Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games Scotland 2014



Following the Olympics excitement is really building about Glasgow 2014.  There is already a real buzz about the City of Glasgow  as the new building projects reach completion.

There are already opportunities to register for

Employment  http://www.glasgow2014.com/about_us/work_for_us.aspx
Volunteers http://www.glasgow2014.com/the_games/getting_involved/public.aspx
Tickets  http://www.glasgow2014.com/fb/mobile-tickets.aspx


Monday, June 18, 2012

Brave - Visit Scotland Ad Looking Good



Looking forward to seeing the movie Visit Scotland Website looks good
too http://www.visitscotland.com/brave/ 
Gosh only need a rainy day over Scottish summer as an excuse to go to the movies and that will never happen ;-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Closed Minds in an Open World

thanks to Gabriel Vivas for image under Creative Commons Licence 

I enjoyed chatting with members of the Association of Learning Technology at Glasgow Caledonian University on Thursday morning. It was great to speak to  lots of like minds. It is great that the Funding Council is committed to open  - but we need more folks to know this - it should be reflected in institutional policies . It should stretch into schools and FE and other government agencies, who should be leading by example.

A clear policy steer was made in 2004 . It is quite hard to find policy in action though !

 I included my own as an example of one that is trying to open up but could do with more of a  policy steer.

What would a more open world look like ...

1. To get institutions and teachers to throw off the shackles and get sharing - ideally using creative commons or other suitable open licences ( publishing only to an institutional VLE or even to the closed part of national intranet like GLOW is not open)

2. Non Departmental Public Bodies and other public agencies should understand open publishing too and be using the appropriate licensing. I'll stick here with learning content here but similar cases should be made for open data etc

3. In vocational space and probably school space too we should be doing much more reaching out to Commonwealth of Learning and initiatives like the American Community College Open Text Book initiatives. The Khan Academy and some other big charitable initiatives are really just the tip of much bigger iceberg of teachers and learners making and sharing content.

4. In UK we need to make more use of JISC and other institutional OER . There are real staff development needs in schools and FE for example in areas like computing and genetics to identify just two areas. But in lots of cases great teaching resources are open and available in the system but awareness is low . Education Scotland and others should be looking for evidence of a range of these materials being used across education.

5. In a UK context perhaps  Do you know about JORUM and better what is your publishing record to JORUM ? . Where is the Scottish or UK schools equivalent of JORUM ?

I am hoping that ALT can help all of us by pulling together a draft Scottish response to the next  UNESCO Declaration on OER which will appear after 20th of June 2012.

Open is part of the culture of Scottish Education but we need to get more folks to understand how to get there.

It is great too to have agencies like ALT who have been punching above their weight in this space for a long time. Great too that JISC have always committed themselves to the open space.

I suppose I better declare an interest  I've been on executive of ALT , I am currently on their publications committee and I still sit on advisory committee of JORUM - but I think that is just an indication that I am doing my bit .




Monday, May 21, 2012

Three Developments That Are Transforming Online Learning

Really aimed at my colleagues in the Scottish Further Education sector .
But for the forward thinking just as relevant for a schools audience.

Sir John Daniel, headed the Open University between 1990 and 2001, and knows a lot about large-scale distance learning.

Thanks to Seb Schmoller http://fm.schmoller.net/ for flagging this up.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

#Cam12 Innovation and Impact Open Educational Resources



I was privileged to attend the cloisters of Queens College for Cambridge 2012 which combined OER12 and the OCW Consortium’s Global Conference. The conference theme,"Innovation and Impact" was around openly collaborating to enhance education. The event brought together academics, professionals, students and policy makers interested in advancing the impact of OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources on education globally.

It was interesting to see two or three articles picking up themes from this conference in the press over the weekend. 


