‘You Make Me Wanna Be a Better Man.’ A review of ‘This Much I Know About Love Over Fear…’ by John Tomsett⤴

from @ Just Trying To Be Better Than Yesterday » Just Trying To Be Better Than Yesterday

There’s something about blogging which has provided me with a better understanding of how education has brought me to this point in my life.  The more autobiographical posts have allowed me to think of my own learning and,  I think, it is that approach which has helped me to improve in the classroom. In a sense, we often thrive on our autobiographies unconsciously when we are in the classroom. Reading John Tomsett’s book ‘This Much I Know About Love Over Fear’ exemplifies that exactly. Mr Tomsett has written  a beautifully nuanced reflection of his life and how it made him the man he is today.

I’ve met John on a few occasions – at a Pedagoo event and even in his own school at ReserachEd last year. Along with his Director of Learning and Reserach, Alex Quigley, there is something extraordinary about these two. Not merely where they work and what they create but their very presence convinces you of their commitment to the learning of their students. Mr Tomsett’s book is a reminder to all of us of the importance of learning in our lives and how our experiences influence where we go and what we do. It is a beautifully written, honest account of Mr Tomsett’s life in teaching and a life we could all all learn from.

At PedagooLondon a couple of years back, I heard Mr Tomsett speaking  about his challenging boys’ class and the writing they did on the Rumble in the Jungle. It was one of those sessions in which you could have sat for hours; not merely that I was stealing every idea I heard but John’s genuine love for these boys shone through in every word. He recounts that work again here in the book and it is compelling stuff. What wouldn’t I give to have been in that classroom with those boys. It is a stunning chapter, filled with compassion and hope.

There may be things you disagree with here – I’m not sure that the section on lesson planning made that particular part of teaching any less onerous – but his reasoning is honest, intelligently thought through and packed full of humanity and humility.  However, I was writing down lines from almost every chapter about how to be a better teacher and a better person. Reading Mr Tomsett’s book – and Alex’s excellent ‘Teach Now’ – confirmed that education books have reached a new era. Blogging has resulted in an explosion in writing – and good writing too – about education. Many more have a voice. ‘This Much I Know…’ is as much autobiography as instruction and all the better for that.

What we learn from Mr Tomsett’s book is that ‘love’ is a word that we should embrace in teaching not fear or feel uncomfortable with. A love of teaching. A love of colleagues. A love of learning. But, most importantly, a love of the students he teaches and is responsible for. Perhaps if we looked more to our own stories in education we may develop a greater understanding of our present. I loved this book and wish I could write as well. It has set a bar for my own writing.

Minecraft: A celebration of learning at #Minecon2015⤴

from @ Charlie Love.org

I’ve spent today at MineCon2015 – the world’s biggest computer gaming convention.  10,000 attendees plus hundreds of staff from Mojang and Microsoft, exhibitors and famous YouTubers (Yes, Stampy is here) – all gathered together to celebrate the worldwide phenomenon that is Minecraft. What is Minecraft? Minecraft is an open sandbox …

The Best Lesson I Never Taught⤴

from @ Pedagoo.org

As part of lesson study in my school (Soham Village College) I decided to try and develop a one off lesson which involved no teacher participation at all! Obviously careful preparation was paramount to success and the lesson did take several hours to put together. The activities were not as rigorous as I would usually […]

What is Independence?⤴

from @ Questions and Reflections

A post in the Edinburgh Eye suggested that independence is only real when a country has complete control of its currency. Greece is an obvious example of what is meant. The author goes on to say that the SNP stance at the referendum of insisting on sharing the UK pound was not campaigning for independence. This I agree with. In fact I said it on my blog, The SNP presumes too much…, back in the middle of 2014. I also made the point that the SNP would not have an inherent right to form a government after independence nor to dictate the terms. The YES voters who campaigned outwith the auspices of the SNP were much more visionary, looking to create a better society truly throwing off the shackles of Westminster.

It is therefore with some dismay that I read further in the Edinburgh Eye post to discover that he had voted NO. If  many people voted that way because the SNP were too timid in their campaign it is a tragedy. To want independence and yet to vote against it because of one political party’s stance is frankly awful. What was he thinking to achieve?

Let’s hope that next time people accept the vision of a great nation able to look after its people.


