Monthly Archives: July 2017

Some more thoughts on the NGDLE, for what it’s worth⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

There’s been a flurry of activity in the last few weeks around the NGDLE a.k.a. the acronym that won’t die. The current issue of EduCause Review is dedicated to it, and Brian Lamb and Jim Groom ride again together with their recent blog posts. I scribbled up some small thoughts of my own in June prompted by a JISC session that I was following online and since then I’ve had a little time to reflect on this new material, as well as several good conversations with people on and offline.

The more I read, the more convinced I am that this NGDLE tale is the Emperor’s New Clothes over again. “Zen like emptiness” anyone? And Jim and Brian’s blog posts both accurately identify what risks being stolen away from us (clue: data). A colleague reminded me of the inevitability of the hype cycle and we are probably at the zenith with this particular one, about to plummet down the slope. Whilst VLE vendors double down on their current positions, and everyone else discovers that this is harder than they thought, I want to expand out on a little of my own thinking under some loosely connected headings for future posterity. We can all laugh together later…

My own concerns are that this current vision for an NGDLE is fundamentally limited in scope and vision. That sounds quite strong, but I’m sticking with it. Until I change my mind.

Absence of student voices

“As part of this research effort, EDUCAUSE conducted a series of conversations with experts to gain insight into the limitations of the current tools and seek ideas for shaping new learning environments. In seven such discussions, we spoke with more than 70 educators, campus-based technologists, and developers from the private sector. Specific voices from the conversations are found in quotes throughout this paper” (1)

This vision for next generation learning environments has from all that I can see, been conceived of by people who are probably at least one generation away from the students of today, talking about what the students of a future generation might encounter. We are all kidding ourselves if we think that our understanding of what it is to be a student today is in any way authentic. Although the report draws upon ECAR research that includes student survey data, no students appear to have been in any of the blue-skies conversational spaces. I hear a fair amount of concern about the extent to which meeting student satisfaction targets is driving the agenda on our campuses, but to exclude students from the conversation entirely introduces a heavy bias from the outset. If the intention of this vision is to provide a more learner-centred environment then the voice of the majority group of learners needs to be incorporated. We need to admit students into the conversation about the development of learning technology (and technology more generally) on our campuses. Far too often we speak for our students instead of giving them a platform to speak for themselves.

Last September I started a major project, with a huge procurement component and we made the decision to include a student on the procurement team. I don’t mean we let some students score the supplier demos (we did that too), I mean that we had a student sitting at the negotiating table along with our senior team, meeting and quizzing each of the suppliers on equal terms. We didn’t always agree with her perspective, she didn’t always agree with ours and there were compromises all round. The overall outcome was better for her being there though. She brought the experience of being a student right now which was enlightening, and she brought an increased level of accountability to the process by not giving us an easy out. I see nothing like that in the production of this vision or in much of the subsequent analysis.

Only what can be wired together technically

“Finding: Interoperability is the linchpin of the NGDLE. The ability to integrate tools and exchange content and learning data enables everything else.” (1)

I’m never going to argue against better and easier interoperability, but my overriding concern with the current definition of the NGDLE is that it fetishes technology to the exclusion of broader thinking about the digital. It is absolutely concerned only with what can be wired together at a technical level. The concept of a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment should be larger than this and admit those things online that can be wired together at a conceptual level. It should also include some conceptual space for things students use that we don’t know about or need to know about. There are significant risks here if we don’t: We will marginalize creative and valuable academic practice, including supporting risky practice, and we continue to neglect the potential to develop truly useful digital literacy skills in our students.

One example in my own context would be the work that we do supporting the use of Wikipedia in the classroom. I defy anyone to explain to me how learning to write for Wikipedia wouldn’t be an excellent example of working in a digital learning environment (I’ll admit it’s not next generation in terms of technology, but actually that’s kind of the point that I’m trying to make) and I absolutely don’t see why we would need to hardwire Wikipedia into a learning environment beyond providing a URL and some scaffolding for the activity students are undertaking. There are valuable lessons in our Wikipedia activities about working with knowledge on the open web that include how you construct your own identity and how you negotiate and conduct yourself within a community. The ‘realness’ that our students enjoy and find motivating is in no small part bound up in the nature of what they are doing and that it lies outside the system, outside the institution in the ‘real world’.

