Trash Trek – The Ultimate STEM Challenge⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

FLLicon_RGB_2011We’re not talking trash – we’re cleaning it up!

Announcing the 2015 FIRST LEGO League! Teams of children aged 9 to 16 are invited to explore the fascinating world of waste, from collection and sorting to smart production and reuse. Build and program a LEGO robot to tackle the Trash Trek missions, invent a solution to the world’s problem of waste, and present it at your regional tournament.

imagesCADLUI3SIt’s easy for schools, organisations or groups of friends to take part. Register now!

Tournaments in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews. Training for teachers and coaches included. Bursaries available.

please see attached flyer for more info


Apps for Good – two Regional Roadshows in Scotland in September⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

apps for good logo“Apps for Good is an education technology movement that is transforming the way technology is taught in schools, turning young tech consumers into tech creators. Apps for Good aims to unlock the confidence and talent of the next generation of problem solvers and digital makers: young people who are ready to tackle the 21st century workplace and are inspired to create new tech ideas that can change their world for good.

In partnership with Samsung, Apps for Good are pleased to be running two Regional Roadshows in Scotland in September, with a theme around ‘Bringing the real world into the classroom’. Join Apps for Good at the roadshow to learn more about:

  • Utilising industry Experts in the classroom
  • Advice about integrating student led learning into the classroom
  • Hints and tips for student assessment
  • How you can deliver Apps for Good in your school/college

There will also be an opportunity to network with fellow Apps for Good Educators and share best practice and the chance to hear from our External Partners, Code Club and CoderDojo Scotland.

Glasgow – 16th September – Book Your Place Now –

Edinburgh – 17th September – Book Your Place Now -

If you have any questions about Apps for Good or the Regional Roadshows, get in contact with

Dairy Farming⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Small- NMS Dairy FarmingJoin staff from the National Museum of Rural Life to learn about dairy farming. Meet our Ayrshire herd, find out how people in the past used milk and follow its journey from the farm to your fridge.

This event will be live in Glow TV on Wednesday 9th September at 1.30pm – Register now to take part!

Women and men and trains – and Jeremy.⤴

from @ blethers

I clocked Jeremy Corbyn's thought about women-only compartments on trains but didn't dwell on it until I read Kelvin's post and tried to leave a comment (it was eaten by gremlins so I'm doing it here instead). So - would this be A Good Thing? Or is it too reminiscent of purdah and all that western women associate with such seclusion: veils, burkahs, kinder, küche, kirche ...? And I considered my immediate reaction, and tried to reconcile it with the person people think I am, and this is what came bubbling to the surface.

I don't travel solo much on public transport these days, but one of the pensioner-like things I do is use the bus from Dunoon - Glasgow. It's free, it takes you on the ferry without your needing to get wet on the pier, it drops you in the centre of town, you can doze off on it and not be taken past your stop. But nowadays I either sit on the outer seat of a pair, or sit beside another woman, because of an incident a year or so ago. Dear, sensitive reader, picture the scene:

I am sitting on the bus which I boarded in Dunoon with about seven people. I am in a window seat, looking out in a dwam at the wet road when we stop to let people on in Gourock. A tall man - not fat, just tall - of about 70 sways up the aisle and crashes down in the seat next to me. He lands half on top of me, to be accurate, squashing my arm and pressing his own arm into my right tit. I wait for him to apologise and move. I go on waiting. I stare at him. He smiles, complacently. I point out that he is too close for comfort, but he makes no move. I tell him he's invading my space and I want him to get out of it. He scoffs, and moves very slightly. He then begins to complain in a loud voice about unreasonable women, until I tell him I'm going to make a scene if he doesn't desist.

I take refuge in Twitter, in which medium my niece saves the day by making me laugh aloud. (Annoying man finds this discomfiting and I am glad). She has coined a phrase to describe her pet hate on public transport, for it is younger men with  lava crotches that give her the most trouble. And happily annoying man isn't going all the way to Glasgow and I am freed from his clammy presence.

Kelvin in his post talks about the need to deal with violence against women, and I agree with him. But neither my Annoying Man nor my niece's spread-legged travelling companions are being overtly violent - they're just behaving in a way that none of the men in my own circles would ever behave. They wouldn't be in my circles for long if they did. But they represent two distinct classes of public transport-users: throwbacks to a past age and present-day strutters (you know the walk?) who still think they are the dominant species. The former are likely to think it's all right to address women as "dearie" if they complain, and the latter to use Anglo-saxon monosyllables every second word in conversation as well as hogging all the available space.

None of which is actually threatening - or is it? And yes, in a way it's less threatening as one becomes frankly old. But if I had to take an evening train alone, as I used to when I caught the 11pm from Edinburgh to Glasgow in my student days after a concert, I'd love to have the choice of a women-only carriage. And if there were to be such a thing, I'd use it. Every time. Even though I feel ashamed of writing that, even though it seems a betrayal of the equality I have worked for all my life, I know it's true.