Filed under: Education

‘Sometimes Right. Sometimes Wrong. Always Certain.’ A review of ‘What If Everything You Knew About Education Was Wrong’ by David Didau⤴

from @ Just Trying To Be Better Than Yesterday » Just Trying To Be Better Than Yesterday

As a middle aged man from the west of Scotland it is a very human trait for me to automatically accept that my opinions are facts. ’Sometimes Right. Sometimes Wrong. Always Certain’ as Danny Baker and Danny Kelly often proclaim. We men do that though, don’t we? Waving off any evidence which contradicts us as just a mere triviality. So, within that context I approached David Didau’s ‘What If Everything You Knew About Education Was Wrong?’ with extreme caution. What truths could possibly lay within? What evidence could I dismiss as scientific, academic jibber jabber? How could I possibly be wrong?

IMG_0332It is a huge book in many ways. Almost four hundred pages if you read the appendices – which I swear I’ll get to. In these pages Mr Didau picks holes in our approach to just about every idea about education you may have ever had, offering alternatives to established teaching techniques and the beliefs that we’ve always thought effective. And he makes a compelling case. We can be a conservative lot in teaching – with a small ‘c’ – and we don’t always like to be questioned, but that is what this book does and does well. Whether you agree with him or not, this book will change you.

This not is not an ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ book in the slightest. Despite the title he’s not saying that you are wrong. You may be, probably are in some areas, but what the author is trying to do here, I think, is to ask you to at least question some of your long held beliefs about what you’re doing. We do things in teaching which we’ve always done because we convince ourselves that they work and they fit with our principles and beliefs but do they work for our students? How do we really know that? They may well work but we should be asking those questions.

The book goes some way to convincing me of a better path to learning for my students but also, ironically, nails a key stumbling block.

‘Everything about school is is set up to value performance over mastery and learning.’ p 316

While Mr Didau argues that performances of learning are poor displays of deep learning, it is difficult to shy away from the fact that Secondary Schools are judged on exam results. Therefore passing exams becomes a greater aim than ‘mastery and learning’. And even if that’s just a perception, my greatest gain from the book was that I am now convinced that there needs to be a better way for me; that maybe  a lot of what I thought I knew was wrong. Not all of it though.

This is a book that left me unsettled. I read a lot of books on education and like to be challenged but this was different. It goes to the heart of what a mature, intelligent profession like teaching should be. Questioning ideas, not people. Unpacking policies, not egos. It is a hugely readable and entertaining monster of a book and you will hate it at times. But, the thing is, I’m never usually wrong, or so I thought. I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes I might be. And If I can do it, so can you.

What, Why and How of e-Portfolios for Learners⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

DigitalPortfolioHeaderWhat is an E-Portfolio?

A digital portfolio or e-portfolio can take several forms, and have different purposes. Whether it’s a place to share a learning journey, record notable achievements, provide a platform for a learner’s reflections on progress, or to link to records/artefacts/evidence stored elsewhere of skills, examples of work or achievements, or chart future goals and stepping stones to objectives. It may provide opportunity for feedback by peers of learners or educators, and it can provide a means for a learner to collate aspects of their digital footprint as they journey through life.

wikipediaeportfolioWikipedia provides a detailed description of e-portfolios and examples of the different forms and purposes for having an e-portfolio which may include documenting skills and learning, recording and tracking development within a course, planning educational journeys, evaluating and monitoring performance or a course, and helping to find a job.

Why have an E-Portfolio?

The purpose is the key – it’s all too easy to get bogged down in technical set-up issues rather than have a focus on why it’s going to be used by learners. And, while in educational settings the purpose may sometimes be laid down as a requirement, whether by school leadership, or local education authority or by governments, the teacher and the learner need to be clear about the purpose of having the e-portfolio so that it does not become a chore or seen as a burden but instead supports the learning process of the learner. Prasanna Bharti has described at The EdTech review how e-portfolios can help learners

DrHelenBarrettDr Helen Barrett at the site www.electronicportfolios.org provides a comprehensive source of information about e-portfolios – why they should be created, what should be in an e-portfolio, and what tools might be used to create an e-portfolio. The site describes several models, provides answers to frequently asked questions about e-portfolios, and details how different tools/platforms (whether online tools or mobile device apps) can be used.

