Monthly Archives: November 2010

Outdoor Learning Cuts⤴

from

Juliet Robertson has flagged up on facebook a BBC report on closure of an LA Outdoor Centre in Wales

Since being involved in Outdoor Learning (approx 1994) I have seen this type of announcement fairly regularly, “centre to close” “centre under threat” regularly regardless of austerity measures or banking crisis.

With a huge amount of research & focus groups promoting outdoor education and all its benefits, politicians waxing about how great it is, new initiatives in teaching and learning to promote, but I don’t often hear the antithesis of closure. When it comes to spending choices outdoor education is of course a “soft target” and when targeted often regretted in later years for amongst other reasons resulting in reduced opportunities for those who can’t afford.
I’m really looking forward to seeing a good news outdoor centre story e.g. “LA Outdoor Centre Opens”, “Outdoor Centre to expand”, and “More Investment in Outdoor Education Centre”.

End of rant.
Can anyone post an example of this about an LA (public sector) OE centre– Come on cheer us all up!

Outdoor Learning Cuts⤴

from

Juliet Robertson has flagged up on facebook a BBC report on closure of an LA Outdoor Centre in Wales

Since being involved in Outdoor Learning (approx 1994) I have seen this type of announcement fairly regularly, “centre to close” “centre under threat” regularly regardless of austerity measures or banking crisis.

With a huge amount of research & focus groups promoting outdoor education and all its benefits, politicians waxing about how great it is, new initiatives in teaching and learning to promote, but I don’t often hear the antithesis of closure. When it comes to spending choices outdoor education is of course a “soft target” and when targeted often regretted in later years for amongst other reasons resulting in reduced opportunities for those who can’t afford.
I’m really looking forward to seeing a good news outdoor centre story e.g. “LA Outdoor Centre Opens”, “Outdoor Centre to expand”, and “More Investment in Outdoor Education Centre”.

End of rant.
Can anyone post an example of this about an LA (public sector) OE centre– Come on cheer us all up!

The Importance of Corporate IT Procurment⤴

from

I am now into the second semester of my MSc in eLearning. As I have mentioned before, I am writing a private weblog as part of the MSc assessment, so I thought it was about time i shared some of these thoughts here :-)

Throughout this semester  I have found myself becoming involved in a number of discussions that involve technical issues. As you may know I am currently managing an elearning project in Scotland (eLATES: eLearning and Traveller Education). This involves working with Education Authority’s Corporate IT Departments. There are a lot of important considerations that must be made by those involved in the development, management and coordination of such a project or virtual learning environment. One of the most important considerations is that of the procurement process.

Most Schools throughout Scotland now have at least one computer with Internet access per classroom. Laptops are now more commonly used as oppose to desktops and this is increasing with the move towards One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). As part of the eLATES pilot, Education Authorities (EAs) are deploying hardware to mobile children and their families. Families will use the hardware (likely to be Laptops etc) to access school work via the Internet and the Glow portal (VLE).

Hardware is purchased by Education Authorities for use in and outwith schools and to the best of my knowledge this is a common process. EAs are required to purchase hardware through what is know as the procurement process. Council IT Departments have an agreed build and specification of hardware i.e. Laptops. This build may vary between Councils. They will also have an agreed user administration rights. When hardware is purchased through procurement the EA’s IT Department will ensure that the machines meet the agreed specification and this will also mean that user restrictions are in place. This is fundamental for the actual functioning of the machines and in the case of education, the health and safety of the children concerned and the accountabilty of the teacher.

Hardware that is purchased outwith the procurement process presents two main areas of concern:

  • Support: If there are no restrictions on administration rights, the machines will be open to modification, alterations and viruses. This ultimately means that the machines are liable to breakage or malfunctioning. In this event, the machine would require some sort of maintenance. The problem then arises with who will be responsible for providing and carrying out this maintenance? It is the norm that machines not purchased via the EA procurement process are unlikely to be supported by EA IT Departments. This is because they are not insured or ‘covered’ as such to deal with non-uniform equipment.
  • Internet Safety: When machines are purchased through procurement, restrictions are placed on what websites can be accessed. This is done using a firewall on the Internet connection. If machines are not supported by IT, it is likely that there will be no firewalls in place. This ultimately leaves youngsters vulnerable.

Though initially  bypassing the procurement process may be seen as a means of saving money, later complications would be inevitable.

Anyway, this was just a brief thought on one of the challenges I have faced recently.

I would welcome your thoughts and questions :-)

Image by: Andrew* (under Creative Commons)

We Won!⤴

from

Last night was the HR Network (Scotland) National Awards 2010 – at which ELC had been shortlisted for 2 Awards:

  • Strategic People Development Project of The Year
  • Best Workplace of the Year

We won both!

  • Strategic People Development – we won over Aegon and Sky !
  • Best workplace – we won over Sky and Kwikfit !

