Monthly Archives: July 2014

Vacancy update East Lothian⤴


Apprentice Vauxhall Service Technician
Employer: Tustain Motors

Location: Haddington, East Lothian

Further details and application: here or

Closing date: Non given – put onto above website on 30 July 2014

Date posted: 31 July 2014

Job Role/ Title: Hairdressing Apprentice

Eden Hair Salon
Location: Longniddry, East Lothian

Further details and application: here or

Closing date: Non given, posted onto above website on 28 July 2014 and phoned the salon today to check vacancy still open – yes, they haven’t got anyone yet.

Date posted: 31 July 2014

Supporting deaf young people to make a positive move after school: One young person shares his views⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

In this blog, Glen, a young guy who volunteers with NDCS, the National Deaf Children’s Society, shares his views about their recent resource “A Template for Success”. The goal of this resource is to make sure that young deaf people who are getting ready to leave school have the support they need to make a positive move on to college, uni, training or work.

NDCS young volunteer Glen meeting with an MSP and Minister

The intro to Template for Success states this goal really well: ‘Everyone who works with deaf young people needs the knowledge and the skills to advise, support and encourage them not only to make the right decisions, but to make a success of whatever they choose to do. Everyone involved needs to make sure that deaf young people are encouraged to be ambitious and are ready to take the opportunities offered to them.’

“Speaking from personal experience”, writes our young guest blogger Glen, “a successful move from school involves many factors – advising deaf young people on their choices post-school, moving from children’s to adult services, and supporting the deaf young person as they make the transition from relying on others, to becoming independent.”

Glen thinks the move from school can be “a chaotic and uncertain time of life for all teenagers. There are often high expectations to succeed, with added pressure of exams and deciding on a future career or college/university course. It can be a very difficult time of life, especially if someone just doesn’t know what to do after school. As a deaf young person, life can be even tougher, as many young deaf people rely on certain support, or are used to their communication being handled by others, so leaving this supportive environment can be daunting.”

Glen feels that his own experiences show some of the challenges that deaf school leavers may face, and why it’s so important that professionals work closely with young deaf people to help them plan a positive move on from school. Having got a place at university, Glen had to “work with the university disability department to arrange the support. But the university staff didn’t have much experience of deaf students, so there were delays in getting vital equipment. I was moving from child to adult services for deaf people at the time – and sadly the hearing aids I had got from the child service were not offered on the adult service. Without the right hearing aids, everyday life becomes much more difficult. Luckily, I was able to resolve my issues,and I am now very happy at this stage in my life.”

Glen thinks that “A Template for Success” is a resource that should be read by all young deaf people, their parents and the professionals who support them, to help them to understand the challenges for deaf school leavers:”By being prepared and having a good understanding, leaving school becomes much less daunting, and far more likely to be a positive first experience of the world outside of high school!”


“A Template for Success” is a joint project between NDCS, Skills Development Scotland and Donaldson’s School.  Read more about it here.

Glen is a young deaf person volunteering at NDCS. As well as being involved with “A Template for Success”, Glen has also given talks to parents who have just found out their children are deaf, and also to MPs about why it’s important that new buildings in Scotland have the right set up and equipment to support the needs of deaf people.



Who Sells Voxer in Edu? Why we Need EdTech Review Sites⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

I've been advocating for alternative roll out methods in EdTech for a year and a half now. Earlier in the week I was asked if I would cross post a blog by Steve Isaacs and Lindsey Own called "Relationship Building is Key to #EdTech Collaboration" I said that I wouldn't because I didn't entirely agree with the post.

Now I 100% agree with the #EdTechBridge mission and I totally agree with the conclusion regarding the way things should be between educators and EdTech developers. Where I disagreed is with the fact that EdTech companies probably use the tactics they do because they are the most effective methods.

I pointed out that after 2 years of trying to engage educators in a niche sector in the UK that I'd given up due to a lack of engagement and was shifting focus to the US. I admitted that I was surprised at the amount of progress that had been made within a month!

However, I highlighted that an area where I seemed to have had an impact is with sharing the challenges that I faced in the UK, in the attempt to help a fellow EdTech entrepreneur who was about to close the door of the business... despite the fact that this founder and company also appeared to be adhering to the kind of relationship building that Steve and Lindsey advocates.

