Monthly Archives: August 2013

Creativity Rules from Master Builder, Master Designer Thomas Heatherwick⤴

from @ Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education

P1020924
In this month's Wired UK print magazine a superb insight into the working and creativity habits of London bus and Olympic flame designer, Thomas Heatherwick. In it, Wired's editors pull out his 'rules' for designing and making. They are a real validation of what Team NoTosh have been pulling out from our creative work and parsing through educational research, stimulating some ingenius practices in the schools with whom we work:

  1. QUESTION: "We have found that we tend to guide ourselves towards ideas by finding a few key questions to ask ourselves." (Tom Barrett's début book, Can Computers Keep Secrets, is all about this curiosity-mongering, and how parents and teachers can protect that curiosity for life. With schools, we want to help students ask higher order questions, and we do this through the creation of provocative generative statements).
  2. ZOOM IN, ZOOM OUT: "Our role is to pull right back and see something in its biggest context, but then zoom in until you're analysing the close detail, then pull back again. To never let one thing get disconnected from context and meaning." (This zoom in-out process is the purpose of a teacher-curated, student-led research or immersion phase, where it's not the pace of the class or teacher that determines what you look at next, but your interest, where it's been piqued. To pique that interest, teachers need to get savvy about planning rich immersions on the back of their provocative generative statement.)
  3. ELIMINATE: "You don't know what the outcome will be, but it feels like we're trying to solve a crime. You're eliminating options from your enquiries. Then you're left with something, and it's probably not what you expected." (In synthesis, using thinking tools and curative technologies such as Evernote or social bookmarking, young people can eliminate obvious solutions to problems, to see if there's an ingenious way to explore, explain or solve something.)
  4. MAKE: "Making is a way to do practical analysis. Anyone can relate to models. But it's not a tool for others, it's to show yourself, to make sure you're not fooling yourself." (Kids who 'prototype' one or two versions of their work aren't prototyping at all. Kids whose early prototypes are graded, assessed too early by their peers or teachers, don't have a chance to show themselves whether their ideas stand up. They need more than a few goes at getting things right, and several of those attempts have to be made for the purposes of self-assessment above all.)

If you want to learn more about how my team and I are putting design thinking into action in schools (beyond the shop class and post-it note facile stuff that you find on your average "design thinking education" Google search), then check out our NoTosh Lab, or 'Like' our Facebook page to get some regular updates from the schools, creative cos, hospitals, Governments and agencies with whom we're working around the world.

Whither GP1?⤴

from

It seems a long time ago since I started this blog. My concerns at that stage seem so distant. Life has indeed moved on. It is over a year now since Tim (aka GP2) left school and Standard Grades, Highers, SQA, Curriculum for Excellence, Leaps, are now of no more than passing academic interest. Time for a round up.

So, Chris/GP1/Ginger left that fine academic institution that is Ross High School three years ago with a respectable assortment of Highers, Advanced Highers and various other SQA offerings. I can’t really say, hand on heart, that he ever quite got studying but hey, he did what he needed. We suggested he took a year out to figure out what he really wanted to do before moving on to more studying but he didn’t want to, so onwards it was. I think perhaps he couldn’t visualise the alternatives to the school-college route – it was a sort of comfort blanket that didn’t require too much thinking. LEAPS summer school (he didn’t really get that, either) was followed by Sport Science at Heriot Watt University.

Oh dear. Oh Heriot Watt – do you have no student support system that flags up when things are not going as they should? It was obvious to us by Christmas that things were not going well. By Easter we were seriously worried. He simply didn’t manage the transition from a very structured, highly timetabled final year at school to the unstructured environment of self study that was his first year at University. The course and department didn’t help; it turned out that his was the last intake into a course that was being discontinued. He had seven timetabled hours a week and, in the entire first year, the only set work he appeared to have consisted of one essay and one group presentation. His tutor went on maternity leave in his first few weeks and wasn’t replaced, at least not by anyone who made contact. Of course, I realise we were getting only one side of the story and it may have been edited highlights, but he really didn’t appear to know where to turn. He quite simply didn’t cope and made the entirely correct decision to leave in the summer term. Better to drop out of university than to drop out of life.