This is a fantastic achievement. This all links  with our current People Strategy 2006-12 which has within it  4 core strategic people aims:

  • High Achieving Leadership & Management,
  • Building workforce Capability,
  • Positive Employment Experience
  • Competitive Recruitment & Retention

 As our delighted Head of the HR Service noted today

Last night’s awards prove that as an innovative, professional HR Team, we’re delivering well on those aims for the employees and communities of East Lothian…We’ve done fantastically to prove that we have what it takes to compete with these organisations and win!

There were a huge amount of entries in all the categories including BSkyb, Cogent, Tesco, Scottish Power, Standard Life, Forth Ports, Scott Moncrieff, Glasgow Caledonian University, Strathclyde Business School, Renfrewshire Council (who won Training Manager of the Year), BIS Salamis, DC Thomson, Investors in People and Angus College.

A great (late!) night out too with over 700 people in attendance.  Well done to everybody involved – what a team!

We Won!⤴

from

Last night was the HR Network (Scotland) National Awards 2010 – at which ELC had been shortlisted for 2 Awards:

  • Strategic People Development Project of The Year
  • Best Workplace of the Year

We won both!

  • Strategic People Development – we won over Aegon and Sky !
  • Best workplace – we won over Sky and Kwikfit !

This is a fantastic achievement. This all links  with our current People Strategy 2006-12 which has within it  4 core strategic people aims:

  • High Achieving Leadership & Management,
  • Building workforce Capability,
  • Positive Employment Experience
  • Competitive Recruitment & Retention

 As our delighted Head of the HR Service noted today

Last night’s awards prove that as an innovative, professional HR Team, we’re delivering well on those aims for the employees and communities of East Lothian…We’ve done fantastically to prove that we have what it takes to compete with these organisations and win!

There were a huge amount of entries in all the categories including BSkyb, Cogent, Tesco, Scottish Power, Standard Life, Forth Ports, Scott Moncrieff, Glasgow Caledonian University, Strathclyde Business School, Renfrewshire Council (who won Training Manager of the Year), BIS Salamis, DC Thomson, Investors in People and Angus College.

A great (late!) night out too with over 700 people in attendance.  Well done to everybody involved – what a team!

The Power of Outdoor Learning (shameless plug!)⤴

from

I’ve just had an article published in the IOL (Institute of Outdoor Learning) autumn issue of Horizon magazine. The article centres on the use of experiential learning in the Innerwick Experience element of the Transformational Leadership programme in East Lothian.

You can access the magazine and article through membership of IOL but it’s basically a shameless plug for how Outdoor learning can contribute powerfully to leadership development and even organisation cultural issues such as silo working and transformational behaviour challenges.

Transformational leadership – differs from transactional leadership in that it focuses on behaviours and values and an acceptance of culture change that aims to raise everyone (i.e. leaders and followers) to higher levels of motivation, engagement and trust. It can result in collaborative effective working through shared values and vision

Many other articles too in the autumn issue of Horizons Magazine.

The Power of Outdoor Learning (shameless plug!)⤴

from

I’ve just had an article published in the IOL (Institute of Outdoor Learning) autumn issue of Horizon magazine. The article centres on the use of experiential learning in the Innerwick Experience element of the Transformational Leadership programme in East Lothian.

You can access the magazine and article through membership of IOL but it’s basically a shameless plug for how Outdoor learning can contribute powerfully to leadership development and even organisation cultural issues such as silo working and transformational behaviour challenges.

Transformational leadership – differs from transactional leadership in that it focuses on behaviours and values and an acceptance of culture change that aims to raise everyone (i.e. leaders and followers) to higher levels of motivation, engagement and trust. It can result in collaborative effective working through shared values and vision

Many other articles too in the autumn issue of Horizons Magazine.

Embedding WordPress across a school district: some eduBuzz.org stats⤴

from

What might take-up of WordPress across a 40-school local authority look like?

Monthly Visits Dec 2009 to Oct 2010

October 2010 web server summary stats for East Lothian‘s eduBuzz.org system (visitors and page views) show that the current levels of use this year, a traditionally quieter time, are already similar to the last school year’s peak period of May/June.

Monthly Page Views Dec 2009 to Oct 2010

The pattern each year has been similar, with usage at this time of year approximately doubling by May/June.  Together with steady recent increases, this is a year-on-year growth rate of well over 100%.

The eduBuzz.org WordPress site now has 1,161 sub-sites (blogs) and 2,336 registered user accounts.

Embedding WordPress across a school district: some eduBuzz.org stats⤴

from

What might take-up of WordPress across a 40-school local authority look like?

Monthly Visits Dec 2009 to Oct 2010

October 2010 web server summary stats for East Lothian‘s eduBuzz.org system (visitors and page views) show that the current levels of use this year, a traditionally quieter time, are already similar to the last school year’s peak period of May/June.

Monthly Page Views Dec 2009 to Oct 2010

The pattern each year has been similar, with usage at this time of year approximately doubling by May/June.  Together with steady recent increases, this is a year-on-year growth rate of well over 100%.

The eduBuzz.org WordPress site now has 1,161 sub-sites (blogs) and 2,336 registered user accounts.