Saturday, November 26, 2011

Telecare and Telehealth Conference #teleconf_2011

conference logo

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#govcamp SCOTLAND

Govcamp Scotland - Home

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

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

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


    Scottish Stakeholder Group on Internet Safety

    facebook 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    November Madness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Life In A Day Now Available on YouTube

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

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

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

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Microsoft Partners in Learning Opportunities for Teachers

    o There are  rich learning opportunities available from the private sector . Through the DIVA Partnership we've been lucky to work with a lot of innovative organisations that genuinely want to make the learning experience better for teachers and learners. In last three weeks  I've been pushing this event and the broader Partners in Learning activities through our corporate channels and out to our partner organisations  -it is  hard to believe that it is eight years since we started working with many of our vendor partners. Through  this and other programmes ;  there are on-line  communities,  competitions that give  classroom teachers  the  opportunity to get fantastic staff development and to work with a global peer group.  In 2009 staff from Calderglen High School among others got all the  way to Brazil 

          I  sometimes get a bid fed up with some of the nae sayers who frankly treat development opportunities like this with an  unjustified contempt.  There is a challenge and that is getting all the teachers in Scotland to know about these superb opportunities and not just those on twitter.  Folks should know about this opportunity and those from a host of other organisations. 

    Partners in Learning Forum UK 2011

    The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’
    This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011.


    We have a rich agenda that includes as Keynote speakers, the world renowned Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President ofEidos , Alex Bellos, the author of the popular science bookAlex's Adventures in Numberland and Ollie Bray, the National Adviser for Emerging Technologies at Education Scotland
    In addition, delegates will be able to choose from a range of workshops. I would suggest that you sign up as soon as possible as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

    Using the Kinect SDK/Kodu in the classroom
    clip_image004Classroom Teachers Ray Chambers from Lodge Park Technology College & Nicki Maddams fromHartsdown College, give hands-on practical guidance on how to programme and create games in the classroom
    clip_image006Everyone is a Maths genius, can computer science/technology prove it?
    Dr Chris Imafidon – is one of the “World’s foremost scholars on leveraging informatics for learning and exceptional achievement. This workshop will discuss how computer science/technology exposed the myths of natural Intelligence, genes, gender, IQ, age, background, post-code.
    Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything?
    clip_image008Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), looks at the big question: How are we developing and encouraging the next generation of technology innovators in the UK?
    clip_image010Be a Maker: learn to build gadgets with .NET Gadgeteer
    Dr Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche from Microsoft Research.Do you like computer gadgets? Would you like to learn how to build and program gadgets to your own design? Then this workshop is for you!
    Medicines and innovation – the missing link
    Kandarp Thakkar - STEM Ambassador Programme - This workshop will introduce the STEM programme and give some ‘real-life’ case studies of successful use of this programme in delivering high quality university admissions.
    clip_image014Guerrilla Teaching & Learning
    Daniel Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla educator, co-founder of The Geography Collective and creative director of Mission:Explore. Join this workshop to receive initial training in how to be a guerrilla teacher and learner.
    Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’
    Dan Roberts from community school, presents light-hearted perspective and interactive & engaging discussion which considers the challenges & issues of schools using social networking, how these can be overcome?
    Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinectpackage for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.
    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    #EduScotICT What more to debate about Wifi in Schools ?

    Just catching up with blogs and posts just  had a great week off with family around Scotland.

    Surprised and rather disappointed that no-one picked up on first speakers real point about wi-fi
    Even the TES Article "Give us Some Coffee Shop Technology " missed main point.

    I tuned in and heard a very erudite Rhys McKenna state that even foreign campsites now have wifi.

    Starbucks have had  free Wifi in UK since 2009.
    The offices I left in 2002 had guest wifi available on request.
    There is not a city centre I've been too in last few years without a wifi hotspot of some kind, nor usually a conference , you can sometimes even do it on a train.

    If you just read this sort of coverage - you can  hear the nae sayers  being very understanding about schools struggling to compete with global corporates even if they are  - Coffee Chains.

    But campsites now do wifi  ( our camp-site had it as well  last summer ) - even some Scottish ones do  - and lots of homes have wifi too - so for goodness sake why not schools. What more is there to talk about?  or should we set up temporary under canvas learning centres with wifi  ?

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    #dob11 The Connected Educator - I like learner better

    Sometimes I hear the cynic in me - "Over the last 7 or 8 years one way or another I 've seen every slide in this presentation - delivered in different ways." I 've even pinched a few of these concepts too

    But on reflection and with some evaluation - the interesting thing is really- that in the best networked way , in the way that folklore and other good stories spread and get better with the re-telling all around the world - it is fundamentally the same story that is being told - the same signposts to the future. Learning around the world is on the same journey.

