Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Glow intranet for schools

Last week the Scottish Executive Education Department announced that the Scottish Schools Digital Network (SSDN) national intranet service has been named 'Glow'. There's a marketing strapline too, 'lighting up learning'.

LTS has launched a new updated Glow Scotland website too, to show off the new branding, provide extra information, and present short videos.

For those of us working on this huge broadband project, its great to see it moving forward. Now raising awareness of Glow's potential among teachers and other educators is a priority, so there are seminars and presentations at SETT in September and further events planned.

Some of the blogs written by Scottish education people are already commenting on Glow.
For example, Andrew Brown in Argyll. Let's have lots of thinking and discussion, and make Glow something truly useful for us all. And yes, it helps keep me in a job!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Media, online services and Young people

Ofcom, the UK regulatory body for the communications industry, conducts very useful research into media consumption and attitudes among the British public.

A BBC news item "Young drive 'radical media shift'" reports on recent research. Young people aged 16 to 24 are turning away from consuming television, radio and newspapers in favour of online services and new media. More time online, and a wide range of applications and services in use.

One implication of this for Education: how much of our own service should we be placing online, and in what forms?

Here in Scotland our Scottish Schools Digital Network will enable us to make much more available in online forms, with collaboration and communication tools to encourage interaction and learning.

Other Ofcom reports look at the Media Literacy of adults and young people, their ability to use the various old and new media to both consume and create.

Trainee teachers

The BBC story "tests flummox trainee teachers" reports on data from England which indicates that many trainee teachers are struggling to pass basic tests in numeracy, literacy and ICT.

Experience suggests that things would be no different here in Scotland. Some people would argue that this doesnt matter, as that's the way society is now. Me, I'm old-fashioned. I would prefer that teachers who are educating our children are in a position of strength in terms of skills, and do not undermine their own position in front of colleagues or students.

But the story also makes me wonder about the entry standards for teacher training. Should weaknesses in core skills not be identified, and addressed, before entry?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wikipedia and Moodle

A post by Seb Schmoller in his fortnightly blog asks if public organisations should put all of their information onto Wikipedia. It's an interesting idea - and one that I've thought about myself.

Schools, colleges and national organisations are publicly funded - and what better way of sharing information than putting it on a public forum such as Wikipedia? The fact that it is accessible to a global audience is another advantage since (potentially) it means that people living in countries with less well developed education systems can benefit from our contributions.

Moodle is fast becoming the 'Wikipedia of online learning', being a open source virtual learning environment. The Open University has adopted it and many Scottish colleges are currently adding content to their own Moodle systems. My own current project (Internet Safety) will use Moodle to host the online learning material - so all of the pilot centres (which includes almost 40 schools) will get exposure to this system.

The adoption of open systems (such as Wikimedia and Moodle) is an exciting development -- to which Scottish education can make an important contribution.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Adult influence

Scottish Executive has published a story about research which indicated the role of adults (in this case teachers) in keeping teenagers away from getting involved in criminal activity. Strong positive professional relationships are shown to boost the self-esteem of troubled teenagers and improve their life chances.

This probably just confirms what many of us already believed, about the inspirational and supportive effects a good teacher can have. - But does it also imply that having a particularly poor, disinterested or aggressive teacher can significantly 'push' a struggling teenager towards anti-social behaviour?

Professional development and SETT

Continuing Professional Development keeps cropping up as a key theme for schools and education. Examples in this week alone: BBC stories have covered the need for teachers to get Voice training, and nursery assistants to get spelling lessons. You may think some of these suggestions ridiculous, I know I do. So here's a preview of SETT 2006, the 'Scottish learning festival', our own Scottish education exhibition and conference.

Held at the SECC in Glasgow, on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st September 2006. Loads of seminars and presentations by people who know their stuff, including many real teachers. The subjects include ICT in education in multiple forms and many of the core and niche areas of Scottish school and lifelong learning. All this accompanied by a large exhibition area with companies and organisations showing off their products and services for educators. Plus the usual coffee and food outlets which some find disturbingly compelling..

There's the chance to talk to people like me face-to-face, on the Learning and Teaching Scotland stand or around the show. Not something that appeals to everyone, but hey. I'm available.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

E-assessment glossary

It's an old story, but no-one has yet posted a link to this very useful resource so here it is. JISC and QCA have produced a glossary of terms used within e-assessment. The document is available in PDF format and also as an online database.