The open web is a thing. Our students will use services on the open web explicitly because they want to work outside of institutional systems, or because they have their own ways of working that they brought with them, or because their finances or circumstances are constrained and they’re just doing what works, or because we gave them their own domain and encouraged them to. Whilst we don’t need to know all the detail, neither should we turn a blind eye. If we admit that all these things are part of the wider NGDLE our students experience then we also have an obligation to consider what kind of support and advice we can provide to help make smart and informed choices.

Reality Check: Because Maintenance

Educause Review calls for us to be the architects of the NGDLE. I am one of those architects – I have 20+ years of experience building enormous complex systems that integrate things (distributed EPOS systems; enterprise portals; identity and access management systems; edTech). It’s hard, and once you’ve done it is when the real work begins. Because maintenance. Maintenance costs are a stone-cold killer. I’m not talking about the technical integrations, though that’s hard enough. I’m talking about the reality that each LEGO brick in this NGDLE architecture is a moving part (must be Technic LEGO), and they’re all moving at different speeds, shaped by different agendas, communities and commercial realities. Managing the information flow, the release schedule, the updates to training and documentation when change happens – this stuff isn’t sexy innovation, but it’s over 50% of what any team will need to do just to keep the lights on, and it’s the work that is constantly being squeezed to free up more resource for “innovation”. Remember too that our institutions are in the eye of the storm managing this complexity, because they and they alone carry all the risks around failure. When components fail, or change in ways that break workflows, the student experience suffers and our academic colleagues lives are made harder. High maintenance costs and risky student experience just isn’t something that institutions find easy to stomach.

Talking about this makes for a rubbish conference presentation though. So we rarely do.

Will you be ready… flickr photo by kennymatic shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Temporary autonomous zones

“The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it.” (2)

Very little in this vision for an NGDLE deals with issues of consent and control around data and the potential for the chilling effects of increased data collection. Jim has covered this well in his blog post already, but I’d like to push this element on a little further and pick up again on some of the ideas in Amy Collier’s Digital Sanctuary blog post – particularly our habit of hoarding data. Amy highlighted my institution’s Data Protection Policy as a model of good practice, but to me it looks pretty normal. The European environment is very different and generally data protection regulation is seen a public good, rather than interference from government. In May 2018 the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect and it will persist beyond the enormous act of self-harm that is the UK Brexit. Our different data protection environment already makes life fun when negotiating with non-European vendors and I wonder about the extent to which it will influence the direction of travel of the market in the future versus the extent to which some tools and components just won’t be possible for us to use.

“The biggest change is that institutions will be held far more accountable for the data they hold. As well as records of what personal data exist within the organisation, the GDPR requires a documented understanding of why information is held, how it is collected, when it will be deleted or anonymised, and who may gain access to it.”

“The GDPR introduces new requirements on the way new information-handling processes and systems are developed. Data protection must be designed in from the start; systems must have default settings that protect privacy.” (3)

I’ve also seen a flurry of tweets over the last few days espousing the benefits and values of small simple tools, which is pretty exciting. I’m particularly fond of Alan Levine and Brian Lamb’s SPLOTs (a.k.a. the acronym that defies definition) as they are both simple to use and make a positive principal out of not collecting more data than is needed. JISC also toyed with an interesting idea when they talked about the “pop-up VLE” as part of a recent co-design consultation. There seems to be real enthusiasm and creativity around these ideas at the moment, but I think I mentioned already that maintenance is a thing. In my experience the quickly hacked together doo-da that does a neat small thing at point of need has a nasty habit of becoming the thing on the server 3 years later that nobody knows about and just won’t die.

