Monthly Archives: October 2011

EduRoam⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

I first encountered EduRoam on December 6th at Leeds Metropolitan University. I had just finished with a meeting and was sitting in the foyer when I thought I might be able to access their wifi to keep in touch with the chaos being caused by the weather back in Glasgow. I'd heard of EduRoam: allowing university academics and students access to the Internet using their login details at any participating institution across the globe.

So I pulled out my iPod Touch and searched for a wifi signal. On the list appeared EduRoam and I selected it. A login window appeared asking me for my University email address and details, which I duly submitted. A few seconds later I was accessing the internet: university email, facebook updates, twitter messages.

I had to wait several month for the University of Glasgow to implement (catchup) EduRoam across our campus. Previously if I wanted wifi access on campus I needed to access the flexaccess wifi (mis-named) and then login using the VPN settings. However on my iPod and iPad I struggled to either make or maintain a connection through the VPN. So when EduRoam appeared on the wifi settings I was over the moon. It made accessing the internet via wifi simple. Once set up, there's no further requirement to login each time you want to access the internet. Now when I walk up to the St Andrew's Building my iPod/iPad connects to EduRoam and starts to pick up my email. I can literarily be reading my emails as I open the front door.

Since the start of term I've been encouraging my first year B Eds to configure their smart phones to access EduRoam and to access their emails. I want them to use EduRoam to access the Internet and find answers to the questions that they have about their learning.

So imagine my disappointment when I was visiting the Jordanhill Campus of Strathclyde University for the TeachMeet event, to discover that they have only set up EduRoam on their main city centre campus. Fortunately one of the organisers of the event had anticipated my need for access to the Internet via the University network, so had arranged for guest logins to be made available. However, I was thwarted by the fact that the venue (Sir  Henry Wood Lecture Theatre) did not have a wifi hotspot. :(
This minor setback aside I look forward to the day students and lecturers from HE and FE institutions can seamlessly go from one institution to another and have access to the wifi network and Internet. At present, according to the EduRoam access map there are 513 access points across the UK and according to Janet 15 institutions in Scotland allowing full access.

Roll on EduRoam...

EduRoam⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

I first encountered EduRoam on December 6th at Leeds Metropolitan University. I had just finished with a meeting and was sitting in the foyer when I thought I might be able to access their wifi to keep in touch with the chaos being caused by the weather back in Glasgow. I'd heard of EduRoam: allowing university academics and students access to the Internet using their login details at any participating institution across the globe.

So I pulled out my iPod Touch and searched for a wifi signal. On the list appeared EduRoam and I selected it. A login window appeared asking me for my University email address and details, which I duly submitted. A few seconds later I was accessing the internet: university email, facebook updates, twitter messages.

I had to wait several month for the University of Glasgow to implement (catchup) EduRoam across our campus. Previously if I wanted wifi access on campus I needed to access the flexaccess wifi (mis-named) and then login using the VPN settings. However on my iPod and iPad I struggled to either make or maintain a connection through the VPN. So when EduRoam appeared on the wifi settings I was over the moon. It made accessing the internet via wifi simple. Once set up, there's no further requirement to login each time you want to access the internet. Now when I walk up to the St Andrew's Building my iPod/iPad connects to EduRoam and starts to pick up my email. I can literarily be reading my emails as I open the front door.

Since the start of term I've been encouraging my first year B Eds to configure their smart phones to access EduRoam and to access their emails. I want them to use EduRoam to access the Internet and find answers to the questions that they have about their learning.

So imagine my disappointment when I was visiting the Jordanhill Campus of Strathclyde University for the TeachMeet event, to discover that they have only set up EduRoam on their main city centre campus. Fortunately one of the organisers of the event had anticipated my need for access to the Internet via the University network, so had arranged for guest logins to be made available. However, I was thwarted by the fact that the venue (Sir  Henry Wood Lecture Theatre) did not have a wifi hotspot. :(
This minor setback aside I look forward to the day students and lecturers from HE and FE institutions can seamlessly go from one institution to another and have access to the wifi network and Internet. At present, according to the EduRoam access map there are 513 access points across the UK and according to Janet 15 institutions in Scotland allowing full access.

Roll on EduRoam...

I’m Rebelling… I didn’t forget⤴

from

A busy day and the loss of an important document meant that National Writing Day was unintentionally ignored by me yesterday. As a self-confessed passionate writer I was overly irritated this morning when I noted that my calendar read October 21st; how could I possibly have missed it?! Residing myself to the fact that a temper tantrum would get me no where unless my fit of frustration resulted in me defying the laws of time and space, I took a deep breath and kindly reminded myself that the world was not over. My self-inflicted tirade of anger did however get me to thinking; as a ‘self confessed passionate writer’ why do I need a pre-assigned date to shout from the rooftops my love of pen and paper (or in this case Word and keyboard)? So here I am, breaking the rules, writing about why I love to write on a day that I have not been given permission to do so. Yesterday I would have been a sheep; today I am a rebel!

