Monthly Archives: June 2012

East Lothian Learning Festival – Learners for the Future⤴

from

This week sees the opening of the bookings for our very first East Lothian Learning Festival in September!

The theme is “Learners for the Future” which aims to resonate with our teachers not simply when they consider the learning needs of their pupils but in considering their own professional learning needs.

This highly engaging and inspiring event will be held on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September 2012 and it is open to all education staff in East Lothian. It promises to be the major highlight on  East Lothian’s educational calendar with talks from eminent and inspirational speakers, such as:

  •  Steve Munby, Chief Executive of England’s National College of School Leadership
  •  Richard Gerver, Head Teacher of the Year 2005 and now International Advisor on Education
  • Alistair Smith, Learning Consultant with Football Association and author of High Performers 
  • Norman Drummond, Founder of Columba 1400
  • Dr Myra Young, Founder of PACE Learning and Assessment and Moderation Circles
  • Don Ledingham, our very own Director of Education and Children’s Services.

In addition to our invited speakers, we have a whole host of exciting workshops and demonstrations from educators throughout East Lothian on innovative approaches to learning and teaching, both indoors and outdoors. There will also be opportunities to explore methods and approaches which will support teachers in their quest for the holy grail of true work-life balance!

More information will be made available through posters and leaflets coming to schools following the summer holidays. In the meantime, check out the programme online and book onto what best suits your needs.

You can book on here: https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/forms/form/183/learners_for_the_future_registration

East Lothian Learning Festival – Learners for the Future⤴

from

This week sees the opening of the bookings for our very first East Lothian Learning Festival in September!

The theme is “Learners for the Future” which aims to resonate with our teachers not simply when they consider the learning needs of their pupils but in considering their own professional learning needs.

This highly engaging and inspiring event will be held on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September 2012 and it is open to all education staff in East Lothian. It promises to be the major highlight on  East Lothian’s educational calendar with talks from eminent and inspirational speakers, such as:

  •  Steve Munby, Chief Executive of England’s National College of School Leadership
  •  Richard Gerver, Head Teacher of the Year 2005 and now International Advisor on Education
  • Alistair Smith, Learning Consultant with Football Association and author of High Performers 
  • Norman Drummond, Founder of Columba 1400
  • Dr Myra Young, Founder of PACE Learning and Assessment and Moderation Circles
  • Don Ledingham, our very own Director of Education and Children’s Services.

In addition to our invited speakers, we have a whole host of exciting workshops and demonstrations from educators throughout East Lothian on innovative approaches to learning and teaching, both indoors and outdoors. There will also be opportunities to explore methods and approaches which will support teachers in their quest for the holy grail of true work-life balance!

More information will be made available through posters and leaflets coming to schools following the summer holidays. In the meantime, check out the programme online and book onto what best suits your needs.

You can book on here: https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/forms/form/183/learners_for_the_future_registration

The day we stop improving is the day we stop⤴

from @ @ajbaxby

The end of the academic year is such a strange time.  It's always a relief and a release to get to the holidays, and that's no different in ITE.  There's not the same excitement you get from school pupils, but it's still nice to look back on the achievements of the year.

This year's PDGE History students made so much progress.  To go from fledgling teachers back in August to such skilled practitioners by June is incredible.  Every day was a step forward, and the reflective and transformative nature of these young teacher means that this should be the case always.    I am entirely confident that the future of history teaching is in very good hands, and there are several to look out for in high places!

I do, however, find the whole experience bittersweet.  It's the same when you finish with one class at school.  You reach the end-point of that particular journey and you have to start again.  There's no sense of anti-climax, more just a melancholic, nostalgic sense of the end of an era.  I hope the celebration of the graduation ceremony on Friday is the cheery end it should be!

So, this year's cohort will be memorable always, and it is quite something to think of just how much progress was made.  It's also daunting to think that I/we start all over again with a new cohort.  I'm sure they will make many of the same mistakes, and I hope they make as much progress.  Most of all, I hope I will do a better job.  After all, the day we stop improving should be the day we stop all together!

Story Lab⤴

from

Story Lab is this year’s Tesco bank Summer Reading Challenge. It celebrates the power of stories and the imagination.

Aimed at children aged 4-11 years, the Summer Reading Challenge can help primary schools avoid the “summer holiday dip” in pupils’ reading motivation and attainment, widen pupils’ reading range and repertoire and boost their desire to read at home, as shown by research carried out by the UK Literacy Association (UKLA).

Please see the downloadable Staffroom Poster explaining the challenge.

Help to promote the Summer Reading Challenge in school by linking with your local library.

For more information visit http://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/schools/

Or contact your local library.

Story Lab⤴

from

Story Lab is this year’s Tesco bank Summer Reading Challenge. It celebrates the power of stories and the imagination.