The past two years have been a bit of a mish mash of many things, all good. For most of the first year after the demoralising HW experience he taught swimming and racketball (not together) at locations all over the Lothians. The racketball was a programme run by Scottish Squash with money from the cashback scheme which puts confiscated proceeds from crime back into the community. At one of his dodgier venues he had two policemen to help out each week, just making sure things didn’t get out of control. He also volunteered as a classroom assistant at our local primary for a day or two a week and was accepted onto the East Lothian supply list for classroom assistants. This led on to a job at the primary for a full school year: it was great to see him come home each day with a smile on his face. Afternoons and weekends he spent teaching swimming. And partying – that boy is a party animal. And as well as all that he has now spent two successful summers teaching sport at Summer Camps in the States.

So where now? Two years working in a variety of environments have restored some self confidence and two summers in America have broadened his horizons. He realised himself that he needs some form of further training or qualifications to move on. We looked together at a number of options from being a paramedic to teaching and then I arranged a meeting for him with Jackie Cameron, a life coach I met through this blog. I hoped that someone from outside would help him sort out what he really wanted to do rather better than his parents could. He came back from Jackie having decided that he would give university and Sport Science another go and so here we are again. He is off to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in a couple of weeks to do Applied Sport and Exercise Science, a less academic course than Heriot Watt and Stirling, a city based rather than campus university, and further from home than Heriot Watt. He is on a warning that he has to pass his exams! No pressure then. But this time he is 20 going on 21 rather than 17. He was selected by interview and likes the look of the department and course. He can see opportunities for moving on afterwards, for example into physiotherapy or teaching. And we have our fingers firmly crossed that this time he will be happy.

After all, that’s what we all want as parents, isn’t it? We want them to be happy.

Whither GP1?⤴

from

It seems a long time ago since I started this blog. My concerns at that stage seem so distant. Life has indeed moved on. It is over a year now since Tim (aka GP2) left school and Standard Grades, Highers, SQA, Curriculum for Excellence, Leaps, are now of no more than passing academic interest. Time for a round up.

So, Chris/GP1/Ginger left that fine academic institution that is Ross High School three years ago with a respectable assortment of Highers, Advanced Highers and various other SQA offerings. I can’t really say, hand on heart, that he ever quite got studying but hey, he did what he needed. We suggested he took a year out to figure out what he really wanted to do before moving on to more studying but he didn’t want to, so onwards it was. I think perhaps he couldn’t visualise the alternatives to the school-college route – it was a sort of comfort blanket that didn’t require too much thinking. LEAPS summer school (he didn’t really get that, either) was followed by Sport Science at Heriot Watt University.

Oh dear. Oh Heriot Watt – do you have no student support system that flags up when things are not going as they should? It was obvious to us by Christmas that things were not going well. By Easter we were seriously worried. He simply didn’t manage the transition from a very structured, highly timetabled final year at school to the unstructured environment of self study that was his first year at University. The course and department didn’t help; it turned out that his was the last intake into a course that was being discontinued. He had seven timetabled hours a week and, in the entire first year, the only set work he appeared to have consisted of one essay and one group presentation. His tutor went on maternity leave in his first few weeks and wasn’t replaced, at least not by anyone who made contact. Of course, I realise we were getting only one side of the story and it may have been edited highlights, but he really didn’t appear to know where to turn. He quite simply didn’t cope and made the entirely correct decision to leave in the summer term. Better to drop out of university than to drop out of life.

The past two years have been a bit of a mish mash of many things, all good. For most of the first year after the demoralising HW experience he taught swimming and racketball (not together) at locations all over the Lothians. The racketball was a programme run by Scottish Squash with money from the cashback scheme which puts confiscated proceeds from crime back into the community. At one of his dodgier venues he had two policemen to help out each week, just making sure things didn’t get out of control. He also volunteered as a classroom assistant at our local primary for a day or two a week and was accepted onto the East Lothian supply list for classroom assistants. This led on to a job at the primary for a full school year: it was great to see him come home each day with a smile on his face. Afternoons and weekends he spent teaching swimming. And partying – that boy is a party animal. And as well as all that he has now spent two successful summers teaching sport at Summer Camps in the States.

So where now? Two years working in a variety of environments have restored some self confidence and two summers in America have broadened his horizons. He realised himself that he needs some form of further training or qualifications to move on. We looked together at a number of options from being a paramedic to teaching and then I arranged a meeting for him with Jackie Cameron, a life coach I met through this blog. I hoped that someone from outside would help him sort out what he really wanted to do rather better than his parents could. He came back from Jackie having decided that he would give university and Sport Science another go and so here we are again. He is off to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in a couple of weeks to do Applied Sport and Exercise Science, a less academic course than Heriot Watt and Stirling, a city based rather than campus university, and further from home than Heriot Watt. He is on a warning that he has to pass his exams! No pressure then. But this time he is 20 going on 21 rather than 17. He was selected by interview and likes the look of the department and course. He can see opportunities for moving on afterwards, for example into physiotherapy or teaching. And we have our fingers firmly crossed that this time he will be happy.

