Sunday, December 06, 2009

Treat Your Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ch..Ch..Ch. . Changes

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

E- Assessment in Practice

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Virtual World of War Poets 1914-1918

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Twibe

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

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

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Did You Know 4.0

Useful wee resource for talking to paper-age- people

Michael Wesch - quote from proceedings of ALT-C 2009

"It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press and a few hundred again before the telegraph.Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges. New types of conversation, argumentation, and collaboration are realized. Using examples from
anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, YouTube, classrooms, and “the future,” this presentation will demonstrate the profound yet often unnoticed ways in which media “mediate” our conversations, classrooms, and institutions. We will then apply these insights to an exploration of the implications for how we may need to rethink how we teach, what we teach, and who we think we are teaching. "

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The VLE is Dead

Some sectors are just discovering Virtual Learning Environments so it is premature to hail the death of these systems. I think the most telling point is the question to academic audience
How many of you would go to your Virtual Learning Environment to learn anything ?
For this audience a VLE is barren closed sterile environment suitable for learners but not a place where they would go to learn.

Have a listen - excellent speakers and the discussion is really broader than a discussion about the technology it is really a discussion about the organisation of learning within an institutional framework.

This is another excellent session from ALTC2009 . As you might expect I think they are setting the benchmark for using technology to share sessions at the conference.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Transformational Educational Development and made in Scotland

If you want to see a wee glimpse of what the future of learning is then have a look at this presentation
You can't fly through the virtual world depicted in this presentation but pupils and teachers in Scotland will be doing just that soon.

What is important about this isn't just the technological platform (but that will be engaging enough for many) it is the opportunities for learning and the potential for new kinds of collaboration and assessment that platforms like this offer. Well done Derek Robertson and Learning and Teaching Scotland. This is most exciting development I have seen in last couple of years and it is truly transformational

The system won't change the skills needed to be a great artist - but in terms of providing a great platform for exemplification and sharing - this is it.

Have a look and be gobsmacked - looking forward to seeing the real thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Universal healthcare is terrorist recruitment tool

I thought this was a spoof - but it is not . I have heard and dismissed criticism of American news coverage before - but this is unbelievable. Should be compulsory viewing for politics and modern studies students - how media is manipulated.
Q Is this credible and valid criticism of NHS in UK
Thanks @bengoldacre and @cdmilligan

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Evolution Gif

Found at
Now did this come before of after the Guinness Advert ?
and I do know it is not the reflection of the real evolutionary cycle - in the real one they get a pint of Guinness in the end .. thanks for emails

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

And The Rest ,,,

Some basic productivity tools that we now use across the organisation are Meet-O-Matic a huge time saver for admin staff trying to pin down teachers for meeting availability and Survey Monkey

You can also find me using Ning, Wikispaces, PBWorks when required and probably lots more I haven't remembered. Finally I use lastfm, Blipfm and Spotify to zone out.

Harvesting, Synthesising,Sorting and Sharing

I use Delicious and more recently Diigo to sort out and share useful links I come across. I restrict my following here to a select few posting on educational technology and I glimpse in once a month or so.

I stay on top of RSS feeds from a very wide range of sources with Bloglines I still haven't crossed over to Google Reader but I think this has huge potential. I review feeds from this for 20 minutes each day.

I use Flickr mostly for personal stuff and the occasional conference shot when I get the urge but I am more likely to be talking to folk than skipping around with a camera . I use Youtube on this basis too but in the main I crowdsource materials through these mediums Increasingly I use Slideshare and Scribd as sources for bits of information to start me thinking - I'll follow up with links to some good presentations from Slideshare.

In last year I have also been using Friendfeed to follow folk around me in Scottish Education. I have been impressed by @mikecoulter and colleagues in Learning and Teaching Scotland who are making really great progress in moving into this new learning and development space. They are mostly to be found in my Bloglines Roll at the side of this posting.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Web,Blogging and Twitter

I have maintained a web presence since the early 90s. I used it as first a learner then a staff development tool. I keep this antique up to show how easy it is and it is a handy place if I need to put something up on-line quickly. It is a good history lesson too for those who have just got it ;-)

I have posted before about my use of blogger and twitter and I think my usage pattern remains pretty much the same -I am doing less blogging and I am more likely to share a snippet on twitter.

From each of these platforms - the website, the blog and from Twitter I continue to make valuable professional contacts.