Aimed at children aged 4-11 years, the Summer Reading Challenge can help primary schools avoid the “summer holiday dip” in pupils’ reading motivation and attainment, widen pupils’ reading range and repertoire and boost their desire to read at home, as shown by research carried out by the UK Literacy Association (UKLA).

Please see the downloadable Staffroom Poster explaining the challenge.

Help to promote the Summer Reading Challenge in school by linking with your local library.

For more information visit http://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/schools/

Or contact your local library.

Sea wall of learning⤴

from @ Odblog

This was the homework I gave one of my S3 classes in the first period I met them for our coasts topic. Students had categorized their coast brainstorm into physical features, human features and conflicts. I asked the class to either take or source one photograph as an example of each. We are currently collecting the responses and putting these on to our 'sea wall' at the back of the class which will occasionally become the front as students are invited to identify some of the relevant lesson points throughout the weeks from their own image. For example, we will soon be covering features of erosion and this will be a perfect post it plenary to spot what they have been learning about in class. An easy way to make a homework feed into the work the class will do rather than always reviewing what they have done.

Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous

Sea wall of learning⤴

from @ Odblog

This was the homework I gave one of my S3 classes in the first period I met them for our coasts topic. Students had categorized their coast brainstorm into physical features, human features and conflicts. I asked the class to either take or source one photograph as an example of each. We are currently collecting the responses and putting these on to our 'sea wall' at the back of the class which will occasionally become the front as students are invited to identify some of the relevant lesson points throughout the weeks from their own image. For example, we will soon be covering features of erosion and this will be a perfect post it plenary to spot what they have been learning about in class. An easy way to make a homework feed into the work the class will do rather than always reviewing what they have done.

Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous

Closed Minds in an Open World⤴

from @ .........Experimental Blog

thanks to Gabriel Vivas for image under Creative Commons Licence 

I enjoyed chatting with members of the Association of Learning Technology at Glasgow Caledonian University on Thursday morning. It was great to speak to  lots of like minds. It is great that the Funding Council is committed to open  - but we need more folks to know this - it should be reflected in institutional policies . It should stretch into schools and FE and other government agencies, who should be leading by example.

A clear policy steer was made in 2004 . It is quite hard to find policy in action though !

 I included my own as an example of one that is trying to open up but could do with more of a  policy steer.

What would a more open world look like ...

1. To get institutions and teachers to throw off the shackles and get sharing - ideally using creative commons or other suitable open licences ( publishing only to an institutional VLE or even to the closed part of national intranet like GLOW is not open)

2. Non Departmental Public Bodies and other public agencies should understand open publishing too and be using the appropriate licensing. I'll stick here with learning content here but similar cases should be made for open data etc

3. In vocational space and probably school space too we should be doing much more reaching out to Commonwealth of Learning and initiatives like the American Community College Open Text Book initiatives. The Khan Academy and some other big charitable initiatives are really just the tip of much bigger iceberg of teachers and learners making and sharing content.

4. In UK we need to make more use of JISC and other institutional OER . There are real staff development needs in schools and FE for example in areas like computing and genetics to identify just two areas. But in lots of cases great teaching resources are open and available in the system but awareness is low . Education Scotland and others should be looking for evidence of a range of these materials being used across education.

5. In a UK context perhaps  Do you know about JORUM and better what is your publishing record to JORUM ? . Where is the Scottish or UK schools equivalent of JORUM ?

I am hoping that ALT can help all of us by pulling together a draft Scottish response to the next  UNESCO Declaration on OER which will appear after 20th of June 2012.

Open is part of the culture of Scottish Education but we need to get more folks to understand how to get there.

It is great too to have agencies like ALT who have been punching above their weight in this space for a long time. Great too that JISC have always committed themselves to the open space.

I suppose I better declare an interest  I've been on executive of ALT , I am currently on their publications committee and I still sit on advisory committee of JORUM - but I think that is just an indication that I am doing my bit .




Who You Callin’ A Tube? (Part 1)⤴

from @ If You Don't Like Change…

I was delighted to have been asked to speak at the recent Google Apps for Education Event in Glasgow (check the Twitter hashtag #gooscot for more). I’m biased because I was speaking, but I found the whole day to be a superb opportunity to look forward with a lot of like-minded people. It was a really inspiring event, and I dearly hope that David Cameron‘s closing address was recorded because everyone involved in Scottish Education should hear it…

However, I was speaking about YouTube and in time honoured fashion, ran out of time before I could say everything I wanted to. Here, then, is the first part of an expanded outline of what I was saying, complete with links and other goodies! This first part is the background and a few points on searching with YouTube. Part Two tomorrow will cover the specific examples I used, and also some of the really clever tools and YouTube extras that you may not know about. Enjoy! ;)

The Entrée

My slides were designed to give a quick overview of the history of YouTube… but I should really have checked with YouTube first as they have a nifty video (d’oh!) that covers the same ground… here it is:

Anyway… the main thing I was talking about was why YouTube is such an important and worthwhile tool in the classroom. The following page references come from the slides!

