Lochgelly Tawse⤴



I started school in 1980. My p1 teacher’s name was Mrs Tullock. I though she was lovely. At the end of p1 I placed a penny in a tictac box to remember her.

I only remember 5 things about primary 1.

1. I remember getting a gold star for the neatest colouring in of a circle.  It was the most perfectly coloured in circle in the history of that forgotten sport.

2. I was the only person to get an orange snow plough tractor when Santa visited. The rest of the boys got a bus but I was the only one to get a snow plough. Chosen one. Special.

3. Alistair Broadley pooped his pants sitting next to me in class. It was nearly 3 o’ clock. Apparently he couldn’t hold it in and apparently neither did he wish to ask to go to the toilet. So he let it go. The stench and the expression on his face (a mixture of shame and relief) are vividly engraved on my memory to this day.

4. I missed my first ever school trip (to Arbroath) because I had the mumps. Wearing my medical balaclava I stood at the window and waved slowly to my classmates as the bus passed my house. Mrs Tullock even started crying when she saw my sad wee face (or so the legend goes).

5. Mrs Tullock had a Lochgelly tawse in her desk drawer. The tawse was the Scottish education system’s corporal punishment weapon of choice. The Lochgelly tawse is a leather belt with a fringed end. A bit like a bastardised bookmark. Lochgelly is the town in Fife where it was made.  And Mrs Tullock had one in her drawer.

How do I know this? Well, whenever the class got too noisy or chatty she would resort to the one classroom management strategy that she knew worked. In the manner of a benevolent despot, she would slowly open the desk drawer, extract the tawse and place it supremely carefully across the edge of her desk. Then she would slam the desk drawer shut with a confident BAM. The class became acutely sensitive to this sharp awakening and would turn around on our seats to meet our leather nemesis staring us down from the front of her desk. I never received the belt and don’t actually remember Mrs Tullock using it, but all throughout p1 I remained mortally terrified of that bloody tawse.

The belt was banned in all state schools in 1986, remaining legal in private schools until 1998. Next time you moan about the quality of ITE remind yourself that there was never a class dedicated to corporal punishment for teachers who wielded the tawse and other weapons of mass pupil destruction. Buying a tawse was something you did after graduation. Restorative evil.

You can still buy a tawse from the original leather manufacturer in Lochgelly. www.johndick-leathergoods.co.u…

I wonder if Mrs Tullock still has her tawse? I lost the tictac box years a go.

The post Lochgelly Tawse appeared first on Through The Windae.

Cultural Heritage Sparks⤴

from @ Open World

I recently went along to the first meeting of the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network here at the University of Edinburgh. The aim of the network is to

“bring together colleagues from across the University to establish a professional network for researchers investigating digital cultural heritage issues, seeking to include perspectives from diverse disciplines including design, education, sociology, law, cultural studies, informatics and business. Partners from the cultural heritage sector will play a key role in the network as advisors and collaborators.”


Anyone who follows this blog will know that I have a bit of a thing about opening access to digital cultural resources so I was pleased to be able to contribute a lightning talk on digital cultural heritage and open education. This was one of an eclectic series of lightning talks that covered a wide range of subjects and topics.  I live tweeted the event and Jen Ross has collated tweets from the day in a Storify here: Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network, Workshop 1 and has also written a recap of the workshop here Recap of Workshop 1: Cultural Heritage Sparks.

My EDINA colleague Lisa Otty kicked off the day talking about the Keepers Extra Project which aims to highlight the value of the Keepers Registry of archiving arrangements for electronic journals, to libraries, preservation agencies and publishers through national and international collaboration. Lisa noted that only 17% of journals are archived in the Keepers Registry and asked the very pertinent question “do we trust publishers with the stewardship of electronic journals?” I think we all know the answer to that question.