EdutopiaBethHollandDigital Portfolio: The Art of Reflection by Beth Holland - a post which gives a useful background to what the focus of an e-portfolio should be, not on the technical how-tos, nor on a digital portfolio as a summative-only “curate>reflect>publish” model but instead on the process building on developing asking the essential questions to make reflection at the centre of the process.

VickiDavisE-portfoliosVicki Davis has produced “11 Essentials for Excellent E-Portfolios” – this article describes the necessity to be clear about the purpose behind learners having an e-portfolio, and the importance of it being embedded as part of the learning process, including a focus on reflection and ownership by the learner. The article describes a variety of tools which could be used to create an e-portfolio.

eportfoliosareawesomeePortfolios are Awesome – a presentation by Lisa Johnson about the why, how and what of student digital portfolios. This presents in graphical form links to a host of articles about why digital portfolios are important, things to consider (including ownership, who gets to see it, feedback, how it’s organised, when and how it will be populated, and what tool to use), and examples of e-portfolios.

How to Make an E-Portfolio?

What tools can you use to create an e-portfolio? There’s a whole range of tools which lets the user record their learning journey, record their achievements and reflections – whether that’s a paper record, a digital form of a paper record (whether simply Microsoft Word stored locally) or a digital tool which is stored in the cloud (and which can be kept private to the individual, or shared with limited others such as parents/carers or teaching staff, or made public for all to see online).

The choice is determined by the purpose and audience (who will get to see the e-portfolio) – and may be determined in a school context by a school policy or Local Education Authority providing the tool, guidance, and support.

In making your choice (if you have a choice) consideration should be given to moving on from one educational establishment or local education authority to another. Take into account when making your choice of platform the ease with which the content on the tool used can be shared or exported in a form which can provide ease of continuity into another school or Local Education Authority.

Wikiclick on this link for more about wikis – an online repository which can grow and expand and be interlinked in different ways for different purposes. Jacqui Murray has provided a detailed description of how she used wikis with her pupils for their e-portfolios. This describes the purpose behind the e-portfolio for her primary-aged pupils and explains the steps to making use of a Wikispaces wiki (Wikispaces are the wikis available to all Glow users) – which can be either private so it’s only accessible to the learner, or shared with their teachers or made public (it all comes back to the purpose and the audience).

Microsoft OneNoteclick on this link for more information about Microsoft OneNote – essentially an electronic ring-binder with different sections or subsections, in which there can be multiple pages. And each page can include text, video, audio, images and links – and all works across platforms, online or mobile devices.

Blog – there are several blogging platforms available which are suitable for use in an educational context. Click on this link for more about blogging tools for schools. Glow users in Scotland have access to WordPress blogs. Also look at the blog examples on Dr Helen Barrett’s Electronic Portfolios site: http://www.electronicportfolios.org/. Microsoft Office 365 has a blog option within SharePoint (available to Glow users – however note that in Glow a SharePoint blog cannot be made public outwith Glow, instead there is the option to use WordPress blog or a Wiki from Glow, both of which can be made public, or kept private, or have parts private and parts public).

Word-processed document – there are a variety of word-processing options including Google Docs and Microsoft Word in Office 365, some of which may include a template which can be adopted to get started creating and maintaining an e-Portfolio.

Mobile device apps – there are a number of apps available for different mobile device platforms. Dr Helen Barrett has produced a site which looks at the use of mobile devices for e-portfolios, including examples of apps for different device platforms. As with any choice of tool for creating an e-portfolio the portability of the data would need to be borne in mind – how easily will it be able to be exported to another mobile device platform, how easily can the information (whether in full or part) be shared when a learner moves establishment or beyond formal schooling? Many e-portfolio tools take this into account and some provide the information to undertake the necessary steps, some have inbuilt sharing or export tools.

There are many other tools which could be used to create an e-portfolio - it would just be recommended that the purpose is central to the choice, and that it takes into account requirements laid down by school leadership, local education authority or government to have best chance of that all that’s collated by the learner can be moved as the learner journeys through their educational path at different stages, and that it best supports the needs of the learner.

What other resources are there to help create and maintain an E-portfolio?

Cybrarymane-portfoliosJerry Blumengarten has collated a host of links to resources about e-portfolios, including links to articles explaining the purpose behind an e-portfolio, as well as many different tools and how they can be used to create e-portfolios.

