Apple has a competitor in the tablet education content arena. But will it be a strong enough offering to take away business from the market leader?
At long last, the there is a new kid on the block. I recently looked at Samsung’s Smart School offering at the African Education Week exhibition. Essentially it’s rather like Apple TV in the way it links a class set of tablets ( Samsung Galaxy) with an eBoard screen and the class teacher who is able to push content and assessment, as well as control activity on each pupil’s tab and show work on the eBoard screen.
Samsung are promising content too. Thy’ve hooked up with education publishers to provide this. But there’s a strong emphasis on consumption here. I’m uncomfortable with the apparent lack of creation apps for education.
I guess what I’m asking though is will it be enough to make a dent in Apple’s education business? After all, the iLife content creation suite of tools is outstanding and highly rated by educationalists who use it. Added to this is the content available through iTunesU and the education support service, and you have a pretty unbeatable overall package.
Samsung have made a start in competing with Apple for the lucrative education business. But with the vast majority of schools in Scotland purchasing iPads rather than Android devices through the XMA procurement framework, they still have a steep hill to climb…
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: African Education Week, android, Apple, Apple TV, eBoard, Education, Galaxy, iPad, Samsung, Samsung Smart School, Tablets, XMA
All the party leaders unite, but guess who gets the first kiss?
…because It’s Time
Filed under: Uncategorized
I recently spoke at the Further Education Research Network conference about how educational leaders can escape from the dominant managerialist approach.
An apologetic knock on our front door
Revealed the lady – shorn of her man
Left alone with a broken wheel
So we called the garage but no one came
I drove her back to the farm
Empty now save house and barn
But empty all the same
Bereft of manhood
I think I saw him ‘round a corner
Just a glimpse, but he was too quick for me
I know she saw him too
“Perhaps they’re in Jimmy’s shed”
“I’ve no been in there since Jimmy….. “
She faded away
She left me to myself
Waiting between the doorjamb
The lights flickered into dullness
And there – squatting in the middle of the floor
Sat his vibrant red tractor
Almost warm to the touch
His tools lay on the bench
Just where he’d left them
Ready for his return any day now
I was intruding on private ground
This was not my space, and
Closing the door behind me I thought
I heard him call her name,
I know she heard it too
I attended the Friday morning service of Holy Communion at St George’s Cathedral Cape Town today. It was a beautiful peaceful reflective space, with young students visiting from two USA universities filling out the usual smallish crowd of worshipers. Archbishop Desmond Tutu presided as is usual on Friday mornings when he’s in Cape Town, helped by the Dean, Michael Weeder. Included in the prayers this morning were the LGBT community of America as they await the USA supreme court ruling on same sex marriage. Archbishop Tutu has long campaigned for equality and makes his points both on the world stage and quietly as a priest during the Friday dawn mass over which he presides. The Dean is also a supporter of equality, and it was he who offered the prayers today, following his sermon on Sunday which referred to the current issues in the Anglican Church over LGBT equality. I’m shamelessly including this photo of me with him as he’s one of my ultimate heroes. Thank you for the photo and the conversation, father Desmond:-)
Contrast this with the awful treatment two of our friends received at the hands of staff at the Polo Lounge in Glasgow recently. Nathan and Robert are both disabled, and it was this that was the cause of their troubles at the hands of the staff at this establishment, owned and run by Stephan King’s G1 entertainment company. Whilst Nathan was physically carried out of the club by a bouncer, Robert was left crawling about on the floor after having been refused entry due to his being disabled. Two police vans had been summoned by staff. You can read more about the incident here. A bit of a faux-pas for the meatheads on the Polo door as Nathan and Robert are probably two of the most visible and well connected members of the Scottish LGBT community. Nathan works for the Equality Network in fact. They are now considering action against the G1 group under the Equalities Act for discrimination on the grounds of disability. Good luck to them, and remember their story if you’re thinking of visiting the Polo for some of their usual indifferent service and overpriced drinks… Tweet them and tell them what you think about their discrimination (note to owners, it is more than possible to have a ramp up the steps in front of what used to be Cafe Moda which links through to the Polo…and toilets shouldn’t be a problem either…as I remember)
South Africa legislated for equality in its post Apartheid constitution. Scotland and the rest of the UK are following. Let’s hope G1 and the Polo stop dragging their knuckles across the ground and wake up to this….its called progress and social justice…
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: disability, Equality, G1 group, Glasgow, Marriage equality, Polo Lounge, Same-sex marriage, St Georges, Tutu
How do we encourage leadership? Its a question any organisation will need to face up to and answer. Schools are fertile ground for leaders. We have classrooms chock full of leadership potential. Both teachers and students. So just how do we encourage and foster potential leadership talent in our schools and colleges? We empower individuals to take ownership of their lives, their careers, their ambitions, hopes dreams and of their learning.
