum and at least six in vocational area in a much shorter time span. Critical for learners and delivery that we get this right and that we get a model that allows rapid and continuous change once implemented.
Contentious and contended ground this but essential that a consensus is reached. I am sure this will make the GLOW groups glow with debate at some point. I wonder how good our community will be at forming a community of practice around this ? .
The Qualifications for the Future virtual space at SQA Academy is a resource for colleagues from schools, colleges, ETPs, the workplace and in the community seeking information on developments and latest thinking about qualifications and assessment. The virtual space includes DVD clips, on-line questionnaires, papers, think-pieces and letters, all of which provide ideas about the future of qualifications and assessment.You want informed takes on where we can take assessment then there is some pretty good stuff here to get debate off and running. I'd make everyone look at Ewan McIntosh in full flow in New Zealand and see where we can use Web 2.0 to give the landscape here back to the learners a bit.
Information-giving is, however, only one purpose of this virtual space, albeit an important one. A further purpose is to encourage self-reflection and professional debate through an on-line forum which colleagues are encouraged to use to reflect on current practice and their hopes and wishes for future qualifications.
Thanks to Kate O' Hara for graphic
Monday, February 25, 2008
Literacy Outcomes and the Networked Teacher
There are not enough practitioners like the one in the diagram below. ( maybe it's the threat from the two ended spears pointing at the teacher ) It would be useful to see some more advanced outcomes like these embraced through teacher training , chartered teacher, TQFE , Assessor and Verifier Awards and other mechanisms that could grow the number of staff who positively embrace the new in their delivery. There is some serious staff development needed if we are going to make the most of these new Literacy Outcomes in ways that are meaningful to learners. There is also more we could do to allow learners to choose how they present their evidence of learning - which may be radical but would speed up change.
Interesting and challenging to see the Guardian readerships reaction to these developments too . I read blogs and interpret and filter information from a wide range of sources all the time - I still read books too. The spears are certainly out in some of the comments here.
Reflections on Blogging
I was touched too in last week or so to be listed here in such illustrious company. It looks like those on the inside appreciate some of this babble too.
I was sorry not to be able to make Teachmeet in
success and some great sessions you can pick up on the Wiki.
If you google Teachmeet Northern Edition you will find some great stuff.
I have to make a special mention of this posting on Don Ledingham's Blog it is great to see a new Director of Education with such a clear and innovative vision prepared to make it public.
I hope in all these ways we are widening and deepening the education debate in a way that changes things where it matters, for the learners.
Blogged with Flock
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Law, Social Care , McDonalds and Brussels
Usual running around but three big things in last two weeks which are the result of some pretty hard graft over the last year or so.
We launched the regulatory qualifications for Paralegals with the Scottish Paralegal Association and The Law Society for
We launched the Practice Learning Qualification for Social Workers and those working in Social Care with Andy Kerr Minister for Health .
Both these developments involve SQA qualifications forming part of the licence to practice as is the case in many other vocational areas.
On Friday I did a whistle stop visit to
I am delighted to say this has been a big success. We were first country in world to get access to these materials mainly thanks to the fact the the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum was held in Edinburgh at the same time as this curriculum was being launched.
It was interesting to hear what the Belgians thought about the recent
The press coverage of this and the level of ignorance exposed by the press is almost unbelievable. There was a lot of pap in the UK press but some closer to home too
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
What I do
Here is a snapshot
- I lead a team of Qualification Managers and Officers and collectively we are responsible for the maintenance of half of Scotland's vocational portfolio of qualifications.
- In product terms this means we look after (maintain and create) Higher National Qualifications, Scottish Vocational Qualifications, Professional Development Awards, National Certificate Awards , National Progression Awards (SCQF 3-6)
- In customer terms we work with Schools , Colleges, Training Providers , Employers, Sector Skills Councils, Higher Education, Professional Bodies and other relevant partners in the public and private sectors.