    The challenge is making the jump to this place - where we can point to user generated content and global networks of educators and better still global;ly networked  learners .. and we still haven't quite figured out the levers for this.

    Thanks Shelly Nussbaum Beach and to Ewan McIntosh over in frozen Norway for highlighting this presentation at whatever #dob11 is.

    Saturday, October 08, 2011

    Oldhall Scouts Celebrate 100 years

    Thanks to my friend Alasdair Marsden for photo

    I spent last weekend celebrating 30 years since I left school - I had in reality kept up with many of the folk there through keeping up my interest in Rugby both on and off the park.

    Folks who know me well know too of my passion for all things out doors and I'm looking forward to the centenary celebrations of my Scout Group Oldhalll in November.

    It is good that society generally has become more appreciative of the potential of things like sport and voluntary organisations for developing leadership , team players and a host of qualities that make people happy and productive. It is not an understatement to say you learn more about people on a muddy rugby pitch or under canvas for a week than you ever can in the conservative confines of some institution.

    Rugby and Scouts work too because of all the great people  who give up their own time and put something back in.

    There is a fair crowd of Scottish diaspora heading north for this event - and great to see it mentioned in the Evening Times this week..

               Scouts celebrate
    One of Paisley’s oldest Scout Troops is about to celebrate a very special birthday.
    The 5th Paisley (Oldhall) group, based at the old Barshaw House stables, is celebrating its centenary year this year and wants as many former members and friends to join in.
    A centenary dinner is to be held at the Glynhill Hotel, Renfrew, on November 19. We are also appealing for any old pictures of the troop.
    Tickets for the dinner, £25, are available from Moira Marsh, 5th Paisley, Oldhall Road, Paisley, PA1 3HN or e-mail for more information.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    #tmslf11 #slf11 Quick Post

    SLF dots
    I managed the first day at SLF and well done GLOW TV for giving us footage of  the whole event . You can catch keynotes here.
    The future must surely be on-line and with a  Saturday  thrown in for events like this - parents and learners could be invited too 
    Still think that as a "learning festival " needs some more Further Education , Community Education , Higher Education and workbased voices in proceedings, 

    Had usual fun at Teachmeet  and even squeezed in a session  - goodies are being collected this time here .  which again hopefully means that the teachmeet message and as importantly the nuggets shared will get further into the system. Special shout out to the new team of organisers who doing a great job.

    I've blogged about how I use before 

    But here is what I rushed through at Teachmeet is useful on a number of levels
    1. It shows in a magazine format part of what you get from following folks on twitter 
    2. Makes it useful tool to show people who don't get twitter and/or don't know who to follow 
    3. I now follow so many folks that I use it on a weekly basis to view what links  folks have been tweeting
    I use it for Scotedutwits  - and example here
    and on a weekly basis turns tweets with links into
    Here is today's edition the  timing captures SLF and TMSLF by pure coincidence

    How you do it - 
    1. Set up a list in twiitter of folks who's postings you specially want to follow - share common interest  etc 
    2. Set up account and point new title to this list - you can make papers that appear daily or weekly - weekly does me

    #altc2011 Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate review Part Two

    Here is quick summary of the things I discovered or revisited in last half of the ALT-C Conference 

    Karen Cator presented an interesting paper by video-cast to the assembly. Karen's focus in on mending a very fragmented school system - I'd argue a broken system - but others might argue a system with a strong independent and democratic tradition with a deep suspicion of anything led at national level.  They now have a national educational technology plan and they have just set up an organisation ( a bit like BECTA) to drive and support roll out of educational technology in schools across America.  Called the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies (Digital Promise  
    They are starting off my looking at special software and systems to develop learning through games in first instance.

    I spent some time in a couple of workshops re-familiarising my self with Glo-Maker which should be development tool of choice for most teachers in schools , colleges and HE . It is just so easy to use and creates sensible learning objects quickly. I still find lots of folk who don't know about it. 

    Then an over view of new LSIS tool for evaluating organisations ICT capacity - a great tool ;  it is free and it is on-line . Particularly due to pretty live debate in Scotland around future of ICT in Schools I think at school level  this and tools like this are a great place for school leaders to start.  Though I am not sure that the Learning and Skills Improvement Service will be able to cope with all the developments that seem to be being pushed their way.