I used to work in a school for a Headteacher who was incredibly good at empowering teachers. She knew she didn’t have enough promoted posts (department or faculty head vacancies) but she still found a way to encourage leadership by getting teachers to lead specific projects. Its how I started my own education leadership career. She would arrange and encourage teachers to undertake additional qualifications which enhanced their leadership potential. But most of all, she made you feel valued as a member of the school learning community. I gave her a copy of Seth Godin’s book, Tribes because I felt that she’d really got the whole empowering people thing beautifully. Well….Thank you, Anne Marie. I know you are still doing this sort of work, encouraging everybody to realise their own individual potential.
How else? well, a vision for the organisation which is clear,concise, understandable and attractive leads to a greater buy-in from everybody involved. Its got to be communicated well. This gives that sense of ownership, and involvement, changing people from just bystanders to stakeholders. Its vital to set clear goals and responsibilities for everybody involved, but the key to having real engagement is to empower all your people, teachers or students, to make decisions on their own. Ensure that they are comfortable and confident to ask questions, suggest new ideas or even taking a different approach that may fail. The confidence to fail will lead to knowledge and longer-term success.
Clarity and trust are important. Trust is the fuel which powers emerging leaders, and the clarity of vision is the pathway along which these leaders grow and flourish. If you give people the authority to fail, they become more used to risk-taking. These sorts of leaders inspire others to follow and become leaders themselves. After all, the real test of a truly effective leader is not just to gain followers, but create new leaders.
But remember, whilst some people may develop great leadership skills almost naturally when given the chance,others may need a little push to get them started. Encourage everybody by creating an inclusive atmosphere in which everybody is encouraged to shine. And success is not the end, of the road,or ‘job done’, its a journey. I can’t remember where I read this but one of the best things I’ve read in a long while is about excellence being an attitude, not a destination.
This, to me is the attitude we need to encourage in our learners, be they teachers or students, by empowering them to learn, to not fear failure, and to succeed, and realise their own leadership potential.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: ambition, Cathkin High School, Education, Leadership, Learning, managing, potential, Tribes
Its very easy to write about education. We’ve all got an opinion about policy and practice. What’s harder is to actually put it all into practice. When I started my blog back in 2007, I remember writing about the things I did in my classroom. Much of this involved Glow of course; I was a Glow mentor in an ‘early adopter’ local authority. It was and is very easy to become ‘pigeon-holed’ and I did and still do write a lot about Glow ( and I’m a part of the group scoping out it’s long term future) but….. there was other stuff too. About pedagogical shift alignment with societal and cultural shifts not always being concomitant. There was stuff about policy,or the perceived lack of joined up thinking by the existing education hierarchy both in Scotland and further afield.
Thinking back though, a lot of what I enjoyed in my classroom were the interactions with the kids who’d work *with* me to find solutions to problems, often involving the use of technology to do things in different or better ways. We often discovered new things we could do with the developing technology, which lead to some very exciting times in my lab (I am a science teacher, after all).
As we managed to get more technology into the lab (I had my PC linked up to a MM projector,as well as a Microscope camera, Visualiser, XBox and Wii.We had Nintendo DS’s, hand-held voting sets and Netbooks too). Most of my teaching involved using questions, as you’d expect, but deeper ‘Catalytic’ style questions where we also had to consider not just what was the right answer (shallow) but why this was so, and why the wrong answers were wrong. I worked with a final year Psychology student to develop this particular pedagogy, which was very much self-directed as far as the kids were concerned, but the questions were designed so that the learning outcomes from the curriculum would all be covered and exceeded. It was easy stuff to search online for the answers to the easy questions, but the real deep retentive learning came from discovering why some answers were correct and others were wrong, and then working out how to present this information to the rest of us in the class.
My teaching ended up using this approach. My own views on teaching and pedagogy came from this much more messy heutagogical approach which we discovered together (me and the kids) was far more engaging and relevant. It transferred ownership of knowledge and empowered us all to become better learners.