Digital Identity and Personal Learning Networks

The greek mask
Originally uploaded by giopuo
I am going to do a series of posts reflecting on how I currently use the web in a productive way as a senior manager and Head of New Ventures inside a non-departmental public body.
Please note this reflects what I do in my own comfort zone in balancing work, productivity and social space. It may not be the right recipe for you or for the organisation you work for.
If you work in most industries you will now have some digital presence either created by you, a friend who tags photographs of you at the office Christmas party, by a journalist or a commentator or simply from the footprints of attendances at conferences participated in. Ideally this is not in a news piece that combines all of the above which could be career stopping or stalling.

Whether you like it or not you will have a digital identity of some kind and this series offers some pointers on how you might manage this.

You should have an Online Profile that is maintained by you. You can choose how much or how little you share. I use Plaxo, Linkedin and Facebook.

Plaxo has improved functionality recently but I regard it as a legacy tool - I did use it to synchronise personal and work contacts when I was on the move - before my organisation gave me the facility to access my address book on the move.I am still hanging in there to see if it gets better.
Linkedin - I now use for professional workbased contacts and network building. It presents my professional face. I take my job seriously but not myself reflecting current trends I use a digitally enhanced image of myself as a Simpsons character. I use this as a link back to anything that requires a professional profile. Linkedin has been a useful tool for cementing relationships across the diverse sectors I operate in.
Facebook - I try to restrict to people I know well, close friends and family. The challenge here is that here are increasingly interesting groups on Facebook reflecting my professional interests. I also subject all my facebook friends to my twitter stream - which I am sure they will eventually complain about.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Destination ImagiNation - Leapfrog Institutes Collaboration

These three projects have popped up on my radar a few times over last three years - particularly leapfrog programme - I'm not sure if UK schools are looking at programmes like these - let alone schools in Scotland but I have been impressed by vision and ambition of these projects and they sit well with Curriculum for Excellence.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CCEM Last Post

As a final note and more of a plea to the organisers. This event shaped as it was around developing proposals from across the Commonwealth for Education Ministers would have benefited greatly from the judicious use of Web2 and other tools.

With noble exceptions of -

CCEM Kuala Lumpur Opening Ceremony

Home and reflecting on all the debate last week both the formal and the invaluable networking that happens at events of this kind. Some of the questions circulating at the conference we in Scotland have found our own answers too.

Most of the discussion was progressive and out on the frontiers of learning that in the main the Scottish education system operates in.

  • most developed systems doing some re-evaluation of school curriculum
  • have moved to QA inspection system based on self evaluation with external audit
  • ICT and on-line learning challenge same in most systems – few have been as bold as GLOW
  • Most countries developing qualification frameworks that embrace academic and vocational pathways for learners.
  • some see education as way to import and export talent and as critical for democratization , civil society, empowering individuals and as a wealth generator
  • transition challenges between primary and secondary and secondary and tertiary in most systems
  • debate on importance of 2-6 year old developmental period - some countries doing more systematic training of nursery teachers and putting curriculum frameworks in place.

Some of the questions suggested a legacy we may have left behind

I was asked if we still have an 11+ exam and without it what do our secondary schools use for selection .Another delegate described why learners sometimes need beaten and was surprised to know that corporal punishment was now banned even in Scottish private schools.

Others were the kind we still get on the home front about why we need National Qualifications – Bologna Process, European Qualifications Framework and Global Standards - is the short hand answer – but it is clear we have way to promote understanding when civil servants don’t understand systems.

Biggest challenge to my thinking is how far the private sector operates in developing countries in running education systems and how much private companies are penetrating even the English system. They offer everything from inspection services to the building and running of schools for governments and local authorities. I think we only have operations like this in the special school sector in Scotland but I am sure they will be looking to sell on services wherever they can. Staffed mainly by ex public sector folk – owned by and profit driven for public or private shareholders and in some cases former educational publishers – will be interesting to see how this manifests itself in our system.

Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia have transformed in 30 years and flying back through Dubai, a city that in 25 years has erupted in a desert – it is nice to know that both places have a thirst and affinity for UK awards. Malaysia wants to be an education hub for all of its neighbours by 2017 and I hope we can do a lot to help them meet their target. I met a lot of customers interested in offering Scottish Vocational Qualifications and lots of customers interested in learning more about the Scottish Education system.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers

On one level there is something strange about the diverse group of countries that form the Commonwealth and at least for me a bit uncomfortable when you think of the imperial past.

The Commonwealth is a family of 53 different countries among them 12 on the UN list of least developed countries in the world.

Yet when you meet the learners, teachers, university vice chancellors, Ministers and agencies from all of these countries you can see at once what we have in common and while we all start in different places the aims and ambitions of the Commonwealth for learners you can see at once how our simple common bond can help us work together.