Here are a few bullets that I hope capture the event and the ideas flowing around it. All the presentations from the conference will appear here.
  • Indonesia - are building an open educational architecture for life long learning to support their 40 million students They have already digitized 5,000 senior secondary text books these are available freely for everyone to download. The next Global Open Courseware Consortium will be held in Bali Indonesia . Open Education is only way that Indonesia can meet the needs of its learners. 
  • UNESCO will hold a world forum in Paris in June with the aim of refreshing the Open Declaration. The Draft declaration has been sent to every government for comment. If you have time to take in one presentation from the proceedings watch this one from Sir John Daniel 
  • The American Community Colleges have made remarkable progress in 18 months in building and developing their own open-course books . These resources are available to everyone under Creative Commons Licences and the print versions will save learners collectively millions of dollars, pounds, yen:  insert relevant currency. The programme is gathering momentum
  • As learning content becomes free the  focus moves to what institutions can add to learning in terms of teaching , learning and social connectivity. The next generation curriculum will reflect competencies scaffolded on problem solving activities with the underpinning knowledge being open and free. 
  • The volume of content that is going to arrive as open content and or through creative commons licences will impact on learning at every level all around the world 
  • Institutions and countries need to position themselves to make the most of this shift to open content and collaboration . This willl have an impact on the biggest to the smallest institution.
My take homes are to take the  UNESCO Draft declaration back to my own non departmental public body and see what else we can do to support the agenda. I will carry the message back too to our government and related agencies. 

Education has the power to transform lives but too often access is restricted.  Among those excluded are those who lack the right qualifications, who cannot pay the fees or who are unable to accommodate a fixed schedule.  The Open Education movement seeks to remove barriers to education by freely sharing educational resources and adopting open educational practices.  
By publishing resources with Creative Commons licences[1], rights owners and authors are explicitly encouraging use and adaptation by both educators and learners.  By seeking out Open Educational Resources in preference to copyrighted materials teachers and lecturers are helping more learners to benefit from them.
National organisations such as the Higher Education Academy[2] and the Joint Information Systems Committee[3] in the UK and international agencies such as UNESCO[4] have recognised the importance of Open Education.  This Statement of Commitment is intended for individuals to publically pledge their support for Open Education.  It has been drawn up by the newly formed Open Education SIG which aims to support, develop, sustain and influence policy in Open Education.


I think this all sits well with Scotland's educational traditions around particularly the democratisation of the intellect . Great too to see Association of Learning Technology taking this issue on.

Education is about to become a lot less cloistered.








Monday, April 09, 2012

#GG2012 Going Global 2012 London




I was invited to participate in the British Council's Going Conference in London 13-15th March 2012 http://ihe.britishcouncil.org/going-global to present on the topic of Open Educational Resources or more specifically ways of attempting to overcome the barriers to their adoption.

I was interviewed as part of the proceedings and this edited version was kindly shared by the organisers.
I did a plug for http://www.jorum.ac.uk/   which has been cut from this  version -

My workshop materials are free to anyone who needs them under Creative Commons Licence,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#naace 2012

I attended NAACE conference with one thing to do, to find out how organised naace were in offering an alternative ICT curriculum for English schools. If you have been following announcements then you should know that from September 2012 the  ICT curriculum in English schools has been suspended at the moment for two years.  There is now no obligation to follow national curriculum.

    There had been much talk of new curriculums , of wikification , of stakeholder engagement of lots of things really and there  does seem to be lots of things going on. NAACE once were really the association for local authority ICT Advisors now attendees span a broader church of primary and secondary teachers  So what were the messages ?


  1.    Ofstead are relaxed that there will be lot of ways to drive up standards.
  2.   In theory individual  schools could  now make their own standards in this space
  3.   This is about national curriculum redesign not about qualifications design but what may emerge are new awards 
  4.   Some schools have already made big changes to their curriculum  they will be showcased .
  5.   Dfe giving Naace control of ICT mark and self review framework now official was previously BECTA  
  6.   Awarding bodies and industry subject associations arr encouraged  to develop creative solutions  Some arriving already  examples of innovative programmes  Computing at school Behind the Screen Apps for Good AQA and edexcel new gcse proposals in computer science  
  7.  You need to follow your own curriculum but flavours also arriving from NAACE , BCS , e-skills  , cas , you choose 
 Overall the focus is on programming and creating and the academically challenging bits  Computer science should be in everyone's minds.  But digital literacy and using ICT across the curriculum is still important.

