Monthly Archives: January 2019

Young Enterprise ‘Tenner Programme’ contributes to SQA Personal Development Awards⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

SQA and Young Enterprise Scotland have been working together to demonstrate how the Tenner Challenge could generate evidence that meets the assessment standards of some SQA units.

Young Enterprise Scotland’s Tenner Challenge, in which participants make as much profit as possible from £10, provides an interactive way for learners to develop employability skills. The Tenner Challenge helps learners to develop skills including creativity, resilience and problem solving.

This document and case study outline how the Tenner Challenge could generate evidence that meets the assessment standards for the SQA units Personal Development: Self and Work (H18P 44) and Enterprise Activity (D36N 10).

Once evidence has been gathered via the Tenner Challenge, centres will have to check learners’ work against the Assessment Standards for the SQA units. The examples provided here illustrate the type of activities and evidence that are likely to generate appropriate evidence.

The contribution that Young Enterprise’s Tenner Challenge offers, in terms of evidence, will also depend on the range of activities that are being undertaken.

All evidence must be subject to rigorous assessment procedures and internal verification.

Happy Birthday Wikipedia!⤴


Wikipedia turns 18 today!  Hurray!  I hope it doesn’t go out and get completely hammered and wake up in the morning with no memory of how it got home.   To celebrate this momentous occasion, Wikimedia UK has asked us all to tell them why we value Wikipedia.

  • What does Wikipedia mean to you?

The power of open knowledge at your fingertips!

  • Why do you think people should value Wikipedia?

Used correctly, Wikipedia is an invaluable source of open knowledge.  It’s one of the few truly open and transparent sources of knowledge and information on the web.  Its very existence is a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, and a challenge to those who seek to manipulate and restrict access to knowledge and information.

Also it’s dead handy when you need to know the population of villages in Fife.

  • What would you say to someone to encourage them to become a Wikipedia editor?

Wikipedia is an amazing achievement but we still have so much work to do.  The encyclopaedia is a reflection of the world and the people who edit it and as such it mirrors all our inequalities, prejudices and power structures.  If we want Wikipedia to be more diverse, more inclusive and more representative, then we need to encourage more people, and specifically more women and minorities, to edit.  Now more so than ever, open knowledge is far too important to be left in the hands of the few.

Ewan McAndrew, our fabulous Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh, often reminds us that the number of Very Active editors (i.e. more than 100 contributions in a given month) on English Wikipedia is just over 3,000, which is roughly equivalent to the population of a small village in Fife.  Anstruther for example.  Imagine the sum of all knowledge being left in the hands of Fifers?!  Perish the thought!  You know what you have to do….Edit!

Anstruther from Kirkyard, CC0, Poliphilo, Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: I’m sure Anstruther is lovely.



I see everybody’s annotation. I applaud Terry’s innotation. Here I raise you all with my onnotation.

How I did this:

  1. Screen capped Terry’s post and saved it to my PC
  2. Drew a canary bird and scanned it to my PC
  3. Opened both in GIMP
  4. Cut around the tweety bird with the lasso tool
  5. Pasted as a layer into the screen cap image, positioned where I wanted it and exported the image with a new file name
  6. Moved the tweety bird and repeated, again changing the file name (onnotation1, onnotation2 …).
  7. I did this six times in total.
  8. Closed all the windows
  9. Opened all of the (six) images of bird-on-blog that I had saved as layers
  10. Exported as gif, tweeking the settings to get the animation to the speed I wanted (I chose a 200 millisecond delay).
  11. Saved to my PC.

What Do TheSNP/IndyRef/Yes have in Common with Lego?⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

In August & September 2014 I became interested in Scottish politics because the cultural conditions of the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement was something special.

When those cultural conditions changed... so did my support.

On the 19th September 2014 (The day after the #IndyRef result) I published a post asking

As far as The SNP was concerned, I wasn't wrong!

With 11 years in government, the nasty Cybernats... as well as the Alex Salmond Vs Nicola Sturgeon non-#SNPCivilWar, this post highlights how and why all this is both understandable, and perhaps even fixable.

Is it the beginning of the end for SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement, as the Scotsman has suggested in an article at the weekend?

Or could the various crisis situations see the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement become the Lego of politics?

NB: SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement are referred to as one and the same in this post... a distinct advantage when high in the opinion polls, but muddies the water when things are not going so well.

Donald Trump Vs Alex Salmond Vs Nicola Sturgeon
Remember when Trump and Salmond were good buddies and they were falling over themselves with compliments and favours? Remember how that all changed because of the wind farms?

Or what about Salmond Vs Sturgeon... let's all laugh about the tragic situation where someone who has either

1) Done a lot for Scotland and/or
2) Has been as big an egomanic as Trump

I waver between the two myself (But recent events suggest the egomanic option)

Regardless a deteriorating relationship between a mentor and mentee and colleagues is a sad development.