    As a life long  Who fan - (just before I became a punk rocker)  - it was great to have dinner in the hall where "Live at Leeds" was recorded. 

    As conference closed I enjoyed the style and old fashioned but hard nosed rhetoric in John Naughton's lecture . He sat and told us many things we knew but challenged us too . I think proof that the lecture is not dead.  Nice too to hear from one of those rare creatures a public intellectual.  I'm looking forward to seeing this and more on ALT Youtube Channel. 

    The elephant in the room at this session and indeed many of sessions I attended is the impact that the new fee structures will have on higher education in England.  The Vice Chancellors have made the price 9,000 a year but no-one knows how it will really impact on recruitment and on institutional learner relationships.  This is a system in transition and one that is  afraid of the changes and times that lie ahead. 

    It is also a system where learning technology now more than ever has the capacity to support learners on  the journeys that they want to make those  individualised learner journeys  . One wonders if the price will lead to greater product differentiation and those richer individualised learning opportunities but  the danger must be a crude race to the bottom with lots of institutional failures. The die is now cast.

    And in all of this I hope not too many learner blues - the schools are currently packed with young folks who need a strong innovative and vibrant tertiary education system.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    #altc2011 Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate review Part One

    It has taken me longer than I thought to get to reflecting on #altc2011,   really as the winds of policy change have been blowing strongly in Scotland over last week or so.

    Association of Learning Technology members should have a look at our Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Education Mike Russell - leading from the the front on giving the educational system a shake and trying to put the whole debate on educational technology in schools and beyond on a new and different footing - the debate is all focused on making the most of what we have in that colder and more challenging climate - which will be all the clearer at the end of this month when the Scottish budget settlement is finally revealed and in place.

    It would be good too to get some input from the ALT Community in the work that is going on to shape the educational technology future of Scottish Education here - I am already seeing things where I know a lot of lessons have been already learned across FE and HE. Folks from global community should have a look at all  things tagged #EduScotICT.

    It was a rare treat and a privilege to get away from my desk and get to a whole ALT-C conference and it did not disappoint I came back buzzing with ideas and just as significantly an armoury of practical solutions and for my day job some potential business opportunities. You can't really ask for a richer diet than this.

    The big picture stuff which colleagues in Scotland should have a hard look at came from Uruguay , America and a timely reminder that "the future is here already it is just not evenly distributed". Though I came away from my first session being more and more convinced that the cycle of innovation adoption is getting shorter and shorter around the world.  Here is just a snapshot and some links for folks to have a look at

    1. Day One  I managed to attend two of the pre-conference workshops 
    • The Horizon Report on new and emerging technologies really worth a look - especially on the ever shortening adoption curves. If we are thinking in Scotland around tools we will have access to in 3 years time this is the  place to look  This work is really worth having a look at.  This work is commissioned by JISC for the UK but is based on similar studies from around the world.
    • Also managed to spend some time looking at impact of learner analytics oops I should be calling it Activity Data . I am still a bit sceptical of this  approach  while I appreciate most organisations are now data rich and information poor . I worry that  monitoring  lots information on a business systems dashboard around an individual learners attendance , performance , time spent accessing VLE , books borrowed from library, even through GPRS how the move around campus  etc replaces human contact with the institution.  One staggering piece of research showed those borrowing most books at a particular institution were most likely to get a first class degree. If you are interested in this area of work you should check out this site.
    2.  Day Two

    • The highlight of conference for me was hearing Miguel Brechner and about the progress of the one lap-top per child programme and educational and social impacts of Plan Ceibal – a new approach to the use of technology in educationUruguay has deployed more than 450,000 computers to every pupil in state education from the 1st year of primary to the 3rd year of secondary school. 99% of these students now have Internet connectivity in their school. All wireless and we're talking schools some of which had no power before programme started. It is totally transformational.
      From Miguel - as all pupils have laptops and connectivity new challenges appear and the personalization of education becomes a real possibility.