I remember clearly my first piece of praised writing. I was in primary 2, 5 or 6 years of age, and I wrote about having a rag nail on my toe; I know, riveting stuff. But for some reason this mundane tale of my discomfort was noticed, and it was shared. I was taken to the Headteacher’s office to show her my work; the story was pinned to the school notice board! I think only my graduation tops that day. I was incredibly proud of myself. As hazy as childhood memories might become that one could have been yesterday. Why do I remember it so clearly? Because it was probably one of the only occasions in my entire school career that I was praised in that way… but the importance of positive feedback and encouragement of talent is an entirely different post.

As far as I remember I continued to write from that day onwards. I have notepad after notepad of adolescent stories and pictures, developing into the daily journals of a hormone tortured teen, which then became the wonderments of a university student finding her way in the world, and then one day, there it was; me, published (OK so the first time that happened is also pretty high on my list of proud days).

I write because I love it. I love putting my thoughts into concrete words that I can revisit someday. I will always write regardless of whether or not I have an audience. I write for me and a lot of the time what I do put to pen and paper goes no further than me (those tortured teen years for instance will never leave the well worn diary pages). Writing an incredibly powerful outlet and at times my pen really is mightier than the sword; on those days no one sees the ink stained pages but me.

I am yet to find anything that can compare to the harmony of a pen pouring my heart onto a blank page. Writing soothes the soul when your mind buzzes with a thousand thoughts, worries, hopes, fears and dreams… place them all on paper tonight and sleep soundly. 

#EduScotICT – moving forward together⤴

from

Yesterday’s ICT Summit, held at the Stirling Management Centre, has brought me out of my blogging hibernation.  I started this blog to help me reflect.  The reason for my lack of posts here has more to do with the arrival of my beautiful daughter than anything else; my heed is bursting and my now 10 month old daughter has learned to go to sleep so here goes my thoughts on what needs to happen next:

The wiki and twitter feed have been great places for debate and ideas, although the wiki ended up a little too unorganised for my brain to cope with.  Neil Winton talked passionately and with authority on his blog about the rare opportunity this consultation (and I do think it is a genuine consultation) gives us.  I agree with him.  The rub for me is the potential for the opportunity to be wasted.  We need to grab this opportunity with both hands and come out the other side with a clear mandate for what needs to be change.

I’m worried that might not happen.

I’m a positive person, always looking for the solution and try to not get bogged down by the problem, but I worry that there are too many views surrounding the future of Glow and ICT in schools and we will get lost in the argument.

Let’s look to the future.  It genuinely saddens me to constantly read about ‘Glow’s failings’.  (I’ve just deleted a whole paragraph as Jim Buchan captured many of my thoughts much better than I had been able to on his blog today).

One example of a question that has been asked on the wiki:

Why do I use Glow groups instead of Google docs to collate pupil work? 

This simple answer:  I started using Glow before I knew what a Google doc was.  I knew about Glow because it was a National Initiative.  I cannot easily give my pupils access to Google accounts.  They forget the passwords and I have no way of resetting them.  Google docs is blocked in my LA.

Moving forward:  I need the single sign on to continue.  I don’t have to reset S1 pupil passwords anymore because they log on so often (not just in my class and also at home) that they remember what their password is.  The only reason pupils forget their username and password is when they go weeks and months without a reason to use them.  I would be delighted to see my pupils log into Glow 2 and be shibbolised to a Google doc, or Microsoft Windows Live, or iCloud account.  I can’t do that just now.

STOP.  I am dirtying the waters again.  Let me try, as briefly as possible to put down what I think needs to happen.

1      We are putting the cart before the horse.  We need bandwidth and a joined up hardware solution before we get to the nitty gritty.  Our young people deserve every opportunity available to them.  I believe that giving them more access to the Internet is a good thing.  We cannot do that without bandwidth.  I know I am simplifying this, but in my head the SG give money to Education Scotland to provide the Interconnect to LA’s.  Too much of the Interconnect is syphoned by LA’s, not enough of it is given so schools.  This needs to change.

2      Many of our young people have a solution in their Smart Phones and tablet devices.  We actively stop them from using them in school.  This needs to change too.

3      We need a National plan to give access to those pupils and families who do not have access to the Internet at home.  Programs like the £95 computer is a start but the monthly cost of broadband is still prohibitive for too many.

4      We need to retain the Single Sign On.  This is crucial.  I used wikis and blogs in my classroom BG (before Glow), but the fact that pupils needed to sign up themselves and often forgot their usernames and passwords always got in the way.