With that in mind, I have been re-visiting Hakim Bey’s concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone, and whilst I probably can’t subscribe to the full breadth of his anarchist vision in my professional practice, it has got me very interested in the idea of simple, pop-up tools that gather minimal data and delete themselves.

I’m increasingly interested in exploring the idea of an NGDLE which includes a suite of small, simple, lightly managed tools that are easy for our academic colleagues and students to pop-up an instance of and use, but which by their very nature are designed to self-destruct. They may or may not collect and share data, they may be less or more well integrated with other systems, they key thing is that they are explicitly temporary zones. Temporary could be a day, a week, a year, several years, it should be configurable, but all of these instances of tools should have an expiry date. We need to think from the very start about how to keep our environment clean and get into the habit of putting our rubbish in the bin when we are finished. I’d also be interested to see whether “ephemerality by design” changes behaviour. Hopefully I am going to have an opportunity in the next 12 months to put some of these ideas into practice within my projects…watch this space

Linkity Links

  1. The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment, EDUCAUSE ELI (2015)
  2. A year to get your act together: how universities and colleges should be preparing for new data regulations, JISC (2017)

Defective articles and the Love of God⤴

from @ blethers

I've been catching up on an unread bit of a Sunday paper, and found an interview with actor James McCardle. In the light of what I've been involved in recently, this struck me:
People who live a heteronormative life might feel they are free but until we life a life that includes equality of sexuality, gender, equality of class, equality of race then no-one is free.
There's no freedom at all unless there is freedom for all. I understand there have to be labels when there is still a fight to be had, but that shift has to be cultural and it's never going to work if you keep dividing people.
Yes, you say - or do you? Not yet, it seems, if you're a certain kind of church member. And it pains me, as a member of the church for the past 44 years, to have to say that. Especially after the relief many of us felt when my own denomination (and yes - that's another division) decided at last to remove the barriers to equal marriage in our churches. And then it came to deciding where these marriages would be celebrated.

I don't want to go into agonising detail of my latest discoveries - the how, the when. But I want to ask a question. What in God's name is going on in the minds of the people - and I think and pray that indeed they are a minority - who stand, grimly or miserably, in the way, barring the use of "their" church buildings for the celebration of a same-sex marriage?

"It's the word 'marriage'" they insist. It means a man and a woman."

I can think, as my mind flounders in the face of their intransigence, of two things that I didn't get the chance adequately to point out. The first is that such a meaning of the word is but one of four in the quite elderly Concise Oxford that I consulted. The second is that it's a word. Not the Word of God, whatever I believe that to be, just a word. A different word in all the languages of the world, from the close relations of the Latin languages to the intricacies of Russian ... and take a look at this, from an excellent blog:
The word «брак», of course, has another meaning in addition to “marriage”. Its second meaning is “defective articles, discards”. While some marriages do end up discarded, the two «брак»s are not linguistically related.
Language is fascinating, but if I were to enter into any such detail in conversation I'd be accused of being intimidatingly clever, far too fluent for my own good. But for anyone to bar the way to an equal sharing in the love of God in the poor house that we humans have built to gather so that we can feel we are together in sharing that love, for anyone to use a pathetic, human concept, expressed in language that humans have made in order to communicate with each other as an excuse to reserve that space for their own selfish use - is that of God? We don't even need to use language in our deepest communication with what we call God - God who knows the secret of our hearts...

So I'll put it simply:

Language is not of God.
Love is of God.


IMPACT OF GLASGOW’S PIONEERING MENTORING PROJECT PUBLISHED⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

For the last few years, Glasgow City Council and MCR Pathways have nurtured and extended a pioneering and highly successful mentoring and talent development programme for disadvantaged and care experienced young people across a number of the city’s secondary schools.

More than 600 young people are now supported in their schools by mentors from all walks of life and all ages. Powerful statistics published in the 2017 Impact Report on Thursday 13  July, reveals that more secondary pupils than ever before are achieving better results in literacy and numeracy and staying on rates in this group of young people is at an all-time high. Critically, reversing decades of poor national outcomes for young people in the care system, record numbers of Glasgow’s young people are progressing directly to college, university and employment.

