Experimental Blog

Saturday, August 18, 2007


The week ended well with a meeting with the Scottish Social Services Council and the promise of some additional resources to help with the Care and Social Care agenda. The Care Scotland team will really welcome this. I then had to scramble to get some letters out to centres in relation to more Diva developments with Adobe and to some new work with Learndirect Scotland.

In between times we spent a day on team planning for 2008/09 . We are working towards having our qualifications development part of this done by the 21st of September to pass on to our executive team .

We figured out all the things we still need to do for ESOL and debated a commercial publishing opportunity. Had a quick meeting with Glen Senior who flew in from New Zealand around the retail game and managed to drive up and back to Dunkeld on Tuesday evening in a monsoon to welcome a group of new External Verifiers. Had a chance too to get some of my staff involved in the next part of HOSCA our process review project , got involved in SQA's web development strategy, spent an hour looking and talking through commercial targets for the qualifications we deliver outwith Scotland and spent a morning with all the agencies that meet the Scottish Skills Development Agency looking at a number of Sector Skils Development Strategies. - Mainly Social Care and Financial Services this month.

One scary moment when we noticed that some inappropriate posts had appeared on the Internet Safety Wiki - We have shut it down for a day or two so the technical team can sort out the security policies.

Spotted this story about the German National Railway ensuring football fans travelling to a game had beer on tap on the train to and from their match. I bet the train ran on time and was confortable too. A great piece that challenges thinking and our own brand of Scottish/British conservatism and the cultural differences that co-exist across Europe. Made me smile.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


A different weekend.

How to confuse your partner - catch a Ryanair Flight from Prestwick to Weeze in Germany and jump in a taxi to Arcen in the Netherlands (16 euros) - a quiet village inside the national park. It has a nice square with restaurants , fantastic castle gardens, sits on a river you can travel across on wee ferries and has a spa with thermal baths when you get tired of cycling from village to village eating cake.

We stayed here and it was excellent

Hardest part is telling your pals in Scotland you went to Weeze and Arcen for the Weekend.
And a sure sign we are aging - ten years ago it would have been a 24hr rave in Amsterdam. Thanks to Ironmanix and flickr for photo

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Sunday, August 12, 2007


In the mid 1980's I was teaching English and Communication and using a lot of video and other technologies - remember hypercard anyone ?. In the nineties the web arrived and I tried to get anyone who would listen to get their course on line and get their students to start helping making it better. Some folks thought this was a good idea and I got to evangelise across the sector for a few years.

By now I thought every teacher in the globe would have their stuff up on line and would be working in some collaborative way with their learners and their peers and the learning paradigm would have changed. The power in the system would have moved to the learners and those who guide them. Instead we still have quite a few closed communities and lots of pupils and teachers who are not engaging with this revolution as much as they could be. Burger King can Simpsonise Me but we haven't found the magic formula to engage teachers and learners with this stuff yet.

At least it is great to see that it has started in East Lothian This should be compulsory reading for anyone working in education public policy and our public bodies. If you get the chance , catch Ewan's session at the Scottish Learning Festival.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


SFEU are working on their subject networks for Further Education Staff. Still hard to get all the right people to join the right on-line community and to get them to contribute - I guess this issue will either never go away or we will finally find a platform that everyone likes and joins. I guess you still can't beat a simple email address book with all your key contacts in it. At least the size of Scotland still makes this an easy exercise ;-) I hope GLOW delivers this for School Teachers and for all our qualification development staff who work with schools. We get our first look under the lid next Friday.

Bobby is having another go with a new platform for computing teachers and I see Ewan and Nick from LT Scotland have found Face book to promote the Scottish Learning Festival. I can already see a few familiar faces .

Interesting discussion with SFEU on Second Life - We will be there soon maybe with the Internet Safety Unit for big people and on another tack over 10,000 school pupils are playing our experimental sports store game its is now in more than 50% of all Scottish Secondary Schools. Should make for a good session at Scottish Learning Festival

And our British Sign Language Avatars assessing PC Passport in the deaf community are going down well and looking great. Interesting challenge in that there are not signs in BSL for many new technologies. There is definitely interesting cultural and linguistic study in this observation.