- Some of the sectors we look after include - Computing , Finance, Accounting, Business Administration, Learning and Teaching, Assessment and Verification, Training , Customer Service, Call Centres, Telecoms, Social Sciences, Journalism, Languages, Social Care , Health Care , Law, Legal Studies, Enterprise, British Sign Language, English for Speakers of Other Languages ( this is a sample)
- Guiding principles - that awards are fit for purpose, to ensure that there are no barriers for learning and that there is appropriate recognition and progression routes available in all vocational sectors.
- In some specific sectors our qualifications effectively form the licence to practice.
It is a fantastic job with some pretty specific demands in all the sectors we work in and with. As we do all of the above we are always on look out for ways we can modernise our processes through roll on roll off online assessment, the introduction of e-portfolios, or creative ways we can use technology to widen the critical consultation processes that are involved in qualifications design. We also do a fair bit of work to source support materials from a range of partners to support our centres and their learners.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
That was a week that was.
On Monday I met with the Scottish Funding Council and reviewed their new statistical reporting tool for Colleges and looked at how it could support our development teams within SQA.
Friday was a wet drive to
“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley”
I then came down with a Fungus the Bogey Man sized cold. If you catch it you’ll know. I have been a human slug for four days. I even had to forego my haggis and have a curry with my dram but I hope to see my desk tomorrow .
Thanks to Paulus Maximus for Red Rabbie
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The National Education Network
It's worth looking at the services on offer in different parts of UK . It is four years since I arrived at SQA and stopped following the developments across what was then the National Grid for Learning - some of the regions still have names that echo this - but the services seem to have moved on in many of these regions. At least from evidence on the front doors. Some could be all fur coats and nae .. as we say in the West , but you can see why a few of the regions are interested in the Internet Safety Award.. Internet Safety and resources for this feature on almost all of these portals
clipped from www.nen.gov.uk
Sunday, January 20, 2008
SQA DIVA , World Economic Forum , UNESCO and DAVOS
The World Economic Forum and UNESCO have created the Partnerships for Education Initiative, which is designed to share understandings of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Education, and to advocate for their wider implementation to help deliver the Education for All goals.
One of the outputs of Partnerships for Education is an interactive database of existing Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Education (MSPEs). This is intended to be a platform where knowledge about such initiatives can be shared, and where those interested in implementing future partnerships can glean relevant information about how best to deliver them.
This database will be launched at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in January 2008, and we are currently populating it with examples of some of the most important existing MSPEs. Your DIVA Scotland initiative has been selected for inclusion within the database.
Great news for team and all our partners.
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Originally uploaded by joecar80
Delay also meant I went straight from the Airport to conference
We have a number of centres in this region doing Oil and Gas related awards but my visit was as a guest at an Economist Conference on World Challenges in 2008 I stayed awake partly due to the splendid surroundings. The Emirates Palace is one of only two seven star hotels in the world but mainly due the the quality and relevance of the presentations.
I can only bullet these - but the main worry is the well documented ongoing world credit crisis, combined with threats of global inflation Oil was clearly highlighted but prices of staple goods in China and developing parts of world have risen by 40-70% in last year. Oil price also gives local economy challenge in way that would be envied around rest of world - oil as moved from $12 to $100 per barrel in short space of time. They are faced with what was described as an an investment challenge.
- On other fronts worries that Chinese economy is covering some economic challenges until post Olympics
- That next Google maybe in Bio Sciences
- That Sovereign Wealth Funds and other investors with surpluses are facing political protectionist challenges around the world ( globalisation needs global markets)
- One example - 3 years ago most commercial property in Germany was bought by Germans last year 80% was bought by international buyers. This model is replicated in many markets
- Global Shortage of business Leaders who understand business
- NATO presentation on danger of new conflicts over global resources at time where we particularly in west are wasting enormous amounts of energy and other inputs that still go into landfill.