So I agree with where things should be, but I struggle to agree that this is as one sided as the post suggests. I've had a similar discussion with educators in the UK and, as irony would have it, it was when I reported on my experiences of the opening night of EdTechBridge "Virtual Reality... Or Pie in the Sky Myths"

Building Relationships... Or Bust?
My experiences and EdShelf's are not isolated, as Audrey Watters post highlights 2010-2011 EdTech Startups Where are the Now?
Going out of Business 02
Now Audrey's post is right that most businesses fail, 8 out of 10 startups in any sector fail in the first three years and EdTech is no different. However, the companies that do succeed make sure that iterating their way to "Product Market Fit" with prospective clients is priority #1, but this can only be done with input from your target audience.

This is a major challenge in EdTech and may be the reason why at least some of these EdTech startups went out of business. Granted there are EdTech companies that think that they know it all and won't even take advice from colleagues and staff, let alone solicit advice from their customer base. This obviously leads to poor products which, in turn mean that the sales force needs to be more aggressive to hit their targets (See Ineffective EdTech for more on these arrogant and psychopathic CEOs).

But those who do seek out such advice in the most ethical way don't always get a whole lot of support. There are valid reasons why this might be the case, for example, there are now thousands of EdTech startups all looking to engage with time poor educators regardless of whether it's for ethical relationship building or these less welcome sales tactics.

This is why organisations and events like EdSurge Summits, EdTech Incubators, Tinker Ed, June Labs and EdTech review sites are vital today, they are able to manage this traffic. They can use their sector knowledge and strong relationships with educators to more easily identify the right partner, at the right time (ie the product conception phase) and contact them with the right approach. What are the benefits of this approach?

Who Sells Voxer in Edu?
There has been a great Google document doing the rounds on Twitter which includes over 430 early adopters of Voxer. I have a major question about this roll out which is;

Who's selling Voxer to educators?

Now I know the answer to this question:

No-one is! It's Tech that's proving so effective that the handful of people who started using this said "Hey this is really cool! I'm going to tell my PLN about it"

This has seen roll out to 400 people who make up the early adopters and these proponents will help shape the product more and more, until it is bespoke to educators needs this, in turn, informs the "Early Majority" market that this service is worth looking into.

Organic roll out will be achieved at a pace that suits educators... and there isn't a sales person in sight.

Ah EdTech bliss! Effective tech without any pushy sales tactics! But here's where the problem with EdTech lies. Voxer is not a dedicated EdTech service, it's a mass market product that educators have started to adopt... this kind of roll out is almost impossible for dedicated education suppliers under the current model (well at least not unless you've got a massive amount of investment).

EdTech Nightmare
I have tried to implement the kind of roll out that is happening with Voxer in UK Further Education colleges but the uptake was dismal! I was looking to use my education contacts to develop a group of early adopters who would test various products which were new to UK Education (whether US EdTech companies, or startups who offer value to FE but who were not in the sector because of the difficulty of engaging this sector).

The idea was to identify early users who would collaborate and co-create to ensure that the relevant amends were made to ensure "Product Market Fit" had been achieved. When this happens these early users would naturally become proponents and would tell other educators about how great the service was, in exactly the same way that Voxer is rolling out.

The potential here was improved products with welcome engagement and the time to roll out would be quicker than traditional methods... Oh yeah, and with significant cost savings for educators and EdTech companies. But guess which group in the EdTech ecosystem wasn't interested? Yep you guessed it, it was educators.

I am aware of a number of organisations who are looking at alternative models and they are not doing so well, the most obvious example here being EdShelf. The relationships that these organisations have with educators should make them the "go to place" for new suppliers who should be asking "Can you get input from your community on our product for us" this would prevent the kind of open season on targeting time poor educators that Steve and Lindsey describe.

So while Educators marvel at how great Voxer is and how they wish that all EdTech could be like that, in my experience and opinion, it's actually educators who are preventing this from being a reality. I've written extensively about this in my EdTech report "Developing Relationships and Delivering Value" and on my blog (in particular "Sales people in Edu: The Fox of EdTech"). Within the next few weeks I might have more evidence of this with....