On my website I have as one of my core values empathy, so if we are all so keen to judge the actions of others' let's try to put ourselves in Sturgeon's shoes re any meetings that breached the 'Ministerial Code' 

Who WOULDN'T have held a meeting with someone that they owed so much to? 

I can't imagine a scenario where not having such a meeting would only become a bad idea with the benefit of hindsight.

And let's say, for arguments sake, that the content of one these 'It was SNP party business/ScotGovFM meetings' was around

'Hey can we maybe just drop the whole thing?'

And the answer was 'No' how much more integrity does that demonstrate Vs the kind of thing that has happened with Blair's Iraq War... Cameron disappearing after his Brexit shambles + Farage, Boris & Gove?

Equally, Sturgeon putting herself forward to the inquiry, looks like doing the right thing under a terrible set of circumstances.

You can easily see how the attempts at transparency might get punished, when far worse appears to get swept under the carpet.

How many of us have not fallen out with a colleague at work?
How many neighbours are former friends but the relationship has soured?

It's a tragic set of circumstances on a personal level, for the party and for Scotland (because of the distraction with getting on with the day job) AND given the national feeling of hope that existed 4 short years ago (Well LOOONG years in our case, but you get what I mean)

And yet people celebrate it on social media, even SNP/Indyref supporters... talk about addicted to drama!

The good news for those people with Westminster and Holyrood is they are at an advantage compared to their English counterparts, they get to air their views on Theresa May's Brexit and Salmond Vs Sturgeon... Yay! Scotland gets two dysfunctional parliaments not just one... Lucky us!

The Cybernats!
There are two REALLY! REALLY! significant dates as far as I can see things (Based on my experience and interests) for The SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement.

1) The first is the night of the September #IndyRef result... The night the BNP came to town to 'Celebrate' the #NoThanks result.

2) The weekend of #GE2015 and the photo under the Forth Rail Bridge and the following days with clapping in Westminster etc... Success was affecting the culture.

The 'No Thanks' crisis was a huge #IndyRef2/SNP opportunity and the 70+ Yes Scotland accounts meant that the infrastructure was in place to chase the 'NewPower Storm'

But the Yes Scotland team wanted to 'take their time and do it right' which was entirely the WRONG thing to do!!

"You can still dunk in the dark" went viral and "Won the Superbowl"

Often left out of the story is Oreo has a 15 person social media team ready for this kind of rapid response...'storm chasing' requires infrastructure to do well" New Power

By the time they woke up, others had seen an opportunity and used it for personal gain... and in doing so poisoned the well.and gifted the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement with a massive headache, something I had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend.

I shared the same kind of data that I spotted
  • The weekend of #GE2015 that suggested the SNP had hit the first stage of decline
  • Prior to #GE2017 when Alex Salmond's campaign crowd funder did not reach the £4-5,000 target and asked before the election if this meant he might lose his seat. #GE2017 & How the Mighty Fall
Here were the observations that I shared at the weekend
The result of making some data observations? 

The Cybernats who claim to be supportive of the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement did nothing to help the cause they say they care about.

People unloaded on the "Wow! How the mighty fall" Tweet, so I elaborated on what I saw... a weekend of Cybernat notifications followed. Few people asked me to explain my position of:

1) The SNP has done nothing for us... our experiences with our SNP MP/MSP Vs our Labour MP

2) With Brexit being such a mess... how do we know that #IndyRef would be any different?

3) Infighting Salmond Vs Sturgeon looks like it's going to turn real nasty... real fast!

4) We have had 11 years of SNP rule and the 'Hope Over Fear' goodwill of 2014 is on the wane

Do I trust a party that has botched their own procedures when investigating one of their own to successfully implement IndyRef and/or do I have 'Hope Over Fear' re issues like currency after the brexit shambles? 

I can't say that I do! 

Is the Brexit issue the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement's fault? 

No, it's Westminster and the Tories/UKIP's... but that's the backdrop that IndyRef2 will play out against 4 years on.

NOW! There is the issue of Brexit which highlights very well that Scotland has no voice in Westminster... so in theory, it should be 'clean up time' for the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement. But that's not where we are.

But on the flip side of this is the fact that Westminster have had the whole Brexit shambles so could EASILY apply the same kind of hard ball that the EU has with Brexit, thereby drag the Independence divorce bill out so long that people say:

'I've changed my mind... let's have the 'People's #IndyRef Vote' and #IndyRef3'

If the goodwill and momentum was where it was at in 2014 then calling IndyRef2 with the Brexit vote tomorrow would be inspired... With the infighting + the data above + cybernats. Calling IndyRef2 at the moment = not a good idea!

IndyRef 2014 never went over 40% until the last 3 weeks of the vote... what caused this? 

The 'Network Effects' of the #VoteYes online momentum fueled the 'Feedback Loops' offline and the rallies grew and grew and grew in the last 2 weeks.

