Monthly Archives: January 2017

Using Social Media for Recruitment in Teaching & Education [A School Improvement Story #1]⤴

from @

Social Media Fishing

Scotland (and many other parts of the world) is currently facing a teacher recruitment crisis. The crisis is currently the most prominent in the state education sector.

There are lots of reasons for this including:

  • Significant pressure on local authority budgets (leading to staffing cuts);
  • Lack of incentives (such as relocation expenses, help with housing or the creation of a rural living allowance);
  • Poor succession planning from Government (not enough new teachers in the system to replace an aging work force);
  • Teachers being attracted to more appealing jobs in the private sector (including independent and international schools); and
  • Poor advertising.

Some schools who have struggled to fill posts have turned to more imaginative ways of advertising to recruit the best candidates to the jobs at their schools.

At Kingussie High we have had success in recent years using Social Media to attract an outstanding group of teachers from a diverse range of subjects to our small rural school. This article outlines some of the things that we have learnt along the way about using Social Media for recruitment.

Facebook Banner


Lesson One: Social Media doesn’t recruit staff on its own.

Over the years I have heard lots of people say they are going to create a ‘viral video campaign’ to recruit a member of staff to their school. Yet when you look at the total YouTube views they rarely reach double figures. The reason for this is that social media doesn’t recruit staff on its own.

The schools that have success in using social media for recruitment will be the schools that already use social media well. They will have active Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as a modern looking website. Over time they will have built up a large social following of both current and past pupils, staff, parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and members of the local community. This ‘tribe’ of social brand ambassadors will be the main reason that your video gets 100s, 1000s or 1,000,000s of views rather than just a couple of dozen.

KHS online


Lesson Two: Your Social Media Campaign is only as good as where you directed people to on the web.

Importantly, where you direct people to is not necessarily the advert or the application form. Lets face it (particularly in the public sector) most adverts and application forms are boring and sterile. You need to direct people to a web page or a web page of links that really sells your school and very importantly, as a school leader, sells why people might want to work for you.

We use the simple holding page as the hub of our social media campaign. It links to supplementary information about each post, provides a nice statement about the school, links to some other fun content (to help people get a feel for the team they will be joining) and of course links to the more traditional job and person specification (hosted on - where all of the Scottish public sector teaching jobs are listed).


Lesson Three – if you want to increase your viral audience you need to push the boundaries just enough to not to get the sack.

Remember, on the web controversial is often king (that is why there are so many cat videos on YouTube).

I once advertised an English teachers post and on the web version of the supplementary information I purposely muddled up ‘their’, ‘there’ & ‘they’re’ and ‘to’, ‘two’ & ‘too’. The advert spread like wild fire with lots of people keen to point out how ‘grammatically incorrect’ it was and how ‘literacy standards’ must be very poor in the Highlands of Scotland. The people who understood the humour were also the ones who made it to the bottom of the advert and discovered the disclaimer!

Here is an example of some supplementary information that we sent out to accompany a Depute Head Post. The online chatter it generated called it everything from ‘refreshing’ to a ‘disgrace!’ We had tens of thousands of views and in the end 24 applicants (many of whom would have been worthy of the position).


Lesson Four – Pay for on-line advertising to promote & boost your posts.

We run our social media adverts thought Facebook. It costs me £150 - £250 to put a small advert in the local paper. I normally throw about £30 - £50 on any Facebook advert. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes I think the newspaper is worth it. This is particularly the case if I am trying to recruit someone locally for a support role (office, technician, etc.). But if I want to attract a teacher from outside the area then Facebook wins hands down every time for me.

It is really important not to forget the above lessons one, two and three though. The bigger your social reach the more reach you will get with your paid advert due to its magnifying effect. Also, don’t forget to make your landing page appealing – clicks are one thing but you want people to dig deeper and apply.

The great thing about Facebook advertising is that you can set a budget and also target where and when your advert will appear on other Facebook users profiles.