    • I then spent a session looking at the growth of virtual schools and colleges around the world and in the UK .  Currently I get approached once a month or so by a new virtual college or school looking at ways they can support education in Scotland and Scotland's learners. Worth having a look at VISCED they are uncovering some great practice from around the world and some in our own backyard that has so far been over looked.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    #EduscotICT Schools in Scotland and Mobile Devices

    Still compiling a report on Alt-C conference . I was especially impressed by Miguel Brechner's update on the progress of the one lap-top per child scheme in Uruguay and evaluation of this in English is here

    Picked up too this morning a useful post from New Zealand from Derek Wenmoth - both the barriers he describes and the solutions they are seeking will not be alien to Scottish Education audience  - I'll quote a bit

    • Burnside High School in Christchurch is encouraging its senior pupils to bring their own computers to school, but has no plans to make the devices compulsory.Burnside High School is encouraging its senior pupils to bring their own computers to school, but has no plans to make the devices compulsory.
    • Point England School in Auckland has embarked on a student netbook programme combined with a roll-out of wireless access to homes.
    • At Kaitao Intermediate School in Rotorua they've also announced a programme to provide tablets to every student at minimal cost to parents.
    • Brand new school, Albany Senior High School, started the way they planned to go on, with a "high trust" approach to technology use in the school, with all students able to bring their own device.
    • Orewa College hit the headlines with its plan to require students to purchase a 1-1 computing device for their work at school, with a recommendation that it be an iPad2
    • Perhaps the most ambitious is NZ's largest secondary school, Rangitoto College, which will welcome student devices into the school from next year, providing free access to the internet.
    The examples above can be matched by others, I'm sure, that haven't made the headlines in this way. The big question is WHY? What is driving these decisions to be made? Some of the reasons become apparent in an examination of the stories:
    1. Equity – providing students with devices is a way of countering the perceived gaps between the 'haves' and 'have nots' (digital divide)
    2. Cost – BYOD programmes minimise cost (and risk) for schools, who can then divert money into building a robust network to support them
    3. Competition – a fear of 'being lft behind', or of facing competition from other schools
    4. Curriculum – enabling 21st century learning to take place, recognising that digital literacy and competence will be required across the board
    5. Choice – a response to the increasing diversity of devices available, and to students wanting to use the device of their choosing

    I am sure world that Derek is describing chimes with some of our own experiences in Scotland

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    #EduScotICT Future of ICT in Scottish Schools Ramblings

    I just had a go at chipping some ideas in to an ongoing debate on future of ICT in Scottish Schools  . I am not sure if I put the right bits under the right heading but that is the joy and strength of a wiki and an open approach to encouraging the exchange of thoughts and ideas.  This approach has much to commend it.

    At moment folks are still storming around the decision to stop the big national re-procurement of GLOW . Which is understandable but we must first remember that the system was courageously always in Beta.
    We need to move quickly from talking about which bits didn't work to looking at what we need to support education across Scotland

    I'll try to expand here on some of the bullets I added

    If we have no GLOW do we still need a national system ?  - answer needs to be yes. But this time school system and policy makers need to learn from other parts of education system and build a system that supports life long learning. There is lots of experience in the College system around Management Information Systems and around the deployment and management of virtual learning environments. The University system has worked hard at building a national platform that is both open where it needs to be ( though it still needs to be more open) and closed where it has to be. The core  of the HE system is

    • Janet superconnect managed by UKERNA
    • Shibboleth secured authentication for users and content providers
    • Single login 
    The most cost effective way to buy bandwidth for education system is to do this on a national basis 

    A host of other local and national services are then built on this national infrastructure. The national services are in many cases provided and procured from those institutions that sit on the network. The system allows the purchase and distribution of collections of learning materials and other assets.  Even with the emergence of Open Educational Resources - secure repositories for some learning materials will continue to be a feature of learning for some time. The one thing that appeared missing from GLOW was a place where teachers or indeed national agencies could position content. Worth having a look at JORUM

    A single login and robust authentication systems means that other services like e-portfolios or indeed a  national on-line assessment system can plug into this - in the  knowledge that the learner is already authenticated and verified by the system. A national directory should also improve all kinds of communication across the sector.

    There is lots of space for cloud and web2.0 solutions in all of this. They should already be in wide use at school level and be used at national level where appropriate. Issue here is not about which service but around the fact that there are no standards for accessing these services across Scotland. Most teachers and learners will find their paths to services like these blocked.

    We need a proper quality system that puts the onus on schools and local authorities to open up almost everything to teachers and have appropriate filtering for learners. Combined with a positive dose of digital literacy and Internet safety training.

    We need to be more open around a lot of this - local authorities should be mandated to share on an open document system their policies and procedures. This would encourage both the adoption of good practice and discourage the fragmentation that does exist across the system - would help too the private schools , charitable institutions , special schools  and other smaller entities that are struggling too in this landscape. To reinforce the  duty of  the system to be inclusive for all learners in our landscape.