We work hard to keep our vocational portfolio aligned with both UK and Global Demands. Would that more folks in Scottish Education were aware of the dramatic changes in Beijing and places like this . If you want to drive the world's tallest crane, hone your hospitality skills to the highest standards, develop businesses in very short time frames or memorably in Beijing give every street trader a basic on-line food hygiene programme in advance of Olympics you will learn these skills in the developing world not in our own backyards anymore. Education and Training is a global marketplace and I am glad we're out there.
BETT 2008 The UK Educational Technology Fair
I attended this with Bobby Elliott Qualifications Manager for Computing . We use this event as an opportunity to meet many of the senior US based managers of our vendor partners. We had some really useful meetings with Adobe and Microsoft and some others including some other awarding bodies and Financial Institutions as I was in the hood. A search for BETT 2008 Blog will turn up multiple reviews of this event.
While we spent most of our time in meetings here are some observations on the event. The audience for this event is schools and ICT advisors from English local authorities with a growing international presence - overseas teachers and ICT advisors. It is a larger version of Scottish SETT now the Scottish Learning Festival. Great to see Martin Jack ex LTScotland organising chunk of this as he successfully does for Scottish Learning Festival.
The Ministerial key note was message that schools in England are to give parents access to electronic reports both on progress and attendance. There were number of organisations present trying to sell systems like this to local authorities on the back of this announcement. Moving around stands many of them were devoted to School or local authority admin systems rather than teaching and learning. There were some organisations offering totally externally hosted admin and learning and teaching platforms - some very clever stuff. The Pupils have equivalent of very large data stick flash drive with their own files on this and it connects in school and at home to the remotely hosted services and software. This was probably main innovation I saw but I didn't see the price tag.
MIAP was being heavily promoted - through presentations and on stands. The new 14-18 Diplomas were too - The Scottish Candidate Number and Skills for Work are ahead of these projects in Scotland. But would be taken as whinging Jock to state this anywhere south of border.
Only thing I would have liked to play with was probably the Asus EePC / RM Minibook which is well reviewed well here by John Connell and Learning and Teaching Scotland.
Met with many colleagues and friends from over the years - but have to say there was not as much innovative stuff about as say five years ago. Mostly more of the same - real message may be in how offerings are joining up or being bought up.
On many fronts there was strong evidence of partnership working across suppliers of qualifications, electronic learning materials and more traditional text books and everywhere the slickest of marketing - interactive presentations , live demonstrations of web- based resources, on-line tests and much more. I know we do things differently in Scotland but we would do well to make more links with private and public sector partners around qualifications. It was good to meet Colleagues from LTScotland and Learndirect Scotland at event.
Sorry that we missed Teachmeet on Friday Night - looks like it was a great success. But not the best night even for this hardened traveller with two kids under five an extra Friday night in London just takes too many brownie points. You can catch it here on flash meeting if you have a look around at http://www.teachmeet.org.uk/
And we didn't win Bett Award for the Sports Store Game - but being shortlisted was some achievement real achievement is fantastic reception the game has had across Scotland and beyond,
I took some photographs of event. Incidentally camera was giveaway from the Pearson stand - given away as I sat through a presentation on their School Admin Software. Came in handy and I uploaded them on way back up road http://www.flickr.com/photos/joecar/ Would be good to have central Scottish repository for some of this stuff.
New Year Message
I have had a busy couple of weeks - either out of the office or back to back meetings with usual follow ups.
I have been watching a few postings with interest over the festive period. New Year seems either the time to cast an eye backwards to all things that have happened over the year or to look forward and make some predictions. There seem few Scots predicting the future mainly gazing back the way. Some notable blogs doing this though. Ewan McIntosh gives an excellent backward glance on his meteoric year on a personal and professional front.