Recruitment Map

Facebooks Interests etc

It is pay ‘per click’ so you only actually pay when someone clicks on your advert and they link to your landing page. You can target on a number of levels such as male or female, by age range, by geographical location, by interest or by a little bit of everything.

Facebook Budget

Once you have ‘boosted’ your advert and set it in motion you can track the amount of social vs paid views.

DHT Facebook Advert


Lesson Five – Use your own social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to further promote your advert.

Basically, ask people to share within their networks. This will increase your social shares and add value to your paid advert.


Other Things

  • The time of the year that you advertise is really important. This is particularly important if relocation is going to be required.
  • First impressions count – what shows up in Google when you ‘Google your School’.

  KHS Google Search

Digital impressions are first impressions these days...

KHS on Google


About this post:

In 2017 I promised to write more on (which is also currently undergoing a digital overhaul in the background). I’ve committed to this new series of school improvement stories, which is really about the lessons I have learnt, mistakes I have made and things I want to share from my leadership of Kingussie High School. There will be twelve posts in total (published on the last day of each month during 2017).

January 2017 – Using Social Media for Recruitment.

February 2017 – Raising Attainment through Sport.

March 2017 – Partnership Working in the Senior Phase.

April 2017 – Constructing your Senior Phase Curriculum.

May 2017 – Using Technology to Improve learning (1).

June 2017 – Using Technology to Improve learning (2)

July 2017 – Understanding Deprivation to Improve Attainment.

August 2017 - Improving Positive Destinations.

September 2017 - Developing 3-18 Skills.

October 2017 - Making the most of your ‘local context’.

November 2017 - Developing Middle Leadership.

December 2017 - Improving progression in the BGE.

Drawing Cartoons⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

small-drawing-cartoonsHave you ever wanted to create cartoons like the professionals? This is your chance!
On Thursday 2nd February at 10.45am meet Jim Glen, who has spent many years bringing some much loved characters to life in the pages of the Beano. Have your clipboards ready so that you can draw along as Jim shows you how to create cartoons.

He’ll also offer top tips on making your stories and characters leap off the page and will answer any questions you have to help you become a top class cartoonist. The session will be suitable for P4-P7 pupils and will cover aspects of the Expressive Arts and Literacy and English curriculum.

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

‘You know you are a Global Educator when you…’ [a book by @julielindsay] #intelvisionaries⤴

from @

Julie opening slide

I’ve known Julie Lindsay online (mainly through Twitter) for what seems like a very long time. I particularly remember some of her early work around the Flat Classroom Project that she co-founded with Vicki Davis (AKA: @coolcatteacher) back in 2006. We also share a joint early influencer in the form of David Warlick (@dwarlick) who was one of the first people to inspire me to think differently about how we use technology in schools back in 2005.

Julie is a passionate educator with a particular interest and specialisation in global education. This specialism is not surprising considering she is Australian but worked across Asia, Africa and the Middle East in a variety of international schools and universities. As well as working physically in these places Julie also has extensive experience of connecting and collaborating with hundreds of educators online.

The Global EducatorJulie was at ISTE 2016 to launch her new book, “The Global Educator”. I read the first few chapters of her book when she gave me a signed copy in Colorado last summer and I finished it off over the recent Christmas break (which now seems like a long time ago!).

Not a lot of new stuff for me personally but I can see what a useful guide this might be for someone just starting out.

Julie proposes six things that might help educators know if they were global educators or not. The six things aren't meant to be exhaustive and are really just really a guide or a self-evaluation tool.

