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

Monday, January 16, 2012


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.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Bett Show First Pass #bett12 #BETT_Show, #bett2012 , #mmafa , #tmbett2012 , #C84C , #EWF , #ELB2012 , #ATC21S

Lots of people can and do spend a lot of time slagging off the BETT Show but it is the one week in year where you  get the sense in the UK that learning technology has a full part to play in the future of learning.  

It can be really hectic but it is always a privilege to attend and critical I think that anyone who gets to attend shares things with the broader learning community. There are a few learning 'consultants' who top up on their jargon this week and will drip feed it to their clients for the rest of the year.  I think "flipped classroom" will be the term  for Bullshit Bingo this year.  ( not knocking theory but those who will mouth it emptily in the coming year ) 

The event was a lot busier than last year both on exhibitor and it felt on attendee front.  Some folks said rightly that last year had a poor turn out because of the weather but it still felt busier than last two previous years.  Good too to  meet up with both Education Scotland and Scottish Government at the  event - it is really critical we make the most of events like BETT both for information gathering and on promoting the best of Scottish Education.

I'll do a few posts  to summarise my BETT experience. There were lots of great links and interesting topics flying around on twitter I hope some of these streams will be archived.

#EWF,  #ELB2012  , #ATC21S I think lots of folk are unaware that BESA now helps organise an Education World Forum on the Monday and Tuesday before BETT started.  There are quite a few useful snippets in the feed from this  , Microsoft's Education Leaders Briefing  and one to have a look at the assessment and teaching of 21st century skills programme which we at SQA have been engaged with from inception.

#bett12 #BETT_Show,  #bett2012   - I wish that the official BETT Tag did not have an underscore in it . I don't know who came up with that idea but hopefully one that changes next year. 

 #mmafa  The Miranda Mod  Unconference and some excellent sessions 

#C84C  Collaborate for Change a useful new additional fringe event on Thursday evening some lively discussion from vendors and ICT support people   Looks too that it has a format that can sustain large conference numbers.

#tmbett2012 The one and only - but I'm still not able to hang about until Friday and I am still not sure that teachmeets work when you get 200 folk in one room. But it looked good as ever  and its still critical to have this kind of informal , informative , networking event for teachers at BETT. I'd still like to be able to offer some  no strings sponsorship for  this but I am not quite sure what is happening on this one. Delighted too that John Johnstone has been nominated for a NAACE award for impact of teachmeets I am sure lots of folk from across UK and beyond will want to help John get his portfolio together. 

More posts to follow 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

#BETT12 Here it comes

Well my diary is almost full of the important catch ups with vendors that I can only really make in this slot in the year.  I'll  be at BETT from Wed morning to Friday afternoon this year.

Normally I am aware of what the main big ticket issue is as a backdrop to BETT - in the past you could guess before you went that dependent on year you would be running into

- purveyors of electronic whiteboards
- ICT Training initiatives for teachers, learners , adults , civil servants ....
- whole school and local authority management information systems
- technical service providers for local authorities
- special deals for bulk buys of hardware
- Virtual Learning Environment providers
- Schools for the future , gazers , describers , sellers , costructors - in handy pre-formed partnership teams

The only constants over last 10 years are quiet stands full of fuzzy felt and interesting things for primary learners and  appalling really for Britain's premier education exhibition, wi-fi will be inaccessible or really dreadful.

It is hard to tell what main thing will be this year - I am guessing policy folk will sit around and talk about PISA - this has been main topic for last three years. It is verging on the obsessive really.

I'd like discussions to be around how education in the  UK can support BYOD if not for learners then certainly for teachers and how and why we can't be as ambitious for learners as a county like Uruguay can be in terms of moving to one lap top per child and building the infrastructure around this.
It may only be a short hop away as 4G and new networking technologies may mean that high bandwidth is available to support new initiatives in this space without cost of all the hard-wiring.

Would be great too to hear from school system of some examples where local authorities of regions have moved into cloud in an open scaleable way and overcome any security issues they may have had for learners and for information security too.

