Friday, April 22, 2016


#OER16 Quick Overview and Some important links for Scottish FE

#OER16 Quick Overview and Some important links for Scottish FE

A quick overview of a superb two days thinking time.

  1. Open Educational Resources for those still wondering what #oer means.
  2. This conference has been going since the inaugural conference at the University of Cambridge in 2010 . It was a great privilege to be once again on the organising committee and chairing some of the sessions this year . This storify captures some of the sessions I attended . The event was supported by the great folks of co-chaired superbly by and and attracted delegates from 29 different countries to two wonderfully sunny days in Edinburgh.
  3. I am prejudiced but I do think some of our most creative educators are interested in open education. I enjoyed the action-bound challenge and I made full use of the excellent and well organised on-line programme
  4. ActionBound would make a great platform for student induction sessions.
  5. @Catherinecronin did a great job of unpacking the issues around open learning and the digital identity dilemma to being open .
  6. All of the sessions I attended inspired me and showed way forward for all of us in rethnking what education could be . Many of the sessions were recorded you can access them all on the conference web site There was something for everyone from policy makers to practitioners.
  7. I'll focus here on picking out a few sessions and links that I think further education should tune in to . Every session had something superb wrapped up in it so this is a tough task.
  8. In no particular order and for those teaching computer games development have a look at
  9. RAGE hoping colleges and universities teaching programming or games development tuned in to this #oer16 @EU_H2020 
  10. All of the sessions from Wikimedia offered something for Colleges and adult learners - I can't do them all justice in a post . But Colleges should be using Wikimedia tools not just as reference materials but as active learning tools. Learners should be authoring content for all of the wikimedia platforms
  11. If you haven't discovered DS106 and you teach anything creative then have look - that primary learners all around the world are now doing some of the assigments should tell you something startling.
  12. @jimgroom #oer16  open course aimed at HE and lots of primary kids do the open assignments .. Tells you something
  13. I am assured that all of the BBC RES and other re-sources will be available to Scottish Schools through GLOW I hope similar thought has gone into how Colleges will access these probably through JISC services
  14. The research and education space (RES) | RIchard Leeming BBC great session on new resources for learning #oer16 
  15. I saw a whole new academic discipline open up as David Kernohan set out his thesis on Blogs as now being more accessible, authoritative, accessible and capable of citation than traditional research. All pointing to new ways of evaluating the impact of academic publishing.
  16. Evaluating blog corpus on open education nice work from @dkernohan  now on to semanometrics and citation metrics
    Evaluating blog corpus on open education nice work from @dkernohan now on to semanometrics and citation metrics
  17. Dublin City University student success tool box - give Colleges a range of customiseable re-sources for induction and much more . Every College in Scotland needs access to this . Perhaps one for CDN to have a look at . Available for download from github
  18. These two superb characters - are driving global changes in Educational blogging and content creation SPLOT is just one of a range of tools they demoed watch their session carefully I liked NSCloner which gives teachers any kind of Wordpress blog they want quickly and easily
  19. Check out too how American Community Colleges use OER across the curriculum
  20. And finally if you want a closer to home example check out Edinburgh University Every College should have its own modest ambitions in opening up learning . There are 210,000 learners no longer in Scottish FE . How are you reaching out into your communities and local businesses and offering real support.
  21. If you missed out - think about becoming a member of ALT and/or book your place or better submit a presentation idea to next year's conference
  22. And remember too to read and comment on the Scottish Open Education Declaration !

Monday, April 04, 2016

@A_L_T Scotland: Sharing Stories Enablers and Drivers for Learning Technology in Scottish Education

It is great news that this year's annual ALT gathering will be held at Dundee and Angus College.

The event will run on the 7th of June 2016 10am-4pm 

 The event is organised by the ALT Scotland Members Group

Bringing together Members from across Scotland and allowing an important interchange between those working across education to share current practice and their plans for the future. 

It has been an exciting year in terms of on-line developments in both the Further and Higher Education sectors and I am sure this will be reflected in the proceedings. 

The event is designed to bring together practitioners from across sectors to share experiences of current and emerging practices in encouraging engagement with learning technology, highlighting the key enablers and drivers. 

To help with the organising we’ve set up a Google form for proposals at 

Get your story in and come along and share it with learning technologists from across Scotland. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#OEPS Forum , Final #Jorum Steering Group , Making An Open Information Age

In the last couple of weeks I've been involved in a number of gatherings all around the open sharing of learning materials and information across the public sector.