A Live Example: Nurph EdChat Plan

On the 18th of June I found out about Nurph's "Record and Replay" function for EdChats and since this time I have;

1) Met with Nurph to see if they would be interested in working on some dedicated Edu resources

2) Have sourced as many EdChats and moderators as I could find and imported them into Chat Salad (Obviously with the assistance of Jerry Blumengarten and Tom Murray's fantastic resources)

3) Spent a good deal of time pulling together this EdChat Resource Plan to get feedback from moderators

4) Circulated this plan with any moderators that I'm connected with

All of this has been done with no remuneration and with no formal affiliation with Nurph but just because it seemed like a good idea.

As you can see the content of this plan is the result of listening to educators on EdChats, and my #1 objective for exploring this in the first place was to see what conversations I was missing out on, as I could not attend 200 EdChats a week, and it was extremely time consuming going through 200 different storify accounts.

The Edu/EdTech Challenge
I've come up with lots of ideas over the last 2 years (See Good Rollout Processes Come to Those Who Wait... Oh the irony!), the first thing that I do with these ideas is go to my critical friends in education and ask "Hey guys what do you think of this?" and the feedback hasn't always "set the heather on fire" so I've dropped the idea and went looking for the next project that educators would say "I love it! This should be in every school/college!"

I'm coming to the conclusion that this has less to do with my ideas and more to do with the fact that educators don't actually know what they want, and I'm using this EdChat plan to test this. Regardless of the outcome, there will be benefits for one of the groups who make up the EdTech ecosystem.

We're entering into a 4 week consultation process on this EdChat plan where we're asking the moderators we're connected with to 1) Share this with other moderators, and 2) To let us know if they think any of the ideas are worth exploring further.

I'm not saying that these ideas are great, I'm not saying these plans are going ahead... and I'm definitely not "selling" the idea. What I am doing is involving educators at the earliest possible stage and inviting them to provide their input and to collaborate/co-create IF they feel any of these ideas are of any value.

One of three things will happen here and all will have positive outcomes;

1) I'll be told that the ideas and plan is unworkable (Or that they are rubbish!) 

Outcome: Nurph have saved a lot of time and money trying to make their idea work in a sector where there isn't the enthusiasm for it. I've helped them do what startup experts advise: Fail Cheap. Fail Fast.

2) That people will like the plan and, hopefully, some moderators will be so excited about the potential that they will collaborate and co-create

Outcome: Advocates of the EdTechBridge mission and alternative roll out methods will be vindicated. They will be able to say "This went from an idea to roll out within a 8-12 week period" and use this as a case study to demonstrate to other vendors the value of "Social Selling"

3) That my US experiences will be similar to the UK... I'll get little feedback or interaction from the educators I've tried to engage with

Outcome: This will be evidence to me that what the EdTechBridge post is suggesting is a challenge, forcing me to argue that the methods of EdTech sales people may be unwelcome but they are not unnecessary... They most certainly are a necessity! Both my experiences and Mike Lee's would perhaps suggest that, at the moment, they remain the most efficient and effective methods of engagement.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the ball is in Educators court. Therefore if you support this kind of engagement;

1) If you are an EdChat moderator... please engage with this plan,
2) If you are an educator and know any EdChat moderators... please share this post with them
3) Please support Mike Lee and EdShelf with their #SaveEdShelf Kickstarter campaign

I don't mind if you come back to me to say the plan is rubbish (or with no explanation at all if you don't want to be involved), but please engage. Equally please support EdShelf even if it's the smallest token amount simply to send a message to other EdTech suppliers to help demonstrate the extent to which educators' desire alternative forms of engagement.

For whatever it may be worth, failure to engage here will play an instrumental role in me leaving Edtech, because I'm finding it too confusing an environment to be able to make any sense out of.

Digital Passport in the news⤴

from @ SQA Computing blog

The day I stopped for annual leave, the Times Educational Supplement (Scotland) carried a prominent article about Digital Passport. I was pleased with Julia's article, which seemed to be a fair summary of the strengths and (potential) weaknesses of the new award.

