Practically Open⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

As part of the week 1 of P2PU Why Open? course participants were invited to join David Wiley on a google hangout (Why Open session with David Wiley). I could not make the live stream so have just finished watching the archive.

I’ve also posted the audio ripped from the session, with permission, over at (As usual I find audio easier to access than video).

These are a few of the things that I found interesting in the hangout, not in any order and very much my own interpretation.

David is the founder of, among many other things and a expert on open content and open educational resources.

Throughout the talk David focused on the pragmatic rather than the idealistic, on what would make an impact over what was right or righteous.

He started talking about the difference between the Free Software movement and the Open source movement, and how Richard Stallmam’s Four Freedoms inspired all the openness that followed. David’s view is that Open is less do do with correctness & morality and more practical.

David say Free involves a bit of moral grandstanding, giving no place for proprietary software. Open says open is practical and we can choose not to be open which is not morally bad.

The other side of the argument is laid out here: Why Open Source Misses the Point of Free Software – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation and The Four Freedoms from Matt Mullenweg are worth considering from the pov of the practicality of Free Software.

David talked of the Berne Convention that in 1886 changed the face of copyright:

Under the Convention, copyrights for are automatically in force upon their creation without being asserted or declared. An author need not “register” or “apply for” a copyright in countries adhering to the Convention. As soon as a work is “fixed”, that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work and to any derivative works, unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them or until the copyright expires.

from: Berne Convention – Wikipedia.

This switch the default from you are ok to copy to you are not. If you publish something you need to legally state wish to share. This leads to existing material with unknown copyright is not being published.

David works with the Open Content Definition which uses the 5 Rs the rights to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute. The Retain right has been added to address, and highlight, the problem of business models that control access, eg, stream media.

David gave a few examples of the practicality of open, obviously OERs are cheaper than textbooks, but a major gain in moving towards open might be in higher where the movement to competency based course is slowly gaining ground. The argument is that these competencies are slow to develop and the process could be speeded up by opening the competencies. Open assessments would be another area to explore.

Someone in the hangout expressed the worry that publishing in the open would be less useful from an employability angle than publishing to well established (and paywalled) publication. David discussed the idea of the impact of publishing on the open demonstrating with Google Scholar the number of times open publications are cited as compared to paywalled ones. Publishing in open will maximise the number of people reading so giving a better chance of making an impact. Again the outcome was more important than the philosophy.

Exploring another tension, that of Open vs Connected, David proposed that connected is a vice when taken to extremes. For example there are now so many resources in google it is hard to identify the best resources. More nodes and connections becomes noise at some point. Curation and structure needed on top of connected. Curation is biggest value that faculty brings to learning. Neither open or connected should not be their own end.

My own practise of working/blogging/learning in the open is based on a fairly fluffy feel good factor. I’ve found over the years that this has had a positive effect on myself and learners I work with. I covered this in a previous post. I now feel that it will be important to start to try and bring openness more formally into my day to day work and made small steps in that direction today. Instead of looking for good vibes I’ll be trying to introduce open where it can make an impact.

20-20 Vision⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Both my schools reopened this week for the new school year. Amongst the emails waiting for me was one from the Scottish College For Educational Leadership (SCEL) I am taking part in the first fellowship programme intended to offer experienced headteachers extended professional development and an opportunity to influence, and have an input into, the national agenda for education in Scotland. High aspirations and still early days yet before we can judge the success or otherwise of this aim. I certainly have enjoyed many of the aspects and inputs we have experienced over the last six months or so, and they have helped me develop my thinking and understanding of the issues both here at home and further afield. The email asked me to consider my vision for Scottish Education for the next ten years and then to give some thought to what needed tou happen to deliver on that vision. No pressure there then! If someone is going to ask me for my vision for education they are certainly going to get it. Indeed, they don't really need to ask!

Here is what I wrote.