The agenda is a simple yet complex one.

The millennium goals
· Advocating for 2015 to be the year that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
· Affirming the importance of eliminating gender disparities in education by 2015
· Utilising the technology, facilities and efficiencies afforded by open and distance learning to overcome barriers and combating the digital divide in education.
· Improving quality in education through signalling the importance of the role played by teachers, addressing their status, retention and mobility whilst at the same time advancing the importance of the management, training and development of this critical resource in education.
· Supporting the assurance of education in difficult circumstances through addressing the challenges of education delivery during situations of crisis, conflict, post-conflict and natural disasters and providing guidelines to improve preparedness for emergencies.
· Mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS on education systems by way of establishing the role and importance of education as a “social vaccine” against HIV/AIDS through professorial chairs for research and advocacy and dissemination of good practices in countries which address head-long the challenge of the pandemic in their populations

Some of the stories from conference are truly humbling –
Village Children in Bangladesh organizing locally to persuade a landowner to give them land to build a school and then selling their blood to a private hospital to raise the funds to build the school – so for first time the villagers have access to a primary school.
Growing evidence from countries stricken by famine that learners arriving in primary school have already been damaged developmentally through malnutrition.

Made me reflect on newspaper headline as I left that 1 in 9 learners in Glasgow come from family with addiction issues.

While we worry about changes in our own internal systems - we need to be aware of the challenges that educators face around the world. How can we leverage curriculum investment in Scotland to support the rest of the world ?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sports 4 Life Moves Onwards and Upwards

Sitting using the free wifi at Dubai Airport - and time to stick up this letter that went out a week ago up on the blog. Sports4life a game based on running a sportstore to teach basic business skills is moving on.

It was great fun pulling it together - a big thanks to all the teachers who helped in the pilot, including the intrepid bunch we sent to NZ, the football clubs who finally gave us their logos and the team at the Small Business Company in Christchurch New Zealand who were prepared to blaze a trail with a National Awarding Body on the other side of the world. Thanks too to Microsoft who gave us some funds to push the envelope a bit through Partners in Learning. Bob McGonigle in Scotland and Kirsten Weartherby at headquarters then - and now at Reading.

Over the last three years we have developed, supported and successfully piloted access to the on-line business game for schools. The launch and pilot has been supported through funding from Microsoft Partners in Learning. This letter is to inform you that from August 2009 the Game will move to a subscription model to ensure its long term sustainability and ongoing development.

Earlier this week a communication went out to all SQA Co-ordinators and Heads of Centre, I had hoped to find a national sponsor for the game but in the current financial climate this proved too challenging.

The pilot has been an outstanding success. In the last year 380 Scottish secondary schools had registered for the Game, 639 teachers were using it with their classes and 35,000 students played 135,000 Games and gratifyingly the game has been picked up and adapted for use around the world.

In other parts of the UK schools already pay to use the Small Business Game (Sport4Life) £400+VAT per school for an annual licence. However, recognising that Scottish schools have taken part in the successful pilot at no charge, the Game will continue to be part-subsidised by The Small Business Company for the 12 month period commencing 1 September 2009. The cost for your school to use the Game is now at the discounted price of £200 + VAT for the year commencing September 2009.

Access will allow you to offer the Game and all its benefits to up to 1,000 students and teachers in your school, and the school will still be able to participate in the competitions that will run within the Game through the year.

To ensure your school continues to get full use of the Small Business Game beyond August 2009 please email Andy Coughlin ( ) requesting a licence for the Game.

Monday, June 08, 2009

How Twitter will Change the way we live

Evan Williams and Biz Stone of Twitter
Evan Williams and Biz Stone of Twitter

I have always been a sucker for new ways of communicating - but I do think there is something in this - It was great to attend an e-learning alliance conference today showing lots of ways that web2 social software is being used in College and University Classrooms - great to be able to tweet about it and great too that Theo Kuechel was able to confirm before I got back to the office that Voice Thread was worth another look

Practice is changing ..and it is wonderful to see - a great article on Twitter from Time Magazine
and a great antidote to today's awful election results.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009

Now if we could only get our stakeholders to cope with this - we could develop new curriculum in quick time and collaborate with educationalists and learners as we do it ..mmm

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Picked up this neat JISC video from Joan Walker in the latest Scottish JISC Regional Support Centre News Letter. There is a lot school sector could pick up from this monthly publication and from great work that JISC do all across UK. A lot of concerns around copyright and IPR have been addressed in FE and HE sectors.