A re-current discussion theme -

"What are the key arguments or actions that will encourage senior policy makers in your institution to take a strategic approach to open education resources and encourage  open practice "
And response ;

If our leaders can't see the value in opening up and sharing and prefer that everything is done in silos then it is hard to challenge this. 

The usual fears of senior managers and colleagues around sharing learning materials were trotted out.

Managers fear exposure around the quality of learning resources and fear that copyright may be breached . They dream too of a new income stream from the sale of institutionally produced learning materials .  There is a conflict here - and while they are conflicted between the argument that sharing and collaboration make sense - but our materials are not good enough - and or maybe one day we could sell these teaching materials - they fall back on inaction.

Classroom practitioners share some of these fears and without leadership are worried too that by sharing learning and teaching materials they are making themselves redundant. In many cases they are worried about sharing learning materials across an institution with their colleagues  not just sharing learning materials openly.

I thought it might be worth doing a wee run down on the state of open in Scotland - This reflecting mainly on open educational resources rather than open data and open research and other open practices,

Clear Government Policy

The Government has adopted a Scottish Open Government Licence for publications from Government and their agencies . There are pockets of enthusiasm for open data , open standards and even harder to find for  open educational resources .  But the feeling is still that opening up educational resources is  very much an issue for institutions rather than government policy.

We've been trying to find and without success a Scottish government speaker for #OER16 an international conference, this year running in Edinburgh. The reluctance of anyone to talk out aloud around benefits of #OER underlines what is at moment an indifference to shaping policy here.

The Open Scotland Declaration while garnering much recognition outside Scotland remains a statement of ideals, though it  is gaining some traction at institutional level, it has been used a basis for Edinburgh University's recent commitment to open education.

Wales seem more comfortable with open educational resources while England is becoming a fragmented nation of content shop keepers.

National Platforms supporting Open

The government has committed funds to the OEPS project which is  due to complete in June 2017 this is having good impact on practice in the 3rd sector but it is hard to see the impact it is having on the other HE partners or on the FE sector despite the best efforts of the team.

JORUM/ Re-Source  The not well understood and not well enough used platforms for open content are being retired by JISC will be  replaced by a content and app store due to come on stream in June with the  former services being  retired in September . The new platform will have a sharing area for open educational resources as well as a commercial area for re-sale of 3rd party content.

While many believe that permission for publishing to the open web is all that is needed for #oer to flourish I still believe that it needs both curation and support from a broader learning community for #oer to be sustainable. The new content and app store is aiming to be the place for this.

I think too that it is  important that a sharing space exists out with the bailiwick of a single institution.
I am cautious about the success of the TES sharing platform - but it is making progress in being the place to share learning materials. The platform meets the criteria of being in existence , having a user base and being out with an institutional bailiwick . Though deposits here are made by individual rather than by institutions. Perhaps find and sell your wares is the new reality for education.

Support from University/Colleges/ Local Authorities

Edinburgh University , GCU and Leeds - leading charge along with the Open University in having policies and platforms around open educational content.

 But in at least one of these gatherings there were mutterings from English based universities,  they are now in competition , that they and not the public purse invest in their learning materials and they use their learning materials to gain a competitive advantage over other universities and are therefore increasingly unlikely to share learning materials.

Thank goodness they are already mandated to share publically funded research.

Colleges in Scotland while happy to date to share materials through Re-Source have been focused mainly on re-structuring rather than updating their practice . There are some green shoots West College Scotland pioneering an offer of automatically marked free on-line courses.  There are different forms of open.

Colleges across UK are  looking too to closed content consortiums as method of sharing the cost of developing on-line content through partnerships like that established by Heart of Worcester College.

I hope the new content and app store from JISC will reinvigorate the sharing culture.

In Scotland hard to see any sign of local education authorities encouraging teachers to adopt open practice and produce #OER . The Scottish schools intranet #Glow is going from strength to strength and while necessarily closed to protect primary and other young learners it is producing a kind of locked in syndrome around school based resources. There is not an open area for content.

The teachers who are engaged around this tend to be the maverick enthusiasts.  Perhaps no one has noticed that maths teacher Colin Hegarty and others are just getting on with it and garnering global recognition.