    In Holland and Denmark academics in public institutions are now mandated to share their academic publications in open journals. Many UK institutions now use d-space and other platforms to openly publish their academic outputs the UK and the  global  education debate is about openness . To make Scottish education great we need to be part of this and be confidently sharing our learning materials beyond the walls of our institution , the confines of our local authority and be sharing and exchanging learning materials and ideas globally.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2011

    Barriers to Adoption of Open Educational Resources

    Just spent some useful time in a workshop with lots of colleagues looking at  some of the challenges around the adoption of Open Educational Practices.

    Here is wee list we came up with

    1. Generally legal issues around publishing in open way are not recognised by institutions or individuals
    2. There are issues around current employment contracts - not clear to individuals or institutions around IP rights. Simple things like what happens when an academic leaves or moves to another institution.
    3. Some practice that are ok in classroom under fair dealing or other institutional licences are not ok if works are published on openly - few institutions have specific copyright checker
    4. Human factor too - institutions and individuals may not have an appetite for sharing - job fears, quality fears , and also concerns around or repurposing materials not invented in the institution.
    5. Not enough knowledge about things like Creative Commons and other licence policies
    6. Not enough information on best formats for publication of OER - things like EPub format not well understood
    7. On using other peoples OER even under creative commons concern around attribution of derivative works
    8. On specific things like images where meta data can be important you may want to share image but be concerned about licence of meta data
    9. Good practice identified in Holland and Denmark where academics are mandated to publish to Open Educational Journals.

    Saturday, September 03, 2011

    #altc2011 Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate

    Association for Learning Technology

    Last year I did quite a detailed post on the things I am looking for at the Association for Learning Technology Conference.

    From my original list from last year

    • Exemplifying models of holistic assessment utilising range of different mediums.
    • Exploring use of E-portfolios and their application across institutional boundaries - portfolio moving with learner.
    • Describing and exemplifying Assessment strategies beyond the written word video or other evidence capture mechanisms including Virtual Worlds
    • Demonstrating use of Wki and Blogs for assessment of collaborative and group work
    • Piloting and creating models for test item sharing in (maths , sciences and computing ) how far can we share/ re-use  items between institutions /continents/ education systems  ?
    • Further exploring potential of Games Based Assessment
    These areas of work and some broader work around building and defining Digital Literacy across  the spectrum of life long learning.and how qualifications support this.  

    I'd add looking at how open educational resources are being used to support learning and teaching.

    I still think too that the use of Crowd Vine is exemplary and I wish systems like this could be used as some of the other conferences and events I get to attend. 

    New Ways to Change the World or at least talk about it

    purpos/ed logoLogo

    It is worth reflecting following some active UK Government discussion around greater regulation of twitter , Facebook  blackberry messaging and social software generally on the usefulness of social software as a means of driving positive change across the educational landscape. There are currently lots of useful places where policy makers, teachers , educational leaders, academics and those with an interest in education can exchange ideas. Here is a quick snapshot of some of the sources and activities I find useful mainly in a Scottish context,

    1. The professional stream on Scotedublogs gives you an RSS of most education blogs that matter from across Scottish Education
    2 Get along to a Teachmeet and make a contribution - event at Scottish Learning Festival is where it all started.
    3. Follow Pedagoo in Scotland and purpose/ed for an interesting exchange of ideas
    4. Have a look and follow or get along if you can to David Cameron and Laurie O'Donnell's event  at 
    5. Follow some Scottish Educational Twitterers This week Don Ledingham made a series of inspiring tweets on ideas around developing senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence!/search?q=%23cfeseniorphase
    6. Get and follow  RSS feeds from the Scottish Government who are making intelligent use of social software. The Engage for Education Website is engaging with teachers and has engaging content.

    These are all positive things you can  follow , engage and contribute to the changing face of education and learning.

    The darker underside is still there too in the often anonymous posts found in the forums of the Scottish Times Educational website - forums.

    Worth noting too there are still too many folks who don't have a voice in any of this,

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    PISA Measuring Student Success Around the World

    I've been tracking growth of PISA for a number of years. The system has its uses as a comparator .
    But it is not without some flaws and involves some quite serious investment to get a national PISA Score.
    This animation from OECD explains what PISA is all about ..

    Useful guide for parents , teachers , academics , politicians and especially educational journalists and policy makers.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Islay High School

    Islay High School came on to my radar about six years ago. We were working with Adobe to build capacity in to the Scottish Education system to improve the delivery of the fundamentals of web design . We were working  well with Colleges from across Scotland but we were struggling to engage with schools. In the end @islayian turned up for the free weeks training from Anuja Darkhar  Head of Adobe's world education team. 