5      We need a core set of tools.  We also need to enable educators and learners to add their own tools (Nick Hood’s question about a Glow API was a good one and would help here).  The biggest negative from today’s event was that it came from a group of like minded people who knew what an API was.  If we are going to increase the confidence of every teacher to use technology for the benefit of learning then we need to say here is a core group of online things that might help you.  Too much choice, with no guidance or support is the last thing that is going to improve confidence.

6      We need strong leadership from our Head Teachers.  They need to support all staff to embrace technology.  They need to have their hands untied from the red tape that dominates the barriers we face in open software and web filtering.

7      We can no longer see ICT as an optional extra.  It is a core part of the curriculum, not an add on.  It is mentioned explicitly in the SFR.  We can no longer shy away from the teacher who says ‘I don’t do technology’.  We don’t allow our teachers to not do Health and Wellbeing, or AifL.

8      We need to stop using the analogy that every teacher can use the Internet in their personal life; some cannot.  We need to support them, show them what they are missing out on and how their young people are suffering as a result.  A basic level of ICT knowledge isn’t acceptable either.  We need to lift our expectations, our young people deserve more.

9      2012 is not that far away.  We need to move forward, together, now.

10  We need to remember why we are doing this:  to improve opportunities for all learners, to enhance learning and teaching.  We have limited time, a finite budget and a huge opportunity to put in place a solution that works for every learner, educator, parent, business and granny.

And that was me being brief?  This is difficult, but so so important.  Whatever happens, for the sake of education in Scotland, we need to move forward together.

Looking inside video…⤴

from @ Digital Signposts

Within current discourse on video for learning, there are many concurrent ideas on how to use video in educational contexts. These cover a wide spectrum, ranging from recorded lectures,  or the Khan Academy video tutorials, (which have inadvertently given rise to the flipped classroom meme), to dedicated educational platforms that aggregate online video, for example  Watchknow.org  Sometimes video is mixed with other content using APIs, as on the HistoryPin website.

Other platforms such as EdMediaShare which uses the Dial-e framework, (developed at the University of Hull), are designed to promote an alternative way of using video. However the most frequent use of video in learning  is still to illustrate or amplify subject matter or to present didactic information in the form of a recorded  lecture or presentation.

This is understandable, one of the drawbacks of using video, as opposed to text, is that it cannot be searched in as easily as texts.  Whilst it is straightforward to search search a library of documents for a word - sentence or paragraph but with video search relies on title or associated metadata. This may be about to change.  Research at the Hasso Platter institute has come close to making 'semantic video' a reality. Using  semantic media analysis;  in the near future, it will be possible to conduct searches  within video, (collections, and individual videos), directly by the content within them

Here are a few thoughts on how this might work, using some clips from EdMediaShare to illustrate:

  •  OCR, (search for text in shots of maps or signposts
  • Audio  (the stirring music, so common in old newsreels,  used to illustrate the Berengeria clip)
  • Speech recogniton (look for topics with  specific terminology, eg, Mobile learning.
  • Motion Vectors  (Tacoma Narrows)
  • Visual analysis (identify structural  changes in video;  tone/colour/pace  as in this JISC resource on copyright)
  • Face recognition (identify specific speakers in the  JISC collection) 

It seems likely that such tools will completely redefine the ways in which we can learn through video. Hopefully some of these tools them will also be found within YouTube in the not to distant future.

The Slideshare presentation from Hasso Platter gives a very detailed overview of the underlying process and there is also a demo screencast here.

 

 

Looking inside video…⤴

from @ Digital Signposts

Within current discourse on video for learning, there are many concurrent ideas on how to use video in educational contexts. These cover a wide spectrum, ranging from recorded lectures,  or the Khan Academy video tutorials, (which have inadvertently given rise to the flipped classroom meme), to dedicated educational platforms that aggregate online video, for example  Watchknow.org  Sometimes video is mixed with other content using APIs, as on the HistoryPin website.

Other platforms such as EdMediaShare which uses the Dial-e framework, (developed at the University of Hull), are designed to promote an alternative way of using video. However the most frequent use of video in learning  is still to illustrate or amplify subject matter or to present didactic information in the form of a recorded  lecture or presentation.