Social media was a perfect fit with this style of learning activity. After getting round corporate filtering, we were able to use blogs and twitter to inform and share what we were doing. And when I see work going on in classrooms today taking this use of technology to new heights, creating and sharing and doing new things we would have loved back in my classroom during the noughties,I can’t help but produce a wry smile.
Technology and social media have disrupted classrooms like never before, mainly because of the pace of change and the cultural shift it has engendered. I feel quite fortunate that my classes and I were able to benefit from web 2.0 using it to transform classroom activity and learning. Today’s classrooms can benefit from web 3.0…the creative web. I see this when I’m lucky enough to be in schools (which isn’t enough, unfortunately so I’d love some invites! ). I’m speaking at African Education Week this month whilst I’m in the country about the social web and how it’s disruptive to classroom practice. Thats a good thing, in my view. Anything which is able to disrupt an existing model is good, because if its able to be disrupted…it needs disrupting. I’ve expanded on this in an interview I did for the organisers of the conference.
But good teachers will always take advantage of whatever high-tech or low-tech they feel will enhance learning in their classrooms, and beyond. One of the most enduring legacies from the web 2.0 years has been the large number of great blogs written by teachers in which they share their experiences. One of the best is from Kenny Pieper, an English teacher working in Scotland. It’s a wonderful and uplifting testament to the power of education and learning, led from the front, the middle,and sometimes, the back by an inspiring teacher committed to his students and to education in its widest possible sense. I’m very proud to say I’ve shared a few drinks with him (and with others) and been able to put the world to rights over some very fine beers…teachmeet in its purest original form I guess! Kenny’s latest post is a great example of shifting pedagogy to suit the circumstances. Some other great stuff is to be found over at Pedagoo.
Its easy to write about education. Putting that writing into practice is what *teaching* is really all about.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: African Education Week, Catalytic questioning, Education, GLOW, heutagogy, Learning, pedagogy, Social Media, SOLE, teaching, Technology, Web 2.0, Web 3.0
Last weekend, I took part in the Pedagoo event #tmlovelibraries. It was a fantastic day, and I learned loads. At the pub session afterwards, there was a sort of TeachMeet Unplugged event, similar in feel to the TeachMeet 365 events or, as Fearghal testified, to the very early TeachMeets themselves. Fearghal had asked us all to come with something we were prepared to share; as I have been doing a bit of work with OpenBadges and have been very impressed with them, I decided that this was what I was going to talk about.
Then I hit the problem. 2 minutes is not a very long time, particularly to talk about something you have been working on for months and have found out so much about. So, to keep things short, I decided to create an OpenBadge for all the participants of tmlovelibraries and then give it to them as a present. By claiming it, they could find out a bit about Openbadges themselves.
This idea seemed to work well in the keeping things short arena, as well as the engaging the audience area – the word ‘gift’ seemed to be the important one in achieving this! As Fearghal commented on the night, my talk also had the effect of taking his carefully honed structure and blasting it into a million pieces as people went scurrying to the internet to find their badge. The badge is shown below, together with its claim code for anyone who was there. To claim it, navigate to the badg.us site and insert the claim code ‘kapyua’ into the “Claim award from code” box. This will prompt you to either sign in to your Mozilla Backpack if you already have one, or sign up with an email address to create one before awarding you the tmlovelibraries – Participant badge, which you can then display on your blog, Facebook profile or Twitter feed.
In the impromptu break that followed my talk, I was talking to a few different people, and realised that there was a real appetite for finding out more about using OpenBadges. Quite a few people had looked at the concept themselves, before deciding that the project was too technical for them to use effectively. This, of course, is exactly the same decision I came to myself when I first started looking into digital badges. I had been impressed with the ease of creating badges for recognising various achievements on Edmodo, but had hoped for some way to display them in fronter, our school’s virtual learning environment. When I had approached the extremely helpful people at Edmodo asking if this was possible, they said that whilst they were happy for the badges to be displayed elsewhere, but it would need to be purely a case of copying them as an image and uploading them elsewhere.
I felt sure that there had to be a more efficient way of doing this, and went off doing a bit of digital badge research. It soon became clear that OpenBadges were exactly what I was looking for, but despite the fact that there were plentiful resources available for those with an ability to code, there was nothing I could find that was very user-friendly for a class teacher.