My vision for Scottish Education over the next ten years is that I want to see it continue to grow and develop into one that is really recognised as innovative and world class. It will be founded on and driven by shared values including that of equity of opportunity and provision. It will be one that continues to put learners at the centre of all it does, with high aspirations and expectations for all, driven by a relentless desire and drive to keep improving. We will stop talking about the gap for the lowest 20%, as this will have all but disappeared. The aim of improvement will be to equip all our learners to achieve their potential and have opportunities to excel, wherever their talents lie. I want an education system that is the driver for Scotland's social, intellectual and economic well-being and growing stature in the world. One that is connected seamlessly at all levels, and with all partners, to ensure individuals and the country are effective and responsible contributors to global understanding, development and success. I want a profession that is valued and which is committed to continuous and informed evidence-rich development and improvement of practice. One which is continually
focused on improved positive outcomes for all learners. We will embrace all technologies, new knowledge and understandings that will enable us all to be more effective as we seek to educate individuals holistically and according to their choices and wishes. Meaningful and equal partnerships based on mutual trust and respect will be seen as crucial and part of the system's lifeblood as we look equally inwards and out wards to better meet the needs of all our learners. I want to see barriers broken between sectors and agencies as we put the needs of learners first and foremost in our thoughts and actions. Systems and structures will be realigned to meet the requirements of new thinking and practices. Everyone within the system will deeply understand learning and how teaching skills and pedagogy impacts on this positively, and what to do if it doesn't. We will understand that there are no quick fixes or magic bullets to achieving all that we desire. But, rather it will be the expertise, professionalism and drive of teachers, schools, leaders and government to improve that will really make a difference.

 So then what needs to happen and what are the implications, so that we can deliver on this vision?
  • We have to really embrace career long professional learning that is focused on understanding learning and what impacts positively on this
  • We will have to let-go some current structures, systems and practices that have run their course
  • We need to be clear about our purpose
  • We need everyone to understand and support teaching and schools
  • We need to introduce and develop hardware and software that supports sound pedagogical practices
  • School leaders need to be 'hands-on' and supportive
  • We need to think holistically and promote innovative thinking and practice
  • We need to plan short term and think strategically long term
  • We need to truly embrace collegiality, cooperation and collaboration, locally nationally and internationally
  • We need to focus less of the speed of change, or breadth, but more on the depth. 
  • By slowing down we can achieve more and sustain more
  • We need to work closely with learners, parents and other partners
  • We need to become enquiry and research based in our practice
  • We need to recognise that 'one size' does not fit all and therefore build more flexibility into systems
  • Leaders need to model behaviours and 'walk the talk.'
  • We really do need to stop thinking and acting hierarchically
  • We need to develop more professional currency and courage
  • We need to stop being so precious about aspects of what we do
  • We need to read and engage with research and debate
  • We need to reduce the exam and assessment overburden for our learners
  • We need to review then connect our curriculum
  • We need to review and change our school sessions and terms 
  • We need to maintain and improve the support for learners 
Many of these things are underway and beginning to happen in Scotland. I am optimistic for the future of Scottish Education but there is certainly no room for complacency, just as there is none in individual school development. To me, everything I have in my vision is achievable and the ground has been prepared in order to promote future growth and development. We have a Government and Education Minister that have high aspirations and are supportive of schools and teachers. How far we go and how much we can achieve is down to all of us.

'Vision without action is just a dream.
Action without vision just passes time.
Vision with action can change the world.'
Joel A Barker

S6 Dunbar Grammar 2014⤴

from @ Careers


LMI Presentation DGS timed Final

S6 Careers Book DGS 2014 Final version

Newsletter Complete S6 Dunbar Grammar 2014

Anyone interested in studying Law, Architecture, Medicine or Vet Medicine should visit Pathways to the Professions here

UCAS Personal Statement Advice

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Mind Your Language!

Make sure you are registered at My World of Work here

Some job search resources.

Lindsey’s Blog – Welcome Back!!⤴

from @ Learning is the Work

Back to school


Welcome back one and all! Is it my imagination or was that the fastest summer ever?