ShamblesgurueportfoliosShambles Guru has collated a series of resources about using digital portfolios – these links by educator Chris Smith include tools for creating e-portfolios as well as articles about the purpose and effect on learning and teaching when learners make use of e-portfolios.

Open Education Policy – blocked pipelines and infinite loops⤴

from @ Open World

Doesn’t time fly?  It’s almost a fortnight since I joined colleagues at what has now become an annual event in the Scottish education technology calendar; the ALT Scotland one day conference. One of the things I really like about this event is that it consistently brings together colleagues from all sectors of Scottish education to discuss issues relating to open education technology, policy and practice. The theme of this year’s event was Sharing Digital Practice and Policy in Scottish Education, and it was highly appropriate that it was hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University as they have just approved their new institutional OER policy.

Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to put together a storify or write a full summary of the event, however thanks to Martin Hawksey’s fine audio visual skills you can view the entire livestream of the event on the ALT YouTube channel here: AM / PM.  I do want to pick up on one of the themes that emerged from several presentations though and that is the problem of blocked pipelines and infinite loops.

Infinite Loop II by Faruk Ateş, CC BY-NC 2.0

Infinite Loop II by Faruk Ateş, CC BY-NC 2.0

Marion Kelt, Senior Librarian: Digital Development and Information Literacy at GCU, was the first to raise this issue in her talk about the lengthy process of getting GCU’s Open Educational Resources policy approved by the university. At one stage this involved being referred to an institutional IPR policy that she eventually discovered did not actually exist! This is just one example the kind of infinite loop it’s very easy to get drawn into when trying to introduce new policy.  Often it’s unclear which management structures within the institution have the authority to ratify new policy, particularly if that policy has evolved from the ground up. The danger is that draft documents get endlessly stuck in limbo, waiting for approval that never comes. Thankfully Marion is nothing if not persistent and after going round these loops several times she was eventually successful in getting the policy approved. GCU’s Open Educational Resources Policy, which is based on the University of Leeds‘ OER policy, can be accessed here.

Joe Wilson, of the College Development Network, highlighted a similar infinite loop. When he was appointed as Chief Executive of CDN earlier this year, Joe made it his number one priority to encourage the FE sector to sign up to the principles of the Scottish Open Eduction Declaration, an initiative he has been involved with since its inception in 2013. Joe began by taking the relevant papers to the Committee of Regional Chairs, which is composed primarily of deputy principals of colleges.  They were broadly supportive but advised taking the Declaration to the Principals’ Forum. The Principals’ Forum were also very interested and keen to do something, but they in turn suggested that it was the Government’s responsibility to take a stance on open education.  Suffice to say, while there appears to be some interest in adopting open education principals and practice in the FE sector, there are still a  lot of blockages in the pipeline. As Joe said “we’re still at the stage of I’m not going to show you mine unless you show me yours”. However I’m quite sure that if anyone has the vision and determination to clear these blockages, it’s Joe.

Infinite Loop by Dave Walker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Infinite Loop by Dave Walker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Which brings me on to my own infinite loop…Earlier this year the ALT Scotland SIG Committee brought the Scottish Open Education Declaration to the attention of Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.  We were pleased to receive the following positive and encouraging response from the Higher Education and Learner Support Division.

“The Open Education Declaration and its aim at implementing wider and more equitable access to education and to lead the way in Europe is a noble initiative with potential to enhance diversity as well as many of our key aims, including widening access to education through free access to high quality education and to redraw traditional boundaries between informal and formal learning.”

In addition to highlighting the role of the Open University’s Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Project, the response noted that

“SFC also funds Jisc which supports the development and use of Open Educational Resources through platforms, repositories, and projects.”

However Jisc’s recent announcement that it will be closing Jorum, the UK OER repository for higher and further education and the skills sector, and “refreshing” their approach to open educational resources, does rather beg question who, if anyone, is supporting open education in Scotland?

I have no immediate answers as to how we break out of these infinite loops and clear the blockages in policy pipelines.  Sometimes it’s a case of identifying exactly where the blockage lies, sometimes it’s more to do with identifying that one person who has both the vision, the authority and the determination to make a stand and take the decision to move things forwards.

There is one blockage I have been able to clear however.  During the meeting several colleagues asked how much longer the Scottish Open Education Declaration would be available only as a draft.  They explained that the Declaration’s draft status was preventing them from using the document to promote open education within their own institutions as the draft status meant that senior managers were unwilling to give it serious consideration.   As there have been no further comments on the Declaration since draft 0.2 was published towards the end of last year, the status of the document has now been updated from draft 0.2 to edition 1.0. Hopefully I’ll be publishing a short post on this update over at the Open Scotland blog shortly.


