Monthly Archives: June 2014

Desktop Wallpaper for July 2014⤴


Here is my desktop wallpaper for July 2014. Please feel free to download and use it if you like it. The original image was taken in July 2013 on the beach at Scoughall in East Lothian. We will be heading back there in a couple of weeks time. This year, for the first time in many years we will not be leading the SU camp there. This time has come to take on a supporting role. We are really looking forward to the new opportunities and challenges this will bring.

Summer holidays⤴

from @ SQA Computing blog

I had planned to post this message before the schools and colleges stopped for the Summer. I still miss my long Summer holidays (I enjoyed 22 years of them) but, on the plus side, it's a good time for me to catch up with things since the office is relatively quiet for the next few weeks. And it's nice to take my own holidays when it's cheaper and quieter.

Me and my team will be busy over the Summer. We are organising the pilot of Digital Passport (and developing support materials for that award), commencing the review of PC Passport, producing assessents for the revised NC Computing with Digital Media award, finalising a new CBQ in Information Security, getting the review of HNC/D Interactive Media off the ground, deciding what to do with HNC/D Information Technology, finalising new HN Units on big data, and considering some new qualifications in the area of cyber security.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter. Even if you're enjoying the beach, it won't take long to check the team's tweets. And we'll be sure to advertise opportunities to work with us on Twitter.

Insight regional events attended by over 1000 delegates⤴


We’ve just completed a round of regional events to help secondary schools and local authorities prepare for using the new online benchmarking tool, Insight. The tool will help analyse, compare and improve the performance of pupils in the senior phase. It introduces a new way of benchmarking and we were delighted that over 1000 delegates attended the events to find out more.

Our tour started on 29 April at Edinburgh’s Broughton High School and our final stop was in Orkney on 18 June where we met with staff at Stromness Academy and Kirkwall Grammar School. We visited 15 different locations and ran 27 separate sessions with presentations from the Scottish Government’s Insight Project Team and Education Scotland, along with practical activities. We learned a huge amount about how Insight is perceived by you the professionals and are reflecting on this as we start to prepare for go-live.

Insight regional event Aberdeen.jpg

What came out clearly is that you see the development of Insight as a significant step forward for analysing attainment data. You think it will serve well as a benchmarking and improvement tool, particularly through the virtual comparator feature. You like the measures, especially the ability to see your school in its context and, that a wider range of awards will be included. The fact that Insight is intuitive is a big plus for you as is the level of detail that can be gained through drilling-down into the data.

We’ve taken many of your suggestions on board for developing Insight further. For example, we know you want the charts to say what you’ve filtered for and you want to be able to put charts side by side so you can compare them. You’d like greater consistency with the colours of the charts and you’d like the charts to be clear when printed in black and white. While you like that Insight has a measure on positive destinations, longer term you want a measure on ‘sustained’ destinations.

What next? It’s heads down now for the Project Team to ensure that, where we can, we make the changes you’ve asked for and are ready to go-live as soon as possible after we have the summer awards data. We know that you will still have questions and we will address these through updating the user guides and frequently asked questions, all of which are available from the log-in page of Insight.

We got a lot from the events – your feedback was very helpful and we enjoyed meeting with those who attended and are extremely grateful for your participation. We also had some fun along the way and didn’t let delayed flights to the islands and traffic jams to elsewhere get us down. And we experienced a thunderstorm in Kilmarnock that we are not likely to forget for a very long time!

Eileen Gill
Insight Project Manager

#PenATweet by @TeacherToolkit and @JeanEd70⤴


A few weeks ago I posted an article exploring some issues around The importance of #handwriting. It stirred up a huge amount of interest from teachers across the world. This is part 2 of a 3-blog follow-up to my original article … Background: In a BBC News article, the art of handwriting has been under scrutiny … Okumaya devam et

ISTE2014 – No Country for an Old Fashioned Educator?⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

Can you imagine being a "Unconnected" educator who decides to get connected on social media this week and opens a Twitter account? Can you picture the scene:

You're an unconnected educator and some of your connected educators have been talking in the staff room about some of the things they've been able to do with technology in class this year and/or the tools they're going to explore over the summer..

"Wow" Mr/Miss Unconnected thinks "Some of this Technology seems to ACTUALLY work and have value in the classroom... I'm going to have to look into this," so included 'exploring EdTech' on their list of summer PD.

It's the end of June and schools out time for some relaxation, a vacation... and summer PD. Right whats this Twitter thing, where's that cheat sheet I was given?

1) Open account. Done
2) Follow friends. Done
3) Lurk and Learn.... ARGH!

What just happened?