This is understandable, one of the drawbacks of using video, as opposed to text, is that it cannot be searched in as easily as texts.  Whilst it is straightforward to search search a library of documents for a word - sentence or paragraph but with video search relies on title or associated metadata. This may be about to change.  Research at the Hasso Platter institute has come close to making 'semantic video' a reality. Using  semantic media analysis;  in the near future, it will be possible to conduct searches  within video, (collections, and individual videos), directly by the content within them

Here are a few thoughts on how this might work, using some clips from EdMediaShare to illustrate:

  •  OCR, (search for text in shots of maps or signposts
  • Audio  (the stirring music, so common in old newsreels,  used to illustrate the Berengeria clip)
  • Speech recogniton (look for topics with  specific terminology, eg, Mobile learning.
  • Motion Vectors  (Tacoma Narrows)
  • Visual analysis (identify structural  changes in video;  tone/colour/pace  as in this JISC resource on copyright)
  • Face recognition (identify specific speakers in the  JISC collection) 

It seems likely that such tools will completely redefine the ways in which we can learn through video. Hopefully some of these tools them will also be found within YouTube in the not to distant future.

The Slideshare presentation from Hasso Platter gives a very detailed overview of the underlying process and there is also a demo screencast here.

 

 

UK Education Fails to Match Progress in Science and Technology⤴

from

One of the most startling revelations of modern Britain is the overall decline in educational achievement. Whilst science and medicine expand their horizons our teaching resources in both primary secondary state schools continue to fail to thrive. Despite the investment of billions of pounds by successive governments the department of education has become a very poor example of educational achievement on the world stage.

Recent developments at CERN indicate that science is constantly re-evaluating itself. The thought that Einstein’s theory where nothing can travel faster than the speed of light could be proven wrong may be unthinkable, yet science is now being turned on its head. Physics as we knew it is witnessing fundamental laws that are now being rewritten. Yet in the world of education and schooling practices over the same time frame we seem to have achieved so little.

In the last 10 years technology, the internet, mobile communications and computers have all established paradigm shifts in performance and applications whilst our overall achievement in state schooling has not. Certainly the skill base in teaching has remained intact but we haven’t seen the equivalent mould-breaking breakthrough in pedagogy. I believe there are parallels in medicine. Whilst medical science has progressed in research and treatments an article in the Times (12th Oct 2011) reveals certain breakthroughs in bowel cancer surgery established by a leading professor in surgery 20 years ago remain unadopted by the National Health Service despite the significant improvement in its success compared to current practice. Central government bodies are the common denominator both in the NHS and in state schools education.

Whilst constantly introducing bureaucratic controls from the top down, motivating inspirational development at the coalface is stifled. Teachers and head teachers appear emasculated in their very own area of expertise. The policy to apply singular focus on attaining targets has thwarted the radical developments that are needed. Even those external colleges deemed to be researching improvements in teaching concepts have to a large extend fallen by the wayside during the cost cutting culls of the new government.

As a control experiment the expertise in independent schools continues to set the pace. Apart from financial constraints in fees linked with the prevailing market conditions the independent sector is thriving in the quality of schooling offered to children.

The advent of free schools and academies will circumvent the controls of the department of education. This move, heavily promoted by the government and the Secretary of State for Education would seem on the surface to be a bold move to implement change. Freed of Government and local Authority intervention these new schools could provide the breakthrough in focus and practical application in teaching.

It also seems a retrograde step 24 years after the introduction of the National Curriculum and Tony Blair’s battle cry of “Education, Education, Education”. The UK’s approach to excellence is to now to leave schools to their own devices. If this were the case it would appear the better solution would have been to have avoided government intervention in the first place. UK schools, instead of constant criticism, pressure on teachers – many of whom have left the profession and the introduction of countless educational initiatives that have cost billions of pounds to little or no effect, we could have seen 24 years of actual development spearheaded by teachers.

The role of head teacher has largely become administrative dealing with Ofsted and finance. Applications for promotion to head teacher is seen as a retrograde step by many potential candidates believing the job too stressful. Ironically the teaching and motivational skill of the head teacher has been largely lost to administration at the very time it was needed most. If we are to adopt a paradigm shift and claw our way back up the OECD educational league table, where we currently languish in around 25th position in the world, we need some courageous moves by schools. The free schools and academies may show the way. If Eton and Westminster schools who started life as a schools for children from poor families can metamorphosis to their current position of learning excellence so hopefully can our state schools.

Glovember – Glow Book Month⤴

from

Schools are invited to take part in Glow Book Month.  This consists of:

  • Competition (Literacy) – enter & win prizes for your stories & poems
  • Competition (Art) – design a book cover
  • Glow TV – take part in National Glow Meets and meet and collaborate with authors
  • Published – have your story/poem published in an ebook

 The authors taking part in the event will also be the judges of the competition entries.  These will be judged in three age categories: Early Primary (P1 – P4), Late Primary (P5 – P7), Secondary (S1 – S6).

 At the moment, the following authors are confirmed – Caroline Clough, Lari Don, Janis Mackay & Alette J Willis.

Find more information in the national Glow Group Glovember – Glow Book Month.

You will need a Glow password to access this.