Blogging, Sharing New Ideas… Or Selling?⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

In my previous post I questioned whether constantly sharing links to my blog were signs of me becoming a bad digital citizen through constant self promotion of my blog. 

I thought I would take a moment to detail my blogging experiences today and compare them with when I first opened my blog... and how any self promotion two years ago led to others getting a shout out at #ISTE2015.

Isn't it all Self Promotion?
The first question I would ask is: if you're on social media isn't it all self promotion?  If you're here then you want the world to hear what you have to say. 

Am I writing this because I don't want anyone to read it, or to share it? Of course not! That would just be a waste of my time. 

Am I Tweeting because I only want one person to see my random thoughts? If that were the case I'd send a text or pick up the phone! 

Why Are you Promoting. Then...
Something that I think might be a more pertinent question is why am I here? 

The answer to this question has changed since I opened my blog.The answer in 2011 was: I don't want to be here! 

And despite all the great connections I've made, there are occasions when I still don't! 

In 2011 I had no digital footprint at all, but was told by a senior executive at one of the "big 3" tech companies

"If you want to be involved in #EdTech then you need to be on social media, it comes with the job now" 

I explored the various channels and, reluctantly, got plugged in. So here I am! I got plugged in because I was told I had to... Ironically, I got connected so my skills would be relevant for a role that won't be here much longer. Doh! 

...And Now
Today it would appear that I'm blogging to sell people on the merits of some crazy ideas. Crazy ideas that are, in the main, inspired by EdTechChat (Many of which are from two years ago).

Some people are calling me a "blogger," elsewhere social media analytics data spew out feedback that suggest I'm "an influencer." Not only do I think there is a danger of these labels pandering to egotists... In my case they are ridiculous assessments!

I find this amusing as nothing has changed! The ideas have been in my blog from day one... Many of the projects that I've been involved with that have been a success, are part of some on-going exploration to see if some extremely ambitious plans from an early posts might be possible.

Any change in status is only in the eyes of others. The ideas remain the same. The only difference is because the ideas go by unnoticed I have started to sell them a bit more.

When I opened my blog I was a sales rep unhappy with the culture and products I was working with. Today I am an unemployed sales person because I refuse to make pointless sales calls or send spam to educators.

As for any "blogger" label I write very badly... It just so happens that in amongst some bad writing, there are some ideas that are worth exploring. 

But boy! Is it hard work getting educators attention with these ideas!! 

The only thing that has changed is that I am now using my bad writing with some good ideas and have added some sales into the mix. I use my blog to explore the kind of collaboration and co-creation that I believe to be the future of sales "What do you think of XYZ" and look for early adopters to test the concept and/or look for people to work with to develop the idea.

This is where I feel the nature and source of any comments about "promoting my own stuff" comes from...There's more self promotion on my blog is because I'm selling the ideas more than I had done in the past.

Blogging has allowed me to explore the ideas generated from the early days of EdTechchat and ISTE13. Blogging also appears to have made me better at the role I've been trying to escape too... Oh the irony!

I'll leave you with the argument below to determine the extent of the blatant self promotion Vs my argument that educators are hard to engage with regarding new ideas.

Unsubscribe! Then...
Hitting that "Publish" button on my first real post (erm more like mini-novel) was so scary! Did I have anything to say? Would anyone want to hear it? 

I'm a random sales person with no expertise and nothing to say! I was taking the advice I was given, as well as trying to make some sense of the escalation of hostility in my sales role;

"Stop calling me" would be the reply to a group who 3-4 years ago were quite receptive to these calls, and "Unsubscribe" messages in reply to my emails.

Not long after I started to Tweet and blog I received a curious email along the lines of;

"William, stop sending me emails during 9-5 because I don't like the corporate crap you send me... but please keep me subscribed to your reports and blog"

What happens when you take this kind of information to bosses who are incapable of listening? "Get on the phone and sell" is the reply you'll find that you get.

...And Now?
I won't make any of those stupid cold calls for anyone... not even for products that I like. It's just a drain on educators time. I do send the odd update but hope that the information is targeted and relevant.