I usually come back with some great new ideas from international links we have  and a huge sense of relief we don't operate in the same policy landscape as the English education system. ( should add for blogging police this is a fact on policy landscape  rather than any form of  political statement )

See you there folks 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on a Busy Year – Part Three

I am certain as ever there are hordes of tools out there that do all the things I do in a much more time efficient way with a higher communication impact. But here are some reflections on trends I have seen this year.

Google Docs – I’ve been using this a lot for collaboration across and beyond our organisation. Challenge when tools arrived was to get other folk comfortable with this technology and happy to contribute in a crowd sourced way.  I’d predict much more use of tools like this across the public sector and folk become socialised to this way of working.

Twitter – In one way probably an enemy to joined up thinking – most folk who tweet think we hang on every post. I’ve been in a few meetings where folk think because they have broadcast something that everyone has read it and that everyone understood what it was about.   With those caveats Twitter remains a very effective way of following lots of change across range of sectors and sharing useful links

MOOCs – Massive Open On-line Courses There just has not been enough time in my diary to actively engage with one. Game changer this year has been Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Course with  more than 100,000 learners  taking part  and some more courses on offer this year this is really something to watch and take part in if you get the chance. Worth too just doing a Google Search for Stanford Mooc you start seeing huge range of learning resources the learners have created 

Aggregation Tools
These just get better and better and are great ways for getting most out of all the sources you follow and for re-broadcasting them selectively. I predict these will be big news next year as folk struggle to stay on top of all the information sources they now have access too.

Pealrtrees  - picked up on this about half way through year – for some topics I think this is better than delicious as a social bookmarking tool . Worth too checking out some of the collections  that are already there.

Simmering in background all this year and I’d expect more growth next year -
Infographics , Digital Storytelling , Growth of on-line schools , more interest in  national one computer per child and digital literacy projects

I have one confession though I’ve used Google Hangouts a couple of times but I still don’t really get Google+  I’ve got an i-pad 2 too and mostly use it as a flat screen TV

Finally a word of praise for Engage for Education.  I ‘ve been more and more impressed this year by the Scottish Government’s ability to use social software effectively .  The only slightly worrying caveat is that many of our stakeholders – teachers - are still looking for that paper copy of any information – I hope we can change this in the coming year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections on a Busy Year – Part Two

There is never enough time or money to support ground up initiatives. There is a lot of ground level work out there that could and can transform the lot of learners.  I think there are more of these than ever this year – and well done all ...

If you get a moment you should check out some of these links to teachers taking control of their own CPD.  I am always amazed that some more of the teacher training institutions are nor more visible in the CPD space in this way.  useful discussion on purpose of education across UK   nice set of educational podcasts
Pedagoo   teachers for teachers on a host of topics from Scottish Teachers 
Scotedublogs   Still for me best aggregation of Scottish Educational Blogs
Teachmeets  just grows and grows and driven by teachers

Most of the really good Scottish educational bloggers are now on twitter and you probably get richest diet from them here. But a few old timers worth following who will quickly lead you into the community of Scottish Educational Bloggers and Twitterers
Sorry I  can’t list everyone but check out Scottish Education Twits for feeds from main Scottish Educational Twitterers.

Worth following too those who stride around the world stirring things up

But best of all I found some new folks with new ideas emerging

Reflections on a Busy Year - Part One

Tidying out my  inbox and calendar, and while I get the chance, reflecting on a year measured out by appointments almost on each hour.  I think what still frustrates me is that I can’t put down all the things we get up to here, mainly because of the sensitivities around competition which is still an alien concept to many in Scottish education – not in the competition of ideas which should drive learning and is familiar ground, but that in education the profit motive can get in the way of excellence.

The thought that there are global corporates who will read this and frustrate us where they can, horrifies me but it is the reality of education and learning as a global service.  We need to be open to the best ideas and the most cost effective ways of delivering services to learners, competition is a good thing,  but we need to be wary of those whose mission is simply to set toll gates around learning with the aim of “monetising education” while still continuing to build public private partnerships with those who have higher ideals and are willing to work for and with us to support learners in Scotland.

Last year was dominated by the forces of change one way or another in all areas of my work.