And maybe it's because Jeremy Corbyn is my generation that he knows it too ...

OH MyCmgr! Yer a Wizard Harry!⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

As someone who's been re-skilling to be a Community Manager for the last 12 months+ it was like something out of Harry Potter when I realised that I had 11 years experience in this area, insane or what?! 
How did I miss this experience? How did I discover it? 

This post looks at the value of me going through the process of developing a Business Plan... and I hope that it highlights the merit of schools and colleges getting organisations like EntrepreneurMe visit the school to deliver their student workshops. 

I would never had thought that developing a business plan would provide the opportunity for reflection that it has in the last two weeks since I started work on it.

I know that entrepreneurship in education is important from the perspective of growth mindsets, developing in-demand skills like creativity, soft skills and is ideal for preparing our young people for the uncertain economic conditions they face.

Many enterprise organisations go on about the money and business side of it, and anything I've written in the past in support of entrepreneurship in education has been mostly from the perspective of economic necessity... thanks to the economic uncertainty that "we" ie our politicians, created for the next generation.

I've been involved with a few startups, but have never developed a business plan... at least not one where I was able to factor the things that are important to me personally into the plan. In the past two weeks I've reflected on;
  • Seeing my experiences in the past as opposed to "Being the Jack of all trades," but when considered with regard to "T Shaped Skills," I am able to detail to potential clients (or future employers) that, depending on what customers, users and employers were looking for, I have developed the skills that were necessary in order to get the job done! 
This week I was pulling my "About Us" section together.

When Things Go Wrong
In the Testimonials section I took the unconventional and counter-intuitive step to include some comments about "when things go wrong with clients (And they Sometimes will)"

Oh the Places you'll Go - Landscape

Is this being negative at the outset? A little too honest? ...or a healthy dose of realism?

The way I see it, it's the benefit of experience. Things will go wrong for any number of reasons and may even be through no fault of the service provider or client... This is something that I highlight in my Fail Fast. Fail Cheap section.

I feel two things are VITAL in attracting, keeping and retaining clients;

1) Manage expectations, and
2) Resolve any issues quickly and effectively.

Issues can and will arise. I love MIT's Ken Morse story about how a company's response to a challenge turned from a potentially lost and disgruntled customer into a more loyal one. 

Morse got a gift for a member of his family for Christmas, but found was broken when the recipient opened it. Morse dashed off an angry email to the company. He received a call on Boxing Day with the offer of a replacement... which would be sent express delivery so it would arrive the next day. 

An experience that could easily have lost a customer, made him more loyal than before the challenging customer experience because of the way it was handled. 

Managing Expectations in EdTech...
EdTech is Tough! Not every project that I have worked on has worked out. What I tried to achieve in UK Further Education with CrowdControlHQ and Crowdmark didn't work... But 12 Months later the exact same methods worked with Nurph and Get2ISTE in the US.

Managing expectations is important, as is delivering value. I will try to help startups and suppliers to stay as small as possible for as long as possible in the hope that they don't have to start chasing sales to cover overheads.

Getting the balance right with knowing when to nudge an idea along with a bit of sales effort while not annoying educators will be tricky. The clients urgency will not be urgent for educators.

But then again considering the needs and results of clients will be a priority, but not at the risk of affecting the relationships I've built with educators. 

By highlighting that I've failed with projects in the past and that EdTech is tough is the best way I can see to both manage expectations and the start of building brutally honest relationships.

Likewise, I hope that highlighting that things things can and will go awry and the every effort will be made to resolve things as quickly as possible will also help with developing relationships

Managing expectations and resolving issues appear to be the kind of issues that keep community managers up at night.

Yer A Cmgr William!
“A manufacturer is not through with his customer when a sale is completed. He has then only started with his customer. In the case of an automobile the sale of the machine is only something in the nature of an introduction. If the machine does not give service, then it is better for the manufacturer if he never had the Introduction, for he will have the worst of all advertisements – a dissatisfied customer” Henry Ford

This quote sums up my attitude towards sales and has perhaps been particularly useful when working with the tight knit education communities of UK Higher and Further Education.

I wanted to put some testimonials together for this "About Us" page. However, with no customers yet, I looked at information from some of the various projects that I've been involved with to see what could be used to demonstrate to potential customers that they are in safe hands. 

I dug out some testimonials from my reports and projects that was involved with in my previous jobs... and there was surprising amount of material I could reference, which I'm sorting through at the moment.

As well as these testimonials, I am toying with the idea of including some of the comments from the various psychometric tests that I've completed. The reason for this is because these reports suggest that I am particularly good at scoping new ideas and finding solutions to challenges (A potential reason for any T Shape skills). 