The network effects and feedback loops have gone... as #GE2017 as well as the weekend's #SNPActive highlights this.

Culture! Culture! Culture!
Based on what I can see the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement has had the same issue with two different groups... Something that a conversation with Community Management experts like Rachel Happe, Kelly Hungerford, David Spinks, Marc Smith, Howard Rheingold and others might have been able to help with.

Onboarding New Members in a way that articulated and preserved the culture

1) Their 100,000 members in 2014
2) New MPs after GE2015

How significant could missing this out be? 

Look at the reports re: How the party is splitting... the 'old guard' loyal to Alex Salmond and the new crop of 'progressives' who are on Sturgeon's side.

Could Lego's example help with this even at this late stage in the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement 3-4 years on after it's highest level of support?

Lego & Mads Nipper
Companies die from indigestion just as often as the die from starvation... they grow too fast. My observations are that

1) Indigestion, was definitely an issue  

2) Not understanding the 'social proof,' 'network effects,' and 'feedback loops' that led to 45% as opposed to Westminsters expected 30%+ and 

3) Not having an onboarding process that integrated the old SNP die hards with the new recruits (See the Nora Jones Town example too... IMHO it could easily read as the before and after 2014/5 SNP story)

In situations like this what to do? 
How about what Twitter Founder Biz Stone recommends?

Look for the Bright Spots!

When my kids became interested in Lego I marveled at the innovation ...and had no idea that the company came close to bankruptcy because it lost it's way. Thank goodness for dissenters like Mads Nipper!

Lego is also cited as an exemplar case study in making the transition from Old Power values to #NewPower in Henry Timms and Jeremy Heiman's book.

"Today, every person who's hired into the LEGO Group's Billund operations gets a tour of the small brick building where Ole Kirk and his family lived. There, they learn of another bedrock value of the company's founder "Only the best is good enough"

The motto grows out of the days when LEGO still produced wooden toys, Ole Kirk's son, Godtfred - who worked at the company since he was 12 and would eventually run it - boasted that he'd saved money by using two coats of varnish instead of three. The deception offended Ole, and instructed LEGO's future CEO to retrieve the toys from the train station and spend the night rectifying the error. Today a plaque with 'Only the best is good enough' graces the entrance to the cafeteria at LEGO's Headquarters" Brick by Brick

Lego employees also all have a bowl of Lego bricks on their desk... the reason? 
To remind them it's all about the brick. Why is that? 

To ensure that they don't lose their way like they did in 2001

"An animated, energetic executive who can be strikingly candid, Nipper was not shy about voicing his distress. 'Duplo was the second-strongest toy brand in northern and central Europe after LEGO... And we in all our wisdom decided to kill it' Nipper observed

In 2002 the infighting boiled over. Nipper and three other heads of the company's markets got a call to report to a suite known as 'the firing room.'If you were employed at LEGO and were summoned there, chances are you'd be unemployed when you left.

For months Nipper and the three executives had continued to press their case against Explore... The dissenters were delivered an ultimatum if they didn't shut up and loyally support Explore they would be asked to leave"

In 2004, when LEGO was deeply mired in financial crisis. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen might well have been tempted to banish the bearer of such relentlessly negative news. Instead he offered Nipper a promotion: head up marketing and product development.

Nipper believed that LEGO had to become far more adept at letting customers help the company determine what the market wanted, instead of executives deciding what customers should want.

But all Nipper knew when he took the call from Kristiansen was that he was about to shoulder a weighty responsibility. As the overseer of all of the LEGO groups product lines, he would be the point man for resetting the company's direction" 

So, just like my post from 19th Sept 2014... Is the best still to come?

Will it my observations since #GE2015... That the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement will continue to slide down to stage 4 & 5 of decline that Jim Collins details in How the Mighty Fall.

Or will they be like Lego and there be a book called How The SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement Reworte the Rules of Innovation in Politics and Delivered FREEEEDOM.

It would appear that both possibilities exist... perhaps one more than the other at the time of writing.

And if it was to go down to 'Stage 5?'

That would be the time and effort of thousands of people 3-4 decades of work which did not achieve their goal. 

I've worked on projects where there wasn't much to show for it at the end... it's not a great feeling. 

Are you a cybernat who vehemently disagrees with any of this and/or want to be a troll? 

No problem! He's my post written in your kind of language and debating style: 

But before starting your trolling bull shit please note that: 
  • I am a floating voted and will be wavering between Sturgeons' SNP and Corbyn's Labour
  • Westminster's stance on Scotland re: Brexit is a concern, so Yes for IndyRef2 does have it's merits... But the Brexit shambles and SNP record in government over 11 years does not instill much confidence in the negotioation/implementation... Feel free to convince me.
  • My main interest is in education and 30,000 teachers demonstrated against the SNP's administration and are considering industrial action.
  • The areas of deprivation do not appear to have improved any in the last 11 years
  • I have accurately predicted every election since 2014
  • Your antics on social media are doing no favours in winning the other 55% to your point of view

Teaching Internet Safety – Online Gaming⤴

from @ The Digital Revolution

Happy New Year!

