Monthly Archives: March 2016

Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award vlog Part 8⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award – join the thousands of children already registered for this exciting free competition!

If you could be an engineer in Scotland – what would you do?

What happens when things don’t go according to plan? What does an engineer do when things go wrong? Do they give up and walk away? Find out what the Strathclyde University team did when they encountered problems with making the Shopping Trolley for the Elderly…

Don’t forget, you can tweet the engineers with any questions you might have.

Engineering creativity starts here:
Twitter: @Leadersaward

Find more blog posts and information about the – Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award

Build it in 3D with Tinkercad⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

TinkerCAD-logoWhat is Tinkercad?

Tinkercad is a free online tool for creating images which can be rotated and viewed on screen as if in 3D from different angles, and which can also be used to send to a 3D printer to create real physical objects. Tinkercad is designed to be used by any age, whether for a simple or complex object, to make a toy or a design prototype, jewellery or ornament for the home. And even if you don’t make the physical object there is a lot of design skills and satisfaction which can be gained just by using the tool to design a virtual object.

If you can imagine the object in your own mind Tinkercad provides the tool to let you create it in reality. And as it is browser-based it only needs a user to be on the Internet to be able to sign up for a free account and to start a design, and continue anywhere they can get connected online – there is no software to download.

How do you get started using Tinkercad?

Here’s a video which gives an overview of Tinkercad:

A search on YouTube for “Tinkercad tutorial” lists a vast array of videos by Tinkercad users showing how they have created a wide range of objects, so that others can be inspired to get their own creative juices starting to flow. Tinkercad also has its own YouTube channel with a range of videos showing how to use the tool for a multitude of model-making requirements so that there is no need to start from scratch – someone will have created an object from which another user can adapt to get what they are imagining.


Tutorials in using Tinkercad – there are video tutorials showing how to get started using Tinkercad and how to use the tool to refine and customise the models being created. These tutorials are interactive in that you are guided through the steps while you are using the tool so everything is shown on screen at the point where you need the guidance.

There are many videos showing how to make basic models, as well as objects which could form the basis for objects by others and which therefore just need customising to suit the user’s needs.

How are other people using Tinkercad?

Tinkercad has its own blog which provides illustrations of how other people are using Tinkercad, and shares advice about the process users went through, and what they did with their creations.

How might Tinkercad be used in the classroom?

Project IgniteTinkercad Project Ignite provides ideas specifically aimed at using Tinkercad in the classroom. This provides a means for teachers to create a class without the need for pupils to sign up with an account, but instead use a teacher-created sign-in code. And of course there are hosts of projects, with supporting resources, for engaging classroom activities using Tinkercad.

DensRoadNurseryDens Road Nursery in Dundee have a blogpost on the Create blog detailing how Tinkercad has been used in their early years setting.


What if I don’t have access to a 3D printer?

Tinkercad produces files in a format which a 3D printer can translate into a 3D physical object. But if you don’t have access to a 3D printer then you may wish to consider sites such as Shapeways which lets you upload your file and they will calculate and quote a cost so that you could decide to have it created and sent in the mail to you.

How are you using Tinkercad?

How are you using Tinkercad? Do please share in the comments below this post

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act Register your interest for SCDC’s consultation on participation requests⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Scottish Community Development Centre ( SCDC)  is inviting anyone from community groups and networks, and people working with communities, to give their views on participation requests. The legislation on participation requests provides a process for communities to request to work alongside public sector bodies to improve outcomes, and sets out duties on how public service authorities deal with such requests.

SCDC will be running a series of focus groups followed by an online survey (later in spring) to gather your views.