Huge changes in institutions in Scotland

  • Education Scotland arriving, on the one hand meant lots of leaving parties, but meant too that change and handovers dominated the agenda of many meetings over the year.
  • Glow metamorphosing into what?.. we’ll find out early in New Year
  • JORUM changing direction and management structures,
  • November and December lots of meetings around future shape of further education in Scotland and Glasgow,  as a Board Member at Anniesland College. The impact of restructuring  on the further education sector will become apparent to many in the coming year.
  • One major scheduled change; Curriculum for Excellence and the roll new national qualifications,  this is doing well against a background of change and sticking to its delivery timeline

Internally I spent almost a year cajoling and encouraging some policy changes to make it an easier option to take vendor SCQF credit and leveled awards into national awards where institutions and qualification development teams need this.  This was behind the scenes work to support the DIVA project where we welcomed Linux at the start of year and VMWare at end of year.  Still patchy communication and information flow between centres and vendors and not enough made of opportunities that come from many of them.   Did my bit too to help SQA finally get a social software policy in place and hope it makes a difference in coming year.

On DIVA we hope to do more around communications early in New Year.  It was great to see a strong Scottish presence over in Washington for Partners in Learning Conference but I still fear many of these opportunities pass too many by in the main as folks are not aware of all the development opportunities available to them.

Finally an active year for Cross Party Skills Committee transitioning with new administration, on-going work getting things in place for Scotland’s Commonwealth Games 2014 through the Legacy Committee and lots of fine tuning of offers through the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment and at end of year lots of work with Scotland’s Colleges, Skills Development Scotland and Education Scotland looking once again at a shared services agenda.

I was fortunate too to get along to ALT-C11  and OER11 this year 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

JORUM Have a Look

I'm delighted still to be involved with JORUM . We need to foster more openness and the sharing of learning resources and we need to promote progression for learners - I can't think of a much better way of promoting learning than making learning materials available for teachers and learners through  an open learning object repository

There are lots of lessons around the journey that JORUM is making which are  relevant to many organisations in the private and public sectors who are interested in opening up and sharing learning content.

Spotted this nice summary of first meeting of new Jorum Steering Group  and you can follow the adventures of the JORUM Team here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Microsoft Partners in Learning Camp Scotland #pilgf #msftpil

Just did some homework around promoting this useful and free event for teachers .
There are great opportunities for teacher development from a broad range of private sector partners .
Sometimes it seems harder than it should be to get the message out around this and a  host of other related  opportunities.

Some of this is natural public sector suspicion and circumspection but goodness knows we do need innovative thinking from both the public and private sectors to support skills development of learners and teachers across Scotland. 

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Have to say up front I have no involvement in the organisation of these events .

 But just delighted that after a lot of years there are  SQA events taking place using the national platform and supported by Education Scotland . 

  • Important information for Secondary Schools: SQA Curriculum Area Events Live on Glow here. Most events and workshops will be shown live and recorded for watching again later.

  • Saturday, November 26, 2011

    #sveaconf Next Generation Learning Conference

    The prospect of getting up at 3.45am to cross Scotland to  catch a very early flight from Edinburgh to Brussels was only challenge in getting  to hear about this specific EU Project in integrating social media into vocational and adult education. ( some great new resources will be available from project in November).

     Just as significantly the European Commission gave a presentation around the vision of the future of learning and the funded projects and calls that will come next year around digital competency and e-literacy. It looks like there will be a lot of great things coming out of the "creative classroom" initiatives. The first projects will be aimed at school learners and up-skilling school teachers.

    Refreshingly and reassuringly some great presentations from Grainne Conole   , Helen Keegan  , Mark Stiles @markstiles  , Stevan Verjans    and Tom Wambeke  . The UK is often in the lead in thinking we're just not joined up enough would be my reflection.  Great none the less to hear work of JISC , ALT and other UK organisations cited as European and world leading.

    Thanks to twitter I caught up with Theo Kuechel @theokk on his way to European Conference on multi-media and education . He is curating a great collection of video resources for learning. Testament to Theo's good company and interesting work I managed to stay awake til midnight.

    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.

    #EMEA11 CompTIA

    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.