With #SaferInternetDay2019 just around the corner on 5.2.19, I thought that a good way to start my posts for 2019 would be with an input on Internet Safety, including: where to find good resources; misinterpretation of internet safety; and ideas for teaching and talking to your children about internet safety.

I hope that this article is informative.  I often cringe when I see articles on Internet safety as they are always so negative – the truth is, the internet is an amazing place for children (and adults) to play and learn, but, as with everything there are dangers.  There are those out there who will try to convince you that you should never let your children play games online or have social media.  I disagree, and hopefully this post will justify my thoughts on this.  Of course, as with all of my posts, this is my opinion and I would always advise you look at other sources (noted throughout this post) to inform your own ideas.


The internet is truly vast, and truthfully, it’s impossible to know what your children are doing all the time online.  In the same way that, if you let your child go to the park or out to the shops alone or with friends, you are putting trust in them.  As access to the internet is so great, I am going to focus on online gaming.  I talk, not only as someone who has worked with many children and discussed online habits, and not only as someone who has read a lot of academic studies on online safety in gaming, but as a gamer myself.  I love gaming, and realise both the benefits and dangers that it can pose.  Unfortunately, it is also an area that is often greatly misreported in the media, with scare stories being created frequently, that do nothing to educate us and children about how to stay safe online, but rather blame individual games for not protecting our children.  The truth is, that it is us that should be doing more to protect our children.  I’ll go into this more below in the ‘safeguarding our children’ section.

Whilst I couldn’t find statistics for the number of children playing online in the UK, “There are 23.1m people aged between 6 and 64 playing games in the UK, or 49% of the population in that age group.” (source) From my experience in talking to young people, most children in P4-P7 do play games online with people that they don’t know.  Now, that last sentence is one that strikes fear into people who don’t play online – ‘with people that they don’t know’.  This does not mean that your children are at risk; it is how your children act in that environment that puts them at risk or not – again, I will talk more about this in the ‘safeguarding our children’ section.

In 2014, IAB released the below infographic from their ‘Gaming Revolution’ study (source):

Gaming is a worry for parents and teachers alike.  It is however something that will not go away therefore it is vital for us to teach our children to be responsible citizens both offline and online in order to keep them safe.


Safeguarding our children

In the same way that, if your child is playing in public, or in the shops, or out with friends, people can come up to them and talk to them – this is true whenever your child is online.  Outside, we always teach our children “never talk to strangers” – although, I should point out that we sometimes encourage them to make friends outside with children that they’ve never met before, and we teach them that if they are lost they should talk to a police officer, or a shop keeper or someone in uniform.  We teach our children about dangers outside: crossing roads, people who might try to ‘take them away’, seeing and hearing things that upset them, bullying.  ALL of these things apply on the internet – okay, there are no roads to cross, however, children have to navigate between websites, and notice links and pop ups that might be harmful.  Whenever our children are online, they can be ‘approached’ by people that they don’t know.  Our children will often come across images, media and behaviours that are not appropriate – even in games that are for children.  Also, cyber bullying is a huge problem.  Yet, whilst we often have weekly inputs in outside safety, or road safety; and whilst parents will almost always remind children to stay safe outside, it is rare that this happens before children go onto computers.


I will refer to the game ‘Fortnite’ for this example, as I play it and know it well.  In Fortnite, in every match, you are playing a game with up to 100 other people.  Some of those people will be children and some will be adults.  If you are playing in squads, it is possible for you to talk to up to three other people via microphone, and you can sent written messages to anyone (although, this normally only applies on the computer platform as it is really cumbersome to send messages from a console).  I have to say, I have never received a random message, and I have been playing the game most days for the last year and a half.  Did you know that the audio chat feature can be turned off?  it’s very easy to do.  But, even if it’s not turned off, your child is not necessarily at risk just because they are talking in a public forum.  For example, if your child is in a random squad with people he/she doesn’t know, and he/she asks where the team is landing in-game – or what their objective is, that is ‘safe’ in-game chat.  They have not given any information about themselves away to anyone, and are simply asking instructions: liken this to your child being sent into a shop to get something, but they don’t know where it is so they ask someone to help them find it.  They’ve not revealed any information that puts them at risk.

The problem comes when a child reveals personal information.  Did you know, it only takes three pieces of personal information for someone to be able to work out where you live?

If we teach our children how to be safe and responsible in how they use communication features, then we are giving them the opportunity to enjoy their games safely.