In the mid 1990’s I predicted every Scottish Teacher would by 2000 have their own web page, their teaching materials would be swiftly transferred from their floppy disks (remember the big ones ) and they would be using these with learners who would be able to use this resource in a host of ways. Learners would start creating their own learning resources too and sharing these…
I started blogging in 2000 with a small group of enthusiasts. I thought too that this would sweep through education by 2001. I stopped blogging in 2003 and only started again in late 2006. This time I feel more part of a community thanks to Scotedublogs and there is a bit more of a critical mass, but the changes that I think are inevitable still seem further off than I would like in Scotland.
So given my terrible track record - here's how I see the vocational on-line learning world in Scotland.
I’d say the vocational sector have got it to some degree, Colleges are a bit behind but moving in right direction, Universities have got it in places but their faculties pull them in twenty directions at once and schools lag further behind in changing how we fundamentally do things . This could be metaphor for all things vocational but it seems in such sharp focus when you look at the adoption rate of technology to empower learners. I hope with GLOW this really changes this year. Would be good to see schools have standard access to Blogger and some other very relevant tools and I hope this happens this year too.
Predictions I like best are from an old friend Seb Schmoller -
- Effective use of RSS by learners, teachers, and learning providers will become more normal. Meanwhile the off-line capabilities of browser-based applications like Google Reader will grow, making a big difference for users with only intermittent Internet access.
- The hype surrounding social networking will abate, with a greater understanding developing about when social networking supports learning, and when it is a distraction.
- Many more people will break free from Windows or OSX based systems, and begin to rely instead on cheaper, lighter, disk-free devices, with their "stuff" stored somewhere on the Internet rather than locally.
Those who aren't connected will still feel there is some conspiracy going on. I couldn't live without bloglines and other tools to stay well informed. My blogroll is on side of this blog.
The Times Educational Supplement is still critical but increasingly a smaller part of my environmental scanning . And I worry that grumpy middle age is upon me as I have less and less time for those who aren't up to speed and getting in the way of change. I hope I am less grumpy next year ;-) and more people across Scottish Education have access to these tools. Happy New Year to all.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
VCT - Virtual Classroom Tours
At moment they are bound for http://www.microsoft.com/education/pileurope.mspx, and will appear as "Scottish Qualification Authority VCT Bank" .They currently live at www.sqa.org.uk/vct and when we know how all of these resources will go into GLOW.
Related to previous posts we have achieved a lot with Microsoft Partners in Learning Funding.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Cisco Public Services Summit
John Connell has posted on Cisco Global Summit. I was fortunate enough to be a guest at this event in 2005. I suppose related to my previous post - We owe a massive debt to the Microsoft, Oracle’s and Cisco’s of this world. You could worry about their motivation which is undoubtedly rapacious capitalism and I know that this is the concern of those who have thrown the odd spanner in the works as we built the partnerships through DIVA but all these organisations are involved in bringing together global communities of those who work in the public and private sectors and delivering real tangible learning assets to those who matter most – the learners and our communities. Wonder what the critics would say if we developed without reference to some of the vendors in our vocational qualifications .
It’s good to see that increasingly key notes and talks are available from these gatherings and from sources like Ted (a not for profit organisation) which distributes electrifying presentations direct from those who are dreaming and shaping the future.
We need more dreamers and shapers of the future. Especially next year as this may be a tougher year for all of us in the public and private sectors globally.
SQA’s international brand extended into 25 countries this year, we delivered a wide range of projects from the simple export of qualifications (it’s never simple) to consultancy around designing vocational systems at national level. In addition we hosted internal visits from 30 other countries. The feedback on these internal visits went round SQA today – it is staggeringly good.