Julie says, you know you are a Global Educator when you…

  • Connect and share - eg: has an understanding of ‘connectivism’ and networked learning, builds a personal learning network, establishes a strong global brand, contributes oneline globally daily as part of established workflow, etc.
  • ‘Flatten’ the learning - eg: learns about the world with the world, is able to sustain connections and collaborations. Understands that learning in a digital world means working with others at a distance and online, etc.
  • Encorage and model global citizenship - eg: fosters global competency through global context, has empathy learning with other cultures, adopts and encourages multiple perspectives, etc.
  • Collaborate anywhere, anytime - eg: collaborates with anyone, anywhere, anytime, in anyway possible, is adept at teacher sourcing, builds on-line global communities, etc.
  • Use online technology - eg: is able to use both synchronous and asynchronous online technologies to bring learners together, knows how to use the web to publish global experiences, is digitally fluent across devices and software, etc.
  • Design futuristic learning environments to connect with the world - eg: is able to design learning in order to develop students global competencies, in conversant with design thinking, understands the importance of collaboration as a global learning objective, etc.

In her book Julie builds on these six principles and goes into more depth about what they mean as well as providing some nice little real life examples. I personally found the list quite re-assuring but it certainly got me reflecting and thinking about how many of my staff would actually be able to tick of some (or all) of these things as regular practice.

Another part of Julie’s work that I liked was her thoughts on an Online Global Collaboration Taxonomy. Show in the picture below:

Global Collaboration Taxonomy

Overall, lots to think about and a guide that I am sure I will dip in and out of from time to time.

