Uploaded - 2492008

I’ve just spent the last 2 days roaming around the Scottish Learning Festival for another year. As usual I’ve enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. I’ve not attempted to blog or record any of the sessions I attended this year, as my finger and brain speed are not up to it. I do have a collection of reports to recommend which are full of reflection, linkages and information: glowict’s blogpost and slf2008 Bookmarks on Delicious (glowict in a delicious account I’ve set up to use in the ICT national glow group).

This year I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with Tom Barrett Tom seems to know about and have tried just about every good teaching idea I have heard of and more. His positive view on things is inspiring.

Even more than usual the best bit of SLF was the chance to meet with all of the colleagues whose blogs I have been reading and ideas that I’ve been following over the past year.

I had decided not to carry anything but my new iPhone to see how I got on without lugging a laptop around. I practice this meant that I could check links, take some photos and use twitter. My typing on the phone is not up to more that twitter’s 140 characters for notes. It was nice not to carry anything, but I’d have liked to be able to type a bit faster or have used the VoiceNotes app a bit more, I did record David Noble asking Fiona Hyslop a question at her keynote and to my surprise it came out well (huge auditorium ), quite clear after a quick run through the Levalator and application I continue to be impressed with. Not quite as good quality as the official Fiona Hyslop Keynote SLF 08 from LTS.



Fiona Hyslop’s keynote was fairly interesting, she seems to be very much in favour of lots of good stuff™ and after the rather disappointing glow chat it was very refreshing to hear her take questions from the floor. I had always, cynically perhaps, thought that questions to politicians would be prepared in advance. Much to the delight of the ScotEduBloggers in the audience the first question was from Neil Winton questioning the internet filtering for staff and pupils common in Scottish schools (38 minutes in on the LTS video), the minister’s answer was that while she would be happy to have teachers in control of her child’s access, it was a local Authority issue. This made me reacall John Connell’s call, last year, for a national conference on the issue. A quick search for filter on John’s blog is an excellent read.

Many of the other questions had similar answers the minister explaining her sympathy with the questioner but laying responsibility at the LA door. The minister did promise to discuss this and to help liberate the learning experience (40 minutes in on the vid).

ScotEdubloggers were well represented in the questioning as well as Neil, we heard David Gilmore, Adam Sutcliff and David Noble all asked questions.

The Minister has little time of league tables and stated that employers want folk with the 4 capacities rather than exam results (slight paraphrasing there). On watching bits of the video I am more impressed than I was the first time through, close ups may communicate more than a long distance view.

For the rest of the day I avoided keynotes and presentations, wandered the stalls and networked. At 2 I headed for the Education showcase and laughed with the children from Down the Pan ? a financial drama from West Dunbarton before taking part in The Discovery Hour: Inspiring Stories of Technology, Education and Design which was a series of 10 minute or so talks on interesting tech and teaching, my own tail was of two international collaborations that my class have been involved in most recently the weetom travelling healthy art show exhibition suitcase to Russia a combination of cardboard glitter and mp3 technology and our wrapping the world in poetry with students from Georgia USA (see posts in this archive and the McClure – Sandaig – blogs if you are interested). My point is that personal contact with participants is vital and keep task short and fun.

Wednesday Evening


Wednesday evening I went to teachmeetSLF08. Having tweeted an invite to Tom I was delighted that he was first up talking about work his school had carried out with the Philips Entertaible a fantastic looking multi touch table (see Tom’s TeachMeet’08 Philips – a set on Flickr). The rest of teachmeet was perhaps slightly subdued compared to usual, maybe because of the uncertainty of the future of the even with Ewan‘s departure from the Education field for channel 4. This seems to have been resolved by Joe Wilson’s tweet. Ewan’s organisation and leadership on the evening were taken over ably by David Noble for both some of the preparation and the second half of the night. As usual the ideas from the presentations came quick and fast, a new feature was to split into groups for some. I followed Theo to the escalator outside to see his Canaletto at the SECC presentation, where he showed a dislike of categorising media into any particular corner and some lovely examples or rich media. Ian Stuart presented live from Islay which I think is a first for teachmeet and flashmeeting did not let us down, strange watching a presentation without a presenter!

Teachmeet was followed by TeachEat at Konaki Greek Taverna where we were fed by RM. I alway enjoy the idea of sitting down in random order and talking to random folk, this time Theo, Mike from Radiowaves (who I forgot to thank for the teachmeet sponsorship), he told me of the very exciting NUMU project (NUMU is a safe community for young people to showcase their music; collaborate, compete and develop their talent) and the guy from WildKnowledge whose name I can’t recall but who I had a great talk to about his products and could see that these could be extremely useful for recording trips. I popped into their stall on the floor next day and had another rundown of their products.



I started in Neil Winton‘s Wiki presentation, where he covered the use of wikis in the class, beautiful slides (Neils slideshare version SLF2008 Wikis (Simplified) is not quite as wonderful as the animations in the real thing), great examples and a warm delivery of a powerful message.
I stayed in the same room to hear Ewan talking about professional development. Ewan was as usual inspiring and reaffirming helping teachers move outside their comfort zone and share. twitter as a tool for all sorts of things including writing an article for the Economist from tweets was a left field example! Ewan will have notes for us on his blog very soon.

In the afternoon I was speaking about getting Web 2 into glow in the Glowing Lounge for a quick 10 minutes, I hope to write this up as a post sometime, but for the moment the easiest way I’ve found to pull rss and widgets into a glow page is to upload a file filled with html fragments and use that in an xml webpart.

Most of the rest of the day was spent chatting and exploring ideas and technologies. Lastly a couple of interesting random things tracksticks and Easi-Scope, inexpensive toys I would like to use in the classroom.