Good to see too that we have innovators of our own. You’ll find SQA products and support materials in Wiki Media and using where appropriate all things Web 2 and Bobby is just about to start doing this end to end for a qualification development. GLOW can’t come fast enough for qualifications development but great to see it coming – brings me back to John Connell again,
The Glow Father ;-)
At the moment through the Leitch Review in England and Skills for Scotland, A Lifelong Skills Strategy the delivery bodies are being re-aligned a bit and the funding mechanisms are being refocused across the UK but essentially at the heart of our vocational qualifications are the National Occupational Standards from 25 Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). Each SSC is an employer-led, independent organisation that covers a specific sector across the UK. Their four key goals are:
- to reduce skills gaps and shortages
- improve productivity, business and public service performance
- increase opportunities to boost the skills and productivity of everyone in the sector's workforce
- improve learning supply including apprenticeships, higher education and National Occupational Standards (NOS)
But as you mingle at this time of the year it’s amazing that many who should be better informed still think awards in the vocational portfolio are not structured around UK standards and informed by global changes in industry and developed with the relevant professional bodies.
Actually only kidding - they are made by elves ;-) Enjoy
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Sports Store Game Shortisted for BETT Award
70,000 live games currently
50/50 mix of girls and boys playing
Most game playing and learning happening out with normal school hours.
Great to see we made it on to the short list and testament to all the Scottish Teachers and pupils who helped design this game.
We've brought games and the formal curriculum together.
Now we need to find someone to take forward all the lessons we have learned through this project.
The BETT Awards, which play a key role in identifying and rewarding innovative ICT products and services for use in education, received a very high standard of entries this year. The winner in each category will be announced at the BETT Awards ceremony on Wednesday 9 January 2008.
clipped from www.besa.org.uk
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Will open up a fresh set of challenges. As a one time History and English Teacher who taught Scottish History and Scottish Literature I was aware that many of my colleagues did not include these options -but will compulsion make the teaching and learning of Scottish History better ?
I hope so ..
and why was this learning not happening anyway and from early on in the system ?
The Romans and The Dinosaurs - as I remember from my primary education in the last century and maybe 1066 and the Gunpowder Plot with no mention of James the Sixth being Scottish.
We were told at one point that the Scottish People wore kilts because they were poor which is part of an answer but it was left unqualified and as an answer it never squared with the world I knew where a kilt was a very very prized possession in more ways than money.
You'd think I was a nationalist rather than an internationalist
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Partners in Learning and Internet Safety
Friday, October 26, 2007
Is there a UK IT Skills Gap – Some headlines
I summarise not all but some of what was said today at the Westminster E-Forum
The main panic in the system is the declining numbers of school pupils and students picking computing as a subject to study at A Level or University. There are been dip in Scotland too and the future of computing in schools was the subject of a recent successful conference in Scotland. Well summarised here
Shots fired at computing being boring in schools and also professional pathways and working conditions in the IT industry that turn off graduates and especially women.
The main industry challenge identified were in up-skilling those in work especially managers to get organisations making more productive use of IT and for the us collectively make a careers in IT more attractive.
This gives flavour of day – summary of all presentations will be published at later date through Westminster Forums Website.
Bobby Elliott Qualifications Manager for Computing was down with me - we didn't learn a lot that we are not already discussing with industry in Scotland. He has been down for a few days with CEOP and CompTia and blogs about this here.
Tim Boswell MP and Karen Price E-Skills UK
In UK only 2% of potential pensioners are applying on-line for their pension
Car mechanics need basic IT Skills to service cars
Post Office recently computerized postal walks and rolling out IT system - postal workers are challenged by basic devices deployed.
New terminal at Heathrow will only work if 80% of travelers check in on-line
Small Business’ may have website but don’t have IT productivity skills to drive on business.
Workplaces are not yet technologically enabled and most senior managers are not able to drive the changes that are needed as they lack the technological knowledge even to procure system changes that are required.
Its about schools a bit but 70% of workforce for next twenty years is really the issue.
The workforce of the future is with us now.
Those in work need upskilled.5- 15 year olds either formally or informally have got it.
Anne De Roek Council of Professors and Head of Computing
2001-2006 has seen a 46% decline in those entering IT degrees yet 72% of all job vacancies currently are for IT related vacancies.
Peter Butler Head of Learning BT
BT transforming from engineering to software services company.