 Is this the deregulation or the  derailing of national curriculum jury is out.

 I think NAACE should do more to take ownership of curriculum in this space while they have this opportunity I hope they do more to promoted their level 1 , 2 and 3 Curriculum. I think folks will get a bit confused about new GCSE that will appear in between now and September,

 Big shout out to Derek Robertson and John Johnston who picked up awards for conolarium and for growing teach meet community respectively.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Social Media Policy

Well done Australia always heralded as a forward looking confident society. This is a great piece for any employer in the private or public sector.

Interesting to note this particular presentation is for state legal services folk. Scottish Court services take note.

Lots of good practice highlighted nicely

I'll pass on to team that looks after SQA's social software policy. A useful clip for lots of organisations.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Big History


Winging its way out to Directors of Education and Headteachers tomorrow a superb opportunity for three schools and the science and social science departments ...and more
We have been invited as a Nation to participate in the pilot roll out of the Big History Project
Funded by Bill Gates directly through Bill Gates Catlyst Three. This is a superb opportunity to be part of a cutting edge,  project based learning,  global project - that fits very well with a Curriculum for Excellence


The SQA and The BIg History Project  invite applications to be part of The Big History Project and join pilot schools in Australia and USA
  • We are looking for three secondary schools in close proximity to each other - this is stipulation from the Big History Project.
  • Funding is available for two teachers from each school to attend the programme induction in Seatlle, USA between 22-25th March 2012.
  • These teachers will be a Science Teacher and a Social Subjects Teacher ( the curriculum leaders).
  • Participating schools need to deliver the Big History programme as a pilot from September 2012 to a 2nd or 3rd Year cohort  and provide feedback where appropriate.  
  • Participating schools will also be expected to carry out a curriculum mapping exercise for the Big History Project materials to the experiences and outcomes of CfE.

You can find out more about the Big History Project here www.bighistoryproject.com/
You can hear a message from David Christian to Scottish Schools here http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/video/b/video_tcm4687443.asp

Pilot schools will gain experience of working with global partners on a new and innovative multidisciplinary curriculum.

To apply for this opportunity - we need  an Education Authority’s nomination of three suitable schools.  The project will meet the travel and subsistence costs associated with the programme but will not provide cover costs for the  induction programme.

Applications will be screened by panel drawn from SQA, Education Scotland and The Big History Project.

Applications should consist of one side A4  with  a simple statement  from each of three nominated schools on Why the Big History project appeals to them.  

Attached to the application we need  a name and short resume of  the Science and Social Science Teacher nominated to take part in induction programme.from each of the three schools. Given the tight timescale on this nominees need to hold a full British Passport.

Applications close on Monday 5th of March - successful applicants will be contacted to make travel arrangements on 7th of March .

Applications should be emailed to Liam.Priest@sqa.org.uk
 
A special thanks due to @olliebray and @islayian for spotting this opportunity and making the introductions that made this happen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog

Sometimes while sitting in meetings talking once again about the revolution due to sweep our out moded education system to one side  I forget that I've spent more than  25 years using different kinds of technology in the classroom and the  workplace.

In all that time I still haven't got away from using a  keyboard as my main input tool - I was trying to get all of my students to wordprocess their essays in 1986.  You can't imagine how challenging that was.

There were folks then and there still  are those  who staunchly challenge the  notion that most folk should be able to use a keyboard  to compose simple messages for blogging , emailing ,etc and for doing a  lot more too.

You would not survive long in most workplaces without having some rudimentary skills.

The thing that still annoys me is that a lot of these superior voices around things like basic ICT skills do their postings from well designed and formatted  blogs or worse from professional media and not in handwritten notes. I'd wager too that their once pristine copperplate is rustier  than it has ever been. My handwriting is now awful and reserved for birthday cards and personal greetings - even for most things work I fall back on an electronic signature.