SCDC has produced a briefing which explains this process in more detail. More information is available on SCDC’s website and you can register your interest for SCDC’s consultation at

Young champions for pupils with autism have their say on the blog, plus how you too can share your views⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

AP riverside gang group picSpecial guests on the blog this week, pupils from Riverside Primary in Stirling who act as mentors and champions for people with autism at their school.  Autism is a condition that can affect how a person talks and listens to other people, how they learn and how they make friends. You can watch this ace Fixers film to find out more.  “We are the AP Gang from Riverside Primary School Continue reading

New School/College Partnership Self-evaluation Guide⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Senior1The Education Scotland DYW Skills Team have developed a new Self-evaluation guide FINAL along with the HM College Inspection team. This self-evaluation guide has been created for school and college senior managers, practitioners, guidance and support staff to assist quality enhancement as part of the ongoing analysis of partnerships between schools and colleges. It is hoped that this will strengthen working relationships and planning and delivery structures, improve and diversify programmes on offer, and increase recruitment, retention, achievement and progression. This guide may be used for planning with schools and colleges in tandem, or in conjunction with other stakeholders as part of a comprehensive plan. The five sections include challenge questions and identification of strengths and areas for improvement. Each question is referenced against the most relevant quality indicators of: HGIOS4, Quality Framework for the External Review of Scotland’s Colleges and Developing the Young Workforce Recommendations.

Scotlands first Redefining Learning Event⤴

from @ Amanda Wilson


Thought I’d share my thoughts on the first Redefining Learning event to be held in Scotland at West College Scotland. It was an absolutely fantastic event and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

The afternoon comprised of a few talks before splitting up into various workshops led by Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts.  Andy Nagle from Microsoft discussed redefining learning and how technology is the class isn’t magic on its own however in the hands of the right teacher it can be.  Ian Stuart then talked about the use of Microsoft Products in Education, before showing us some great examples of how Office Mix, Sway and OneNote can be used in the class.  Next up was Marie Renton sharing her experience of using Skype in the class and in particular taking part in Mystery Skype sessions with classes from around the world. She has been using this in her school to teach French to the children in P5-7 in her school and explained how it worked and how schools can get involved. For me the best part though was as well as telling us all about the fab things she explained what difficulties she had to overcome in order to make the whole thing work and that is a lesson in itself if you are determined enough and persevere you can make these things work and her pupils certainly seem to get so much out of it. You can find more information on about Mystery Skype. Natalie Lochead shared her experience of using Skype connect with other schools to learn with them and also talked about how by using Skype in the class children can go on virtual field trips. Finally, David Renton spoke about coding in schools and the importance of coding & IT skills today as there is a skills shortage within Scotland with around 11000 jobs going unfilled. He talked about some of the tools available to teachers for teaching coding and then gave a demonstration of Kodu and TouchDevelop . Kodu is an environment that is suited best to P5-7 and lets the children create their own games within a 3d world. It’s really easy to program with simple commands that for the basis of while something is happening do something.  TouchDevelop is an online tool that’s more suited for secondary pupils and it lets you create apps and games from your web browser and on any device so you can start creating on the pc and finish what you are doing on your mobile device on the way home. Having used both of these tools I would totally agree and know that the pupils always find them great fun to use and create with.

CewN_nAW8AE1b60.jpg large                 Thanks to @drenton72 for the picture

After the talks we headed off to our workshops and I’m disappointed I never got to see anyone else’s. Marie & Natalie’s workshop looked at the use of Sway. Samina Hassan’s workshop was about using Office Mix and Nicola Paterson & Ian’s session covered using OneNote. However along with Andrew Minshall I helped out at the Coding session led by David. This was a chance for the teachers to get some hands on experience using Kodu or TouchDevelop and it was really interesting to see so many teachers wanting to try it out. I hope that when they go back to school they will keep on trying.  After the coding session myself and Andrew did a session on how we have used Minecraft in school. Andrew talked about how he has been using Minecraft Edu version in school and has been creating a model of the school (including teachers) with the children. As well as this the children have been using the Minecraft experiences as prompts for writing and they have even been creating spelling walls and peer marking each other’s spelling within their world. His next project is going to be creating a Scottish Landmark for the Build it Scotland project  Which leads me on to the work I have been doing with my local primary school and getting them involved in taking part in Build it Scotland  I used Minecraft too but on the Raspberry Pi which is a more limited version than the Minecraft Edu version. However when undertaking the project which lasted around 15 hours over a good few weeks over half of the lessons were spent learning about landmarks and planning out what we would do in Minecraft on paper and we also used some number cubes as well to create models in school before finally moving onto Minecraft and getting the models built in the world.  For me it was to show the teachers that while the may think Minecraft is a game there is a lot they can do to enhance children’s learning and there is a lot they can do without using Minecraft to start with. We did a lot of planning on paper first then used number cubes to visualise our models before finally getting on to Minecraft to build them. By using Minecraft as a motivational tool it encourages the children to want to work more and learn more about their topic and yes it is great fun for them when they get onto Minecraft to build their models. I left the teachers with some words from children I had spoken to before the event and they gave some advice to the teachers as to why they should use Minecraft with reasons including working together, helps us be more creative, learn new things and my favourite it it’s helped them realise and think more about computing as a career choice when they are older.