So I had a great couple of days at SLF this year thanks to my head teacher for releasing me, the main downside of SLF is the inability of many classroom teachers to attend maybe there will be a weekend version or Saturday morning added one year.

On Ewan’s Invitation I toddled along to Inspiration Session No. 4: The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen. This was the second ‘open’ session and quite a few of the regulars from ScotEduBlogs were there in addition to LTS staff.

Ewan has given a rundown, LTS Inspiration Sessions: Run your own, (archive link) on the purpose and content of these sessions over at connected, number 4 was on improving presentations. Ewan has gathered a pile of useful links on delicious tagged ltsinspirations4, Andrew Brown live blogged the session: Do your presentations suck? very effectively, and Tessa used it as an excuse to return to blogging after the summer.

This is the first post here for a while too, although I’ve been posting to posterous, tweeting and keeping my photostream uptodate.

The others have covered the meat of the session so I’ll just pick over some bones here (in no particular order and with little organisation).

As usual it was a lesson in itself to see Ewan present he is both well prepared and able to respond to the audience flexibly. He also kept things light with plenty of ‘jokes with a purpose‘ Having said that he was not following any of the simpler styles of presentation he discussed (pecha kucha and the 10-20-30 rule for example), most of his presentation, was video from the web, discussion and analysis.

The classroom at LTS was beautiful and great space for this sort of meeting. Unfortunately I could not find ant creative commons photos of the building or space on flickr although Ewan gave a quick but thorough overview of finding images and using them legally which is always good to hear.

Although I was familiar with most of the videos shown it is a very different experience watching with a group, without the distraction of, email, twitter, todo.txt or the fact that you have to make dinner. Face-to-face sessions like this are worth ten time the same amount of browser time, the presence of others sharing the space really helps concentration and other folks ideas spark off your own. Class teachers often miss this sort of experience of discussing things that are of interest and do not have to be acted upon immediately.

As a primary teacher I felt a fair bit of tension between the role of a presenter to adult audiences, Steve Jobs rehearsing his 2 hour stint 6 times, and my own efforts in class, speeding round Scran for pictures of Victorian toys in my 45 minute lunch hour and plastering them onto a powerpoint. Many of the ideas were applicable though, repetition (some of my wee guys need more than three times) keeping it short an too the point. Shared reading of text has more of a place in the primary classroom than more adult settings. One of my new sessions resolutions it to review my use of projector/whiteboard and Ewan and his audience has given me plenty to think about.

On the few occasions I’ve formally presented to adult audiences it has been talking about my own practise and I hope the passion and experience has let me overcome the hurdles of imposed format, poor graphics and instinctual rather than trained design. I’ve also usually been so nervous in preparing a talk I’ve distracted myself by using a different technology each time. Ewan challenged the group to end the session by working on one of there own presentations to be posted to slideshare for review. I skipped that part ending up in a huddle of ScotEdubloggers (Mr W reported a unrepeatable collective noun for teachers, I wonder what a group of edubloggers is?). A couple presentations I’ve given are here (voicethread) and here (enhanced podcast), the second proving my point about horrible dot mac urls at least. Both break a fair few rules of presentation but they worked for me I would like to have spent some time getting some feedback and criticism.

One of the subjects talked about in the huddle of ScotEdubloggers was TeachMeet08 @ The Scottish Learning Festival 2008 this is approaching fast, and some community organisation is needed, if you can lend a hand with organisation equipment, sponsorship of food and drink( or know a person who can) you should head over to the wiki.


We also talked over glow, wordpress, exams etc. and transferred the conversation to the horseshoe to continue the informal CPD.

Ewan has provided an online kit for running your own inspiration session which unfortunately does not come with a Ewan. Thinking about the session yesterday I think the big takeaways were the importance of personality and preparation which to my mind are probably more important than the tools and design.

I should suggest that you get together with some colleagues, watch the videos and check out Ewan’s links and Andrew’s post I am only reluctant to do so because I realise that one of the key parts of that process would be the leader unless you can find a friendly huddle. Even alone the linked video, sites and tools will provide plenty of food ofr though.

I am still churning a lot of the ideas the session and informal follow up just in time for starting school next wee.

Many thanks to Ewan and LTS for inviting me to an inspiring session.

I’ve not updated here for a week, but have been quite busy elsewhere.Teachmeet 08 North tn

After reading Neil‘s announcement of teachMeet 08 North, I popped over to the ScotEduBlogs Wiki and started a new page: TeachMeet 08 North for folk to join in the fun. It looks like it is going to be a great event, over 50 edits on the wiki page on the last two days shows a deal of enthusiasm for TeachMeet.

I bumped into Suzie Vesper while following Ewan‘s ULearn07 adventures in NZ on twitter. Suzie hads a great wiki: educational software and web 2.0 which covers nearly everything I’ve heard of. After a few tweets this morning, I’ve started adding an Adobe Flash page to the wiki. Hopefully it will be of some value, the rest of the wiki certainly is.

Flash  eg

Coincidentally, I’ve become involved in another flash project; as I was invited to join the Teachers sharing their work with Flash blog.
Teachers sharing their work with Flash centres round the work of Geoff Dellow. Geoff has done an amazing amount of work with flash in schools. He tells me he is retired but he has certainly not slowed down (a quick google will tell a lot). Geoff promotes the use of flash 4 in primary schools and provides free over the phone tutoring for teachers. I first met Geoff at SETT before it was The Scottish Learning Festival. He had children creating animations in flash at his stall which had me hooked.
I hope I manage to do some work with flash again soon so that I can share it on the blog.