Friday, August 27, 2010


Facebook Boogie from France - fantasist view of virtual worlds but interesting for all references made to social networking

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

21st Century Education in New Brunswick, Canada

I met some of the folks leading this change in New Brunswick at a conference a few years ago
They have done a lot to modernise all of the public services across the state, not just schooling.
Useful clip for Scottish staff rooms in schools , colleges and universities.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Race to Infinity

The media is jumping around on results, curriculum changes, funding challenges, job shortages, institutional restructuring , funding threats and all the topics that have probably been educational media fare for the last two centuries.
We overlook that it is probably the most exciting time to be engaged in learning and education perhaps since the renaissance. We now know how education transforms lives, civil society and boosts individual and national economic capability and we have access to an almost unimaginable set of resources - on-line courses, videos, virtual worlds, games, data visualisations, primary sources, walk through maps of the world , augmented reality , even interactive maps of the universe.

The resources are there to support innovative engaging individualised routes through learning and if you can't figure out how to do this there are global networks of learners and teachers emerging offering peer support. There is not an occupational area that is not being transformed by technology. I was delighted to hear last week of a colleagues daughter moving out in to the economy confidently stating "my blog is my CV "

I predict this year will be a great year for open educational resources and for many more open minds on the changes that are happening across life long learning. It would be great to see more stories on the transformations that are happening in the UK and around the world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Open Educational Resources

I think this image originates from some JISC CETIS Work - I used it as part of a presentation this week .

The question I would ask is how ready is your organisation to
A. Make the most from this global movement of open innovation
B However modestly how do you and your organisation contribute - (educators and learners need to become creators as well as consumers of Open Educational Resources) Are you ready ?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Shh ! Blog Posting

Originally uploaded by Kradlum
I've been off blogging regularly. A combination of the technicalities of moving host, diary commitments and a reflection too of some of the more confidential discussions I have in my new role. Since Easter I've had some really great meetings with existing and new partners and we've been pushing through some business cases through our internal processes. This combined with conference season in June and a round of award ceremonies has kept me quite silent.
All poor excuses I know. In the past I have tried to make blogging a natural adjunct to life and work - twitter has taken over a bit of this and I've got to say SQA has got a bit better at using blogs and social media too ( but still room for improvement)
Anyway back from holidays and back to some projects that can be shared - expect to hear more from me over the next six months.
This is my first post on Amplify! I've really no idea how this works but here is a test posting

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lest we forget the barriers to skills development in the Workplace

A UKCES ( UK Commission for Employment and Skils)  discussion paper from earlier this year said that in a perfect market, individuals would do their utmost to participate in skills development activities. This would provide them with a stronger chance of more secure, well paid, and more rewarding employment, and would also provide them with the wider benefits associated with ‘good work’. However, the paper acknowledged that this was not the case, and set out the barriers to skills development.

Barriers to Skills Development

• Social barriers: learning perceived to go against social, gender, or family norms
• Lack of knowledge of what is available
• Lack of awareness of the benefits of engaging in skills development
• Lack of confidence
• Lack of expectancy that engaging will result in desired outcomes
• Fear of failure due to educational inheritance from previous experiences
• Perception of being too old to learn
• Perception that there is no need for further skill development
• Gaps in basic skills
• Lack of motivation due to personal priorities

• Lack of time
• Cost/lack of financial support
• Lack of provision of appropriate quality, relevance, and content
• Employer unwilling or unable to resources training or time off
• Lack of space or resources for work-related training
• Lack of work culture that encourages skills development
• Lack of job ownership/autonomy to effectively deploy skills
• Lack of formal systems for progression/rewarding skills development
• Inappropriate allocation of skills development opportunities by management
• Lack of support/advocacy from unions, peers, management

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)

I'm not sure how many times we need to say this before folks get the message
Fat Boy Slim helps make the point

Saturday, May 01, 2010

OECD Report On Technology in Our Classrooms

The headlines make some interesting reading but there is some really useful meat in this report.

The other  thing to note is as data collection and analysis becomes easier we are going to get lots more studies from OECD and other organisations looking at how education systems and learners are performing around the globe. These are the big things that economists and politicians love.

Global trends are one thing - but folks need to remember that literacy, numeracy and ICT skills are things than can be tackled locally ..worth looking at these and taking some positive action , with your own skills , in your class room/training centre , across your school,college, workplace  , in your local authority or within your sphere if influence local , regional , national .