So that was #Bett2017 #Bett17⤴

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

So That was #Bett2017

So That was #Bett2017

A Quick Review of #BETT2017 Exhibition and Conference

  1. Two days mainly of meetings but I spent the rest of the time prowling around the stands and dipping in and out of the keynotes when I could. I think #BETT is in some respects getting better. I really liked the small companies and start-ups sections at one end of the main hall and the digital makers section at the other end of the hall. It is good too that the sessions for School Leaders , HE Leaders , Special Educational Needs etc are now in conference pods in the main hall rather than being hidden away up the stairs. Good too to see much more opennes from UKTI and DTI in having an export strand with some excellent speakers in the main arena.
  2. The programme/document/catalogue the BETT Guide is a great improvement too making it easy to find both relevant sessions and the stands you are interested in.
  3. On the bill were speakers from ALT Maren Deepwell , JISC as well as some well known names and faces from the cutting edge of learning technology - good to see Steve Wheeler among many others . As usual I met the usual disparate band of Scots on the make and some others overcome by the sheer scale of BETT. I've said this in past there should be a better formalised approach to Scottish education engaging with BETT. Quick wave to Colin Maxwell doing his usual stuff on Adobe stand , the Highland schools folk talking up the great work they are doing with Google Apps and Chrome Books , Ewan McIntosh and Ian Stuart of NoTosh delivering ideation sessions to School Leaders and Ollie Bray supporting Intel's work in Education space. It was good too to spot some local authority and College folk doing the rounds - had a good chat with Clyde College team and spotted Fife College . Hilary Weir from SQA was on the prowl but didn't see anyone from Education Scotland this year. Good too to see Mirandnet, Niace and ALT folks sharing a stand.
  4. I usually start by getting a fix on the direction of travel in England by tuning into the Education Minister's Keynote at the opening of BETT. This year Justine Greening did not turn up - she was too busy sorting out a schools funding crisis. A real pity as the delegates would really have benefited from some more of a strategic direction from government. It seems like some of her predecessors she may be technologically agnostic when it comes to learning. The system really needs more leadership here. Would be interesting to know what was presented at the pre BETT Conference the Education World Forum open to ministerial delegations only.
  5. However Robert Halfon the Skills Minister made some significant contributions on the Friday of the conference. tying in developments in this space to the English government's industrial strategy and the skills and educational reforms that are underway - this with a particular focus on digital literacy for all including those entering and in the workplace. In that space a new service for finding work placements was launched Also worth watching a new European Funded UCL project with NESTA and some of the usual suspects involved but looking to drive out more educational technology start-ups based on sound educational research. Watch this space I think.
  6. I'll do a quick review of the bits that jumped out at me . Remember I am interested in things that are vocational in the main. I'll include a list of links at the end.
  7. If there were themes this year that kept jumping out ( indeed they were dancing around on a lot of stands) Robotics and people tripping over each other wearing virtual reality headsets (psst! want to buy a class set? ) - and lots of electronics and STEM kits . I have to confess I am still not sure about Arduino Boards , the BBC Microbit or indeed the Raspberry Pi and all the gadgets that go with these. If they are used in a planned way within the curriculum I can see how they could be brilliant additions to many classrooms and could push on learning - but I can see too that they could easily become - programming exercises in futility - or an expensive box of wires that sit at the back of the classroom only to be brought out on special occasions . One gadget the Pi-Top really confused me, it allows you to build a computer around your Raspberry Pi and in fairness it looks really good - but I do wonder if it would be cheaper and more productive to show learners how to build their own computer out of standard components? There are so many components and kits you can buy that solve real world challenges - why not more of this - I could write a big list - but what about getting learners to make sure their school is served by the right number of mobile hotspots - or figuring out a way to give everyone a reliable device with at least a good browser on it etc.
  8. I like practical things but showing me how a circuit board can be turned into a controller that can make a robot dance would not have engaged me at any age. I like dancing and I don't need a dancing robot. The bits I liked related to how some of these tools can integrate with the internet of things or could utilise Bluetooth and be controlled or communicate with things in the real world like an app on my phone or showing me how the learning the programming of one of the above is applicable to solving real world problems. Make it control a 3D printer that gives me something I need.
  9. The usual suspects had big stands in the middle of the arena .
  10. Google with separate stands for Education , for Apps , for selling ChromeBooks and I think most exciting of all the Google Expeditions stuff . Most exciting as you can make your own Google Expedition. - This should feature in every College induction programme. I've got to say lots of folk still have not got the wonderful collaborative learning opportunities that come with both Google Apps and or the Microsoft Education Suite of tools.
  11. Microsoft in some ways taking a more innovative approach with a partner village of lots of suppliers who have integrated with Microsoft365 and other tools - but all with a massive push around Microsoft Surface devices for Education. While the conference was underway there was an announcement that Microsoft is to make a free offering available to all in the public sector and improve their offering around digital literacy I am sure many Colleges will be interested in this.
  12. Adobe - doing all the usual good stuff - running practical workshops around getting the best out of Adobe products in education. I have a soft spot for Adobe - yes the software is dear but it is what is used in industry and sessions focus on the skills around making well designed artifacts that are as relevant to the real world as to the world of education.
