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.