It was a busy old year last year and I don’t expect this year to be any different. Matthew has already outlined some of our priorities this year and as he says it’s exciting and challenging at the same time.

We met with our new probationer teachers last week. It’s always good to see their energy, enthusiasm and fear in equal measure! There was an opportunity for them to share what they were looking forward to and identify their concerns, needless to say there were similarities in both. We know from experience that our probationers get a wonderful, supportive experience in our schools for which we are really grateful.

We are also grateful to our Chief Executive Joyce White, who welcomed our probationers at St. Peter the Apostle High School. Joyce explained our ‘Be the Best’ initiative and shared the progress West Dunbartonshire Council has made over the past few years.

At the end of the summer term I was approached by Strathclyde University looking to introduce their partnership model for Initial Teacher Education. I was happy to agree with this given the success of the University of Glasgow model.  We are now in a very fortunate position where we have two models running from two Universities, and given the size of our authority this is quite an achievement.

I’m looking forward to working with Linda McGregor this year. Linda has an exciting role in supporting our probationer and supply teachers. We have plans afoot to develop professional learning opportunities aligning both groups of teachers with an emphasis on making professional learning relevant and self-organising.

Scottish Government MA Administrator – Internal Audit Division, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh – closing date 3rd September 2014⤴

from @ Careers

MA Administrator – Internal Audit Division, Edinburgh – closing date 3rd September

SDS are continuing to co-ordinate the application process for the Scottish Government Modern Apprentice vacancies, by working with those eligible individuals currently on the unemployed register, who may be interested in applying for jobs within this organisation.

Attached is a job specification for a Modern Apprentice opportunity for an MA Administrator based in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

Please can you alert the relevant teams to this vacancy and ask that they encourage eligible young people You apply if apply if you are 16-24 years old, unemployed, who are capable of completing an SVQ level 2 in one year. Young people contracted to work less than 16 hrs per week are also eligible.

Unfortunately the Scottish Government cannot support to SVQ level 3 therefore young people who have already completed the SVQ level 2 in business administration would not be eligible.

Candidates should explain in their CVs specifically how they meet the competencies indicated in the job description attached and should include a short covering letter.

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 4th September 2014. Can I please ask that all CVs and covering letters are sent electronically to

This position has an attractive starting salary of £16,442.

The department is keen that the successful candidate start as soon as possible, although security checks may take 6 weeks

Tom Bennett on Radio Edutalk⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

A lot of educational research, and I am going to choose my words carefully here, was utterly guff, was utterly, utterly guff, by that I mean, was complete speculation, rhetoric or opinion dressed up as science.

Tom Bennett talking on Radio #EDUtalk.

Radio Edutalk got off to a flying start last night with a great show. I am sure if the fact I was not near a mic had anything to do with this;-)

David talked to Tom Bennett about research in education. Stirring stuff, I nodded along to the trashing of Brain Gym and the like and the podcast gave lots of food for thoughts. A couple of places I really wished I had been near a mic:
One round Tom’s idea that teachers should not be researchers. We have talked to a fair number of folk doing action research on Edutalk and I think their experience is valuable?

The other was picked up from a couple of different sections of the podcast, in one Tom talked about the conferences he is organising being a place teacher could work things out from themselves away from the influence of councils (I am paraphrasing here). Later he suggested that chains of Academies, were big enough to carry out scientific research. My Local Authority hat wanted to asks if he would consider LAs suitable bodies to organise research perhaps in conjunction with nearby Universities. I guess I am knee jerking against Academy chains and there is possibly Tom is not as aware as the Scottish system of Local Authorities.

#Openbadges Simplest Possible Message about Open Badges⤴

from @ .........Experimental Blog

I've been working with colleagues to try and refine a very simple message about #Openbadges .

Here is work in progress - it is aimed at a Scottish schools audience but could be used in a range of contexts when introducing the concept of Open Badges - comments welcome !