  13. Then there was a big chunk in the middle that always fills me with fear and dread - endless takes on digital whiteboards - I know they have their place - How many more school walls still don't have one ? but there has got to be more effective ways of selling these things. Lots of school focused Management Information Systems , Curriculum Tracking and Reporting Systems ( how many of these does the system actually need ?) - all with hooks around using big data and learning analytics, but many of them look a bit halfbaked. Also and a reflection on the fragmented English Schools market is , a range of providers of Educational broadband packaged up in some cases with a range of filtering and other services. This area along with virtual learning environment or learning management systems section is where schools badly need some better government guidance and a lead or they stand a very good chance of being thoroughly fleeced by some suppliers. In this space honorable mentions in dispatches to Frog Learning and Firefly who seem to be steadily building up a schools following and to Canvas Learning who are steadily winning business in the College and University sectors.
  14. There was more than ever this year a whole tranche of international stands from countries around the globe and I hope they won the business they were clearly looking for. A special mention in dispatches for the Norwegian stand - of all the international stands I found some products that were immediately of interest. In Kahoot and Inspera
  15. The keynotes could have done with that ministerial lead that was missing from the opening of the conference - without that it becomes a love in , a cosy fireside chat in some respects, if you are among the institutions or individuals that think you have made wise investments and have teachers and learners who are engaged actively in digital learning - you give off an air of smugness during these addresses.
  16. If like many folks you are still overcome by all of this stuff then the challenges that Sir Ken Robinson , Tony Robinson and even the ever cheerful Stephen Heppel throws out, just fill education leaders with panic and a litany of excuses around a lack of finances and better still a lack of school , regional or national leadership. I missed Heston-Bluementhal and it could have been a cracking session, but I'm just not sure what a celebrity chef could bring to the global education debate.
  17. Sorry to miss teachmeet17 Bett and catch up with Doug Belshaw, Bryan Mathers and many other colleagues but Friday night in London is still just a bridge too far for this Scottish teacher.
  18. What were the gaps for me - 1. As there is less money in the system, there really needs to be some clearer direction around even basic things like the place of STEM in the curriculum - surely there is a limit to the number of well intentioned charities or others introducing different arrays of programming languages for teachers and learners. 2 The whole digital literacy debate across schools , colleges and into the workplace needs to be pulled together into something that really serves learning , life and work - there is not enough evidence of a coordinated approach to this. 3. BYOD is the future for most institutions and learners but still not high enough on radars - perhaps as it is easier to sell whole school lap-top or tablet systems. 4. No-one really talking about managing content - that is learning content and sharing of learning materials that is beyond of course the TES offering that gives teachers a platform to sell their learning materials - is this really the way forward? some more talk about Open Educational Resources would have been good. 5. It was good to see at the conference better still would be some workshops to show teachers how to use it. 6. And finally and most significantly while on the exhibition floor you can find some great on-line services delivering via webconferencing or through more traditional asynchronous on-line courses there was no real conversation around how massive open on-line courses or the wealth of other courses that are there could be harnessed for staff development or to provide a richer learning experience for school learners.
  19. Finally as promised a list at the end of some things that I think are worthy of further exploration - some of these you will already know about - but caught my eye again.
  20. Blended Learning Essentials 30,000+ users largely from across the UK can't be wrong or are really desperate to find out how to bring digital practices into their teaching an excellent programme that should be formally recognised as a component of CPD for FE staff and more - perhaps GTC recognition in Scotland. It is free
  21. BKSB Support functional skills development in literacy , numeracy and ICT in English Schools and Colleges - including diagnostic assessment and the creation of an individual learning plan.
  22. Blended Learning Consortium Peter Kilcoyne did a session and still a good £5K investment for a College looking for a raft of relevant on-line learning content
  23. Loopd.Life A closed social network for schools , colleges and employers etc - I've seen a few of these - Dundee and Angus College on client list - wonder what the learners think ?
  24. Bulb.App The best e-portfolio ever for learners if you read the blurb but will have its uses and has a free account for teachers and learners to try out.
  25. Meetoo A live polling tool for use in classroom and free for up to 100 learners
  26. Soundtrap - for musical collaboration when you need a closed platform - for schools - but fun and open for everyone else.
  27. Global Vocational Skills - Lots of content at a price for vocational learning with plugin for Moodle and Canvas
  28. Kortext - A platform to manage and create e-books for those that need this service
  29. Sketchfab Three D design modeling and sharing - I can see lots of applications for this.
  30. Supermemo Flash cards and tests that focus on repetition and testing some good free ones and opportunity for a price to make your own or buy other sets
  31. Spellodrome Really for primary learners but takes spelling development to a new level - games, badges all that stuff.
  32. Teacherin - a growing service a way to recruit supply teachers - but not an agency so teachers get paid properly and offers some free on-line CPD for teachers too . Some fresh thinking not in Scotland yet
  33. Educake Science Another tool in the formative assessment space - aimed at sciences and matched in main to A level and GCSE syllabus - a space that SQA should be looking at with commercial partners ! or in its own right with a freemium tool
  34. Just2Easy Really a suite of tools for primary teachers to create content and manage assessment
  35. C-Pen Exam Reader - Puts learner in charge and means that learners with special needs don't need a reader if they can control the C-Pen
  36. School Cloud In that space of room bookings , asset management and organising parents evenings that schools always find hard and best of all made in Scotland
  37. Pobble A writing tool for primary learners to support big writing and integrated with Microsoft365 - I think this is something that clever people running Glow in Scotland should have a look at - if only for the ideas behind this
  38. Komodo - I am not sure about this - looks good to a grown up but my primary age maths scholars might like something more exciting
  39. Tute - A superb on-line teaching service that delivers on-line classes in most subjects and employs real teachers to deliver remote learning - what Scholar in Scotland should be looking at and what could fill the gap in many schools when there is not the specialist teacher available in that school or where there are too few learners to make a subject viable in a school or where for whatever reason a learner cannot attend school.