I sent an update to ISTE exhibitors when Kharima Richards asked me to when she was looking for support for her #Get2ISTE cause. I didn't get much of a response, but one memorable message that accompanied the "Unsubscribe" message was;

"Your content is boring and of no interest to us" 

Today I realise that you don't need to be making phone calls or email blasts in order to sell good ideas... But the ideas sure do need to be sold before they become good ones! 

This is why I feel the role of the sales person needs to change, and part of the reason for this post. Based on Google's research I might have re-skilled just in time "Google Research shows Word of Mouth Fuels EdTech Decisions"

Strategic Leadership. Then...
I completed a Belbin report in 2010 when I was one of those unfortunate sales reps trampling the exhibition hall hoping to attract educators attention. The profile report said;

"Your operating style is closest to that of strategic leadership, which is usually available only at senior positions. However, before such an opportunity could present itself, you are likely to need credibility at the operational level… The good news is that the longer you survive, the more likely you are to become a valued contribution and to gain the greatest sense of personal fulfilment"

Boy! How I laughed when I first read about these "strategic leadership" qualities... What nonsense! Although the rest of the report was extremely accurate. 

The report went on to recommend I should work in some sort of "Think Tank," quite ironic when you're sitting making pointless sales calls...the "longer you can survive" comment was the most relevant one at the time.

...And Now?
There are a number random ideas from my blog that have been implemented and the feedback from this Belbin report is making more sense to me now.

I will highlight more ideas that have gone from random idea to implementation in the next post, but today I want to focus two examples as they were mentioned at ISTE: Nurph and #Get2ISTE.

Since I started blogging I have posted ideas that I felt were worth exploring... Most of these ideas go by unnoticed the first time they are presented. The are also projects that will all link up in the hope of bringing ideas from an early posts to life 

If there are any ideas that demonstrate any kind of "strategic leadership" or creative ideas... There are two reasons for this 1) Listening to Educators and 2) EdTechChat

For anyone who feels this is "look at me, look at me" promoting my own stuff you may find this useful;

1) I am detailing my experiences in the hope that it helps others to figure the complexities that exist with selling in education.

2) I've been in traditional sales, and I've been through redundancy because of my employers refusal to listen. Both are horrible!

The actions I have taken were not easy choices to make. Neither have they been the easiest to live with. But they are starting to prove to be of value. I hope this helps other sales people to discuss the companies strategy with their employers, or maybe even for educators to share these examples with sales people when they call.

3) Not a single thing below was my idea, they come from listening to educators... Many of which come from EdTechChat.I've simply taken the time to explore them.

EdTechChat Sales. Then...
Through following EdTechChat in the first 6 weeks of it being established I got a number of key insights, including confirmation of the fact that sales would be dead soon.


Many of the points and topics in this post are a repetition of those that followed ISTE13 and ISTE14, but with evidence that the concept is workable.

...And Now
Today I feel the only way to develop good products is to stay as small as possible for as long as possible and co-creating with educators.

You shouldn't hire sales people until you know your product has value in education, even then the goal is to find the early adopters like Steve Isaacs and Nikki Robertson, as they did with Nurph and Get2ISTE.

It is my view that sales people should see themselves as fired within a few months of starting... because they have sold themselves out of a job. Sales will become a part time temporary gig. (See Where Do You see Yourself in a Year).

Once these early customers are found, a good community manager will take care of customers needs, which will be the engine for scaling the business and growth.

EdTechChat Data. Then...
As I've mentioned a number of times in this blog, in the first 6 weeks of EdTechChat 40 companies were mentioned 400 times.

I wanted to know if this was typical and see which companies were consistently being talked about, so attempted to curate 6 weeks worth of data from the 200+ EdChats that I was aware of in April/June 2013. During ISTE13 I tried to curate this data too.

The data was all in spreadsheats over 200,000 rows and was too big for me to do anything with. In April 2014 I heard about Nurph


EdTechChat Data... And Now
At ISTE 2014 I tried again, after contacting Nurph I put a great deal of time into developing this EdChat Resource Plan and putting almost 400 chats into their Chat Salad platform.(See ISTE2013 Record, Rewind and Replay)
Curious that Nurph didn't mention my contribution during #ISTE2015

Fast forward to ISTE 2015 and through the evangelising of Nikki Robertson and Steve Isaacs, Nurph is being mentioned by a number of Connected Educators, and not a single sales call has been made.