Digital /Open Badges – What Exactly Are They?

This is a guide prepared for an audience who may never have heard of Digital / Open badges.

Badges are not a new phenomenon in learning.  The Girl Guide and Scout Association and many other organisations have used badges to reward achievement or to recognise skills development for many years. 

To earn a badge the recipient has to meet a certain level of competency or demonstrate a specific attribute.

Digital Badges are really just a simple extension of this philosophy into the digital age.  Digital badges rather than being physical artefacts handed out and  then sewn on to a sleeve are issued digitally and are designed to be displayed on the web.

The advantage that a digital badge has over a cloth badge is that a digital badge can contain a lot of additional information (called meta data).  This additional information might include details of the organisation and individual who awarded the badge, the specific competencies the learner has demonstrated and even contain  links to some of the learners work to illustrate their competence.

So a digital badge becomes an on-line way for a learner to show evidence of their learning.  The badge could be called a data rich digital icon.

The open in the heading comes from the technology that has been used to support the creation of digital badges. The Mozilla foundation has created some open source systems that allow any organisation to build, design and issue an open digital badge. There is now an open community established around the initial products and they are developing the software further. The tools to build open digital badges are freely available to any individual or organisation. There are links to some of these in the reference section at the end of this document.

The illustration below captures the idea of how metadata can be embedded in a digital open badge.

 “Badge Anatomy” by Class Hack. Creative Commons license CC BY-SA

Badges could be suitable for everyone whatever their age or previous accomplishments. Badges can recognise and communicate an individuals ' skills and achievements and display them in online environments – such as social media profiles – in ways that may help with future career and education opportunities.

 Employers, organisations, schools, colleges and universities could gain a richer picture of an individual’s learning by exploring the meta-data behind a badge.

The philosophy of open badges in the recognition of wider achievements could sit well with the principles of the Curriculum for Excellence.

In October 2013 the Scottish Qualifications Authority issued some guidance to colleges, community and work-based learning providers encouraging them to consider the adoption of open badges.  A number of Colleges and work based learning organisations in Scotland are now issuing and using badges and there are a number of case studies now available.

Institutions globally are seeing the potential benefits of issuing badges. These include NASA, the Girl Scouts, New York Education Authority , Khan Academy, Google News, MIT, Harvard, The Open University and City and Guilds

Why think about using Badges?

  • To recognise small steps in learning - smaller than SCQF – and/or steps towards a qualification;
  •  To create a culture of learning and achievement and support innovative ways of recognising learning and achievement.
  • To motivate learners to come aboard and take advantage of the opportunities on offer;
  • To build the confidence and self-esteem of current non-participants in learning;
  • To support profiling of learners
  • To motivate staff to develop skills and accumulate learning which will improve practice
  • To be recognised as early adopter of new approaches.

What are the current challenges?

  • To use a digital badge a learner needs to have digital place to put these. Not all learnersespecially in Early Years and Primary sectors  may  have a suitable place to position an open digital  badge.
  •  The technology is new and is still undergoing ongoing development. In some cases it demands a level of technical skills set be available if you are thinking about designing and building badges or creating a badge issuing system. However, there are a number of organisations who can support you through the process.

Find out more

·       JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland co-ordinating Scottish Open Badges Group;
·       The JISC Regional Support Centre have a range of case studies showing open badges in operation
·       Across the UK there is growing interest in badges =
·       The SQA Academy – are building badges linked to General Teaching Council Teacher Standards;
·       A template for thinking about badge design A platform for building and awarding badges
·       The Scottish Qualifications Authority, Scottish Government and Education Scotland taking active interest
·       Universities are  looking at range of models; The Open University in Scotland are currently working in a specific initiative.
·       Lot of interest from Industry who are using badging for their internal CPD
·       Look out for Digital Design days run by a range of agencies  that  help folks figure out how to design, create , issue badges

Scotland’s Colleges – Fit for the Future⤴


Michael Russell photo 2014

Today I attended the FE Strategic Forum, an opportunity for college leaders, and other stakeholders, to come together with the Scottish Government to discuss the key priorities of the college sector.