Apple Teacher widens its reach⤴

from @ The H-Blog

Last year, when the iPhone 7 was launched I think, I had been reading about the new Apple Teacher program and got quite excited about signing up – only to find out that I couldn’t because it was for the United States only. It did give a page to keep checking back on that they promised to update as the program became available in other countries or regions – and I had even been remembering to check! The last time I checked it was after we came back from the Christmas holidays, and I was still faced with the single line of availability: United States

Anyway, last Thursday, I got an email notifying me that the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) programme was open to applications again. Remembering the heft of the application last time, I thought I would have a quick glance to see what was involved this time. Imagine my surprise to find that being an exisiting Apple Teacher was a prerequisite to applying to be an ADE !


When I dug deeper into things, I found that the list of countries had been updated (on January 24th, just in time for BETT?) and now included Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

So obviously I had to go and have a look.

An early stumbling block you might face is to do with your Apple ID. The Apple Teacher site states pretty specifically that it’s your own personal Apple ID you’ve to sign up with, and not an ID provided by your establishment. That’s fine for people like me – who surf the wave of our copious IDs with ease – but for some other teachers it may prove a bit more challenging.

Once you are through the sign-up hoop, you will find yourself logged into the Apple Teacher Learning Centre. Pick your device of choice – esentially iOS or Mac – and there are a set of tutorials and quizzes for you to complete to become an Apple Teacher. I can’t speak for Mac, but the iOS ones were:

  • iPad
  • Pages for iPad
  • Keynote for iPad
  • Numbers for iPad
  • iMovie for iPad
  • Garageband for iPad
  • Productivity with iPad
  • Creativity with iPad

Having completed the quizzes for iOS, I can confirm that they are not pitched at “Expert” level, the main plank of evidence being that I managed to pass them all. I got a very nice, shiny email for my trouble:


Interestingly, passing quizzes opens up more quizzes and the interface itself is pretty user friendly – as you’d expect from Apple. I’m looking forward to seeing how the site and the program develop, that’s for sure.

If you’re interested, you can sign yourself up for Apple Teacher at:

Gender Stereotypes in the Media⤴

from @ Katie-Rebecca's ePortfolio

Waking on Friday morning I unexpectedly found my social media site exploded with claims that in America girls believe brilliance is a male trait. Naturally I was curious to find out more, and the more articles I read, I was horrified to find that the reality is that girls from as young as six truly […]

Meeting Prof. Mitch Resnick the father of Scratch (@mres) #IntelVisionaries⤴

from @

Mitch Introduction

I met Mitch Resnick as part of the 2016 Intel Education Visionaries meet-up in Denver, Colorado in June 2016.

I was reminded of our conversation and also the main points of his keynote presentation as I read an article on the plane back from #BETT2017. The article was written by Professor Resnick in the new 'hello world' and was a tribute to his late mentor Seymour Papert (more about Seymour later).

Anyway, Mitch is a personal education hero of mine and most importantly he also likes cycling (he has even cycled in Scotland!).