Cev9FSRWQAQ4cl_.jpg large






Do School Trips Educate Our Young?⤴

from @ Katie-Rebecca's ePortfolio

I’m fresh from a school trip today and as a student teacher on placement, I wanted to share my experience as to whether or not school trips are – in my opinion – educational. The school trip in question was at Dundee’s Discovery – the ship which took explorers to Antarctica over 100 years ago. […]

The Positivity Advantage⤴

from @

I find it quite ironic that I had just finished reading ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor when I end up having another mental health crash myself.  Resilience isn’t my strongest point but I have been learning for the past 25 years, (along with medication input) to manage failure, to not take failure personally, to learn and to make it a positive experience rather than all-encompassing negativity.  So here I am writing my next blog about the power of positivity when all I really want to do is hide for a while and make it all go away!  Perhaps you can also see the irony…?

Our interactions with people are affected not only by our own emotions be they positive, negative or non-descript, but by the emotions of others. We pick up on the feelings of others and respond subconsciously to them.  How many of you have come into a room full of miserable people and ended up going out deflated and miserable yourself?  This ‘affect’ can also work in a positive way.  If we say ‘thank you’ and express our gratitude to someone, this positive affect is passed on not only to that person whom we have thanked, but to the next people that they meet.  The positivity moves on three levels.  In our world of interconnectedness, if we paste one humourous or thankful post on Facebook, this positive affect touches not just the lives of our Facebook friends, but of their friends on Facebook as this ‘affect’ travels.

The same goes for our own children and the children we teach. Children and young people respond to positivity, trust and respect.  As Achor says,

“Cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, creative and productive.”

So if we want the children in our class to be more creative, motivated and productive and consequently achieve higher standards, we should understand that “positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative.”

We need to adjust our mind-set to one of positivity so we can achieve more and we can do this by retraining our brains to think positively and look for the positive aspects of children’s learning rather than focusing on the mistakes.

This takes time and practise but understanding that we can rewire out brains is essential.  If we surround ourselves with the negative aspects of teaching, the stress, the workload, the unwanted behaviours, then we will feed our brain negativity.  If we remain aware of these issues, but consciously focus on small moments of positive input, such as a smile, a child saying good morning, a focused child in our class, then we can retrain our brains, step by step, to be positive brains.

Looking at learning we can use the moments of apparent failure to develop our skills, and the skills of the children we teach.  We can regain control of our own positivity by focusing on small manageable goals.  You would not expect a child to achieve a complex task without breaking it down and the same goes for us when developing our own teaching strategies.   Finally, remember our social support network is of prime importance in supporting us to make these small manageable changes in our lives.

So here is a challenge to try: End each lesson and each day with 3 things you want to say thank you for, or maybe think of a child to whom you want to say thank you and why.   Look for the small, positive aspects of your day and acknowledge them out loud gratefully, someone making you a cup of tea, a child smiling as they finally understand what you are teaching, someone holding the door for you.  Little by little, you will notice a positive change both in yourself and in those around you.



The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, Virgin Books, New York, 2011.









Manifesto for Libraries⤴

from @ Bodies in the Library

CILIPS have produced a Manifesto for Libraries, highlighting “the incredible return on investment and impact on key policy areas that libraries offer”, covering public libraries, school libraries, digital skills and a national reading strategy.Filed under: Library stuff Tagged: Manifesto for Libraries