Overall, it was positive and emphasised the originality of the new qualification. The team behind it worked hard to ensure that it captured up-to-date digital literacy skills, and I do think that it is unique in what is covers. One of the criticisms of the qualification in the article is that it mustn't be "too closely linked to a narrow set of skills". That was a major objective of the development team -- to ensure that the qualification embraced high order knowledge and skills that could be transferred to new technologies as they come along.

The units are available now. The group award is available to pilot centres. Contact Hilary for more information about Digital Passport.

Reusing Open Resources: Learning in Open Networks for Work, Life and Education⤴

from @ Open World

rorBack in 2003 I contributed a chapter to Allison LIttlejohn’s book Reusing Online Resources: A Sustainable Approach to E-learning and I’m delighted to say that, together with co-authors Sheila MacNeill and Martin Hawksey, I have another paper in the subsequent book in this series Reusing Open Resources: Learning in Open Networks for Work, Life and Education edited by Allison Littlejohn and Chris Pegler.

“Every day, learners use and reuse open, digital resources for learning. Reusing Open Resources offers a vision of the potential of these open, online resources to support learning. The book follows on from Reusing Online Resources: A Sustainable Approach to E-learning. At that time focus was on the creation, release and reuse of digital learning resources modeled on educational materials. Since then the open release of resources and data has become mainstream, rather than specialist, changing societal expectations around resource reuse. Social and professional learning networks are now routine places for the exchange of online knowledge resources that are shared, manipulated and reused in new ways, opening opportunities for new models of business, research and learning.”

~Littlejohn and Pegler

Our paper,  “Analytics for Education”, presents an overview of the development and use of analytics in the context of education through a critical analysis of current developments in the domain of learning analytics, and contrasts the potential value of analytics research and development with real world educational implementation and practice. The paper also focuses on the development of education content analytics, considers the legal and ethical implications of collecting and analysing educational data and highlights new developments including the exploration of data from massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Reusing Open Resources also includes papers on a wide range of current topics including European OER policy, workplace learning in informal networks, collaborate knowledge creation and, of course, MOOCs.

Several papers from this book, including ours, have already been published in a special edition of JIME, the Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Reusing Resources – Open for Learning.

SOLO taxonomy resources⤴

from @

The SOLO learning grid works in the similar way to my previous learning grids in that you roll a dice to generate a question. Each box within the grid has one of the SOLO symbols and a corresponding question. The boxes are differentiated from less complex uni-structural identify questions to more deeper extended abstract questions […]

CPD Ross High 30 July 2014⤴


Introduction video

You always knew there would be an icebreaker!

These are some of the sites and resources we will be using today.

Voice recognition on ipad here go to page 26

Screen capture site here

Videoscribe website here

There are loads of interesting and fun to use sites such as wordle

Googledocs explanation here

Go to this link and you’ll find organising student placements a lot easier!

Scottish Government MA Enforcement Administrator – Victoria Quay, Edinburgh – closing date 11th August 2014⤴


MA Surveillance Enforcement – Edinburgh – Closing date 11th Aug

Attached is a job specification for a Modern Apprentice opportunity for an Enforcement Administrator based in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

Please can you alert the relevant teams to this vacancy and ask that they encourage eligible young people to apply (16-24 years old, unemployed, who are capable of completing an SVQ level 2 in one year). Young people contracted to work less than 16 hrs per week are also eligible.

Unfortunately the Scottish Government cannot support to SVQ level 3 therefore young people who have already completed the SVQ level 2 in business administration would not be eligible.

Candidates should explain in their CVs specifically how they meet the competencies indicated in the job description attached and should include a short covering letter.

Closing date for applications is Monday 11th August 2014. Can I please ask that all CVs and covering letters are sent electronically to

This position has an attractive starting salary of £16,042.

Summer reading⤴

from @ blethers

What have I been reading recently? Nice of you to ask - I have been reading more than I might, because it's been the kind of weather that allows you to read outside, and I'm an outdoorsy sort who can't bear to sit in if the sun's shining or even if it's not and ... and ... Enough. Right now I've started on Lucretia Grindle's The Lost Daughter  and I'm enjoying it hugely, in the way you  do when you've read several of an author's books and settle comfortably into the environment - in this case Florence - and the characters (Italian cops) you've met before. I continue to be slightly irritated by the writer's tick of consigning adjectival clauses to a separate sentence more than once (once is fine, but it's too distinctive a trait to use more often), but she writes a good tale and the setting is terrific.