I was therefore  delighted last week to hear that my daughter who is in primary four is getting some basic keyboard skills and is keen to key her stories into the word processor.

To illustrate and admittedly probably greatly handicapped by my indigenous Glaswegian accent I had a go at using the Dragon  speech to text app to save me keying in all of this  - I  like the fantasy of the cats bit.

Sometimes chicken is noting because I still haven't got the keyboard still force is going to keep challenging the notion that most folks should be given to use one to compose suddenly suitable union except you and I survived Lord knows what places without having some rudimentary skills is that still annoys me is all of the superior voices I don't think that basic ICT skills do the postings were designed for McDonald's and handwritten and I waited to it once Christine is rustier than ever was my own ratings of fantasy of the cats get someone

I guess someone will pick up on me for promoting dull things like the use of word processing , spreadsheets , databases and presentation software but it is a basic skill .

It would be great if any responses by those in the anti-keyboarding lobby were added below, without the use of a keyboard ;-)


Thursday, February 02, 2012

How the World is Changing

What a great way to get your fingers dirty without getting your fingers dirty - -We do really need folks who can draw and design without templates. Worth a look though ! Drawing Tools on Tablet Devices are so cool


Sunday, January 29, 2012

#LWF12 a quick review

Learning Without Frontiers #lwf12

Learning Without Frontiers #lwf12

I spent two days this week at learning without frontiers . At some points of conference we made it out to the frontiers but there was also a fair number of old ideas being recycled. I loved the igloos but did think conference was not as good as previous years. Day Two was best day for me.

  1. Stephen Heppell was as his best as a reliable anchor. He really should get a lot more attention paid to his grounded ideas for moving education forward. It was great to hear him on day two . It helped for me at least to bring lots of ideas had picked up back into a real world context.
  2. Fine words from Noam Chomsky "A person can do magnificently on a test, and understand very little." #lwf12
  3. I thought Noam needed to be challenged  - but that is really the problem with deities  - he offered some very  clever questions but not really solutions - the lot of the über  academic .This was a very clever way to open conference but I don't think he really has answers that learners today need never mind future of learning.
  4. #lwf12 Ellen MacArthur passionate about the future, renewable resources & inspiring young people. http://t.co/fTgzEpOD
    #lwf12 Ellen MacArthur passionate about the future, renewable resources & inspiring young people. t.co/fTgzEpOD
  5. Rest of  morning of day one for me at any rate was too much thigh slapping empty rhetoric.  Though I'd still like Ray Kurzweil's slide deck.
    Jaron Lanier and Debbie Forster were hard going for me at least.
     Ellen MacArthur would have been brilliant but I've seen presentation before and I used this slot for some external meetings .
    After lunch Charlie Leadbetter gave us standard fayre biggest disappointment was perhaps Ed Vaizey - with Digital Britain agenda surely great moment to talk about life long learning and challenges that can be tackled that will lead to greater economic prosperity - thought he set his sites too low.
  6. Ended Day One in one of the marvellous igloos discussing educational Armageddon with lots of old friends and some new ones - if anything highlighted ongoing lack of consensus about what education is for - especially in England as everything seems fractured.  It seems like politically engineered Armageddon in England . I'd love an igloo for my back garden would be great for parties !This is worth a read from @dajbelshaw 
  7. What is ‘digital literacy’? EdD thesis by @dajbelshaw  http://neverendingthesis.com/doug-belshaw-thesis-as-submitted.pdf esis.com/doug-bmscilolthesis-as-submitted.pdf via Nigel on #mscilol
  8. Day two started is much more grounded way - David Puttnam does have a vision and Mitchel Resnick has done some great work at MIT Media Lab . I know lots of schools in Scotland are using Scratch to teach computer programming 
  9. RT @wayneholmes: If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will be condemned to spend its whole life believing it is stupid. David Putnam #LWF12
  10. Mitch Resnick, Lifelong Kindergarten, MIT Media Lab on stage at #lwf12 http://t.co/baM5emCD
    Mitch Resnick, Lifelong Kindergarten, MIT Media Lab on stage at #lwf12 t.co/baM5emCD
  11. Really enjoyed Mozilla Foundation input and moving something on with them 
  12. Really hoping we can plug Scottish education into Mozilla global community #lwf12 lots we can bring
  13. Some other links and ideas I am going back to look at - 
  14. Thingiverse - Digital Designs for Physical Objects: Where learners can share amazing things they have done with ...  http://bit.ly/ybopuo 
  15. RT @oliverquinlan: Digital Technology and the Brain: A Guide for the Online Family  http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/digital-technology-and-the-brain-a-guide-for-the-online-family/18705197 prlwf12/paperback/digital-technology-and-the-brain-a-guide-for-the-online-family/18705197 #lwf12
  16. Oops and here it is any Scottish learners tuned in to this ?  http://youngrewiredstate.org/ tate.org/
  17. RT @GrahamBM: Diary dates for #LWF13 Jan 29-30 2013, the brand new "West Hall" Olympia - expect us... #lwf12 Get it in your diary now!
  18. There are loads more of reviews appearing 
  19. From last night: my first reflections. RT *New* 'Learning Without Frontiers 2012 (#LWF12)'  http://bit.ly/wVtX6V 
  20. Schmooze did not really do it for me 
  21. @joecar Schmooze  http://bit.ly/sFrsKd  sounds really interesting! Let us know how it works for you at #LWF12