Plickers is a fantastic tool for assessing and ‘quizzing’ your children.  This week, I have been using it with P4-7 in a 5-question ‘quiz’ about safe online gaming.  Here are the questions that I put to the children:

You will notice in these questions that two of them are about adding ‘friends’.  The media continually reports about games ‘not doing enough to safeguard young people’ as there are options to talk to people that you don’t know.  Whilst this is true that more could be done, most games (and all of the games that I’ve ever played) have the option to turn off chat/communication features – I know this because I always turn them off.  The problem is that children often want to be sen as having lots of ‘friends’ and so add people that they don’t know or aren’t sure if they know.  This instantly gives another person access to their profile, and the ability to talk to them even if their chat features are turned off.  I know that lots of children do this – not because I have asked in school, but because every day that I play games, when I do particularly well, I receive between 20-30 ‘friend requests’.  I should point out now that I always reject those requests as I know it is most likely children looking for a strong player to join their team and I would never have children on my account (with the exception of my wee cousin).  I always talk about this in school and the dangers of adding people you don’t know/accepting requests and often just flip it round and say (after telling them that if they ever try to add me, I will block them!) “Look, I know and you know that you can trust me.  However, just imagine that you are that child that didn’t know me and you added me and I wasn’t a safe person and didn’t block you.  How would you feel if you knew that you had added a 29 year old adult man, who lives alone, to your list of ‘friends’?”  No disrespect to any 29 year old men who live alone out there, as I am one of them.  I know most adults are safe and lovely people, but there is always one who isn’t.  There are predators out there, and with out frightening our children, we do need to make them realise the importance of only having friends and talking to people that they know in real life.  We also have to remind them that, if they have the chance to talk to other people, it must only be about the game.

Another interesting question is the second one – asking a name.  Some children say to me “but what if I’m playing in a squad, and they need to know my name so that they can tell me if there’s an enemy nearby?”  I always reply with “use a nickname – call yourself unicorn if you need to, just don’t use your name.”  If children can ask themselves “why does he/she need to know that?” and can’t answer it, they shouldn’t say it.

I love plickers, as, in addition to being a great tool for assessing knowledge, it is an incredible conversation starter.  I’d strongly recommend using it and using similar questions to those above to find out from your children what their understanding is – I think it would shock you.  I should say, the answers are that the first one is ‘okay’ and the other three are ‘not okay’.  The final one is ‘tell an adult’ (I’ll talk about this below), but some children will say ‘ignore it’ (as they’re not giving anything personal away) but then say, but they’d tell an adult if it happened again.

Tell an adult – don’t ban them!

The most important one of the SMART internet safety rules; TELL an adult.  Yet, this is also the one that many children are unlikely to do.  In school, I always say to children if something makes them feel uncomfortable or upset, or someone has tried to ask for personal information – TELL an adult.  However, this adult does not have to be mum or dad.  Unfortunately, many children know that if they were to say to their parent that someone had tried to talk to them online (even if they did the right thing and did not give any personal details away) they would be banned from that game or console “for their own safety”.  Yet, adults often talk to people that they don’t know online – heck, whole relationships are often started online these days through dating websites.  I’m talking to loads of people that I don’t know right now.  We need to teach children to be responsible online citizens, and how to be safe in instances when someone talks to them online as they need to know these skills for later life.  Banning children when they come to you with an issue will almost always guarantee that they won’t come to you again in the future.  For the children though, I talk about lots of places that they can ‘talk to an adult’ if something goes wrong.  Parents, older siblings, grandparents, aunties/uncles, teachers, police/CEOP and childline are my favourite. Children often have other ideas too, but if they can all think of someone that they know that they will go to if something goes wrong, then immediately they are a little safer.  The problem is, and will always be, if the child doesn’t talk about it, and continues talking to whomever it was that they have ‘met’ online.

Check the content

Please, please do this before you let a child get a game.  Checking the content of a game is not tricky.  you don’t even need to be in a shop to do this.  Look for someone playing the game on YouTube and see what it’s like before you agree to your child getting it.  I have heard parents say they don’t let their child play Fortnite because they heard in the media that it’s a shooting game (I’d like to point out, its cartoony and so unrealistic – I would allow my children to play it if I had any) yet they allow their child to play Grand Theft Auto (also known as GTA) because their child said it was driving fast cars.

When I showed them this clip of GTA, they realised the mistake.  Please note, the clip has offensive language and scenes of a sexual nature and should NOT be watched with young people.  There are many games that I would never allow children to play – GTA is one of them: heck, I wouldn’t play it as I find it deeply offensive and disgusting.

The problem is though, once a child has started playing a game, removing it because it’s not appropriate is another thing akin to banning a child from playing altogether – it takes away trust as you had allowed them to play it.  If you are in doubt about a game, watch clips of it being played, check the age/content rating, and speak to your school’s DLoL.


There are many resources available for teaching about Internet Safety, both at home and in school.  My favourite places to go for resources is the official Safer Internet Day website.  Another great website to visit with your children is ThinkUKnow.