Until I chanced across the ForAllBadges site that is. Straight from the off, ForAllBadges allowed me to create an OpenBadge simply by uploading an image to the site and filling in the information fields to attach to it. Perfect for what I wanted. But ForAllBadges had far more to offer than I had been looking for. It gave me a whole badge-management system, allowing me to upload classes and add staff, create and issue badges and – most crucially given the age of my pupils – a way to display the badges earned without needing a Mozilla Backpack (currently, a Mozilla Backpack is only available to learners over the age of 13).
I soon had a pilot badge system up and running and a fronter page created with links to the pupil’s individual Trophy Rooms; here their badges could be seen through viewing their ForAllBadges badge journal. After an email exchange with the amazing people at ForAllBadges, the ability for the student to add a reflective comment to their badge journal was quickly added. This setup now allowed for a badge to be created, issued, displayed and reflected upon as well as having the advantage of being part of the OpenBadge system allowing a great degree of portability for the badges once the pupil reaches the age of 13 (or Mozilla update their terms & conditions to allow under 13s to have a Backpack with permission from their parent/carer – a change that is on the cards very soon I believe).
This was perfect for what I was looking to use it for in school, but perhaps a bit too complicated to use in ‘open play’. I had been thinking that OpenBadges could be a great way to document CPD activities such as TeachMeets or MOOCs for example, but how could an event organiser award a badge to someone whose details they didn’t know? Would they have to do all the data-inputting themselves? This sounded like a prohibitive amount of work.
Fortunately, a site that David Muir had pointed me towards had the answer. Badg.us allows a user to create badges very simply, and in much the same way as ForAllBadges. However, the badg.us site interfaces drectly with the Mozilla Backpack and Persona sign-in service, making it a far more user-friendly solution when you will be issuing badges to people from outwith your organisation or whose details you are unaware of in advance. It also lightens the administrative burden of issuing badges, as the onus is on the claimant to provide their details. The site allows you to set up reusable codes (like the one above) for large-scale issuing, or one-use codes when you are looking to target your badge claimants more precisely (I used this to create “Presenter” and “Organiser” badges for tmlovelibraries, printed up claim codes for these and gave them to Fearghal to distribute).
In my opinion, these tools make the whole process of creating and awarding badges far more accessible to the typical classroom practitioner; teachers who, much like myself and Fearghal, would previously have found the process too technical can use these services to gain the benefits of OpenBadges without having to become coding wizards. Other tools have been developed that can do a similar job – for instance, WPBadger and WPBadgeDisplay allow you to utilise WordPress blogs to issue and display badges whilst OpenBadges.me provides a very useful badge designer for either online use or as a WordPress plugin . Recently, the ForAllBadges site has joined together with its sister site ForAllRubrics, and you can set things up so that once a rubric has been com pleted, an OpenBadge can be awarded automatically. After some late-night Twitter conversations between myself and the founder of ForAllSystems, ForAllRubrics also has built-in links to the CfE Experiences & Outcomes. A very handy teacher toolkit!
So, now it begins to get exciting. The badges are no longer a concept. Now that a teacher – or a student? - can create and award these badges, what might they do with them? I have a number of ideas that I’ll be trying in my school, and I know Fearghal had an inclination to use them as part of a programme he delivers at his school (this provoked a very interesting side discussion with David Gilmour about extrinsic/intrinsic motivation). I know that other organisations (including the Scout Association and – believe it or not – the SQA) have been looking at introducing them too.
What would you do with OpenBadges?
Hello everyone and welcome to your S5 careers talk.
Today you will complete an online career package called Pathfinder and a Personality Test called The Buzz.
Both of these will help you to focus on your future so follow the instructions and fill in the form at the end and this will help develop your action plan for S5.
First up it’s Pathfinder so sign up here using the code you will be given in class. Use your full name and class as your user name and you can change your password after you have registered. You will be asked to list your top 3 jobs later so make a note of them.
Next task is to complete the Buzz Personality test here and you will be asked for animal later so make a note of it now. Make sure you look at the strengths, learning style and looking in a positive direction parts of the printout you will given at the talk.
Anyone intersted in studying Law, Architecture, Medicine or Vet Medicine should visit Pathways to the Professions here
Make sure you are registered at My World of Work here
You need to complete the survey below and please take your time, check your spelling and remember, ‘I’ not ‘i’ for the rest of your life!
Career Management Skills