Need to persuade them to add feed to Scotedublogs

It was great news that GLOW picked up an award and it is good to see too that Scotland won another prize at the IMS Global Learning Consortium for AccessApps and in addition that JISC UK Scooped a number of awards at the ceremony.

It easy to forget how much Scotland and the UK are pushing frontiers in on-line learning.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Glasgow & About

Enjoying my pal Alasdair's Flickr Stream of Photos from around Glasgow - but pictures of Paisley Road tonight would have been interesting. Celebrations and Drowning of Sorrows at end of football season - fought out to last game by Glasgow's Old Firm - lots of very public drunkeness - shades of old hard industrial Glasgow and lots of police on the streets.

Don't think real life features in media enough

Friday, May 15, 2009

Silver Surfers Day

With thanks to my friends at Digital Unite I promised to pass on this message

Watch Silver Surfers’ TV to find out, and see what Angela Rippon and Joan Bakewell have to say about the digital revolution in this video supported by Ofcom's work to promote media literacy.
Today is Silver Surfers’ Day, a day when older people across the UK are encouraged to try out computers and learn about life online.
Organised by Digital Unite, there are over 750 events across the UK aimed at helping thousands of older people get online and discover how computers can change their lives. Go to the Digital Unite website to find out about events near you.
There’s also a new initiative called Schools for Silver Surfers, which plans to link the UK's vast school network with older people not yet online. The project aims to help older people learn about new media and younger people learn about local history.
The Digital Unite website has something for everyone – including a co-operative Flickr album and a ‘Tell us a Joke’ blog.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Making the Case for Social Networks in Organizational Settings

Thanks to comment from Andy Bright on my last posting I found this neat Slideshare on why organisations need social networking. Loved comment below from Olga How

The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blogging and Web2

As a follow up to my last post. I attended an excellent session led by ex Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish in last two weeks. Henry is going to be an ambassador for Scottish Colleges International. The presentation and discussion highlighted for me the importance of more folk in public and private sectors doing more through social networking.
  • 1. From 2011 public fund will contract in real terms. We probably needed a 10% reduction in public sector before now economic squeeze will enforce this.
  • 2.Everyone needs to be clear about value every pound spent in public sector brings and be prepared for even greater scrutiny
  • 3. There is scope for much more service and data sharing at all levels of government and society and this should drive improved services and cost cutting across public sector.
  • 4.Devolution is likely to grow regardless of government in Scotland or UK and will not lead invetiably to independence but will lead to greater local accountability.
  • 5.Colleges will need to look outside of Scotland for funding and customers - the world market, UK and England all offer opportunities.
I am grateful for my colleagues in SQA and LTScotland who blog and share along with those across Education who share. We are still in a tiny minority it would be good to see more NDPB bloggers and more voices from different bits of those who provide these critical social support services.

Blogging 2

I attended the Scottish Government Cross Party Skills Committee this week and as meeting broke up I had an interesting discussion with a senior manager from another government agency about "how I got away with blogging"

I don't view blogging in this way - but for the cautious here is a quick guide.I would like to see many more folk in public sector blogging.

1. Make it clear that this is an unofficial blog it does not reflect the views of your employer - say as much in header or footer.
2. I am posting this on a Sunday morning - postings are usually made out with working hours
3.It is a reflection of my working day but also life in general. But it can never be warts and all - It is not an on-line diary. If Samuel Pepys had blogged he'd have been divorced and beheaded. This on only the domestic front.
4.I do have an internal SQA and external audience for the blog and I have found it a useful way to move learning agenda on. You do need to be tactful and sensible about how you get your message across.
5.The Blog has been an excellent touch down point for my existing business contacts and for expanding this network. Among highlights this year have been an invitation to SQA to participate in a global education conference in Singapore.
6. Take full responsibility for any typos - spelling - grammatical errors - in other walks of life we have editors - blogging is untidier and all the better for that.

Finally note I have been blogging in one way or another since 2000 and before that had a number of public facing websites when I worked in the College sector from the early 1990s. In all of this time no-one has attempted to silence me and I can't think of a better way to share and work with rest of world. Globally Learners, Teachers, Public Servants and Politicians are all wrestling with same challenges in education - it is great to share solutions.

Blogging and Thoughts

Last two months have been quiet on blogging front. Thought I'd reflect on this.

1. My new job involves New Ventures which means exploring new and unchartered waters. Most of the meetings I have are exploratory and sometimes sensitive for both my internal and external audiences. I still share what I can.
2. My activities are reflected in the short-hand of my twitter stream @joecar and I am getting more feedback from a wider network this way.