It hard to see signs that any local authority in Scotland is likely to adopt the open Leicester model at moment - so ably led by Josie Fraser.

I'll add here at link based session I did on content and content creation across the FE Landscape for a recent webinar on sources of open but mainly commercial content to support delivery .

It does not have to be like this . There is a great opportunity to find out about open educational practice from around the world at #OER16 next month in Edinburgh

Monday, February 22, 2016

New Horizons

I was about to email this around some contacts, who are just catching up with my news ,  but it's not really the open way to do things so I am posting it here too - minus my home address.

Dear all,
I have moved on from the College Development Network and I am looking for full or part-time assignments that can use my skills, experience and networks across Scottish Education, UK and into international vocational education.

For those in the system.  If you have staff who need their eyes opened to the possibilities of new delivery models in a constructive way – I have the skills and contacts to build their confidence to inspire them to  take delivery and learner engagement to a new place.

For those in and around the system;  if you have a project that needs a business case, a product or solution that will support learning or educational institutions in an innovative way, you are searching for the right route to market or you are simply looking for the right partner in the Scottish Education sector then I hope to be able to help.

My personal interests will still focus on  innovation, entrepreneurship, digital literacy with a focus on educators, developing open practitioners , shared services, open education, digital communities of practice, collaborative education and the co-creation of curricula, new forms of assessment – particularly e-portfolios and their role in quality assurance, open badges and new ways of credentialing learning, all things 16+ learning formal and informal and much more.
I have a deep understanding of the policy landscape around Colleges and across the vocational learning landscape across the UK.

In the month ahead I am supporting a webinar from the Heart of Worcester College on a new model of collaborative content creation and supporting the organisation of #oer16 at Edinburgh University.

My updated linkedin profile is here

If you have a moment,  I would welcome a recommendation around the work we have done in the past on my LinkedIn Profile.

I look forward to working with you in the future and meeting you on the journey to make education a relevant and a better place for all.

Kind Regards


Monday, February 01, 2016

Who to Follow where to look for the new ?

I had one of these brain dump conversations this morning on Skype that spanned change initiatives , technology,  and the sharing and networking of learning materials among other topics.

I've been around a bit - here is a quick guide to folks that I think are worth keeping an eye on in Scotland and across UK currently.

I hope this is useful and I'm happy to add folks - probably lots of omissions. Surely there is  a useful google.doc or other crowd sourced directory out there by now ?

I've tried to make list one of people rather than organisational accounts.

This with a focus on 16+ learning formal or informal.

First of all who to follow on twitter or to grab an rss feed from their blog.

JISC Folks  are always a good place to start .

For a UK focus - follow

For JISC UK with Scottish angle

For Scottish College staff - harder but try as a starter

For right across life long learning schools/colleges/adult learning and HE

For College News

SQA Tweets

For leading change

I hope this is useful - especially if you are still trying to explain to staff 'what is the point ' of twitter or other social software tools in developing a personal learning network.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

#EDINA20 EDINA and other Mysteries

Data libraries and the skills needed to create and maintain systems that allow the storage, archiving , curation , custodianship and management of information are not things that make headlines in an age when everyone assumes that Google does this all in any case.

You may have fallen asleep already - but this is important !

EDINA celebrated its 20th birthday this week.  Based at Edinburgh University EDINA provides services to the global academic community and a number of resources that should be better known and better utilised by UK Schools and Colleges.

While there was much celebration around the fact that over 70% of Colleges in the UK  are signed up for EDINA services I have not seen these tools being used and embedded in practice across Colleges in Scotland.

Take a moment or two and have a look at these resources -  These are just some of the great resources delivered by

These resources should be being used across the curriculum - not just in geography.  A service that EDINA provided for JISC and currently about to be re-shaped.  Open Deposit and search across UK HE open research repositories The archive of the  two Statistical Accounts of Scotland, covering the 1790s and the 1830s, are among the best contemporary reports of life during the agricultural and industrial revolutions in Europe. A key source to study the emergence of the modern British State and the economic and social impact of the world's first industrial nation.

Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches is a collaborative project which has been set up to preserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online several thousand hours of Gaelic and Scots recordings. This website contains a wealth of material such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information. The material has been collected from all over Scotland and beyond from the 1930s onwards. You will not find these resources on YouTube  - A free way to understand the challenges of managing digital data

an online non-assessed course with guidelines to help you understand and reflect on how to manage the digital data.  A repository of data-sets and gives you and learners opportunity to do statistical analysis on some big data sets.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#BYOD4L Reflection



BYOD4L Reflection on programme and artifact

  1. You can find full programme at
  2. Here is a creation , a record and a reflection and evaluation of #BYODL . I enjoyed dipping in and out in the small amount of time I could set aside for this . I think the webpages setting out tasks and scenarios are great. I felt programme would have benefitted from one place where I could see and or reach out to the other participants on the programme . Good though that we were encouraged to try out a range of platforms as part of the course. I was not able to take part in twitter discussions in evening due to other commitments .
  3. This is my artefact for last bit of the programme - 'creating '
  4. To start programme I read through instructions and as way of introduction I posted into Google Group and that was day one
  5. Day Two I had a look at some of the tools I use currently and some I have used in the past and followed discussions on what everyone else is using .
  6. I picked up on , and and had a look at these tools that were new to me . I am now using nuzzel though I am not sure if it is giving me more than the analysis of my twitter feed I get from Digg but time will tell . Another one my broader on-line personal learning network spotted I was looking at new social tools and suggested I start using which is a community crowd sourced tool around wine buying and drinking - I joined this service and it looks interesting. So I benefited directly and indirectly by engaging with #BYOD4L
  7. Day Three I updated my blog post based on scenarios
  8. Day Four I reflected on different archiving tools I have used and picked up a problem with one of my automatic tools
  9. Day Five - I am probably starting to do things in wrong order - but I contribute to collaboration part of task
  10. Day Six - Creating - I normally do social, communicating, creation and curation almost all at the same time - without thinking . In fact most of this is done and published for me through various programmes and macros that do it all automatically . It was useful to pause and have a think about what I could do differently for #BYOD4L . I have used storify before for conferences but not for this type of evidence curation . It makes a neat eportfolio .
  11. My final reflection on programme - for me most of this has not been generated on a mobile device - I use mobile devices - phone and tablet for browsing and grazing on information - I use lap-tops and things with decent keyboards for creation . Thanks to all faciltators and participants I enjoyed experience.

Monday, January 18, 2016

#Bett16 #Bett2016 Not At Bett don't despair - A Survival Guide for following #BETT Week

It is really a great privilege  to get in and around the largest educational technology conference in the world. I hope folks who are in and around the conference appreciate that and make the most of social media to share their experience of the event.

But you can now engage with it from your mobile device - wherever you are.

Here is a quick survival guide for those who can't make the conference in person this year but want to follow what is happening through twitter or by other means

The main conference hashtag is #BETT2016 . There are a range of tools that will let you monitor the twitter feed and filter out the sales patter.  Filtering out the sales patter is what you need to do too  if you are there in person.

It is worth having a look at the sections of the programme you are interested in

The three strands I have an interest in are the  FE and Skills , Technology in Higher Education, and Leadership in Education .

The buzz starts before BETT with the Education World Forum #EWF2016 for policy makers and ministerial teams  . This conference usually runs on Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday with Wednesday being the day the internatonal policy delegates are brought over to the BETT Conference.

The EWF can be a bit of an advertorial for the English education and skills system -which often masquerades at this international event as the "UK Education and Skills system"  - so great to see that this year Angela Constance the Scottish Minister for Education has a speaking slot .

There won't be a lot of tweets from #EWF2016 but worth watching out for links to the keynote's presentations.

On day one the Education World Forum ,  Education Fast Forward held a session for the global delegates on literacy challenges around the world.

You can find tweets and links from this morning's debate  and you can find a recording of the debate here

Over the course of this week I am looking forward to seeing some updates on JISC work around FE and Skills and the work that has been done to date by the FELTAG Coalition Group

Look out for English Minister for Education Address to delegates.
Watch out who wins the #Bettawards in the evening - often a reasonable indicator of interesting work.

Usually day that vendors like Microsoft and others get to show off something new and make announcements.

Teachmeet - can be worth a follow - though Teachmeet Bett is on an epic scale  #tmbett16

Around Bett time worth following - some of these folks - I will come back and add some more

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#BYOD4L Day Two of On-line Course

I am taking part in a open on-line course 

Today is day two and I was set some questions -

 1. State how you currently communicate with others in your private and professional life.

I use a range of tools to support my work and my professional development.  Here is a list of the current tools that I use regularly and a timeline of my adoption of these.  It does not happen overnight.