The report has six key policy implications:
  1. Raise awareness among educators, parents and policy makers of the consequences of increasingly ICT familiarity;
  2. Identify and foster the development of 21st century skills and competences;
  3. Address the second digital divide;
  4. Adopt holistic policy approaches to ICT in education; Adapt school learning environments as computer ratios improve and digital learning resources increase;
  5. Adapt school learning environments as computer ratios improve and digital learning resources increase;
  6. Promote greater computer use at school and experimental research on its effects.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I finally moved

It has taken me a few months to decide whether to dump blogger for another blogging package. In the end I plumped for a domain through Google and to keep on using blogger rather than Wordpress or one of the other tools out there.
I'll keep my old demon.hompages site for nostalgia or in case I need it for a project at some point.

On the move itself, thank goodness I was able to get back to my blogger file on the old site to post a "this blog has moved notice" and I remembered some HTML. I only realised I had not done this after I had moved everything across to the new domain and I could not get back to make this edit through blogger and had to fall back to looking for Blogger index file and editing it.

I wonder how long it will take folks who follow original blog with RSS feed readers to notice I have moved. It will probably take me a wee while too to sort out redirects and with other tools I use.

Monday, April 19, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Jeff Jarvis on Future of the Lecture from TedX

Saturday, February 13, 2010

TeachMeet Second Life 2010

Great Idea / experiment would be good if folk dropped in from FE and other sectors too

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything

This might be just about last post to this blog til I find a new way to host and post. In the meantime here is a wonderful bit of creativity from a school pupil Jamie Bell.
Thanks to Jane Hart for link

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy New Year

IMG_1366 IMG_1380 IMG_1322

Shared with Flock - The Social Web Browser

I haven't blog posted since early December - but what an amazing time I have had in between.
A holiday of a lifetime with our family in the Philippines -6 islands, an ascent of a live volcano, amazing city life, wonderful beaches to canoe and snorkel off , all the Christmas and New Year Celebrations with a local twist and the food - fantastic everywhere - including a feast at the home of the national celebrity chef Claude Tayag.

IMG_1328IMG_1241 IMG_1334

We can't thank the Lazatin, Tayag and Fernandez famillies enough for sharing a very unique Philippino experience with us.

Then a return to a snowy cold Glasgow some frantic sledging with friends , two days in office to try and catch up with all that happening in Scotland and then a week in London at the excellent Learning and Technology World Forum and my annual round of meetings at BETT10.
Lots to report and the year has just started.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Treat Your Self

I really enjoyed some of the sessions from the IT in the Community Conference - I have high hopes that many of these initiatives will deliver a more Digitally Literate Britain.

Also arriving on my radar some excellent presentations from Google Conference Breakthrough Learning in the Digital Age from October 09 now on YouTube. ( thanks Helen Barrett for this )

Day 1: Opening Panel: Recapturing Our Innovation Edge: America’s Urgent Education Challenge - Linda Darling-Hammond, Joel I. Klein, Mitchell Kapor, Jonathan F. Miller, Kavitark Shriram
Day 1: Dinner keynote: Geoff Canada
Day 2: Session I. The Next Revolution in Learning: How Digital Culture is Shaping Where and How Children Learn - Gary E. Knell, Mizuko Ito, James Steyer, Reed Hastings
Day 2: Session II. Literacy 2.0: Creative Strategies to Prepare 21st Century Learners - Nichole Pinkard, Benjamin Bederson, Allison Druin, Karen Cator, Marissa Mayer, Daniel Russell
Day 2: Session III. New Learning Designs: Scaling Innovation to Reverse the Dropout Crisis - Jason Levy, Larry Rosenstock, Katie Salen, Rey Ramsey
Day 2: Session IV: Teachers for a Digital Age: New Strategies to Transform Practice - Anthony S. Bryk, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Marshall (Mike) S. Smith, Ellen Moir, Esther Wojcicki
Day 2: Closing Panel: Breakthrough Ideas to Drive Student Success: Action Steps for the Nation - Blair Levin, Jim Shelton, Barbara Chow, Susan Gendron, Elliot Schrage, Kathy Hurley

Tonight I missed Edtech Roundup Teachmeet On-line Conference - again you can catch the proceedings here.