If you know of a child or young person who is at risk, or who is being groomed online, you must report it to the police.  CEOP, or the “Child Exploitation and Online Protection command” is the service that you should use.  They are fantastic and help to save countless lives each year.  If a child is being groomed, it is likely that he/she will be exhibiting unusual personality traits, and they will likely act very angrily when it is discovered.  You must persevere through this and follow the advice offered by CEOP.  It is never okay, and it is never something that should be ignored, even if you are not sure that it is a case of grooming.



I hope that this post has been informative and helpful.  I should note, I am note an expert on Internet Safety, and you should seek advice from the above sources if you are unsure about anything that your child has disclosed or is doing online.

Have a great week,


Reading this week…13th January⤴


The first piece is by Mark Ensor, and it’s about parts of teaching which are not seen, but happen all the time in a reflective classroom. The piece discusses lesson observations at one point. I’ve had a few of those and I wouldn’t rate them highly as something that has improved my teaching. The things that have improved my teaching are reading websites, tweets and books, high quality training and casual observations and chat with the wonderful folk I’ve been lucky enough to work with.

Here is teacherhead revisiting Dylan Wiliam’s formative assessment strategies. When I’ve heard or read Dylan, it is a good reminder that his key principles of formative assessment have become many things to many people. He doesn’t think all of them are a good fit with his initial ideas.

If you’re wanting some podcasts for the new year based on education Third Space has this list.

I’m very interested in the use of retrieval practice to secure pupil learning and I’m always looking for ways to use it in class. Here is one teacher’s ideas.

And here are some more ideas of how we can use recall in class.

A simple sketchnote to help develop depth in questioning from Impact Wales. And another one.

Day 24 of 365

Gordon McKinlay

Day 24 of 365

Professional learning programmes to support leadership⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

“Being a headteacher has offered me the opportunity to make a difference on a scale that is unlike any I have ever known” – Anne Graham, Headteacher, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

The Scottish College of Educational Leadership  has announced that applications for the following programmes are now open: Teacher Leadership, Into Headship, In Headship, and Towards Headship. Each programme is designed to suit the learning and development of those at different stages in their career. Links to further information and application forms can be found within the programme descriptions below.

Teacher Leadership

The Teacher Leadership Programme is open to all post-probation teachers in Scotland. It is primarily aimed at teachers who are seeking professional learning opportunities to develop their leadership of learning and teaching in their context. A central feature of the Teacher Leadership Programme is enquiring into an aspect of the participants’ classroom practice. Teachers are supported to take an enquiring approach to developing an aspect of learning and teaching of their choosing as appropriate for their learners.

Into Headship

Into Headship is Scotland’s national qualification for headship and is designed for teachers aspiring to be a headteacher. Into Headship focusses on the specificity of headship and the strategic role of headteachers. Aspirant headteachers are supported to develop and continue to build the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding required of senior leaders.

“Into Headship helped me enormously as a leader. With increased knowledge and understanding of the national and international perspective, I now have a deeper appreciation of why we do things – and because my opinions and values are rooted in knowledge I have far more conviction and self-belief. I’ve become less operational and more strategic.” Claire Slowther, Headteacher, Dunbar Grammar School.

In Headship

The In Headship programme is for headteachers within their first 2 years of headship, and is designed to provide support in transitioning to their new role. The programme is open to all new headteachers including those in a substantive post and those in an acting post (if the post will be held for longer than the duration of the programme).

It builds on, enhances and advances academic and professional learning gained through the successful completion of the postgraduate qualification Into Headship through which the GTCS Standard for Headship was initially attained. The programme provides a means for the deepening of understanding, application and evaluation of the Standard for Headship in practice, operating within the SCQF level 11 framework.

Towards Headship

Towards Headship supports the continuous professional learning of aspirant headteachers already awarded the Standard for Headship who are now considering headship as their next career step and wish to engage in further learning.

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Loving Kindness Meditation: The Anonymous £40… And Politicians⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

The definition of loving kindness meditation your introduced to in Robert Wrights book  "Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation & Enlightenment is:

"The mediation starts with you making a point of feeling kindly towards yourself. Then you imagine someone you love and direct some loving kindness toward him or her. Then you imagine someone you like and direct some loving kindness toward that person. Then you think about someone you don't feel strongly about one way or the other. And so on - until you get to an actual enemy. If all goes according to plan, you manage to feel loving kindness even for that enemy.

...It seems only appropriate to say a few kind words about loving kindness meditation, so here they are: It works for some people. But it doesn't work for me"

Robert's writing and his experiences about his attempts at meditation are hilarious... Including his epic fail at attempting to meditate and describing how his mind ends up wandering. Something that I could identify with in my attempts... and something that politicians returning to work most definitely did NOT help with!

A Little Bit of Background - Christmas Vs Back to Work Social Media
I read about this just after:

1) Having secured the amount needed for a rather desperate crowdfund campaign
2) Spending a period of time being unplugged from social media

I also started to draft this post during the Christmas break, following some AWESOME kindness on social media over the Christmas Period (See What if God was One of Us? What Would He be Tweeting About?).