I'm going to post a follow up on work with web 2.0

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Ventures Team

New Ventures Team
Originally uploaded by joecar80
Open for Business - It's taken a month or so longer than planned but today we finally launched the New Ventures Team. I will still be riding two horses as Head of Business Information Systems too until we fill this position.
Head of New Ventures is in some ways a big change from from my previous role at SQA. But it builds on earlier work and the remit offers huge potential.

  • To develop new partnerships with publishers, broadcasters, industry and providers of learning materials.
  • To develop new partnerships with other organisations and awarding bodies that benefit the learners of Scotland
  • To explore new ways of working in Scotland and Internationally that add value to our portfolio of services.

We hope to link engaging learning content to new dynamic ways of assessment and quality assurance and makes this I think one of the more exciting jobs in Scottish Education.
We already have a number of projects with a range of partners underway - but we are happy to explore opportunities for partnership in Scotland, UK or Overseas.
I am lucky to too have experienced support in Liam and Joan we are going to have a lot of fun as we take SQA into new places and Scottish education to new heights.

I am hoping we can contribute and make use of the growing Open Educational Resource movement and drive developments that benefit Scottish Learners and the global learning community.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stop Motion with Wolf and Pig.

Have a few things to Blog about but coudn't resist. Expect to see advert made like this in next six months

Friday, April 03, 2009

Networked Student

I picked this up from @courosa on twitter part of my own personal learning network.
It is a super example of the way that learning and teaching will never be the same and how the world of work should be changing too

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JISC Goodies

This could be coming to a school or college near you soon . BoB National is a shared off-air recording and media archive service which is available to BUFVC members holding an ERA+ license. This tv scheduling service allows your institution's staff and students to record programmes scheduled to be broadcast over the next seven days as well as retrieving programmes from the last seven days of recorded channels. Users may also search thousands of programmes stored in the growing archive.

The requester will receive the programme after broadcast as a Flash Video file they can watch in a web page – in the same way as i-player. BoB National stores the recorded TV and Radio programmes in the archive and they are held indefinitely for all users to access.

The archive currently offers thousands of TV and radio programmes covering all genres and that number is set to grow as more educational institutions join BoB National.

If you would like regular updates on JISC and the services available in Scotland you should subscribe to Newsfeed from the two Scottish Regional Support Centres in Scotland.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

JISC09 Last Post Open Learning Resources

Another subject close to my heart..organisations and teachers need to get out there and share publically all your learning materials. Learners don't come to you for your notes they come to you for the human service experience. Let's give knowledge away free. If you open your resources you open your doors to new forms of partnership and working with communities locally and globally. JISC have mapped out a way forward on this.

JISC is about to publish a range of open learning materials . See JISC Open Educational Content:Pilot Phase for details. There are already a number of global initiatives.

Open University (UK) Open Content Initiative
Rice Connexions
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
UNESCO Open Training Platform
National Repository of Online Courses

The JISC materials will be released through JORUM (national repository). These will be open access learning materials in open formats with open licences. You can re-mix , re-edit and use in ways you need them.

I am about to do whole presentation . They are all available at . I was ambushed by Mike Coulter at end of day .. academics have been looking at elearning for a very long time statement haunts me a bit .. but there is some briliant global practice that needs to be adopted outside HE.

UK Scholarly Publishing and Open Access JISC09

This is close to my heart. The shorter the gap between real research and learning and teaching or any other endeavour the faster we can drive change. Most of these resources are too expensive for Colleges and schools at moment and if truth be told even some of the smaller HE establishments in UK -Academics are now looking at alternative publishing models that will open up resources for HE in more cost effective way - but will also open up resources to learners in other sectors.(maybe even to those who drive public policy too - in my experience few NDPBs or Gov Departments have direct access to this research) Social Returns of publically funded Resarch and Development are huge. 1.6 Billion spent through research in UK each year.

Commercial sector will benefit enormously from this too as they will get more direct access to the Science.

However institutions need to mandate self archiving and publising if this is to happen meaningfully - where it exists needs to be up to the researcher a local repository may not be meaningful for some research which is done at national or global level.

Charles Oppenheim
Academic publishing is an industry..created..peer reviewed..available through commercial journals .. subscription model for institutions. Institutions deal with managing these. Big cost savings in moving to new models of publishing.
There are different models.. worked through economic models
Toll Access, Open Access Publishing, Self Archiving
OA and SA models offer huge financial savings to system (order of 200 million)and wider social returns ( harder to quantify) There is now a JISC Report setting out benefits for system and for HEIs in moving to new model.