Monday, January 23, 2012

Class Dojo

I think this is interesting  development and probably running ahead of policy makers in this area of classroom management and reporting.

Young learners  who have seen Kung Fu Panda will probably understand concept of a Dojo and those that haven't will quickly see normal penalty and reward system of classroom management in this tool

Appeared on my radar a few times now in last six months and flagging it up for this reason alone.

Check it out at  http://www.classdojo.com/tour






Monday, January 16, 2012

#TeachMeetImpact



If I've done this correctly each time this page loads you will see 10 more photographs from one of the Teachmeets  that are happening right now somewhere in the world - Images from flickr tagged 'Teachmeet' and a  wee tool courtesy of Flickr Badge

The inspiring thing about Teachmeet is that it has travelled well

It works best where there are about 40-50 participants

The rules work well for teachers - who are not used to

a. Being in the audience
b. Talking for only a minute in some cases
c. Speaking in front of their peers and/or strangers
d And originally who wish to share and build their confidence in using technology in the classroom - and might not be that confident.




Created with flickr badge.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Playing with Drawing Packages

I am a terrible doodler and result of being away from home and trying to seek inspiration in meetings is that I sit and doodle .
I wonder if any of my pals recognise these doodles ;-)

The Bett Show 2nd Helpings #bett12, #BETT_Show, #bett2012




Michael Gove set a much better tone and direction for this year's conference, he may have disappointed some with talk of making programming exciting while perhaps overlooking the  fact that many folks still see a need for ict to permeate the curriculum more,  just using the stuff does require support and neither teachers or learners naturally apply technology in a learning context. We still need a focus on digital literacies.


I looked around for some familiar Education Department folks to compare notes with - I think an Education Department Stand at BETT would be useful. Though I have to say Naace and ALT are doing a fine job in keeping debate going and providing guidance for schools in maintaining quality of ICT Provision for learners.
It is worth looking and contributing to the  following debate at SchoolTech.Org.Uk 

When you see commercial muscle that is on display each year at BETT it is easy to see how and why local authorities can be seduced in to making large investments. There is an  interesting on going BBC investigation on UK Schools paying up to fives times more for technology than other parts of the world.

There was I thought some misplaced smugness from Scotland - we have done much around games and learning , programming in classroom and lots more and Curriculum for Excellence genuinely opens up a very broad range of opportunities from 4- 19 and across the full subject range,  but we still have much further to go.

Hoping Gove's  damascene conversion is what it appears and that it spurs on some more joined up messages and actions from Education Scotland and SQA . We've been talking about wikifying education for last six years hope some ears pricked up at Michael Gove taking this forward in England.