I'll not go on about that, however, because I'm just settling in - though I may return for a final thought. Before embarking on the Grindle I was reading the deeply unsettling The Disappeared, by Kim Echlin. Set in Canada and Cambodia, this is a story of the Killing Fields, so I'm now considerably more clued up on Pol Pot and the horrors of that era than I was in the 70s, when I was too preoccupied with bringing up children. As I shall be visiting Cambodia and Vietnam next year, it seemed a good way for a fiction fiend to pick up some history, and a pretty ghastly history it is. Echlin writes in an elegiac way that incorporates Cambodian words into her dialogue and reflects the music that brings the lovers of her story together, but under the poetry of her language is an undercurrent of tension that meant I sometimes had to stop reading (at bedtime, usually) before I was ready to.

I read another thought-provoking book in Frankie and Stankie, by Barbara Trapido. This is a delightfully-narrated account of growing up in the South Africa that existed while I was a child, the South Africa of growing apartheid seen through the eyes of the child of white liberals who nevertheless mingled with the rest of white society - though they took a dim view of the Afrikaaners, whom they saw as boorish country clods. The child-like clarity of the prose means that events happen without necessarily being interpreted; with our hindsight we are able to see how things gathered their own ghastly momentum and changed a world even as its inhabitants watched. I'm glad to have read it.

And then there was the appropriately seasonal Instructions for a Heatwave, by Maggie O'Farrell. This is the story of a family, beautifully and lovingly told, with fascinating flashbacks gradually explaining what is happening and making it possible for the family to continue. I especially enjoyed the seemingly effortless mastery of the writer, the firm grasp of tense, the fine strokes of characterisation. Set in the heatwave of July 1976 - a heatwave in London which was not, I can tell you with all the authority of a diarist, a heatwave in Dunoon - the writer keeps the heat there, oppressively present without being over-described, so that you are constantly aware of the difficulties of coping rationally with any crisis. I saved this one up for the appropriate season, and it went down a treat.

And now, chums, I'm away back to Florence. I'm not after all going to say any more till I'm finished. The sun is shining in the garden and I want to read ...

Why not?, and the power of getting on with it⤴

from @ Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education


We are all artists. But not all of us should exhibit.

So says John Hegarty in "There Are No Rules", which I continue to dip into during my break in Tuscany. I laughed when I read this line, because, in my own drawing/sketches case, it's too true. We can all be creative, but not all creative produce is equally stop-you-in-your-tracks creative. The thing is, you don't know until you start to create, whether or not it's going to be worth exhibiting. You've just got to start. And this is why starting is so hard - we can be fearful that what we produce will not be worth exhibiting, so we don't even bother to start it off.

But when I'm on holiday, I don't care so much about what other people think. Most tourists display this characteristic, with their clothing choices perhaps, or their behaviour in the bars on the Southern Spanish coast. I display this characteristic in "having a go" at things I'm normally afraid of wasting time on: writing, drawing and sketching.

I tend to create more on holiday than I do during the working year, the audiences being smaller (Facebookers are also on holiday, the readership lower, the conferences closed for another season) and the canvas being less daunting. One of my favourite holidayish things to do is to draw on paper placemats before my meal arrives, using my daughters' coloured pencils to create whatever comes to mind. I've spent this week on honing my horses skills, learning how to draw them again (when I was 3, I could draw a good horse, jumping over a hedgerow).

During the working year, all of this would draw a simple question: "Why, Ewan?". But during holidays, no-one questions WHY I want to draw horses. On placemats.

It's the distinct lack of "why?", in fact, and the implied criticism that seems to come with those three letters, that relaxes me, helps me concentrate, helps me focus my efforts on one thing, and doing it best I can, and often a little bit better than that, in fact. No devil's advocate. No "have you thought about doing cats instead?". No "why?".

Just a "why not...?"

Cross-posted to the fabulous NoTosh Facebook wall.

You can pre-order my new book, to be released in August: How To Come Up With Great Ideas And Actually make Them Happen.