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education is delighted with the progress of the programme and said today: “Quite simply – working with MCR Pathways has had an incredible impact on the positive destinations of the young people who’ve been mentored. Three years ago only 48.8% of our most disadvantaged young people in the city went on to positive destinations on leaving school – to either a job, college or university – this has now jumped to an amazing 81%.

“This is great news for our young people, the city and its organisations, our school staff and of course the mentors.”

Relationship mentoring in Glasgow schools is undoubtedly closing the attainment gap in the city and helping some of our most vulnerable pupils.

As Iain MacRitchie, Founder of MCR Pathways, explains: “Above all else, our project is about the young people and the potential we can all help realise in everyone who becomes a part of the MCR Pathway family.

“The Impact Report is all about the young people’s success stories, the fact and figures, the achievements, case studies, commitments and our bold plans for the future as we look to celebrate 10 amazing years of mentoring and talent development in Glasgow. We are very determined to bridge the talent of all our young people with the many opportunities our great city has to offer. MCR mentoring is the bridge”

What stands out in the report is the comments from the young people, the mentors, families and school staff. Every participant benefits and the longer the programme runs in each school the

greater the impact. St Andrew’s Secondary, where MCR Pathways first started in 2007, best illustrates the extent where 100% of mentored young people progressed to college, university or employment in contrast to a starting position of 31%. From a qualifications perspective those with 5 or more subjects at level 4 or better, St Andrews was 91% compared to Glasgow at 60% and nationally of 54%. For all those on the MCR Pathways programme across the 10 schools analysed it was 88%.

The project is making a huge difference to the lives of so many who were in need or just coping – and now supporting more than 600 young people across the city. The plan being developed is to more than double this number in 2 years.

But it’s also about making a difference in the lives of the mentors – you just need to read their comments to see what becoming a mentor has meant to them and benefitted them in ways that they had not thought possible.

MCR Pathways is currently operating in 15 secondary schools and working on a plan to extend into all 30 as well as set a powerful national precedent. The partnership between Glasgow City Council and MCR is pioneering and has a simple target to mentor every care experienced and disadvantaged young person across the city. This means building the capacity and number of mentors to ultimately support 1500 young people.

Earlier this year, Glasgow City Council also announced an ambitious target – to engage up to 10% of council employees as mentors or as part of the talent taster programme.

As Iain MacRitchie concludes: “When one mentors, two lives are changed. Organisations are also benefitting hugely with staff skills being enriched and developed in profound ways. People really do make Glasgow and the commitment from individuals is inspired and inspiring. An increasing number of Glasgow’s organisations are signing up to encourage and support their staff to mentor as part of their working week. It is a privilege to work with so many people so determined to help young people realise their full potential and be defined by their talent and never their circumstances.

“As well as mentoring, our Talent Taster Programme is expanding and already revolutionising work experience for individuals and organisations alike. We have a number of very significant and exciting plans coming to fruition, many of which will be announced after the summer”

 

Response Box for Press Articles

Can you help a young person realise their full potential and be defined by their talent, not their circumstances? The Herald is supporting the Young Glasgow Talent campaign by MCR Pathways in its citywide plan and national ambition. More disadvantaged young Glaswegians are signing up for mentors to help them overcome barriers and inequality to be all they can be. One hour a week and a willingness to put a young person first are all you need. You’ll make and experience a life-changing difference in helping a young person to find, grow and use their talents. MCR Pathways will provide all the training and support you need. For more information or to register, please go to www.youngglasgowtalent.org or email info@mcrpathways.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!

MCR Pathways is a pioneering partnership of the MCR Foundation and Glasgow City Council, actively supported by an increasing number of Glasgow’s key organisations including The Wheatley Group, Glasgow Life, City Building, University of Strathclyde, The Herald, Glasgow Kelvin College, Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow City Health & Social Care Partnership and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

The MCR Pathways partnership is in part funded through a highly innovative Public Social Partnership (PSP) Agreement involving key strategic funders in The Life Changes Trust, The Robertson Trust, The STV Children’s Appeal and the MCR Foundation.