Increasingly offshoring work to get right skills and cost base.
In UK 4 million owner managers in SME sector who need better understanding of how IT can help their business.
21 million use IT daily, 9/10 vacancies require basic IT Skills yet hardly anyone as entrants or in existing workforce have had any formal training in using a computer.
Jacqeline Crowley Cappgemini
China will overtake UK in IT in next five years.
76% of UK companies are currently delaying IT projects as the IT Skills are not available
At least 50% of workforce cannot perform basic tasks on computer
But we need more than basics we need high level skills in Java , C++ etc
The USA have relaxed immigration laws to import these skill sets from the developing world. Next wave needs high-level project management skills combined with understanding of the application of IT to business processes – we can do it this – but development and basic programming is moving offshore.
Emily Taylor – Nominet
Offshoring is fact of life and is driving down costs and services up for UK customers and and for rest of developed world while provding jobs in new economies.. But we need to train young people not just to be consumers but creators in this new world.
IT knowledge among general and senior managers is very low and the real challenge to our productivity.
Philip Virgo EURIM Secretary General
30 years ago did huge study which showed best indicator of success in new computing industry was the ability to parse sentences and do basic mathematical functions. He is not convinced this has really changed – technology changes all the time but core competences for successful career in IT industry don’t change.
We should be looking at how we use social networks in range of subjects to get our young people used to working across cultural and linguistic barriers. Global supply chains need this and this is where work will be in future in all industries. Skill is not so much in the IT which will continually change as in how we choose to use it.
Latif Horst Cisco Public Sector Manager
80% of pupils play games and use web2 applications 78% of teachers don’t
Information is changing so rapidly that already three year degree graduates are finding first year and half obsolete on graduation. By 2010 unique technical information will be doubling every 72 hours and systems and software will change hourly.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Big Portfolio Changes from Outside but we're winning
October has arrived and we are in the midst of finalising development plans for next year. HN Modernisation almost completed, new National Certificate Groups Awards under way, some more Skills for Work on horizon. Curriculum for Excellence and what happens to some Int1 and Int2 Courses still in the big policy mixing pot. Scottish Vocational Awards under spotlight through the Scottish Skills Strategy. Professional Development Awards and National Progression Awards providing smaller chunks of certificated learning are in demand across a number of sectors.
The Qualification teams are all involved in significant developments in our sector portfolios and as the thirst particularly in the post school sector continues for the Quality Assurance that SQA can bring to life long learning it looks like we will be busier than ever in the next financial year.
- Good to get
on board as Auto Desk lead centre and Motherwell College on board as Adobe lead centre for DIVA . Glad too for the support of staff like Colin Maxwell who is one of two 'Adobe education leaders' in Scotland, and one of only 15 in the UK overall. The Adobe 'education leader' programme has run successfully in the AdamSmith College for some time and opened up to the rest of the world in 2005. US
- Great news too that Strathclyde Police have adopted the Internet Safety Unit as part of Police training programme.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Curriculum for Excellence
Lots of the areas suggested as areas we could move towards are tools that we already employ in different sectors. I wish there was a greater awareness of the different kinds of assessment done in Colleges , workbased and adult learning. Brian was talking to the converted. The mind forged manicles that can exist in schools sector could be considered theirs to keep or cast off as they choose.
I hope we can in consultation find a way that frees up learning and assessment for the learners. There is some great initial research on comparative systems across the world on the sqa academy. Curriculum reform and how we assess learning is a very active global debate.
Lots of food for thought.
clipped from www.sqaacademy.com
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
My avatar in Scottish Learing Centre Pavillion
Originally uploaded by joecar80
A day in London at QCA to find out about the new Qualifications and Credit Framework this is being rolled out in England , Wales and Northern Ireland. I am so glad we have the SCQF. Though I sometimes wonder if we realise how well off we are.