Hector MacQueen University of Edinburgh
Copyright is not a barrier to Open Access Publishing - google book settlement is shaping into a universal open access repoistory. Project Gutenberg, European Digital Libray, Amazon look inside service , Music and Art next ...


Theatre History. example. The Romans left britain and only 1100 years later were amphitheatres built again in London and professional theatre companies appeared. Theatre historians have difficulty in finding evidence of these early players and their tours around UK. Data was in very expensive books - data was in local authority records - researchers have been gathering this for last 40 years - now Somerset has been able to digitise this and make this and databases available free over the internet. Boom now in books about early english drama fed by this data set now being available (400 years later) There is also a database of early English play titles ( DEEP) . Most other collections are still subscription only and many researcher don't have access to these resources like EBO.

Jisc Conference day two JISC09

Last night -lots of discussion about data services and should these be national or local.. Feeling that lots of money is being spent on institutional service centres when money would be more economically spent on more national data centres.

Stalled this morning as I didn't have correct wi-fi password.

Sir Timothy O’Shea Principal of Edinburgh University and Chair of JISC

Super Janet 6
On line learning and Teaching and bringing research closer to teaching
Collections and now national repositories and content creation and re-use
Biggest Access Federation in the World
Enterprise Wide Systems
Knowledge Transfer and Wealth Creation

British Universities and Films Council –bring out an i-player for education – BOB
New Services for Geographers launch too
And conference is on line for those who can’t come.

Prof Lizbeth Goodman Futurelab UK and Smartlab

I have seen Lizbeth's work before. If you look at one thing look at this presentation - this transformational work for people that happens to use technology. Start worrying about people not money or technology. Creating learning tools for learning Shows clips and talks over them - interactive CD Roms from Open University
I wonder if any of this could be repurposed for web ?
Dancers using animaton systems
Musicians children with learning difficuktues can learn faster if they learn music
People dancing with haptic devices motion and coolour tracking devices – all very magical
Creating sensory environments for learning – people can touch people virtually and fly when they can physically hardly move.
What is the colour of home – artists musics and dancers
All taking humans to new places and other dimensions
Trust and Hope Project programme – bio feedback activates characters
In Singapore created a fly through environment , learners created their own characters to move through this environment.
Stephen Hawking School in London – programme without technology which has informed interface project

Marketing corporates have developed a screen that would tell where your eyes look – hacked this – now used by people who can only move their eyes – now they can write and even play musical instruments using this tool.
Charity Safety Net – global for abused women – protection and micro enterprises including wearable games

Chicks2GO women in East London with special needs mapping out streets of London for Olympics for others with special needs.

Wheelies in second life – wheel chair disco

Lost and found – use mobile phones to find lost children instantly – in Brazil
Microsoft Boys and Girls Clubs if America – Club Tech Digital Arts Festival , Youthnet , Digital Art Set, Rock Set, - now coming to UK – five pilot sites in UK

Future Lab – bringing things about interfaces to future lab – Fizzees 8-12 year olds wrist device creature grows and nice if you are physically active

Mobi missions – camera phones and GPRS missions built and used by learners

Ends learner with no voice that technology has given voice – we need to give these people voices while they are here and there is time for them ... wow

Monday, March 23, 2009

Student Experience of Technology JISC09

A question and answer session on students experience in Higher Education with real students. Chaired by Editor of Guardian Education.

Ex Chair HEFCE ( HE Funding Council England)

Changing world - two years of people who are emmersed in Web2.0 - learners who spend more time on-line than watching TV. At least 70% of 13 year olds have a web presence. New forms of social interaction - much wider groups of friends. Attitudes may be changing learners expect to be more participants in the learning process and greater democratisation a feeling that they can take part and have a say - a more democratic view of learning. The students are generally more proficient than the staff.

The commercial world is providing the kit. Implications for pedagogy and assessement - turning tide on plagiarism for instance is like King Canute -we need new ways of asking questions. We need to encourage critical thinking and robust deep research.

Edinburgh University Persective

E-services - need to support - learning and teaching , socialising , suviving , administration, and researching. Students see this as a holistic whole- they expect on-line services to book student accommodation as well as learning and the rest. Could be hi-tech grannies and low tech 17 year olds. Intake is highly variable. Some students can be quite conservative what you do can't be experiments it actually has to improve the learning experience.

Technology still comes second to understanding your business - what are the obectives of your learning organisation.

Students now have access to primary sources that they never have had before - do staff and students and the system know how to fully exploit this. Need to think about value for money even in learing and teaching we can't keep adding more.