I am glad that I didn't publish it until after the politicians came back to work with the cruelness of Trump, Anna Soubry's Nazis and all the Alex Salmond/SNP drama... and chatting with some lovely #Cybernats about my 'Illiterate Shite' as they put it, before adding nothing further to the conversation except for reaching for the 'Block' option.

On the flip side there has also been kindness with the #LoveThyNeighbourChallenge to help federal workers that Trump says are 'his hostages' (Reminiscent of the kindness of the early #IndyRef supporters with leaving bags of shopping for foodbanks at George Square)

Loving Kindness Meditation: Epic Fail
So I tried the Loving Kindness Meditation as described in Wright's book (AKA the extract above)... and it was an epic fail initially.

One thing that has not been an epic fail is sending positive vibes to the 23 people who assisted with the GoFundMe campaign (Something that I was to find should NEVER have been necessary if it wasn't for ineptitude from the DWP and/or my local council?! More on that at a later date).

I knew who everyone who contributed to the crowdfund... everyone except the last £40.

I both wanted to know who this was ...and tried to find out so that I could send them a thank you message, to no avail.

Loving Kindness Meditation: The Anonymous £40
My second attempt at trying this 'Loving Kindness Meditation' was to think of all the people who this last mystery donor could have been.

The essence of this £40 contribution took on a very different feel, based on... what if:

  • The mystery contributor was ABC person - Someone that I knew and liked
    Reaction: A huge smile thinking about that person.
  • The mystery contributor was XYZ person - Someone that had wronged me in some way and/or where there had been a falling out
    Reaction: Oh My Gosh! I hope it wasn't them!
    They could keep their poxy money!
    I wouldn't want their help even if they offered!
    It's partly their fault that we are where we find ourselves!
So, what if you had a crowd fund campaign for a project that you desperately wanted to see happen and the final amount needed was from an anonymous donor while reading a book that introduced you to the concept of loving kindness meditation?

I can tell you what my pre-Christmas unplugged and post-Back to Work social media experiences have been.

The Day Loving Kindness Meditation Worked

On the 23rd December after being used to being unplugged a month+
Looking forward to Christmas with the family.
Being thankful that we've come through a horrible, horrible year and
Having no problem with practicing loving kindness meditation re: the 22 Crowd Fund contributors.

I tried 'Loving Kindness Meditation' applying this mystery £40 to people that I do not have enthusiastic feelings about which - having not mastered any of the 'Not Self' stuff - feelings that I feel are well and truly justified, at least from my perspective.

And it worked!

For one glorious day, it worked! I was able to think lovely, warm fuzzy feelings towards even the biggest of takers & fakers and/or those who didn't honour financial agreements... people who helped put us into a tough situation, but these

'#Shoulder2Shoulder...Life long family friends' and
'Yes we'll pay you what we said we would' 5 times by 3 CEOs over a 8 month period.
'It may feel like it but you're not alone...You Matter...You have a voice or we would not be connected'

People were nowhere to be seen when we hit hard times... they took my time, efforts and ideas and they were off. But I was able to send them genuine and authentic positive vibes... and it was a great feeling too!

Disaster! Back Online...
If there is one thing that REALLY, REALLY winds me up... it's people's time and contribution not being acknowledged. It's something I'm super careful to always do! I'm also willing to take a stand re: my core values.

The most recent project that I've been involved with has seen any old random thing being made up after working on it for 3 years and putting 6 months hustle into it in 2018.

Compare these two posts (My one in Sept 2017 being written in response to the first one in an attempt to set the record straight!)
When I got back online after having some success at this meditation I spotted the following Tweet

Compare the Tweet above with this one in June 
(And not the only EdChange Global organiser to struggle with their memory! My son has issues with his memory too so I know how challenging it can be... you guys are in my prayers with whatever condition you have). 

Compare this also with the fact that I was sure to acknowledge the conversation that led to me finding out about this AWESOME Chrissy MacKay and the work she does at Be Yonder.

'Right Words,' Social Media and Politicians 
So the 'Loving Kindness Meditation' faltered a little... and the political classes who advocate for civility online didn't help matters this week either.

I've accurately predicted every election since 2014 and on Christmas Eve the SNP made a crass attempt to politicize the festive period, but it only got 2,900 Retweets.

... Stats like this reminded me of Alex Salmond's #GE2017 crowdfunder (65 backers and struggled to reach the £4,000 campaign target amount).

Fast forward to the first week when people are back at work and on the 8th Jan 
  • Alex Salmond starts to trend and the trolls come out in force to back Salmond and threaten Leslie Evans (@PermSecScot)
  • Anna Soubry is trending on Twitter because of Nazis
  • In the wee small hours there is the Trump Address from the Oval Office re: his wall.
NodeXL maps were made up for Alex Salmond, PermSecScot and Anna Soubry

Top Words in Tweet in Entire Graph:

I followed the 3 events on the day as I've had a number of observations and insights on these things over the years... Including blaming politicians for much of the abuse online AND because I don't feel that this negative/violent commentary will necessarily remain the case (But not through anything that the political classes will do to curb the negative, angry and violent sentiment: as Cambridge Analytics and Trump demonstrates).