Notes to editors

MCR

You can read the full report https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=38545&p=0

Find out more about MCR Pathways or how to become a mentor or get involved in the Talent Taster Programme visit http://mcrpathways.org/ or http://youngglasgowtalent.org/

 

What do YOU think of Reach….?⤴

from @ Reach

We want to make sure the Reach website is what young people like you actually want and need. So we’d like to hear what you think of it and your ideas about how we can make it better. 

When we were developing the website, we involved 75 young people from schools and youth groups across Scotland as youth advisors. They were complete legends! As well as helping us work out how best to reach young people and what our key messages should be, they also helped shape exactly what the website is like. One group that took part was the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Education and Lifelong Learning Committee. So how chuffed were we to we to get this lovely piece written by  MSYP Aqeel? Aqeel told us that the Scottish Youth Parliament even passed a motion in support of Reach!

We’re now planning lots more opportunities for young people to get involved with our work and help shape what Reach will look like in the future. Interested? Get in touch to find out how you could get involved, or just drop us an email to let us know what you think of the website…. What works? What’s rubbish? We want the whole picture….

 

  

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s Education and Lifelong Learning Committee want to thank Enquire for involving us when developing their brand new website. So what did we do? Well, other than complementing the excellent work of staff at Enquire who always go the extra mile to ensure young people have access to good quality information, we were involved in the site’s design. We were delighted to be able to inform aspects of the website such as the format, logos, the size, the layout and of course the lovely colours to make it all easily accessible and attractive to a young person’s eyes.

We think the website is not just a resource for those who are struggling with mental health or are being bullied. It’s a resource for all of Scotland’s young people; an advice service like no other. It has everything you want all on the same website! If you need exam advice, contacts for support organisations, are being bullying, or are having trouble with mental health, go visit reach.scot now, folks!

——————————-

A big thank you to Aqeel MSYP for sharing his thoughts on Reach.

The post What do YOU think of Reach….? appeared first on Reach.

WordCamp Edinburgh, thoughts #wcedin⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

I just spent Saturday and half of Sunday at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017. This is only my third WordCamp, but I though it might be worth typing up a few impressions.

The camp was very nicely organised, ran to time, had good food, the venue was great. Minimal friction for attendees.

The vibe was quite like a TeachMeet although most of the presentations were an hour long and a bit more formal. I guess Wordcamp like TM has its roots in Bar Camp? Compared to a TeachMeet the sponsored were more visible and more part of the community. This felt fine as I guess most of the attendees were professional working alongside the sponsors. (I am not a fan of the over sponsorship of TeachMeets)

The talks were very varied, some technical, some business related. All the ones I went to were informative and enjoyable. There seemed to be a strong strand about using WordPress for the good, democracy and social change.

Social Good

Two of the keynotes were to do with this idea of social good. The opening one on day one was by Leah Lockhart, who talked about helping community groups and local politicians to communicate. I felt there were a lot in common with eduction. Schools have embraced online communication in the same sort of way, veering towards twitter ( probably less Facebook that community groups) as an easy way to get messages out. In the same way they lose control of their information and its organisation. Leah spoke of the way WordPress could give you a better long term result.

Leah also explained that it is hard for community groups to be able to design how their information gets out. I think we are at the point where WordPress is easy enough to use the difficulty comes in using it in a strategic way that maximises its potential. I’ve got a fair bit of experience in helping schools use WordPress in a practical sense and there is plenty of online help for that. There is a gap to be filled in the preparation and planning. If this is solved for community groups it might be easy to repurpose the information and processes for education.

Bridget Hamilton spoke of Using WordPress to create social change. Her story of her site Verbal Remedy was inspirational. A blog provide effective communication without much in the way of backing.

Technical

I went to a few of the more technical talks.