If you have a look at some of the earlier postings on this blog you will get a feel for the range of tools that I have used in the past.

I use Facebook and some other tools only in my private life .

I am comfortable managing both my professional digital identity and my private digital identity.
You can find me on most of these platforms - I adopted the moniker 'joecar' as the  internet arrived and I was living and working in an area of Glasgow called Cardonald  -so Joe at Cardonald College became joecar. If you do an internet search or a search on one of these platforms you will find me as joecar or joecar80 and sometimes as Joe Wilson.

With foresight I could have adopted a more professional by-line but it still reflects my approach to much of this area.  Everything is in Beta and you should have a healthy questioning distrust of experts.

2. Discuss at least one of the scenarios and identify how this/these links/link to your own practice

These apply to both scenarios -

In both scenarios learners and practitioners need to adopt an open and collaborative mind-set and see the value that investing a little time in sharing brings.

Learning now happens beyond and institution. Private sector organisations are threatened by the porousness of information flows but in reality it is something that we all need to embrace.

In my practice I try to exemplify this :

By sharing lots of relevant links and ideas and encouraging people to network through relevant on-line social platforms .It is worth following some key individuals on twitter or other social platforms even if you are just lurking - experience builds confidence.

By encouraging others to become open practitioners while supporting and protecting them around managing their digital identities.

By encouraging teachers and learners - we are all learners - to share their learning journeys and share useful resources openly.

3. Explore opportunities to enhance your communication strategy with peers, tutors and the wider community using smart devices to support inclusive learning and teaching in and outside the classroom.

At moment I am interested in Pinterest as a vehicle building quick e-portfolios for learners .  Learners in the know do a lot of collaboration through tools like Snapchat and Instagram.  If we want all learners to have the same opportunity we need to ensure that they all  have excellent digital literacy skills .

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Presentation from #IODScotcon

Last week I had an opportunity to speak at the Institute of Directors annual Conference in Scotland . I ran a workshop on ways that organisations can shape what Colleges deliver. My slides are a combination of slides from CDN , from Colleges Scotland , from SCQF from SQA and from Education Scotland - as all the public partners in Scotland are focused on Developing Scotland's Young Workforce and working in partnership with employers .

Monday, October 12, 2015

How Learners want you to use technology #ScotEdChat

I have run this as a session a couple of times . Once with the assembled staff of West College Scotland and a couple of times more intimately with the boards of some Colleges looking for the answer to the 'what next " question or even the what's happening now question.

It's actually more about the things that are easily in reach for the technically terrified than it is about global change and  the massive global changes that are happening in learning delivery.

I focus on things like what I would do with my Youtube channel if I was still in classroom . No it wouldn't be a homage to my 14 years in the classroom it would be a set of great learning resources borrowed from lots of other people and organisations etc

I give examples of how I continue to use all of the tools listed on the early slide.  I should really have a much longer slide of all the tools I no longer use - to illustrate that we should not fear obsolescence in moving the learning dialogue forward.

I pick examples where folk have said it couldn't be done !  - teaching art and photography to degree level on line for instance - both Scottish and UK examples .  You don't have to be rich to innovate and disrupt in this space any longer. Open is a way of doing things and not just a brand in Education.

I highlight not the big things happening in USA and global spaces but Tute and tools that are helping learners - better to have a tutor supporting young learners on line than old model of the tutor visiting your children at home.

And I encourage folk to get on and move into this space and use the networking tools that are available ,  before it is homogenised by commercial publishers, who want to own if not our learners souls, then at least their full browsing and on-line purchasing history.

Someone pointed out that 'facebook' is not on this list . Yes I use facebook and lots of other tools but not in the learning space - that is another slide deck on managing your digital identity.

I've probably still to do some attribution on some of these slides - but will get there .

College Development Network - Leading Creating Sharing #Scotedchat

Yes we do have our own website but I do keep being asked 'so what does the College Development Network do ? " thankfully by folk out with the college sector . And we have been doing a refresh around values mission and all the things that give an organisation and the team that necessary set of purpose and focus -

So here is some shorthand around what CDN does.

I thought I'd include the #scotedchat tag as some innovative folks were trying to promote this over the weekend . Learners know all about life long learning and learning journeys . We need to remind ourselves sometimes that it is too easy to work in silos - sharing really helps across systems