A day in Edinburgh for our monthly senior management team meeting and a Friday packed with meetings but culminating in a the SQA Star Awards - always humbling to see the talent that Scotland produces. Then into the car to catch up with the rest of the family at the Seamill Hydro - and the sun shone til late Sunday.
In between times I have been popping in and out of Second Life to see the presentations arriving from the Scottish Learning Festival. I even bumped into Ewan McIntosh's mum in the wee sma hours - having a look around. I guess second life is just as small as the first one.
Monday, September 24, 2007
I have since been battling with the inbox while attending and speaking at range of events - Scottish Training Federation at Crieff ( members deliver 80% of all Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Scotland) , presenting to a delegation from the Egyptian Government working with SQA on their vocational awarding system, launching formally the Sportstore game - 13,000 learners in Scotland, playing 80,000 games and counting and finally this week speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival and later attending Teachmeet07 at the Science Centre. Wow - what we can do in the classroom now . Due to demands back at base (annual planning cycle and Scottish Skills Strategy ) I did not get to spend as long as I would have liked at SLF good to catch up with few folks including Stephen Heppell ( his sister Pat taught in number of Scottish FE Colleges) and good to see that students on the HN Video Production Course from Jewel and Esk were providing some of the technical support.
Really nice to meet some of the Edubloggers at Teachmeet07. I met an old colleague Gerry Dougan from SFEU and we bemoaned the fact that many of the potential FE Bloggers - who are doing interesting things are all working away inside their College's virtual learning environments. We need to think of a way to get this community hooked in to the blogosphere - serendipity , as an the opportunity to sponsor ScotEdublogs for a year came from one of the presentations at Teachmeet - I hope that SQA can do this jointly with LTS and we can use this as a lever to get those in Colleges and beyond in the training sector involved.
Spent tonight having a look at SLF in 2nd Life - not many folks around but good to see presentations podcasts and videos arriving.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The week ended well with a meeting with the Scottish Social Services Council and the promise of some additional resources to help with the Care and Social Care agenda. The Care Scotland team will really welcome this. I then had to scramble to get some letters out to centres in relation to more Diva developments with Adobe and to some new work with Learndirect Scotland.
In between times we spent a day on team planning for 2008/09 . We are working towards having our qualifications development part of this done by the 21st of September to pass on to our executive team .
We figured out all the things we still need to do for ESOL and debated a commercial publishing opportunity. Had a quick meeting with Glen Senior who flew in from New Zealand around the retail game and managed to drive up and back to Dunkeld on Tuesday evening in a monsoon to welcome a group of new External Verifiers. Had a chance too to get some of my staff involved in the next part of HOSCA our process review project , got involved in SQA's web development strategy, spent an hour looking and talking through commercial targets for the qualifications we deliver outwith Scotland and spent a morning with all the agencies that meet the Scottish Skills Development Agency looking at a number of Sector Skils Development Strategies. - Mainly Social Care and Financial Services this month.
One scary moment when we noticed that some inappropriate posts had appeared on the Internet Safety Wiki - We have shut it down for a day or two so the technical team can sort out the security policies.
Spotted this story about the German National Railway ensuring football fans travelling to a game had beer on tap on the train to and from their match. I bet the train ran on time and was confortable too. A great piece that challenges thinking and our own brand of Scottish/British conservatism and the cultural differences that co-exist across Europe. Made me smile.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
A different weekend.
How to confuse your partner - catch a Ryanair Flight from Prestwick to Weeze in Germany and jump in a taxi to Arcen in the Netherlands (16 euros) - a quiet village inside the national park. It has a nice square with restaurants , fantastic castle gardens, sits on a river you can travel across on wee ferries and has a spa with thermal baths when you get tired of cycling from village to village eating cake.
We stayed here and it was excellent
Hardest part is telling your pals in Scotland you went to Weeze and Arcen for the Weekend.