Glamour sales and after sales - youtube, facebook, itunes - might be big mismatch between what is out there and learners experience when they get to a particular department. Students want predicatability and level of service.

We need to share learning resources and systems across institutions to drive real value from a lot of this.

Northampton Example

Lecturers are changing their presentation styles - encourage learners to dig deeper to discourage cut and paste. We use plagiarism software - but to challenge learners to reference their sources properly. We use youtube and on-line video. We use and social bookmarking with cohorts of students - they add new references and help build course reference material. We use google docs and email rather than institutional one. We use text messaging around programme changes. E-Assessment working on policy and guidance across the institution. Accessibility is challenge too. Some students like video conferencing and will use this outwith normal working hours. Look at balance of on-line and printed teaching support materials.

Student Perspective

Third year languages student mature student- started off using to develop language skills -developed network of French friends who wanted help with their English. Then used live Mokka , Babel and other sites with online dictionaries and phrase translators - even come with virtual keyboards that can cope with French characters. Have now taken this informal learning and almost finished degree in French - personal learning network has played major part in this. This practice now been adopted by faculty

Jeff Haywood Vice Principal Edinburgh University Jisc09

Relationship of University to global economy is complex. We now expect students to move around - we reach out to them before they come and we do a lot of technogical mediation before they arrive on campus. When learners arrive they come into a cloud - they can use technology wherever they are on campus. Some universities are now trying to do this on campuses on other side of world which brings even more challenges.

We use virtual campuse in 2nd Life , itunes, facebook we build our reputation and deliver services in all of these spaces. We need support locally , nationally and internationally. Can staff work in distributed way across time zones ?

Interesting challenges in these areas :
  • Digital humanities
  • visualisation ,
  • data storage curation and preservation

  • process and content to mobile devices
  • games and virtual worlds, haptic
  • contribution and manipulation tools
  • e-assessment

  • global identity management
  • security
  • new digital library
  • technology rich spaces

We need to move forward in each of these areas and JISC can help in number of these.

Lorcan Dempsey Chief Strategist OCLC Jisc09

We have built things on a large institutional scale. University Libraries meant building large local collections and to be good you had to have a large pile of good stuff. As transaction costs come down it becomes easier to find things and collaborate there is less need to pile things up locally.
It is also easier and cost effective to outsource things - we should all be asking what business are we in - as the cost of tranactions go down.

Amazon, E-Bay are all about managing large sets of users - mobilising them and connecting them
Customer Relationship Management, Infrastucture, Product Innovation can all be outsourced or changed.

Libraries - need to look at this - How we source manage new information services, online services, repositories , on-line access even physical space for collections and for study. We need to move to more customised and personal services.

Our users work on web scale not institutional scale - this is even beyond national scale that JISC has provided. What are the new information services - are they institutional , national or do we need global services. Do we manage research and learning materials at local level and source all other external materials. Most journals even backcopies beginning to go on line.
But a national scale repository would free up institutional time. Google Digitisation has revealed that Unversities may have a copy of the book but in many cases they don't own the book. Discovery and preservation at local level of special collections is variable.

What local value to we get from this at local level - podcasts, videos, business records , website

Institutional scale is no longer appropriate - we need national and collaborative solutions but we also need more supra-institutional services - global multiscaler - and we are still working through how we get there. Challenge to JISC how you add value by persuading institutions to stop doing so many things locally. 43 Institutions trying to get DSpace to work isn't best way forward.

Juliet Williams Jisc09

Juliet Williams, Chairman, South West RDA

Innovate or die - we need to think unthinkable and look to our current crisis being the driver of our recovery. Social Enterprise can be driven by the technological revolution - there are new routes to market and new markets for products and services - opportunities too for new business models. Smaller Businesses will need to find new ways of partnering.
Education is key to economic competiveness but do we get good value for money - are young people really being prepared for employment and being given skills they need ?. Have we lost sight of what education is. Learning is not compelling enough , learning is a community activity and emancipating - we need culture of creativity and learning and enterprising individuals who can respond to new opportunities.

We need to abandon old pedagogies quickly and look at ways to stimulate creativity and innovation. We need to look at how we fund knowledge transfer and encourage learners to move out from University to lead their own businesses. New Zealand is great model of small country who have taken many organisations out on to the Web. SMEs can gain commercial advantage of using new technologies. In Cornwall new University partnership is working well with small creative companies to change the local economy. Educational establishments need to reach out and be prepared to take more risk at all levels. We need to rethink how we work with the community and commercial organisations.

Latest product an eco-surfboard - bio-degradable with higher performance than traditional oil based boards- about to be manufactured underlicence in number of locations from spin out company.