ISTE14 Just Happened!
Could a techno-phobic educator who decides to take the brave step of opening a Twitter account pick a worse week? I was on Twitter for quite a while before I found out about the ISTE hashtag and it was frantic! So I'm not sure if Twitterland would be a good country to visit this week for educators looking to come out of their Twitter shell.

Tom Whitby wrote a great post during Connected Educator Month called "Patience for the Unconnected" and observers that;

"Connected educators may be the worst advocates for getting other educators to connect" 

Maybe you've been reasonably dismissive of technology in education (there's plenty of evidence to support this opinion), but perhaps a compelling presentation like Donald Clark's Three Tech Trends that could Change Learning Forever changed your mind. So where would you start exploring EdTech? And how could not feel anything but overwhelmed with all the choice and info.

The most popular EdTech news providers and web resources are well laid out and well tagged, just as Educators blogs are well informative and well written, and the Connected Educators are more than happy to provide help and advice to get colleagues connected.

Information Overload  
So the EdTech community is helpful and friendly but are people who are already apprehensive and outside their comfort zone going to admit to feeling overwhelmed?

Or are they not more likely to feel discouraged and think to themselves "Whoa this is not for me... I'm clearly not cut out for this tech stuff!" Any exploration of what technology is capable of in their classroom is cut short. But how would anyone NOT feel overwhelmed?

EdSurge have almost 293 subcategories relating to EdTech, with the most written about being: For Students, Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Useful For Teachers, MOOCs, Reports, EdTech Community, Useful For Entrepreneurs, Thought Leadership, For Teachers

I've used EdSurge in a number of recent posts, this is because I am exploring the site to assess the merit of a few ideas... One of which is to see if there might be any way to organise resources and present ideas in a way that might encourage the "Unconnected" to explore EdTech further.

Just a quick scan through the EdTech capabilities and there is an array of choices:

Digital StrategiesBYOD, Class Management and Classroom Technologies, ePortfolio, Flipped Classroom, Games and Gamification, Makerspaces

Internet Technologies: Cloud Computing, The Internet of Things, Real-Time Machine Translation
Semantic Applications, Syndication Tools

Learning Technologies: Badges / Microcredits, Learning Analytics, Mobile Learning, MOOCs,
Online Learning, Open Content, Open Licensing, Personal Learning Environments, Virtual and Remote Laboratories

Social Media Technologies: Collaborative Environments, Collective Intelligence, Crowdsourcing, Digital Identity, Social Networks, Tacit Intelligence

Visualization Technologies: 3D Printing, Augmented Reality, Information Visualization, Modeling Software, Visual Data Analysis, Volumetric and Holographic Displays

Enabling Technologies: Affective Computing, Cellular Networks, Electrovibration, Flexible Displays,
Geolocation, Location-Based Services, Machine Learning, Mobile Broadband, Natural User Interfaces, Near Field Communication, Next Generation Batteries, Open Hardware, Speech-to-Speech Translation, Statistical Machine Translation, Virtual Assistants, Wireless Power

Then, once you've identified an idea to explore there will be numerous EdTech companies to vet and decide on a potential partner with the right solution for your needs?!

All this innovation is great, but what a technological minefield? Looking into any of this involves an investment of time and money, both of which are in short supply in education.

Great Tech... Poor Uptake
The more I look at the effective roll out of any EdTech products the more I see that it's not an issue of whether your Technology is great or not... There's no denying that an Ipad can be a fantastic tool to facilitate teaching and learning. So why has it not been rolled out everywhere?

Please don't mistake this as any suggestion that we should have a one-size-fits all approach... after all an Ipad is extremely versatile. I think that a major reason why great tools don't get rolled out as quickly or as widely as they do is because the various stakeholders has not yet managed to "Cross the Chasm" from the enthusiasts and visionaries.

Geoffrey Moore's Technology Adoption Cycle 
How do we address this? My recommendation would be the same as I usually suggest in situations like this... Look for the bright spots. Maybe we should be looking to learn more from the schools that have made school wide transitions with initiatives like 1:1 classrooms, BYOD, using social media class etc... This would not be with a view to rolling out the tech that they use out... but to find out how they encouraged the skeptics and technophobes to explore this sprawling weird and wonderful world of EdTech.

If I were at #ISTE2014 this year I think that would be one of my missions... to seek out and learn from the 1:1 educators to discuss how they went about it. But alas, I'm #NotAtISTE so if you're a 1:1 educator why not cheer me up by leaving a comment below about the challenges you faced and how you addressed them.

