On Thursday I went over to the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick for TeachMeet 10 East Lothian. The Sea Bird Centre was a great venue and what I cold see of North Berwick made me think it might be nice to visit in the day time.

The event went very smoothly indeed, Fearghal Kelly and David Gilmour kept things running very smoothly indeed.


I arrived a little late so didn’t reall pick up Martyn Pegg on Taking Curriculum for Excellence in the right direction.Outdoor Education, orienteering and the energetic classroom. It looked pretty exciting with members of the audience running all over the shop. The EL East Lothian Outdoor Education Service blog looks interesting. I managed to grab a sandwich an a seat thanks to the helpful centre staff and settled down to watch. There were a lot of new faces to me, I guess a big local turnout with perhaps a good few new to teachmeet, the evaluation was very positive.

I didn’t take any notes during the presentations but enjoyed them all, I loved the mix of tech & tech in Rowena Blair & Krysia Smyth talking about E-scape but failed to get my hands on the fizz-book. Don Ledingham gave a quick and impassioned defence of Curriculum for Excellence and blogged about this: Curriculum for Excellence: Stand up and speak up : Don Ledingham’s Learning Log on Wednesday. Neil Winton presented via Skype and I was surprised how good the video was.

I am going to be revisiting all of the presentations over the next week or so as I post the audio to EDUtalk.cc my own presentation was about EDUtalk and I recorded the other speakers. I would recommend listening to them all.

There is a lot more info on the TeachMeet 10 EastLothian wiki page and:

After the meet I had a quick pint with Robert Jones fresh from his parent’s night, Rowena, Krysia (Who kindly gave me a lift back to Glasgow, thanks Krysia), Fearghal and David. As you would expect an interesting chat and ScotEduBlogs, google docs and delicious links in RSS feeds, the last has led me to remove mine as it seemed to annoy most folk. If you are disappointed you can always Add me to your network.

Now I am looking forward toTeachMeet Perth which also has the CfE badge.


I have been working on OpenSourceCPD a bit recently. Mostly working on the On-site Cpd Opportunities. Nearly everything is labelled first draft being work in progress but I guess that is the beauty of a wiki.

Yesterday I knocked out a rough version of the first of some guides to Online Tools. This covers the basic use of Picnik the online image editor. I used Picnik a couple of times with my class last session and was please with how easy it was for children to use. The course (or cpd opportunity) at OpenSourceCPD just goes over the basic use of Picnik and has a few ideas about using it in school. Very much a first draft at the moment, feedback is welcome in the comments or via email.

For the first time on the OpenSourceCPD site I’ve made use of a screencast. I’ve made a few of these before elsewhere and used the smartnote book recorder to make instructional videos for the children at school but this time I used an application new to me ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow is a mac application that allows you to record your screen, audio from the mac and a mic (you can also record from an isight). It then allows you to edit the video and export to quicktime. The editing is very slick, you can auto highlight the main window, the mouse or zoom and pan the video. You can add other images, video and audio. I had a bit of trouble with my mic and recorded the audio over the original footage without too much bother. I am not completely happy with the result (and may redo it ) but that is more to do with me than screenflow, my previous efforts were much shorter, smaller and without a voice over. I think I was trying to go a little too quickly to make for good instruction.

As ever I’d be interested in feedback about OpensourceCPD and the screencast not only the content but the playback as it is a H.264 movie and nearly 30mb.

Islay high School

Yesterday I went to the Islay ICT: ICT Open Day

Islay High School is one of the Schools of Ambition and is well know for its innovative changes to school organisation and use of ict.

I had a great day from the start. The boat trip from Kennacraig in the company of Moira my HT, Krysia and Doug was a relaxing way to start a cpd event, I even spotted a Porpoise rising to breathe.

Once we got to school we had a visit to the music room where the children were demoing music software, with Ewan in attendance, then a chat with Ian about the umpcs which merged into lunch.

central to the use of the umpcs at Islay is oneNote which Ian demoed, it is quite hard to describe it briefly, it accepts hand written (on the umpc’s touchscreen) notes, typed text, records audio and video through mic and webcam and allows you to tag, store , search and share all of this. Teacher’s notes and presentations can easily be shared to pupils. The pupils at Islay all have their own umpc which travels home with them.

After lunch we visited the English department where the new S2s were creating a video for the soon to be S1s.
The children were working in groups, had story boarded and planed their movies on the umpcs or bits of paper and were filming and editing. We had a chance to chat to the pupils. Their skill with the umpcs was obvious and I was impressed with the machines (and the pupils) video editing capabilities. Some of the children had come to the high school with experience of iMovie and this seemed to transfer easily to movieMaker.