The 8th of January was a great example of A Day in the Life of the Internet?... Or the Plot to a Toy Story Movie? because in spite of all the hatred we see things like:
  • People demanding that everything from the #TrumpAddress to be Fact Checked
  • The #LoveThyNeigbourChallenge to help US federal employees

But here's the kicker... Following these events on social media the findings from the 'Right Speech' article (re The angry cab driver) in my last post as well as Why Good People Turn Bad Online (Re: You can feel yourself getting snarky) they are100% spot on!

Watching this stuff on your screen for a full day really does affect your mood... and your words and ability to master 'Right Speech'

In addition to this, Marc Smith's comments from 'Voices From the Well' 26 years ago are also 100% accurate... that banning controversy like political tribes from platforms is unlikely to happen.

The outrage like the ones above from 7/8th Jan (Holyrood, Westminster and The White House) is good for business for social media AND the political classes... But for users it's perhaps about as productive as Cesar Sayoc attending a Trump rally.

But when the 'Network Effects,' 'Feedback Loops' and culture is right, it sure has been good for the SNP and Alex Salmond.

But is this a trend that's likely to continue?
Perhaps not... Karma can be a bitch sometimes.

#The45 were not looking simply to put #Team56 into Westminster for 2 years... they were looking for change.

The #ValueEducationValueTeachers and pending industrial action highlights how short of the mark this came... that's before we even get into the #SNPCivilWar or what the data from #ActiveSNP is telling us.

But don't blame me... I voted 'Yes' and tried to bring a number of Digital Citizenship and Community Management events to Scottish education and politics: #GE2017 & The SNP: How the Mighty Fall.

But I'll need to blame myself any time that I find that Twitter and the political trends that I feel compelled to click on if/when they are not good for any 'Right Speech' or Loving Kindness Meditation that I'm exploring.


Looking Behind the Curtain⤴


Before Christmas by lovely former colleague R. John Robertson invited me to answer some questions about digital literacy for a course on Digital Literacy and Life that he’s teaching with Cindy Strong at Seattle Pacific University.  I’m late with these responses as usual, but it was a really interesting and thought provoking exercise because I’ve never taken the time to sit down and really reflect on how I understand digital literacy and what it means to me.

What is digital literacy?

I’ve never attempted to define digital literacy before, but now I think about it, I realise that I tend to conflate information literacy and digital literacy, primarily because so much of the information we now create, consume and interact with is mediated by digital technologies.   Certainly, there is a digital skills aspect to digital literacy, having the requisite skills to be able to use the tools that enable us to create and access information, but developing digital literacies is arguably more important as it enables us to ask critical questions of this information regarding authorship, authenticity, ownership and perspective.

What impact does digital literacy have on your personal, professional, and spiritual life?

Digital literacy has a huge impact on both my personal and professional life.  I work for the OER Service, within Information Services at the University of Edinburgh, and helping colleagues to develop critical digital literacy skills is a large part of my job;  whether its running workshops on developing blogging skills to build your professional online profile, contributing to training sessions on understanding copyright and open licensing, or helping to run Wikipedia and Wikidata editathons.  Digital literacy is at the heart of what I do.

It’s not just about teaching people how to use digital tools, it’s about empowering them with the knowledge and confidence to have some degree of control over their digital presence and interactions.  Having the ability to curate and control our personal digital identities and online personas is a key aspect of digital literacy for me. It’s not all one way though, I’m constantly developing my own understanding of digital literacy and learning new digital skills through my professional practice and interactions with my peers.

I don’t regard myself as a spiritual person, but on a personal level, I believe that one of the most important aspects of digital literacy is that it gives us the ability to understand and to question how information is created, by whom, and for what purpose.  Digital literacy allows us to look behind the curtain to see the man (and it is invariably a man) who is pulling the levers and pushing the buttons.  Digital literacy helps to reveal how orthodoxies and narratives are created, and enables us to understand whose voices are included and whose are excluded.  Digital literacy helps to make structural inequality visible and if we choose to, it give us the tools to challenge these inequalities.

Who are you? (context matters)

I’m Lorna M. Campbell and I’m an open education practitioner.  I work in Edinburgh, live in Glasgow and come from the Outer Hebrides.  I’m a trustee of the Association for Learning Technology, Wikimedia UK and the Society for Nautical Research.  I was an archaeologist in a previous life, and I’m sometimes a naval historian.  I’m interested in fan culture and issues relating to gender and sexuality, particularly from a queer and historical perspective.  And I’m the mother of an almost-teenage daughter who understands the importance of citations on Wikipedia, because digital literacy begins at home ♡