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The ScotEduBlogs site is dear to my heart. An opensource effort by teachers in Scotland to aggregate and redistribute the posting by Scottish educational blogger of all shapes, ages and sizes ScotEduBlogs has become an more than every day read for me.

At the Scottish learning Festival side dish TeachMeet07 4th Edition I made a plea for support for ScotEduBlogs. At that time it was being hosted by Jonesieboy, Robert Jones, who was also the main programmer of the site. I was approached during the dinner following Teach Meet by Joe Wilson of the The Scottish Qualifications Authority, who proposed that the SQA and Learning and Teaching Scotland should support ScotEduBlogs. Ewan who is National Adviser: Learning and Technology Futures at LTS was quick to agree.

To cut a long story short; ScotEduBlogs has now moved to its very own server which should lead to (and Robert will correct me if I am wrong) more stability, better updating etc, etc. The SQA and LTS logos now sit prettily on the ScotEduBlogs sidebar.

It might take a few days for ScotEduBlogs to settle into its new home, so if you notice anything strange let us know.

If you are a Scots Educational blogger you can do your bit to support ScotEduBlogs too:

  • Make sure your blog is listed.
  • Make sure the tags on your listing describe your blog.
  • Link from your blog to ScotEduBlogs (there are some images and help on the wiki).
  • You might want to help out by designing a new graphic or in other ways, see the wiki again.

As well as just reading the front page ScotsEduBlogs can be used in lots of other ways:

  • The front page has an rss feed.
  • On the Blogs page you can filter blogs by tags and get a rss feed for your tag or set of tags.
  • You can even follow the ScotEduBlogs tweets on twitter.

See the wiki for more ideas.

As there are more and more ScotEduBloggers ScotEduBlogs will become more and more useful as a learning tool, enabling you to get ideas that you might not pick up through your favourite feeds.

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.

As I mentioned earlier I recorded some of the presentations from TeachMeet07. I’ve turned these into a enhanced podcast. spent a bit more time in GarageBand and am beginning to understand a bit more about it and it’s relationship to the other iLife apps. As usually I made a silly mistake or two, the main one being I did not know the maximum length depended on the tempo of the Master Track. This lead me to having to change that after I had organised all the chapter marks and links, I then had to reposition these on the time line which took me most of the afternoon.

Anyway time well spent, as teachMeet07 has been one of the most exciting educational events I’ve attended for a long time. Have a listen and let me know if you agree.

I had a bit of bother with this one. I’ve not used keynote much, but it was very easy to create a presentation with. While playing about with it I noticed you could record an audio soundtrack very easily and though I’d do that, export to quicktime or even youtube to let folk see what I’ve been talking about (and to play with the toys). Recording was easy enough, but when I came to export I got errors every time. A quick google fould more folk with the same problem and fixes for keynote 3 & 3, unfortunately I was using keynote 4 and the fixes didn’t work for me. I am guessing the problem has something to do with combining a recorded audio with movies and audio in the presentation. So what should have been a few minutes work turned into a few hours! I exported the presentation to jpgs, then I dug into the presentation package and found the narration audio. Next I imported the into GarageBand and one by one placed the images on the podcast track, adding urls as I went.

Next I exported the podcast to iWeb and published it, the first time I had used iWeb and again it seems easy enough to use without having to read a manual.

anyway here is a version of the presentation as an enhanced podcast.

As a by-product I now have a Podcast. I will not be adding to it very often, but I’ve got some audio from TeachMeet07 which I’ll publish soon. I didn’t manage to record all the presentations, but I’ve got some.

It is about 7 am, I’ve been up for a while with pre-presentation nerves and am pretty excited about what the next couple of days will teach me

It is quite hard to focus on what I am going to be doing and yesterday’s prep found that I’ve double booked myself a couple of times today.

I’ve arranged to meet a few folk here and there and set up a few lightweight tools for keeping in touch.
My mobile will be on (it is not usually) and I’ll set twitter to tweet to it. I’ll be carrying a laptop and will have a few things at hand:

The best thing about the Scottish Learning Festival is the conversation, I am really looking forward to catching up with folk I know and meeting new people, and it is nearly time to go.

Since the last post I’ve continued to messing around with twitter.
My facebook and twitter script has stopped working, due I think to changes on facebook, but I’ve become more interested in twitter. It is not much use in school, because it is blocked in Glasgow primaries, but it has been interesting watching the tweets spring up when I am at home. I’ve installed Twitterrific a sweet, free, desktop app, to view and post to twitter. I am beginning see the use for firing off quick informal questions but even more interesting are some mashups.