Chatting to the children about their umpcs was interesting, they obviously enjoyed using them, but the kit was ‘normal’ to them not something special. The umpcs seemed robust and in my opinion would be a better investment than the various ‘mini pcs’ such as the eeePc that are getting a lot of attention for educators at the moment.

bowmore primary

We popped out to the back of the school to take in the amazing view and then visited the award winning Bowmore Primary School. The primary received BT Scotland’s ICT Learning Award for the school?s under-five unit uses a Promethean Interactive Whiteboard. We were a bit late to see the children in action but saw some great viedo, filmed by the four year olds, of the whiteboards in action. We also had a good look around the school with the HT, picking up a good many ideas to take back to Sandaig, not least there eco greenhouse.

Then it was back to the high School for a tour of the tech and design department before heading for a quick pint and the 6:00pm boat.

As usual with a trip to an exciting school there was far too many interesting things going on to remember them all, these stand out at the moment:

  • A culture of change staff see themselves as learners
  • pupils working together according to their needs and interests, rather than on more age based progression
  • lots of vocational opportunities
  • ICT as a tool rather than a end it its self. Some children prefer paper for some tasks

UmpcassIdeas I hope to use:

  • Pupil recorded assessment on umpcs could be replicated with laptop.webcam/ macbook/isight
  • More free use of whiteboard, this happens in our infant department, but my p6s are not as slick with the tools as the wee ones
  • The eco greenhouse and wellie flower pots!
  • ict and technology needs to be transparent, pupils must be able to use it without thinking, more free use

There was probably many more things that I could mention, but Islay High Open Day was a great event, the chance to spend time observing and talking about all sort of things with the staff there and at Bowmore primary along with a extended and gentle journey giving time for reflection and chatting was a great cpd opportunity. Many thanks to Ian and Islay for inviting us

Aberdour Station Using the Social Web to enhance teaching and learning is a course listed on CPDFind.

It is being run on Saturday 1o May by David Noble who is a member of the OpenSourceCPD ‘collective’. David is best known for producing Booruch my favourite educational podcast.

last November I blogged  CPD in Aberdour about a previous cpd event David ran. As you can see from that post I had a great time.

I chat to David fairly regularly on the EdtechRoundup Flash Meetings and he has always an interesting view point or idea on Web 2 in ed, he has a deep knowledge and experience about the theory and practise.

If you want a quick start guide to or refresh of Web 2 in education you could not do better than taking a trip to Aberdour to spend a day in David’s company. Pretty railway station too.

I have just finished the first draft of a cpd course for OpenSourceCPD on RSS. Given an hour the amount of information that can be covered is limited. I cheated by including a good few videos as optional extras.

I’ve been enjoying editing the OpenSourceCPD site as the task is suited to my rather short term concentration. I can edit the wiki for a while, maybe change some of the design with css and add features to the wiki using pmwiki‘s Cookbook (addons). So far I’ve added recipes for quicktime, rssdisplay, slideshare, and various recipes for adding flash content. I’ve added some example of these to the Media Tests page.

I’ve even mange to produce a recipe of my own. As usual this stands on the shoulder of others, I just copied on of the recipes and used Yuan.CC Flickr Experiments to show a flickr photo with notes in a pmwiki page, this is unfinishe at the moment, but it works: Photo Sharing (the photo sharing page is not finished ether.)

The wiki is now awaiting more content. You can contribute by editing the wiki or if you are too busy by sending me material and I’ll add it and attribute. There is a Discussion section on the wiki for any sort of discussion of the project, or add a comment here or send me a mail.

Oscpd Logo Rndds

About a month ago I wrote about the beginnings of OpenSourceCPD at TeachMeetPerth. Since the the site has moved to a suitable host and we have started making some links with CPDFind.
There are now several very knowledgeable people listed on the Profiles page and more have shown interest in joining in the fun. I’ve added an Introduction to blogging course as an example and the beginnings of some general CPD Materials.

I’ve been enjoying setting up the wiki as there is quite a lot of cpd for me involved. PmWiki is proving interesting and flexible giving an opportunity to play with the tech as I figure out how to organise the site.

So the wiki is now awaiting more content. You can contribute by editing the wiki or if you are too busy by sending me material and I’ll add it and attribute. There is a Discussion section on the wiki for any sort of discussion of the project, or add a comment here or send me a mail.

Blogged from tm

These are the slides I used at TeachMeetPerth Last week. You can see the images on a flickr set. The VoiceThread above is a work in progress, I’ll probably re record the audio with a quieter computer and a script.