Again, the aim here would be to highlight to potential customers that they are in safe hands. The body of evidence and completed projects surprised me a little, which may sound a little weird. The reason for this was explained when I was looking for articles about people with INFJ Meyer Briggs profiles I read an article called "It is hard to be an INFJ"

"INFJs can always list the things they’ve left undone but have a hard time counting their accomplishments"

Experienced Community Manager?
This definitely applies to my experiences with Community Management and pulling all my experiences together for this website I noticed two minor details:

1) The extent to which I had helped expand the network of Universities and Colleges that we worked with from 2003-2009, which went from 84 to 280 (50% market share within 3 years with one project).

2) How much I disliked the cold calling aspect of the job when looking for customers when I was in sales. What I did find enjoyable was researching how our solutions could compliment the Every Child Matters outcomes, or assist colleges within the context of Ofsted's "Common Inspection Framework".

Also the thing I liked best about sales was the initial meetings after colleges booked and finding out about what the client's issues were... and figuring ways that our communications solutions could help with this. The repeat business ratio for this project was extremely high.

I have been looking to re-skill from sales to Community Manager for the last 2 years. Through developing my business plan, I realise that I have actually got 6 years community management experience. However, because the main responsibilities were sales and operations I hadn't realised this.

Then there is the fact that most community management today focuses on online communities. As had no digital presence of any kind until late 2010, this experience just didn't compute. DOH!

I have been writing reports for 4 years now, so can include this as content marketing experience... All this community experiences while holding down full time roles in sales, operations and market research.

So I am delighted to be able to amend my website and CV accordingly, and will be actively looking for some freelance Community Management work with education companies with a lot more experience and confidence!

But hopefully is set to become a Wizard of a #Cmgr!
Add to this that I'm "An EdTech Influencer" (Again), this startup just might do OK when the business plan is finished... If I get the same kind of support that I have done in the past from some of those master EdTech sales people like Nikki D Robertson, Steve Isaacs, Kharima Richards, Susan Bearden and others.

Putting together my business plan has been an amazingly reflective process in helping me to identify my values, personality profile, experiences and goals. 

I know that there are a lot of enterprise initiatives out there in education but, if I were a school wanting to explore the role that entrepreneurship has in this kind of context, I'd give the guys at EntrepreneurMe a call.

The Mone Review is asking why people in deprived areas don't start their own businesses, I wonder if students in more affluent areas have more opportunities to consider their strengths, values and goals more than their less socially mobile counterparts... and if going through the process of putting a business plan together would have the same kind of impact on others as this has for me.  

One Planet Picnic at Doune Primary School⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Small - Doune PrimaryJoin us live in Glow TV on Tuesday 8th September at 11am to hear from pupils and staff from Doune Primary School demonstrate who will demonstrate how they used seasonal foods and reduced food waste at their One Planet Picnic.

Hear from the pupils about their whole school community One Planet Picnic, the approaches they used to encourage more sustainable food choices, the systems that helped them and the challenges they faced. Their ideas and examples will support your own One Planet Picnic planning. Good for you and Good for the planet, One Planet Picnic is the perfect way to mark this Scottish Year of Food and Drink.

Register and join us live in Glow TV – One Planet Picnic at Doune Primary School.

New Measure to help Scotland’s Young People⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Participation Measure will help target support to young people not in employment, education or training.

Scotland’s youth employment is at its highest since 2005 and a new Participation Measure for 16-19 year olds in Scotland has been developed to provide a more comprehensive and detailed understanding of the activities young people are taking part in.

For the first time, the Scottish Government will have detailed information on activity for 16 to 19 year olds rather than just school leavers, who only account for a quarter of the 16 to 19 year old population. The Participation Measure, published by Skills Development Scotland, improves the quality of information currently available and will help to more effectively focus resources and policies to help young people make a successful transition towards employment.

As at April 2015, the Participation Measure shows that the proportion of 16-19 year olds participating in education, training or employment is 87.6%. The highest participation rate is amongst 16 year olds at 95.6% with the vast majority being school pupils (82.5%). The lowest participation rate is amongst 19 year olds at 77.8%, although some of this difference will be due to some data being unavailable for 19 year olds. This should improve in future years with further development of the statistical information.

For more information please visit: The Scottish Government ‘Newsroom’

10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

hurricane katrina3This week marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

It also marks the week that New Orleans launch their resilience road map which they hope will help them tackle climate and social challenges, like poverty, racial inequality and crime.  They are keen for the public’s awareness of environmental issues to be improved so their road map stresses the importance of implementing projects that will help urban areas live with stormwater – not keep it out.

This project is a joint effort between the city and Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative.

As a practitioner you could use this information to compare and contrast New Orleans with Glasgow which is also part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative.  Both cities have suffered from flooding, what are the similarities and differences?

This could also be used as a context for looking more closely at the climate change issue.

Education Scotland’s Ready for Emergencies and Weather and Climate Change websites could help with this further through their teaching and learning resources.