Today’s meeting seems well-timed, arriving as it does in the same month we pass a series of college reform milestones.

In that meeting I announced that the SFC will provide over £300,000 to NUS and SPARQS in the coming 2 years. This will support delivery of the Framework for developing strong and effective college students’ associations which are sustainable going forward, making good on our promise to ‘Put Learners at the Centre’.

At the beginning of the month the regional strategic bodies in Glasgow and the Highlands and Islands assumed legal responsibility for the colleges in their regions.

Last week the Order creating the legal framework for the unique federal governance structure in Lanarkshire – a solution created in Lanarkshire – unanimously passed the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee.

And today I issued guidance on appointments to college boards, signalling a new era of increased transparency and accountability, something for which NUS Scotland and EIS have campaigned for many years.

Since these milestones effectively mark the completion of the structural reform of the college sector, this seems an opportune moment to reflect upon the enormous progress made and the exciting future that lies in wait.

The scale and pace of change has been remarkable – it is just three years since our proposals were first published in ‘Putting Learners at the Centre’.

In that short time, to their great credit, colleges have implemented what I believe is one of the most significant and progressive set of reforms we have seen in Scottish education.

They have led an unprecedented programme of nine mergers, creating colleges of great scale and influence across Scotland. Mergers are notoriously difficult in any sector and the success of colleges is testament to the talent and energy of college leaders, and of their staff, in recognising, then seizing, the opportunities presented by regionalisation.

These new colleges will add real weight and influence to the sector – Scottish colleges are key to the future of a successful Scotland, and will speak with a powerful voice to employers, Government and others involved in the skills system.

Major employers are also waking up to the benefits of working closely with colleges of scale, prepared to adapt and develop their curriculum based on the bespoke needs of industry.

As structural change beds in – implementation is on-going – colleges and their students will begin to reap the full benefits of regionalisation.

We are already seeing more strategic planning of provision, targeted sharply on economic need – which will simultaneously improve the life chances of learners and generate the skilled workforce needed to deliver economic growth.

And the closer links being developed between colleges and universities, are already leading to clearer and more effective learning pathways for students.

I have also seen evidence of improvements in the quality of provision, for example through the emergence of innovative centres of excellence which address specific economic priorities. All of this is made possible by the strategic oversight and economies of scale secured by a regional system.

Underpinning all of this are outcome agreements, which for first time make clear the relationship between public funding and what colleges are expected to deliver in return.

All that is remarkable progress achieved at a remarkable pace. But there is much more to come. The Scottish Government has made clear its intention to continue to take action in response the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce’s report, using our existing reforms in the college sector and through Curriculum for Excellence, to develop a world-class vocational education system.

The Commission recognised that the reformed college sector provides a strong platform for successful change. I agree wholeheartedly and look forward to colleges assuming an even more prominent role in supporting the success of the Scottish economy.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell


Scottish Independence – NHS Sell Off?⤴

from @ Questions and Reflections

Darling and Cameron have both said that the NHS in Scotland is utterly safe as does Malcolm Chisholm. But they all explain that this is because Health is devolved to the Scottish Government. They naïvely state that under the Barnett formula the amount of money available has gone up in line with increased spending in England.

I agree that this is absolutely correct and we can rest assured. Or can we? It is in fact only the case under the present devolved regime. That regime is in fact entirely subject to the whim of the Westminster Parliament as Devolution is not part of any constitution. The worry therefore remains that the next Westminster government which is likely to be Tory will simply re-arrange the devolution regime and  so will be able to privatise the Scottish NHS. The money will be the same but a big junk of it will go to private company profits and not into services.

Only complete Independence will guarantee a future public NHS and equitable other public services.

Filed under: Democracy, Food for Thought, Independence, NHS, Politics, Scottish, Scottish Independence, Vote Yes