I first got the idea for OpensourceCPD from teachmeet at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2007. Ollie Bray is widely quoted as saying that teachMeet was his best CPD experience. This had me thinking about Teachers as providers of CPD I also talked to Con Morris of LTS’s CPD Scotland team, he mentioned that reading my blog could be a cpd opportunity for someone!

My favourite learning experiences at conferences and inset have always been the ones presented by teachers. I include in this the more informal teachmeets and the social continuation in the pub or restaurant afterwards.

I’ve also been aware of the open source movement as a great deal of the software I use day to day is open source software, this blog, firefox, Vienna and many more. this got me wondering if this might be a useful model for distribution of cpd material by teachers, material that is not locked into a Local Authority, business or agency. Teachers as providers and consumers. The CPD material would be freely available and could be used by individuals or presented by a provide, the teachers supplying the material on the wiki could be providers/consultants. Of course because the material is freely available it can be supplied as CPD by anyone.

So the idea came together based on a casual reading of the Open Source Definition

  1. Free Redistribution: the software cpd materials can be freely given away or sold. (This was intended to expand sharing and use of the software on a legal basis.)
  2. Source Code: the source code must either be included or freely obtainable. (Without source code, making changes or modifications can be impossible.) this might be a little more difficult, hopefully it will not mean that folk would be put off uploading a pdf which is hard to edit, but more the spirit that material shared here is for mashing up.
  3. Derived Works: redistribution of modifications must be allowed. (To allow legal sharing and to permit new features or repairs.)

The Open Source Definition has a lot more, but you get the idea. This project will probably follow the Open Content model more closely:

Technically, it is royalty free, share alike and may or may not allow commercial redistribution. Content can be either in the public domain or under an open license like one of the Creative Commons licenses.

but at this time I thought that Open Source CPD was a snappy title

So I have started a wiki OpenSourceCPD to support this idea. I hope it is going to be connected to CPDFind in some way. At the moment the site is sitting on a temporary server and I probably will not get a lot of work done until the spring break. Several scottish educational bloggers have added Profiles and there seem to be a far bit of approval at TeachMeetPerth.

The focus to start with will be Social Media or Web 2.0 in teaching and learning.

Nothing is set in stone (it is a wiki) but I’ve begun three main sections:

  • CPD Materials A basic outline of various social media tools that can be used in teaching.
  • Cpd Opportunities CPD courses for self study or to be used as a skeleton for leading cpd.
  • Profiles A list of practitioners that could lead such cpd (this could be on a paid or free, online or face2face basis).

If this idea appeals please get in touch, if you want a password to edit the wiki leave a comment or send me a mail.
If you have some material you want hosted on the wiki but have not the time or inclination to edit it get in touch and I’ll be happy to post it for you.

So have a look at OpenSourceCPD.


Yesterday evening I was in Perth courtesy of Krysia who kindly give me a lift to and from Glasgow through a fair amount of fog.
We were there for TeachMeet 08 North. T oget the idea of how good teachMeet is think how far you would go for some cpd on a Tuesday Night. The ScotsEduBlogoSphere had come from far and wide. None further than Ian Stuart of Isly High school who had set off at 8:30 am to get there.

As the event was set up the Sandaig macbook was pressed into service to run the flashmeeting which brought in an audience from further afield, I think I spotted Sinclair and Joe Dale in there. Flashmeeting is an amazing service, it is increadable that with a standard macbook and a wifif connection you can broadcast watch-able quality video and sound. The macbook was attached to Mr W’s snowball mic, I think it could get used to having such a great piece of kit attached to it. This meant that I could not tweet microblog the presentations which on a little refection was probably a blessing for my followers.

The meat of the event were the Seven minute micropresentations chosen as is becoming traditional by electronic fruit machine. The presentations were great, it always shocks me finding out how much I do not know about teaching with technology.

Ian Stuart kicked off telling us what’s been happening in Islay High School. I heard Ian at the SLF where I was amazed at the radical way the school is transforming teaching.

At teachmeet Ian focused more on the umpc technology the children are using, the power of these tiny devices is amazing. Small devices were a bit of theme at the meet, Asus minibooks, PSPs and other wee computers dotted the audience and dinner table.
I was lucky enough to be sitting with Bob Hill who leant me (or did I just borrow) his Eee PC with which I could watch the flashmeeting meaning Tess Watson‘s voice was in sterio until I found how to mute the sound.
These small pcs look like being the vanguard of a realistic one2one program. (and according to Robert Jones a possibility of getting Linux into schools). I would take a very long blog post to cover all of the ideas that came out of the 2 and a half hours of presentations. Hopefully the presenters will take a leaf from Nick Hood and blog their presentations, Nick’s is unusually in the comments to his teachMeet post. It is a great comment, (and one of the few where I’ve felt Snap shots has been useful rather than annoying) well worth following the links.
I would be great if the presetator tweeted there posts @TeachMeetPerth which would provide a nice aggregation..