Get2 ISTE Then...
The concept of educators expenses being covered was not well recieved in 2014 (See EdChat Moderator: ISTE or Bust). The idea was re-presented in March, but still had some challenges to overcome. It was through discussing the idea with critical friends and blogging about it that removed the various objections to the idea.



Get2 ISTE ...Now
Kharima Richards was on the big screen with her Get2ISTE T-shirt and I have two fantastic blog posts to treasure... Not mine, but Nikki's and Kharima's


Tech Stories ...Then
Plenty of sales effort has gone into these ideas. Plenty of self promotion with my blog. I'm exploring ideas that I have been advocating for over the same 2 year period... Ideas that first appeared in my "Death of an EdTech Salesman" post after ISTE2013.

I hardly mention Nurph in my blog or Tweets anymore and will be doing so even less after this post. The same goes for Get2ISTE. The selling, as I see it in the future, has been done... so it's time to move on.

... And Now
If an idea has merit, it will roll out with the early adopters through word of mouth. Sales is still vital! But the hustle is done through doing enough to convince people to give a new product or idea a go and then selling educators being pioneers and investing their time with you Vs the thousands of other companies.

So going forward the nature of my self promotion will be talking about 3D Hubs and Declara. I'm by no means saying that these are definitive solutions to data curation or educators crowd funding... but there's enough promise and synergy to warrant a bit of exploration.

If educators gravitate towards these services because of my blatant self promotion, and they find it saves them time looking for great resources and assists with the procurement of 3D Printers... I can live with any title anyone chooses to give me.

And Finally. Blogging Or Selling New Ideas
I have gone out of my way to explore the sales process and to find out what works and what doesn't. What's successful and what isn't. What is needed at the start of a new idea is to get a bit of momentum going and to find the early adopters. This takes a bit of hustle.

Once a connected educator gets hold of an idea there is nothing I can do that will rival this. Nikki Robertson, Steve Isaacs and Adam Bellow talking about Nurph will have way more impact than anything I could ever do.

However... exploring the merit in a product before others are either aware of it and/or building a case to demonstrate value is vital!

Sometimes this is a quick Tweet, sometimes its a few months of research that is required... Regardless the message needs to be put out there.

A lot of synergy with 3D Hubs and Edu Crowdfunding for 3D Printers

So I'll continue to Tweet out to people like @ISTEConnects as I did in 2014 with Nurph and before ISTE 2015 to try and get some momentum going for #Get2ISTE and after the conference with the Declara collection that I'm curating. Or to ask have you heard of Voxer? Who Sells Voxer in Edu?

I have no doubt that these messages will go largely ignored until the right amount of research has been done, and a compelling enough case has been put forward. This might take 6 weeks as it did with EdShelf, or two years and counting as it has done with curating big data.

Self Promotion and Previous Projects
I can and do mention my involvement with some of these projects from time to time. Again is this blatent self promotion? I would like to think that I use them in the hope of

1) Generating interest in the latest crazy idea, or

2) To let others know that the practices of the vendor hall are so outdated...

Search "#ISTE2015" and "vendors" on twitter and ask yourself how much longer is this model going to be sustainable for? I've already blogged about what I would do if I was the organisers.

Nurph and Get2ISTE both getting shout outs at #ISTE2015... and not a sales call made and no sales people in education (as far as I am aware).

And as for those greedy EdTech companies and sales people who are only in it for the money... I have not made a penny from any of this work. The reason for all this? Here's my motivation Sales People in Edu - The Fox of EdTech

Maybe this post will generate interest from two years ago about traditional sales dying... Ideas that again are the result of EdTechChat.

One final point on "promoting my own stuff" is that if and when any of these ideas do work out and/or I mention the role I played... I would like to think that I give credit where it's due. As almost every idea has it's source in this fantastic EdTechChat I hope that one day I might be in the position to prove how serious I am about my second Tweet below!!


Using citizen science in the classroom⤴

from @ Pedagoo.org

Citizen science is science that involves amateur or non-professional scientists. It may involve online tagging of photos taken by field scientists, drones or camera traps, for example Zooniverse’s PenguinWatch. Other citizen science may be game-based, for example the protein-folding game Foldit, which led gamers to solve the structure of a retrovirus enzyme in a matter […]