And a sure sign we are aging - ten years ago it would have been a 24hr rave in Amsterdam. Thanks to Ironmanix and flickr for photo
Sunday, August 12, 2007
In the mid 1980's I was teaching English and Communication and using a lot of video and other technologies - remember hypercard anyone ?. In the nineties the web arrived and I tried to get anyone who would listen to get their course on line and get their students to start helping making it better. Some folks thought this was a good idea and I got to evangelise across the sector for a few years.
By now I thought every teacher in the globe would have their stuff up on line and would be working in some collaborative way with their learners and their peers and the learning paradigm would have changed. The power in the system would have moved to the learners and those who guide them. Instead we still have quite a few closed communities and lots of pupils and teachers who are not engaging with this revolution as much as they could be. Burger King can Simpsonise Me but we haven't found the magic formula to engage teachers and learners with this stuff yet.
At least it is great to see that it has started in East Lothian This should be compulsory reading for anyone working in education public policy and our public bodies. If you get the chance , catch Ewan's session at the Scottish Learning Festival.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
SFEU are working on their subject networks for Further Education Staff. Still hard to get all the right people to join the right on-line community and to get them to contribute - I guess this issue will either never go away or we will finally find a platform that everyone likes and joins. I guess you still can't beat a simple email address book with all your key contacts in it. At least the size of Scotland still makes this an easy exercise ;-) I hope GLOW delivers this for School Teachers and for all our qualification development staff who work with schools. We get our first look under the lid next Friday.
Bobby is having another go with a new platform for computing teachers and I see Ewan and Nick from LT Scotland have found Face book to promote the Scottish Learning Festival. I can already see a few familiar faces .
Interesting discussion with SFEU on Second Life - We will be there soon maybe with the Internet Safety Unit for big people and on another tack over 10,000 school pupils are playing our experimental sports store game its is now in more than 50% of all Scottish Secondary Schools. Should make for a good session at Scottish Learning Festival
And our British Sign Language Avatars assessing PC Passport in the deaf community are going down well and looking great. Interesting challenge in that there are not signs in BSL for many new technologies. There is definitely interesting cultural and linguistic study in this observation.
Monday, July 23, 2007
It was nice to get out with some of the team for a glass of wine on Friday.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Windy Four Days in New Quay
Originally uploaded by joecar80
Two of Forty Fairies
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Spent the rest of week doing the tail chasing that is always needed when you get back from leave. Delighted to meet the new Sector Panel for Financial Services, spent some time with e-assessment project board reviewing developments across SQA, some time with Scottish Executive working on delivery of Scottish ESOL strategy and then finally at end of week a 5 hour drive to and from Llandudno to present the first canidates with their ICTL Certificates and Diplomas. North Wales was worth the journey if only for a few hours - sunshine and showers here too.
Ended week with a showcase event that reflected all that is good about the team. We have huge range of developments rolling out and underway in computing area. The team took on the task of coordinating an event at Hampden Park. A major undertaking which hit the mark in that it was heavily oversubscribed.
Also provided nice platform for Mike Jannetta to bow out. He has more that earned his new post at Glasgow Metropolitan College . We will miss his get up and go.
Friday, July 06, 2007
#WriteTimes and SQA
Spent a week in meetings and in recruiting staff. The organisation is going through that positive flex that any organisation goes through when a new chief executive arrives. We are both planning for next year and reviewing our current processes.
We recruited a new project manager to lead on English as a Second Language developments. A critical area for the Scottish economy currently.We have probably for the first time since the 1940's a large community of migrants who need to develop language skills quickly to work within the Scottish economy.
It was great to meet so many employers and training providers at the SQA Customer Conference on Thursday. It rolled well into SQA's celebration of 10 years with an event for current staff with 10 years service and for some of the staff who worked for SCOTVEC and the Scottish Examinations Board our predecessor bodies .
The organisation launched "Write Times" a celebration of all the great creative writing produced by candidates. The writers were present at the launch some really great and moving stuff in this modest publication.