A presentation I really enjoyed was Sarah Duffy‘s talk about her class’s http://midsummerdreaming.wikispaces.com a great project. But I really enjoyed them all and await the blog posts..

I talked about OpenSourceCPD more of which when I have more time at the weekend. for now I’ve put my comicLife slides, OpenSourceCPD on flickr. My TeachMeetPerth set is up too.

All in all another great teachMeet well up to the high standards set by previous events, all credit to Neil for organising, arranging and MCing.

Blogged from tm

TeachMeet08 - Location
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Tomorrow after work I am of to TeachMeet 08 North curtsy of a lift from Krysia. Organised by Neil Winton and with a great line up of speakers I am really looking forward to the evening. Not often you can say that about cpd;-)

By the looks of the wiki everything is in place, space, projectors and an enthusiastic bunch of web 2.0 teachers.

If you cannot get along to teachmeet David Noble has organised a Flash Meeting so you can get some of the fun in your browser as it happens. The Meeting for TeachMeet08 BETT went very well, it was easy to hear and see the presentations.

I hope to be spreading word about scotedublogs.org.uk again, this time by passing out wee flyers. I am also hoping my name comes up for 7 minutes of fame. The presenters at TeachMeet are chosen by electronic fruit machine and get 7 minutes to talk.

Last time I was up first, ran through my talk in 5 minutes but still managed to secure sponsorship for scotedublogs.org.uk. The results of this will hopefully be apparent soon as scotedublogs.org.uk will have its own host, making it even more powerful!

This time I hope to talk about OpenSourceCPD for the first time. More about that here after the event.

If you are going to TeachMeetPerth either in the flesh or in the Flash Meeting or just want to keep in the loop remember that you can follow teachmeetperth on twitter, teachmeetperth will tweet all the posts tagged on technorati and hopefully provide a backchannel on the night for tweets @teachMeetPerth.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone in person or online


I am sitting on the train on my way home from Hillside school in Aberdour in Fife. I’ll probably not get this online until tomorrow. I have just spent the day on David Noble’s course on Using the Social Web to develop the Four Capacities.

Aberdour is a pretty looking village and we had a nice autumnal view when we took a minute to look out the window.

David took participants through a gament of Web 2.0 tools explained there use in theory and in practise; participants created an edublogs blog, a mp3 recording (which was uploaded to the blog), took part in a flash meeting, explored flickr, youtube and discussed many other web tools in a packed day.
As in listening to David’s booruch podcast you get the feeling you are in the safe hands of someone who not only has a leading edge grasp of the new technology, but can walk the talk, incorporating the tools in his teaching regularly over an extended period of time. He explained the tools, suggested ways of using them, pointed to good practice and reinforced them with his own practice. I was comforted by his reference to aCfE and the four capacities, it looks like some of our efforts to use the social web will support the aims of aCfE.

I was particularly interested in the use of Flash Meeting. David had organised a meeting with Lisa from England and it was the first time I had seen Flash Meeting used. Flash meeting is a free to education tool supported by the Open University. A browser based video conferencing application, whch includes a shared whiteboard and chat, it reminded me of Marratech which I’ve used in the Glow trials. Flash Meeting seemed to have the edge over Marratech o the video quality and in the fact that it is a flash/browser based application. I hope to be able to use it in school, just need to check to see what protocols it uses and if these are usable on the Glasgow network.

David Whiteboard

I also enjoyed David’s presentation, instead of powerpoint, David used a series of del.icio.us pages for each segment of the day: tagged with “3Nov1” on del.icio.us through to tagged with “3Nov7” on del.icio.us, this method of presentation was obviously very flexible due to a pile of excellent links.

Throughout the day David touch on pupils safety issues in a light way but constantly reminding us of its importance. He is in the unusual position of having services often filtered in Local Authority networks available and has to deal with the risks in a professional manner. This also meant that I could plug my laptop in and be online without any problem.

Hillside School is a residential school for boys aged 11-16 with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties David’s experience made a clear link in my mind between pupil motivation and the four capacities. David’s work shows that Social media will help us both motivate pupils and to help them move towards becoming successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.