Higher Education in the Global Economy

I am at pre-conference session of JISC Conference in Edinburgh and I will be summarising sessions. Looking at technological changes and threats today. JISC look after educational infrastructure in Higher Education and their systems underpin Colleges and Schools in Scotland too. I am live blogging may need to come back to tidy this up.

Rashik Parmer Chief Technology Officer IBM
More than money being traded and different things being valued- carbon, IPR, other soft goods.
Moving from a world of data capture to how we unleish all the information to make smarter decisions - in maths, science , social science - new data visualisation tools.
Move towards service excellence - we need to think beyond 6 Sigma quality systems.
Information Cloud, Services Cloud , shared access to information and creation.
Security - How do we protect and manage data exchange.
Hybrid Transformation Systems - Moore's Law keeps going Petaflop Computer and Zitaflop on way supercomputing is will be able to condense Google infrastructure down to 2 or 3 racks in a server house shortly.

How do we inspire next generation to see opportunities in all of this.
We have staff around world working on same data sets.
How do we open up these data sets further - to help HE get access to the tools and datasets that we have. We need to be collaborative and unified to build value.
Shared services and infrastructure needs to move to include middleware and information services.

Challenge in UK we have JANET backbone but we have faced challenges to move passed this level of collaboration. Subject disciplines need to change to take into account service culture . IBM needs bright folk who understand service culture and can design services.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extreme Sheep LED ART

One Man , His Dog and lots of disco sheep
Some people will get very "animated" about this ;-)

I used to use Herding Cats Video as warm up - may use this next time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Microsoft and TED Talks look to Future

<br/><a href="" target="_new" title="Future Vision Montage">Video: Future Vision Montage</a>

I had a great meeting with Penny Sim from LTScotland - we used to work together at the Scottish Further Education Unit. It was good to catch up and we shared lots of good stuff - Penny highlighted this amazing talk on TED . It is mind blowing and I knew I had seen some of this somewhere before - I found it tonight - interesting to do a compare and contrast exercise.

Useful input I hope too for the Education 2020 Unconference that is shaping up so well on the Isle of Islay. If you would like to attend an education conference with a difference - I would say this is now the UK's hot ticket for 2009.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Vlogging Life From a Cupboard Somewhere

Following the publication of the Next Generation User Skills Report I was interviewed by Leon Cych. There is a fuller transcript on his blog especially for those who can't understand my Glaswegian accent.

We are just about to announce the what next - which will help with workplace productivity skills in Scotland and far beyond . There has been more interest in the report following the publication of Lord Carter's Digital Britain Report I am very grateful to Leon and colleagues from around UK who have promoted this bit of work.

On most Sunday evenings after the kids go to bed I try to drop into Edtechroundup I nearly always miss most of it- usually too much other homework - I get into the flash meeting for last five minutes - then I make do with looking at the recording and the transcript of the meeting. There is always a useful nugget and above all it is great to hear the struggles and victories of real teachers from across the UK and sometimes from further afield. If you get the chance join us - it will help you carry ideas back into your organisation- or why not have a look at the recorded meetings to give you a feel for Edechroundup and the flashmeeting tool.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are you certifiable - well are you

A neat set of online tests for know it alls - who may one day go down the open source route but are too cool to actually ever take a vendor certification test.
Eh besides they might fail

Useful game to give to your long in the tooth IT support staff - who know it all anyway - they may have a fight over the answers and the wording of the questions .. when they don't get a high score ;-)

Well done Microsoft. .. Worth a look and a shot too if you have ever been a serious dabbler.

Partners in Learning

I am delighted that Ollie Bray and Musselburgh Grammar School are carrying the torch into the UK Finals of Microsoft Innovative Teachers Award in Reading this week and I have high hopes that they get all the way to Vienna and the final. I think we hear tomorrow.

I hope this story is picked up and put out to all Scottish Schools. The Partners in Learning Portal is coming soon to GLOW and gives Scottish teachers an opportunity to share Virtual Classroom Tours ( lesson plans and online resources) with a global audience. Education isn't about local anymore and it is great to have partners who understand this.

If you teach you should have a look at the innovative teachers forum and best of luck to the East Lothian Guitar Heroes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Singularity University

Singularity University

On the day we hear that the bosses of the Royal Bank of Scotland and The Bank of Scotland lacked any formal banking qualifications.
Worth looking at these programmes from this new University - the challenges facing all of us are complex and multi-disciplinary and there is some interesting thinking going into the shaping of these programmes. The next big universities will be based anywhere - not just the ones we know already.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009