Now, if you have not heard about Mitch you should know that he is a LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research (how cool a title is that) and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab which explores how new technologies can engage people (particularly children) in creative learning experiences.

Professor Resnick's research group developed the "programmable brick" technology that inspired the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit. He co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, a worldwide network of after-school centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. His team also developed Scratch, an online community where children program and share interactive stories, games, and animations.

Mitch’s achievements speak for themselves but the thing I want to stress here is the fact that he was a thoroughly nice guy. For all he has done there was no ego or arrogance. Just deep and unquestionable enthusiasm to make a difference. I loved chatting to him over Ice cream as we talked about the development of Scratch and other MIT projects. We even had a great chat about the Picocricket (which was just years ahead of its time in STEAM related maker activities).

Mitch gave the opening Keynote on the first morning of the 2016 Intel Education Visionaries  conference and he didn’t disappoint.

He started talking about some of the very early ‘maker’ projects he was involved in with young people such as the construction of gerbil traps, roller balde speedometers and diary security cameras. He emphasised the importance of these projects. Not because they were necessarily important you society or the economy but because they were so important (passionately important) to the young people who had designed and constructed them. He stressed that, “education needs to build on interests and by doing this develop deep ideas,”  that, “Making and coding a great way to share with others,” and that, “sharing is the best way to develop creative thinking”.

Next Mitch went on to explain the four Ps of Creative Learning Projects, Passion, Peers and Play.

Mitch and the four Ps

On Projects

Mitch quoted Dale Dougherty the founder of make Magazine who said, The Project is the basic unit of making’. I quite agree. Far too many ‘maker’ activities are about following a set of instructions to make product that may or may not solve a problem. Rather than students finding a problem and then deciding on who they will solve that problem through the trial and error of a project based approach.

A good example might be where students follow the turotial to make the sprite move rather than working out how to move them themsleves or better still allowing creativity to flow and allowing the learning to decide how they want the sprite to move or dance or spin around?


On Passion

When Mitch talked about passion he warned the audience of the dangers of badges rewards and points. Rightly he described this as extrinsic motivation which the research shows can make you more efficient (because you want to get a short term reward) but it won’t make you more creative.

This is further illustrated in Daniel Pink's work within his 2011 book Drive and in his TED Talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation”.

Referring back to Scratch Mitch suggested that the diversity of the projects in the Scratch community which include games, drawings, animations and videos demonstrate that many of the people within the Scratch community are indeed following their passions. The ability for people to be able to follow their passions in return is one of the things that makes the community a success.

One of the most well know Scratch users is Ipzy and she is a great example of someone who is following their passions.

On Peers

Peer based learning is still one of the most powerful ways for everyone to learn.

On of the reasons that Scratch is special is because it is a programming language and an online community. The two have always co-existed and shouldn’t be separated.


On Play

Everything Mitch said on Play resonated with me. I dropped the term Games Based Learning years ago, instead preferring the term ‘playful learning’.

Seymour Papert (one of Professor Resnick’s mentors and author of the book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas) uses the term ’hard fun’ and the challenge that Mitch set was ‘how do you create hard fun?’. He also encouraged us to explore tinkering suggesting that in his experience there wasn’t many things better to help you discover and create a playful spirit. One of my favorite books ‘The Art of Tinkering’ also got a mention.

The Art of Tinkering

In the Question and Answer Session that followed the presentation lots of good questions came up. Including the need to also teach knowledge and how you can then build on this knowledge through the use of projects and discovery. Tony Wagner supports this idea in his own research on transforming education and creating innovators.


Other links mentioned:

  • Brightworks School, San Francisco - A school that uses real tools, real materials, and real problems to encourage students’ love of learning and curiosity about the world.
  • ScratchED - the Creative Computing Curriculum Guide
  • Build in Progress - A website that lets you share what you build as you build it.

Ollie and Mitch


BTW - I'm slowly moving all my content over to a new server and a new version of (watch this space...).