Slides 8-23

YouTube’s rise has been nothing less than phenomenal. Consider the numbers… it has gone from one video uploaded in 2005, to over 1 trillion views in 2011. YouTube is where the world goes to see, and laugh, and share, and learn… and that needs to be put into context to understand just how remarkable it is. Consider this slide:

It took 1700 generations to get to this stage, and only within the last 300 have we had writing to record our learning and knowledge. The permanence and ubiquity afforded our knowledge by printing is only 35 generations old. Yet, in less than a third of a generation, YouTube has shared more knowledge and understanding than the sum total of human endeavour. It has become the true record of humankind, not because it is always accurate, or unbiased, or ‘academic’ but because it is real and it is valued and it will afford future anthropologists more insights into our development than has ever been possible. And YouTube is a great leveller. Language has the potential to become irrelevant when you can SEE something happening… though YouTube can always add captions or subtitles!

I think we ignore or block YouTube in schools at our peril. It is here, it is valued, it is valuable, and it is free… but it is also in need of careful teaching. Learners today need to know how to judge the authenticity of a clip, or be able to identify the moral centre of a clip, or even just know how to comment responsibly on a clip. That isn’t easy when the only contact they have (before they switch on their phone), is a screen saying “No entry: This site is blocked because it contains cat videos/social media/learning potential”.

GoogleTube (Slides 26-29)

Here’s a quick task you can try for yourself if you have teenage kids at home. Ask them where they go to find out something they don’t know. If your experience is anything like mine, they go to two places: Google and YouTube. In fact, YouTube is rapidly heading towards becoming the search engine of choice for young people…

The reasons for their love of YouTube is, according to them, that they like to see the answer to a question. That they can also access YouTube very easily on a mobile device is the second big attraction for them. Knowledge and entertainment are available on tap anytime, any place… but I think there’s another more important reason we need to consider (slides 27 & 29).

Finding things on YouTube is more fun for young people because:

  • YouTube lets you find your own answers;
  • YouTube doesn’t ask you the question, you do;
  • YouTube doesn’t ‘judge’ your answer.

As a profession, teachers are very prone to asking questions to which we have answers that are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ using a very narrow frame of reference (Check out the Barometer story if you want ‘proof’ of that!). Yet the truth is, we learn more through serendipity and coincidence… In my own case, that meant a well worn copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.I would look up one thing for an essay, and a few minutes — or hours — later, would struggle to remember what I’d originally been looking for because I’d been taken on a voyage of discovery. YouTube is like that. Younger people are much more likely to click the “If you liked this, you may like these” links at the end of a YouTube video. We see them looking at CatVideos… but then we don’t see them actually using YouTube to its potential. We don’t see them using it to help with their research. A quick example…

The grab on the right is what is returned by searching YouTube for Wilfred Owen. No shortage of resources… each with a thumbnail, and more importantly, the length of the clip. You can tell in advance how much time you’re going to invest… not all may be relevant to the topic being researched, but — like Brewer’s before it — the serendipitous nature of the results are an enticement to find out more.

This is all the more likely when, on finishing a particular video, one is presented with related examples…

This is the links presented after viewing my Keynote animation for Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est“:

Plenty for the learner to follow up… especially as they develop the 4 Capacities of Scotland’s Curriculum.* Of course, this is my real focus for using YouTube. The working definition of Literacy within the Curriculum documents (slide 35) is this:

Literacy is the set of skills which allows an individual to engage fully in society and in learning, through the different forms of language which society values and finds useful.

Look at the YouTube numbers. And then think about how useful YouTube has been over the past year or so in reporting live news from Libya, Egypt, Syria… the list goes on. YouTube is a source of information that we ignore at our peril… but we do have to take a responsible attitude and approach to it. We need to be teaching effective and safe use — merely blocking will not do that.

One final point for now. The most common reason for blocking YouTube is the quite reasonable one to do with bandwidth. YouTube is video, video consumes considerable amounts of it, and the thought of even greater use by schools will probably fill most network managers with dread… but… there is an apparent anomaly here. I have been told by several different people, and on several different occasions, that the ‘Pathfinder Project’ – rolled out since the mid to late 00s – meant that:

For education, the barrier of bandwidth capacity previously has now been removed…

Shame then that so many Local Authorities are not delivering the blistering speeds promised (up to 300MB/s) to the schools.

That’s it for part one… Part two (coming tomorrow) will cover the actual examples I discussed in my workshop, as well as going through a handful of immensely useful YouTube tools that will help you find even more value for it in the classroom. If you want a taster, try out YouTube.com/XL It’s YouTube without the comments, and a plain dark background. Perfect for schools! ;)

* We have been talking about the Curriculum for Excellence for years now — just a thought: Isn’t excellence the goal of every curriculum? Also, in the absence of any other curriculum in Scottish mainstream schools I’m just going to talk about Scotland’s Curriculum if that’s alright with everyone else! ;)