After all, that’s what we all want as parents, isn’t it? We want them to be happy.

It is not about e-safety, it is about digital citizenship (@guardianteach)⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

  Natural Risk Takers

This week the Guardian Teacher Network has resources to help you teach pupils how to stay safe – and how to conduct yourself – online. Mike Britland starts the article with the following food-for-thought...


“In recent weeks, the problem of safe and appropriate use of the internet, and specifically social networking sites, has been brought to the fore. There has been the high-profile incident involving Stella Creasy MP and the feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who both received death and rape threats due to their campaign on Twitter supporting women who highlight online abuse. There has also been the tragic suicide of Hannah Smith, who took her own life as a result of the bullying she suffered online through the ask.fm website.

As such, esafety goes beyond staying safe, it's also about how you conduct yourself online – digital citizenship".

Guardian Digital Citizenship

It doesn’t matter if you agree with the term ‘Digital Citizenship’ or not. Mike is absolutely right to steer people away from the term ‘esafety’. It is possible to be safe but that doesn’t always help you gain wisdom or become more resilient against risk. For example, I am pretty sure that I would safe from any road traffic accident if I had never seen or been in motor vehicle or near a road. BUT, the day I had to drive a car or cross a road because I needed too would be the day I suddenly because extremely vulnerable and at significant risk.

As I have said time and time again – it is about responsible use and not about saying ‘no’, locking or blocking.

Unsettle
Anyway, Mike has done a good job of pulling together some up-to-date resources for teachers to help them teach Internet Safety and Responsible Use. These resources include the cartoons that I commissioned as part of the 2011 Education Scotland / Scottish Government Internet Safety and Responsible Use Conference and some of the Information films that I created on behalf of InSafe in 2012.

The article also features resources and advice from @mattbritland, @esafetyadviser and @teachertoolkit

Digital Native

Ease your reading problems by listening to the text instead⤴

from

We have Word Talk installed on all school computers which allows text in a Word document to be spoken back.  Word Talk (as the name suggests) only works with Microsoft Word.

 All the high schools had Read and Write Gold 8 software which offered this text to speech functionality plus many other useful literacy support tools. With the move to Windows 7 computers, Read and Write Gold is no longer fully compatible and the cost to upgrade is prohibitively expensive.

 Ivona MiniReader is a free simple text reader which adds a floating toolbar on the screen and can read out text from almost any program – Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, web pages etc.. MiniReader can use the free Scottish voice Heather and Stuart and most other voices on your computer. 

It is hoped to remotely install it onto all East Lothian school computers but if you would like to try it out prior to this universal install then please email slawon@eastlothian.gov.uk  I have instructions to issue on how it works and how it can be best used.

Ease your reading problems by listening to the text instead⤴

from

We have Word Talk installed on all school computers which allows text in a Word document to be spoken back.  Word Talk (as the name suggests) only works with Microsoft Word.

 All the high schools had Read and Write Gold 8 software which offered this text to speech functionality plus many other useful literacy support tools. With the move to Windows 7 computers, Read and Write Gold is no longer fully compatible and the cost to upgrade is prohibitively expensive.

 Ivona MiniReader is a free simple text reader which adds a floating toolbar on the screen and can read out text from almost any program – Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, web pages etc.. MiniReader can use the free Scottish voice Heather and Stuart and most other voices on your computer. 

It is hoped to remotely install it onto all East Lothian school computers but if you would like to try it out prior to this universal install then please email slawon@eastlothian.gov.uk  I have instructions to issue on how it works and how it can be best used.

Curriculum for Excellence updates⤴

from

  CfE and Glow News                                                                 August 2013 Welcome to CfE and Glow News The CfE and Glow News e-update provides you with updates on Curriculum for Excellence and support for practitioners, along with all the latest developments within Glow.Read the August issue of CfE and Glow News to find out about the following. Scottish Learning […]

TV Chef slams British youth⤴

from @ Mr McGowan's Learning Blog

Not a good career move by Jamie Oliver here I think!

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23860811

 

Bit of a generalisation saying that young people in Britain are lazy. Plus these young people may end up being his core audience on TV in a few years, so as well as disagreeing with his sentiments I also think it is a rather silly thing for basically a TV performer to be saying.