Mark Wilkinson spoke of ‘a deep understanding of actions and filters’. Since I mess around with code in WordPress at a very basic level this was a really useful talk for me. It was just pitched at the right level. I’ve used these with only a basic understanding. I think Mark got me to the point I could being to understand things a lot better the next time I dip in. Mark’s Slides

Tom Nowell spoke about the WordPress Rest API for beginners, he meant beginners with the API not generally. I held on by the skin of my teeth. Luckily I follow Tom Woodward and had played with the API in a much simpler way than either Tom documented. Yesterday I added a wee bit to my homepage to pull in the last status from my blog! Tom’s Slides

Twitter vs Blogs

Franz Vitulli talked about aspects of the pull between Social media and blogging it was good to hear another view of the area I’ve been reading and thinking about from an indieweb point of view.

Progressive Enhancement

Ben Usher Smith gave this talk, at first I thought it was a bit out of my wheelhouse, but it became apparent that the process of progressive enhancement can be applied to any sort of enterprise. I hope to be more aware of this when planning for my class next session. Ben’s post Progressive enhancement — More than just works without JavaScript on medium.

Even More…

I went to a few other talks all of which I enjoyed. Even the ones I though I was choosing almost at random had something interesting to them. Often it was in thinking about how the ideas or principles fitted into my world.

I took notes during the talks using Little Outliner 2, this meant I could publish as I went along: Notes from #wcedin. I am really liking using an outliner for this process, although I don’t think an iPad was as good as a laptop would have been. There are a few different links and thoughts there.

After I got back I feed the twitter hash tag into Tags, Martin Hawksey’s tool. This gives me TAGSExplorer: Interactive archive of twitter conversations from a Google Spreadsheet for #wcedin .

I probably missed a few opportunities to talk to folk, I found myself feeling a bit less social than I do in my TeachMeet comfort zone. But the atmosphere was very relaxed and inclusive. I’d recommend educators with an interest in blogging to join in if there is a Wordcamp near them.

How is it almost August?⤴

from

This is another of those blog posts that starts “Where the hell have the last two months gone?!”  I’ve been sorely neglecting this blog since early May, not because I’ve got nothing to write about, quite the opposite, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to get near it!  I’m about to go off on annual leave for a couple of weeks but I wanted to post a quick round up of the last two months before I go, so here’s wot I have been up to.

Innovation Projects

UoE OKN, CC BY Natalie Lankester-Carthy

A lot of my time has been tied up with two Information Services Innovation Fund projects.  The UoE Open Knowledge Network was a small project that aimed at drawing together the University’s activities in the area of Open Data, Open Access, Open Education, Open Research, Open Collections and Archives, to support cross-fertilisation and promote the institution’s activities in these areas. We ran three events, with the last one taking place in early July.  This event focussed on discussing priorities, ideas for the future and how we can sustain the network going forward.  You can read about the first two events on the project blog here: UoE Open Knowledge Network and I’ll be writing up the July event when I get back from leave in August.

The aim of the second project was to develop a MOOC for entrepreneurs, creative individuals, and SMEs to help them develop the knowledge and skills to find and access free and open licensed research, data and content produced by universities and higher education. I was lucky enough to recruit Morna Simpson of Geek Girl Scotland to work on the project however despite our best efforts and an incredible amount of work on Morna’s part the project faced a number of challenges which we struggled to overcome.  Rather than go ahead with a MOOC we will be releasing a series of twelve case studies on the theme of Innovating with Open Knowledge demonstrating how individuals and organisations can access and use the open outputs of University of Edinburgh research.  These case studies should be finished by early August so watch this space!

Media Hopper Replay

The University of Edinburgh is in the process of rolling out a new state of the art lecture recoding service, Media Hopper Replay, which will see 400 rooms enabled to deliver lecture recording by 2019.  As part of a training programme for staff, my colleague Charlie Farley and I have been developing training sessions on preparing for lecture recording covering accessible presentation design, copyright basics, and using open educational resources.