The most educational of these is twitterlearn :: micro language-learning from the Radio Lingua Network. Basically you can follow learnitalian on Twitter, it will give you tweets of short phrases to translate into italian and a link to provide the answer in a blog post. So in the twitter feed you see:

Translate into Italian: “I’ve already visited Rome”

Clicking on the link will take you to the answer.


The nice thing about twitterlearn is that it uses another service which posts RSS to twitter automatically. so the questions are produced automatically from the blog posts that combine questions and answers.

I’ve used to post this blog to my Twitter and created a new twitter account for : ScotEdublogs on twitter, if you follow the ScotEdublogs tweets you will know when new posts arrive at SEB. (there is one for teachmeet07 too).

I’ve also looked at twittermap which allows you to set your location in a tweet and places you on a google map, via the google maps api. This is connect to twittervision which show tweets poping up all over the place and provides pages for users showing where they are: twittervision: johnjohnston

I am still unsure where twitter would fit into a primary pupil’s learning but there are lots of interesting things being done with twitter now.

I’ve been reading a pile of stuff about twitter over the last few months. Quite a few edubloggers around the globe have taken up tweeting in a big way. I originally thought that it would be more use to conference goers than class teachers and didn’t pay much attention.
Yesterday I saw that a facebook friend was wondering how to update his status on facebook and on twitter at the same time.
This remined me that both twitter and facebook have APIs. A bit of googling took me to ”More status updating goodness‘ where Sören provides an applescript for quicksilver to update several status messages at once, including twitter and facebook. I took the script and simplified it a bit, got rid of the quicksilver stuff other services and I am afraid removed the keychain scripting for the faster hard coded username and password.

So I am thinking of what good scripting these services would do. I guess you could combine the script to tell other twitters what you are playing in itunes, what you are reading in safari, or some other information grabbed by AppleScript either locally or via a webservice. You could run thse in an idle loop so that someone could twitter the current webpage they are reading, application they are using etc. Would this be useful? Eventually a scriptable phone could twitter its geolocation…


Now I am on twitter I’d appreciate some contacts, my username is johnjohnston.
It is not all that likely I’ll be doing much tweeting for now. I do look forward to seeing it it is a useful tool at the Scottish learning festival and TeachMeet07.

Speaking of which the planning for TeachMeet07 is well under way. Check the wiki or follow everything Tagged: Teachmeet07. It looks like being a great event.

elive seems to have got off to a great start, quite a few blog posts.

While I am waiting for them to turn up on ScotEduBlogs news: index I’ve folled with my own wee toy: taged eLive07.

It looks like teachMeet is going to have:

with lots of swapping chairs and showing each other’s stuff on laptops, rather than presentations. Much more relaxed than the last TeachMeet

says Ewan.

My message was going to be short anyway, I might just makes some flyers, here it is if I do not buttonhole you:

List your blog at

Tag your blog at

Link to

from your blog. Graphics avalible at the SEB wiki:

Don?t like the graphic, I don?t blame you, design your own share it on the wiki.

Spread the word, with RSS we GTD .

We are also looking who can help us with a server for see Donations

Propaganda: encouraging readers or viewers to: “jump on the bandwagon”

E Live Banner

teach meet

I am quite excited, next Wednesday I am going to elive: Edinburgh’s Festival of Learning for the 21st Century.
I seem to spend half my blogging life reading posts about great ideas coming from educational conferences and feeling a little green.

Days out of school for inservice do not feature as much as they did a few years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of Masterclass and am now a Glow mentor which has meant that I have managed to go quite a few interesting gatherings. I really feel that my teaching benefits by being given the chance to meet with colleagues and get exposed to new ideas face-to-face.

Last year I was talking at ELive and they have asked me back again this year. Whilst I am a little nervous to be talking to teachers rather than pupils I am really looking forward to going to other seminars and having a chat with anyone that sits still long enough.

I’ve usually found that the informal chat surrounding inservice events and conferences to be as much value as the events themselves. Last year’s elive was followed by an informal bloggers meetup (Photos) this developed into teachMeet06 at the Scotish Learning festival and now TeachMeet07
Starting at the Jolly Judge, between 4.30-7.00 for drinks and wifi. and moving on to Centotre, George Street, Edinburgh, 7pm-late.
Past experence and a look at the wiki means this looks like being a great night.

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