    Interested in our soul teaching representative I was immediately impressed by what I learned about his reasonably remote island school.

    Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at their annual celebration of achievement and finally getting a tour of the school.

    This is now not a new story - but I am still really surprised at how few schools have taken Islay's lead. Here is what makes them different.

    • Pupils all are provided with their own ultra mobile PC. They use these in class and at home.
    • The devices have been paid for by removing the school photocopiers and introducing the machines year by year - Islay High is now a paperless school at least on the learning side.
    • Teachers have their own Toshiba laptops with touchscreen functionality.
    • Classrooms have wireless projectors and a white painted wall - rather than whiteboards. As the teachers and learners all have their own devices they can interact through the wireless projector.
    • Beyond the technology they timetable 3rd to 6th year together - which leads to a great community feel in the senior school. This allows for personalised timetables over 3 or 4 years - this gives learners a large range of academic and vocational options and allows some to really stretch themselves - a few 5th years have achieved Advanced Highers.
    At the end of yesterday's awards ceremony I met with learners , their parents and local employers . They were all content that sthe chool provided a platform for learners to follow academic careers and/or move into the local employment market.  I was impressed too by this year's school trip. The Headteacher is taking a group of 5th Years on an expedition to Madagascar for four weeks.

    All this delivered cheerfully from a school stitched together from buildings from the 30's , 50's and 1970's

    I know lots of schools are finding their own way towards a curriculum for excellence,  Islay High is a useful beacon.  Or can it be that island folks are just that liitle bit more resourceful ?

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Piracy , Internet Safety and Identity Theft

    On way into work the other morning a well known Glasgow businessman told me that he was having problems with his home Internet account  following a phone call he had from Microsoft.  He believed them as they knew he had a Microsoft operating system and knew he was an AOL Customer -so  he even confirmed his password. By this point he noticed my jaw had dropped.

    The Microsoft caller  told him that they were experiencing some problems with AOL Accounts and that he should leave his computer on but not access his AOL account for the next three days.

    All bits of his story alarmed me -  I am guessing that his identity had been pinched , computer hijacked and a range of dreadful things were  being perpetrated in his name.

    I told him to go home and switch his computer and router off - and use his office  computer to change passwords to banking or other sensitive accounts and then go to the authorities.

    Highlights need for everyone to be aware of their on-line security.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    LIfe in A Day

    YouTube’s Life in a Day arrived in major cities in the U.K. and the U.S. yesterday.
    A great advert for humanity and our ever shrinking world

    The film was directed by Oscar-winning Kevin Macdonald, who took over 80,000 submissions and 4,500 hours of footage from 192 countries and created a feature-length documentary reflecting people’s lives on the 24th of July, 2010.

    Produced from 70,000 hours of user-submitted uploaded video , the team sent 400 cameras out to the developing world to capture 20-30% of the final film.

    I can see lots of uses for this in classroom - even the trailer makes me smile.

    Hype or Not to Hype

    I agree with most of Steve Wheeler's ideas - and there is a lot to be inspired by in this presentation.But it also raises more questions -  I hope learning becomes open , social , personal and mobile too But it is not inevitable and there is some danger that we can be guilty of over hyping the affordances that technology could bring us New Technologies and the Future of Learning
    View more presentations from Steve Wheeler

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    #showcase2011 Scottish Technology Showcase

    All the new things you might imagine -green forms of energy generation and storage, Telehealthcare, Cloud Computing , Data Centres , Innovative uses and users of social software , Web Analytic services, Digital Marketing Agencies,  lean manufacturing techniques and precision engineering ..were all on display at this excellent event. A  great place to see what the workplace of the future will be like and where the skills gaps are in the new economy.   Few ideas too around some qualifications new economy will need.

    Great mainly to see a host of thriving innovators , entrepreneurs and exporters driving the Scottish economy onwards .

    Would have been good to see some more press coverage of this excellent event.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Lest We Forget

    As America starts to build an appropriate national education and skills system . We should reflect on what we take too much for granted in UK and in Scotland.

    The aim

    for example, a welder would be able to leave a community college with a standard certificate that employers in shipbuilding, computer building or car manufacturing could recognize as a proof of the welder's skill set.
    Is one that our system addressed a long tme ago.

    There is always room for improvement , we do have a system that encourages transferable skills and life long learning and  export this with a high level of success to both the developed and developing world.
    We should do a bit more to celebrate this.