ALT

City of Glasgow College, CC BY Lorna M. Campbell

I was honoured to be invited by ALT to join the selection panel for the prestigious Learning Technologist of the Year Awards.  The quality and diversity of the entries was really inspiring and while I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the entries it wasn’t easy to pick the best from such a strong field.  The winners of the awards will be announced at the ALT Annual Conference which this year takes place at the University of Liverpool.  I’ll be there rejoining my old partner in crime Richard Goodman to provide social media coverage of the conference for the third year running.

In June I also helped to organise ALT Scotland’s annual conference which focused on sharing strategy, practice and policy in learning technology.  We had really interesting talks on lecture recording policy and practice from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and Joe Wilson reported back from two European open education policy events he recently attended on behalf of Open Scotland.  The real star of the show however was City of Glasgow College’s new state of the art campus where the event took place.

Celtic Knot Conference

In early July I was busy helping UoE’s Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, plan the University of Edinburgh / Wikimedia UK Celtic Knot Conference.  The conference showcased innovative approaches to open education, open knowledge and open data to support and grow Celtic and Indigenous language communities, and explore how our cultural heritage can be preserved as living languages.  The conference was attended by delegates from all over Europe and was an enormous success.  It was a real privilege to be involved in this event and as a Gael, I found the conference to be both moving and inspiring.  I may have got a little starry eyed listening to delegates talking animatedly in Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Basque and too many other languages to mention.  And as an indication of the collaborative and supportive nature of the event, it was great to see all 50+ delegates come together to provide input and advice to Wikimedia Norge on how to support Sami language Wikipedia.

 

Wikimedia UK

Last weekend I was at the Wikimedia UK AGM and Board Meeting in London where it was a real pleasure to see Josie Fraser voted in as new chair of the Wikimedia Board and our very own UoE Wikimedia in Residence Ewan McAndrew awarded a very well deserved joint Wikimedian of the Year award together with Kelly Foster.  It was also great to hear that Sara Thomas has been appointed as the new Wikimedian in Residence at the Scottish Libraries and Information Council.

CMALT

And on top of all that I somehow managed to submit my CMALT portfolio at the end of May! Although it was a lot of hard work, and although I went right to wire (of course), I actually enjoyed the process of putting my portfolio together and I found it really useful to step back and reflect on my experience of working as a learning technologist in the broadest sense of the word. I would still like to write a proper post reflecting on my experience of developing my portfolio in the open but that will have to wait until the autumn.

That’s just a few of the things that have been taking up most of my time over the last couple of months.  I’m now off for a fortnight’s holiday during which we are going to attempt to coax our aged VW van to take us all the way to Brittany.  If we make it to the Borders we’ll be lucky!   I’ll be back in early August with a new role at the University of Edinburgh as Learning Technology Team Leader in the Department of Education Development and Engagement.

On the sublime⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Sunday was clear and fair and so I put on my walking shoes and drove out into the Pentland hills to finally visit Little Sparta.

I think this is as close to the sublime as I have ever come. The perfect fusion of landscape, art, poetry. The perfect fusion of intentional whimsy, revolution, resistance.

I now require to loosen my corset and stays, and recline in the drawing room to recover.

Little Sparta

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

 

DYW Interesting Practice- Ellon Academy: ‘Work-related Learning’ offer enhance pupils’ employability skills⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

In response to the new Work Placements Standard, Ellon Academy has introduce their ‘Work-related Learning’ model  in collaboration with local business and employers offered as an option choice for all pupils in the senior phase.   Leaners are given the opportunity to   participate in  internship-style work placements one day a week from August to Easter and are able to select from a wide range of  sectors including journalism, education, hospitality, performing arts, event management child care.  Supplementary lessons in school allow participants to reflect on their   learning experience, enhance newly developed skills and at the same time gain a National Progression Award in Enterprise and Employability at level 4 or 5.

Access the summary information sheet to find out more about this innovative approach:

Interesting Practice in Skills DYW – Ellon Academy

Hear from some of the pupils about their ‘work-related learning’ experiences: