Archive for September, 2008
- September 30th, 2008
- Comments: 1 Comment Tags: Tags: , CfE, Glow, National Parks, Outdoor Learning
: Categories Aberdeenshire, Uncategorized
The Cairngorms National Park Authority hosted an event to raise the profile of CfE and outdoor learning in the Cairngorms, at the Lecht ski centre today. It was very well received by an audience which consisted of school teachers from all the Local Authorities that surround the CNP and many of the partner bodies that work with the CNP, such as RSPB, Forestry Commission, Duke of Edinburgh Award, John Muir Award, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Environmental Network, Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust, University of the Highlands and Field studies Council.
Eddie Broadley and Peter Eavers, LTS Area Advisers introduced the Cairngorms and CfE respectively, in the context of an exceptional landscape, experiential learning and lifelong learning. David Green, CNPA Executive, spoke convincingly about a values based curriculum and the value of learning outdoors. His message was about new opportunities to “teach them young and teach them good” with CfE, better vocational links and cross curricular projects.
Murray Ferguson, CNPA Visitor Attractions, described the landscapes, landforms and landuses of the Cairngorms NP in the context of a family of protected areas found across Europe. However, CNP is a special case of Local Authority partnership for innovation and sustainability. Young learners should be “getting out there”, getting involved in meaningful tasks and be made aware of ‘bigger landscape issues’, such as: landuse conflicts, planning and climate change.
Bruce Robertson, Director of Education for Aberdeenshire Council, also spoke passionately about bigger ideas and the CNP. His special interest in promoting outdoor learning was obvious. He described “learning, in, about and through Aberdeenshire’: with CfE and Glow. He described his arrangements for learning and entitlements for learners, in a landscape that stretches from the Cairngorm Mountains to the North Sea. He said much more but one comment in particular sticks with me: “outdoor learning does not stop outdoors”. This is, for me, a critical observation and central to Glow, both in terms of creating opportunities for using mobile technology and in providing the essential means to share, interpret and reflect on outdoor learning experiences.
Workshops followed, on: The National Park Glow Group, Writing Materials for Outdoor Learning, Climate Change, The John Muir Award, CfE, Local Culture and more. Attendees listened to mini presentations, collected ideas and asked questions in a ‘cafe style’. Later in the day Local Authority groups met to put forward ideas for planning and implementation, before Richard Stroud CNPA Executive, finished off with some observations. Thanks go to Claire Ross and Elspeth Grant from CNPA for organising this event. I enjoyed facilitating workshops with Anna Rossvoll, Glow Key contact for Aberdeenshire and look forward to working with Eddie and Peter again at the next NP event. This will be hosted by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Finally, I will be in touch with all of the ‘partner’ bodies who requested access to, or more in formation about, Glow and the National Parks National Glow Group.More
- September 15th, 2008
- Comments: 1 Comment Tags: Tags: Glow, Google Earth
: Categories Events
I took part in some very interesting discussions, hosted by Tina Ornduff, in the Google offices in London, on Friday. I was there for Glow, as an experienced Geography teacher with a handful of other geo ‘experts’ to talk about emerging practice with Google Earth. Discussions were based on the idea that ‘Google Earth (GE) is much more than a digital atlas’. A common wish is to enhance teaching and learning by making it more active and more relevant, with google.
Noel Jenkins described his Juicy Geography; Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop described his social enterprise and outreach programs; Richard Treves shared his experience of lecturing with and about GE at The University of Southampton. Ollie Brae made useful comments based on his long experience of presenting about GE and I spoke about sharing resources and collaborating in the National Parks and Social Studies, National Glow groups.
I also made some suggestions for using and developing GE, for the social and the local by describing a sense of place. It is wonderful how pupils can develop their ablity to appreciate strangeness and different cultures, but GE is also a powerful tool for exploring local communities. I would like to see teachers from all subject areas share their experiences of using GE files in Glow? To encourage this, I have uploaded some resources, kindly given to me by Tina Ornduff, to the Social Studies National Glow group.
If you would like to learn more about GE look at our Social Subjects National Glow group. Ollie Brae and I will be taking questions in Glow meet, once the Scottish Learning Festival is over, where we are both using GE in our presentations.More
- September 12th, 2008
- Lesley Dickson
- Comments: 1 Comment Tags: Tags: Britain, Glow, Mossvale
: Categories Renfrewshire
I was out at Mossvale Primary yesterday to help Ms. Park and her P5 class set up a Glow group to support their ‘Britain’ topic. After a lively start getting everyone’s passwords sorted out, we added a discussion subject to which the pupils posted the findings of some research that they been carrying out about different areas of Britain. They seemed to enjoy using Glow to record their information and liked being able to read other pupils’ work as soon as it was posted. A couple of pupils noticed the link to ‘My Glow’ and were keen to start building their own pages there and then. Another noted down the URL so he could start using Glow from home. The challenge will be to keep up with them!More
- September 12th, 2008
- Katie Barrowman
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: Operational Training, Orkney
: Categories Local authorities, Orkney Islands
I’d never been to Orkney before, and I pictured high seas and wild winds as the plane began its descent to Kirkwall Airport. My preconceptions were shattered as we landed to a beautiful, warm Monday evening, the first of many wonderful moments during my visit to the Islands for the Orkney Islands Council Glow Operational Training, and my first local authority visit as a Glow Development Officer.
Tuesday morning found us at the council’s ICT headquarters, housed in a fine old building in the heart of Kirkwall. It may have looked traditional outside, but inside we found state of the art technology and a high level of technical expertise. The Glow Team (Gerri Tait and Jym Hay from RM and myself) were joined by a large group of technology specialists, school administrators and Graham Bevan, the driving force behind Glow in Orkney. Gerri demonstrated Glow for the group, and then Jym launched into the first day of training. Everyone was enthusiastic and interested, whizzing through the set tasks and asking all the right questions. It was really rewarding working with people who were fun, professional and highly skilled, and the energy didn’t wane on the second day.
By Wednesday morning we’d had some rain, but the day brightened up to match the moods of the Orkney group. Jym led the training in the morning, after reviewing the previous night’s ‘homework’ – to think of a question to ask about the previous day’s training. The questions were pertinent and enlightening, and I was certainly learning a lot as I went. Gerri took over for the second section, and I did my best to help out and take part in the activities – after all the best way to learn something is often to do it! Once again the group worked steadily through the tasks, and at the end of the day went away keen and ready to get Glow rolling in Orkney.
Gerri and I were then fortunate enough to meet a group of seven Glow Mentors, who came to receive a bit of pre-training information. We let them know what to expect of the training in early October. Gerri gave them a quick demonstration of a live Glow site to whet their appetites, and I provided a tour of the Glow Scotland pages on the Learning and Teaching Scotland site, paying particular attention to the excellent case-studies and the online learning materials, which will allow the mentors to have a good grasp of Glow and how it works before next month. This is one group of mentors who’ll be able to hit the ground running come their training days.
I’ve come away so impressed by the passion and energy the Orkney team are dedicating to Glow. I can’t wait to return for the mentor training, and for the Orkney Learning Festival at the end of October. I’ve completely fallen in love with the islands, even though I’ve only managed to see a little so far. The sunsets looking out over Scapa Flow from Burray were breathtaking, and we managed to find a few minutes to visit the Italian Chapel, an awe-inspiring labour of love, built out of Nissen huts by Italian prisoners of war during WWII. On the Thursday morning before returning home I was lucky enough to grab a quick look around the stunning St Magnus Cathedral. I also sampled some of the world-famous Orkney ales and the wonderful fresh local seafood, and they’re reason enough to return! If my experience with the Operational Training in Orkney is any indicator, the mentor training will be a great couple of days, and I’m really eager to see Glow in action in the schools – it’s going to be great!More
Do you or your students play ‘Guitar Hero’ or ‘Sonic & Mario at the Olympics’? If so, then a couple of events at this years Scottish Learning Festival could be right up your street.
This year sees the first ‘Gamezone Challenge’ taking place through Glow with the finalists being invited to the Learning Festival to battle it out for top place.
If you want to know more about this exciting opportunity, then check out the Consolarium National Glow Group.
Fabulous prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed at the Festival this year.
You’ve only got a couple of weeks left to earn your place at the finals, so get playing!More
New to the National Site of Glow is an area entirely devoted to the Scottish Learning Festival, called SLF Extra.
Why SLF Extra? Well, we think we’ve added ‘extra’ into this years festival, using the tools and functionality that Glow offers its users.
In SLF Extra you can take part in discussions, Glow Chat and Glow Meet sessions for many of the Keynote, Spotlight and Seminars in the lead up to, during and after the festival in Glasgow’s SECC. Can’t get away from your establishment to take part in the festival? Well, using Glow, this year you can take part without having to journey to Glasgow. Why not head over to SLF Extra and ask the presenter a question relating to their topic? If you’re going to the festival, don’t miss out on seminars or keynotes that you’d like to attend because of scheduling conflicts – why not join in through Glow? Better still, don’t miss out on the opportunity to continue discussion around the topic after the event – SLF Extra in Glow makes this simple.
We’ve also got a brand new feature to show in Glow – Conference in Pictures. Artist Graham Ogilvie draws topical themes from the conference to spark discussion. Have a look at the examples we’ve got online already and have your say on the issue. You’ll only find these in Glow.
Are you going to the festival and want to talk to others about how they are using Glow? If so, then why not check out the Glowing Lounge. It’s a place at the festival exclusively for Glow users to share what they are doing in Glow with others and make connections.
SLF Extra – Scotland’s largest education event just widened its reach.More
- September 6th, 2008
- Comments: 3 Comments » Tags: Tags: BERA, Borders, CPD, Glow
: Categories Scottish Borders, Uncategorized
It was a privelege to be on the plenary panel at the BERA Conference Practioner Event, today. Thanks to Professor Vivienne Baumfiled for organising this and supporting teacher’s action research. The panel was asked to judge teachers action research projects and give our individual impressions of the day. I commented on the key note speech by Ken Zeichner and supported comments made by my colleague Con Morris. Ken described his theory on ‘third space’: where practice is not set against theory or academic against teacher but where the focus is on the research not the researcher. He exemplified his theory by referring to teachers who had confidently shared their action research on their own websites. Glow offers us the opportunity to use emerging technologys to improve action research and professional development in Scotland. We can build communities of professional learning and engage in professional conversations in Glow, about Glow and for a Curriculum for Excellence.
I also saw a presentation about the Virtual Research Environment in AERS. This made me think about the huge potential in Glow for teachers to connect with other teachers and share ideas for action research. For example by uploading or discussing research in the National Site. They now have the opportunity to use Glow tools to plan, design, research and store data. It is now easier than at any other time to collaborate across regional boundaries, make the most of virtual space and hopefully, third space theory. There are a wide range of tools in Glow which can be used or adapted for educational surveys, quantative and qualitative research.
Finally, congratulations to Lesley Wilson from St Boswells Primary School, for the best research project on display with BERA. She has recently started on the Charterered Teacher Program. It would be great if Lesley used Glow for future action research projects…. the Glow team will be in the Borders giving Mentor training at the end of September.More
- September 1st, 2008
- Dawn Adams
- Comments: 1 Comment Tags: : Categories Events, Local authorities, Midlothian
Lots of people are entering an exciting new phase with Glow and I’ve been busy visiting schools across the local authorities that I work with. Part of this activity has involved Midlothian schools and supporting them with their rollout. They have a comprehensive plan for how Glow will be introduced to nursery, primary and secondary schools throughout their local authority. This plan involves a 12 phased approach with introductory sessions, staff training sessions, optional INSET and following up with in-class support for schools. This seems to be a great approach and provides an invaluable opportunity to explore how Glow might be useful to a large number of staff and considering what it may mean to different people.
My travels so far have taken me to Dalkeith High school to give staff an introduction to Glow. Tommy Lawson and Alan Thomson from the authority also attended and supported this ideal opportunity to raise awareness in the first of many Midlothian schools. My next visit was to Woodburn Primary to talk about developments with Glow and allow staff to have some hands on experience. Some of this audience included Mentors and local authority staff who had already used Glow. It was a great opportunity to get their ideas about how they thought Glow might be used in Midlothian and to explore some of the challenges we might face and solutions to overcome them. Speaking to those people who had only just seen Glow that day provided a useful and interesting perspective too. This is something that we shouldn’t lose sight of and capturing those ideas can help plan for future events and what the focus should be.
My colleague Ian Hoffman has also been busy visiting Midlothian schools to get them thinking about Glow and what it might mean for them and joined Rosewell and Woodburn Primary for an introductory session last week. This support will continue this year and throughout 2009 and will hopefully raise awareness and encourage use of Glow. I thoroughly enjoy this part of my job as Glow Development Officer and can’t wait to get out and about to other schools and authorities to get to the heart of the activity and support this in any way I can.More