Confused you will be! RT @RHNilsson The future of #EdTech infographic  @jimmy_daly … #feltag

Education Panorama (July ’14) by @TeacherToolkit⤴


I’ve decided to bring my monthly newsletter back ‘in-house’ after three months flirting with Tiny Newsletter. It has taken me several months to curate the title for my newsletter. Er, well no. actually, I tell a lie; less than a minute to coin the title, The Educational Panorama, which aims to capture a summary of … Okumaya devam et

More Google catch-up…⤴

from @ Mimanifesto - Jaye's weblog

The latest news from Google about changes to both Android and Google Apps does give more grist to the mill when considering the argument that they are playing catch-up with Microsoft Windows 8 and Office365. To my mind though, they are losing ground fast to Microsoft and Apple alike. As Apple consolidate their position with […]

Young carers in Glasgow have their say: “My friends don’t understand or don’t know the situation at home.”⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

Did you know? The Carers Trust reckons that there are about 100,000 young carers living in Scotland. That’s 100,000 young people who care for someone at home by taking on practical and/or emotional caring that would normally be done by an adult. It might be that their family member is disabled or has a long term health issue, or that they struggle with mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems. Whatever the reason they need support, young carers play an amazing role in helping their family.

Enquire recently did a workshop with an awesome bunch of young carers who are supported by the West Glasgow Carers Centre. They shared some really interesting and important views and ideas about the stuff that makes school hard for young carers and the support that helps. Here are just some of the things they said:

Issues for young carers with school


  • “I don’t have enough time to study while caring for someone at home”.
  • “A young carer might be worrying about the person they are caring for while trying to study”.
  • “I might be off school because of young caring. Might not understand  the work due to lack of attendance.”


  • “Might not be able to afford school trips or school lunches or the uniform”.
  • “People might not like young carers because of their clothes and shoes – they might have to walk about with old clothes (might get bullying because of it)”.
  • “We don’t have enough time to go out and buy stuff’.


  • “Not enough time to spend with friends due to caring”.”Might feel worried about leaving the person they care for at home. Might feel left out if can’t go”.
  • “My friends don’t understand or don’t know the situation at home. They might be embarrassed or find it hard to talk to me (if they knew)”.


  • “Might make young carers feel stressed – might result in taking drugs and alcohol”.
  • “Might not want to go to school – might feel different, depressed or anxious”.
  • “I’m too busy to talk to someone about it (the bullying)”.

What can help young carers have a better time at school?

  • ‘Money for equipment and school trips”
  • “Emotional help”
  • “Extra time for homework (and less work!)”
  • “Teacher tutoring so that if you miss a class they help you catch up”
  • “A ‘time out’ pass –  Getting time off school, or access to a quiet place to chill”
  • “Young carer awareness assembly”
  • “Getting home schooled instead”
  • “Help managing stress and with time keeping – flexible times and dates”
  • “Young carer support worker should always be in school for support”

A big thank you to all the young carers who shared their views with Enquire.

For advice and info check out YC.Net

Schools ImPRESS at Media Awards⤴


Schools from across Scotland gathered on June 13th to recognise the best journalism, publishing and design talent at this year’s ImPRESS Awards.

Seventeen different schools were represented at the event, which took place at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, all competing in 14 categories designed to recognise the excellence of pupils across the country, with awards including Magazine of the Year, Student of the Year and the Chairman’s Award.

Dollar Academy received the most accolades for its magazine ‘The Galley’ with four awards including Best Cover and Magazine of the Year. James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh won two awards for its magazine The Spark, with Fiorenza Kirkwood named as Inspirational Teacher and Alex Hamilton as Best Sports Columnist.

imPRESS Awards 2014

Peter Martin, Head of Magazines & Retail at distribution and logistics company Menzies Distribution, said; “We want to say a big congratulations to all of this year’s winners and thank them for entering. We were so impressed by the entries and are delighted to see so many pupils getting involved with their school publications. We hope more young people continue to do so in the future and that we see the current crop pursuing careers as part of a thriving Scottish media and publishing sector over the years to come.”

Secondary school pupils from all over Scotland entered the awards with the hope of being recognised for their work on their school’s publications, including magazines, newspapers, newsletters and digital publications.

Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, who presented the award for ‘outstanding pupil’ at the event, said: “I am delighted to see so much interest in in the awards from Scotland’s young people, and the work that they have produced is truly wonderful. Curriculum for Excellence promotes literacy, critical thinking and creativity which are key skills for learning, life and work. The imPRESS Awards support the development if these skills and is a great way to bring finalists together with the industry to help enhance young people’s future employability.”

The awards, which were organised by Menzies Distribution, aim to encourage young people into careers in publishing and the creative industries and were of particular interest to pupils who have an interest in writing, photography, design and business studies.