Hope you are noticing too - these are not sterile academic presentations - they are about the future and using the technology of the future.

Nice way to end the year - looking into the future. I'd recommend stopping wrapping your presents to sample some of these proceedings.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ch..Ch..Ch. . Changes

In the damp, dark, fag-end of the year it is easy to forget how much is going on in a wee place like Scotland to drive on the knowledge economy in School, College, University, Community and Workbased learning. Each sector is in its own way facing large transitional challenges
  • Schools - dealing with Curriculum for Excellence, New Inspection Framework and roll out of GLOW
  • Colleges - new Inspection Framework, national certificate developments, impact of recession and Curriculum for Excellence, emergence of Scotland's Colleges as a support agency.
  • Workplace - UK Vocational Reform Programme and impact on Scotland, impact of recession, emergence of Skills Development Scotland as policy and support agency.
  • Community Based - struggling with funding cutbacks at all levels and looking for new models of support
  • University - perhaps not enough change but deep anxieties around funding.
There can be high levels of introspection in each of these sectors which can detract from their support for life long learning and the needs of our citizens. Schools can overly focus on schooling whatever that may be without reference to wider economy and vocational needs of learners. Colleges and work-based learning on too narrow a vocational skill set without looking at core skills , personal and social development and transferable skills. Community learning on engagement with but not progression for learners and Universities stuck on research while being inconsistent on skills , retention and the learning and teaching experience they offer.

Some of these challenges are not new - but there are increasingly useful internal and external developments that can drive change.

Monday, November 16, 2009

E- Assessment in Practice

Last week I spent two days attending and presenting at the E-Assessment in Practice Conference held at the UK Defence Academy Shrivenham. A few things jumped out.

MCQ ( multiple choice questions) Mainly in corporate space but now reaching down to most levels of employee, organisations around the world use on-line MCQ tests as a means of hiring, firing and auditing staff understanding of procedures ( compliance). Success at interview could be based on your personality profile and in some tightly regulated environments redundancy looms for those who cannot pass six monthly tests around procedures and product knowledge. For all the science and ingenuity that these systems have - I have seen this coming for a wee while, I am uncomfortable with the methodology and practices used here ( for instance American Real Estate Agents are traditionally tightly assessed in this way , go figure ! ) - but teachers and learners do need to know these are the standard employer practices that lie ahead.

Advances in on-line test generation and feedback systems for Maths , Physics and Engineering . Two or three systems were presented that allow both the automatic creation of mathematical problems and the automation of feedback to learners. These systems are really clever and feedback from learners does seem positive. These systems do seem very soulless but then I suppose this may be in keeping with the cold rationale of Science. They are designed to give learners almost limitless practice with computer generated feedback in areas like differentiation, algebra and calculus where undergraduates struggle. My question in this perhaps unfairly would be around the quality of the teaching input. Some of these systems look like closed loops that allow researchers to get on with research while undergraduates communicate with computers - but this may be unjustified cynicism.

Finally a few things sit better with my universe. Sarah De Freitas did an excellent presentation in developments in Serious Gaming worth looking out for Nano-mission, Flood Sim and the mind control offered by NeuroSky . The QCA presented some good guidance on on-line assessment available from the efutures website and the Open University showcased amazing work around language teaching and assessment

And as final footnote of the innovative offerings present from BTL , Tag Learning , OpenSim and others perhaps with exception of NeuroSky we are working out on the frontiers with them.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Virtual World of War Poets 1914-1918

A timely resource with Rememberance Sunday approaching but one that should also make us pause and think about our teaching pratice and how they are going to change - when learners can immerse themselves in world's like this or better still build resources like this ..

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Twibe

Since last year's Scottish Learning Festival I've been encouraging everyone in hearing distance to develop some Scottish Community for educational twitterers in Scotland along the lines of the aggregation for blogs provided by Scotedublogs.

Really so folks can quickly hook up with other Scottish Educational Twitterers quickly and efficiently. I have been using Twibes for about a year with some other UK based projects and finally on Friday , as I was asked again who to follow in Scottish Education, I thought I might as well start the ball rolling.

So if you are reading this work in Scottish Education or have an interest in Scottish Education - schools , colleges, Further Education , work-based or other why not join our twibe.