I confess I rehashed a previous presentation on the comparative dearth of openly license cultural heritage collections in Scotland which allowed me to refer for the millionth time  to Andrew Prescott’s classic blog post Dennis the Paywall Menace stalks the Archives.  This time however I was able to add a couple of pertinent tweets from the Digging Into Data Round Three Conference that took place in Glasgow earlier in the week.

did_tweet_1 did_tweet_2

One lightning talk that was particularly close to my heart was by Glyn Davis who spoke about the ‘openness’, or lack thereof, of gallery and museum content, and reflected on his experience of running the Warhol MOOC.  Glyn noted that license restrictions often prevent copyright images from being used in online teaching and learning, however many of the students who participated in the Warhol MOOC understood little about copyright restrictions and simply expected to be able to find and reuse images via google, so lots of discussion about open access was required as part of the course.

Other highlights included Jen Ross‘ talk on Artcasting a project which is exploring how digital methods can be used inventively and critically to reimagine complex issues. The project has built an app which engages audiences by allowing them to capture images and decide where to send them in time and space and time, while also retrieving data for evaluation.  Bea Alex introduced the impressive range of projects from the Language Technology Group, including historical text projects, which aim to use text mining to enrich textual metadata with geodata from the Edinburgh Geo Parser. Stephen Allen spoke about the MOOC the National Museums of Scotland created to run in parallel with their Photography – A Victorian Sensation exhibition.  The museum now hopes to reuse content from future exhibitions for more MOOCs. Rebecca Sinker presented a fascinating keynote on Tate’s research-led approach to digital programming which prompted an interesting discussion on how people engage with art now that so much of it is available online. Angelica Thumala spoke all too briefly about her research exploring emotional attachment and experience of books in different modalities, and left us with one of the loveliest quotes of the day

“Books are constant companions, people carry them around and develop physical and emotional attachments to them.”

The workshop ended with four group discussions focussing on issues raised by participants; openness and preservation; participation and interpretation; semantic web and curation; and how can DCHRN create a sustainable interdisciplinary network.  These and other issues will be picked up in the next workshop Research that matters – playing with method, planning for impact takes place in March

DCHRN is coordinated by

  • Dr Jen Ross, Digital Education
  • Dr Claire Sowton, Digital Education
  • Professor Sian Bayne, Digital Education
  • Professor James Loxley,  Literatures Languages and Culture
  • Professor Chris Speed, Design Informatics

On a side note, it’s a while since I’ve done a lightning talk and I’d forgotten how difficult it is to put together such a short presentation. Seriously, it took me most of an afternoon to put together a 5 minute talk which really is a bit ridiculous! Seems like I’m not the only one who struggles with short presentations though, when I mentioned this on twitter, a lot of people replied to say that the shorter the presentation, the more preparation was required. Martin Weller reminded me of the quote “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”, while Kevin Ashley invoked Jeremy Bentham who was allegedly happy to give two hour speech on the spot, but a fifteen minute talk required three weeks notice.  I’m with Bentham on that one!

Using iMovie Trailers Across the Curriculum (#PedagooPerth Conversation)⤴

from @ Pedagoo.org

I first became aware of the idea of making book trailers about 3 years ago when the Scottish Book Trust launched a book trailer competition to coincide with the Scottish Book Trust Awards.  At that time I had a number of boys in P7 who were at that difficult stage of trying to find new […]

Glow App Library NEW! – LiteracyPlanet⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Literacy PlanetA new tile has been added to the National Glow App Library by LiteracyPlanet. Using the app you can:

  • Personalise the learning of your students quickly and easily
  • Track each student’s literacy development
  • Cover the core curriculum skills essential to mastering English literacy
  • It’s a whole world of learning to explore and characters to meet

    Made for Schools – Made for Teachers – Made for Students

    You can add this free tile to your ‘My Launchpad’ for easy access to it at all times. To add an app or tile to your Launchpad(s) you may find the following video useful – Adding a Tile to your Launchpad.

    The Edinburgh Bookshop in Conversation with New York Times Bestseller Pierce Brown⤴

    from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

    Red Rising TrilogyFirst there was Luke Skywalker, then Katniss Everdeen and now Darrow of Lykos. Find out about the Red Rising Trilogy taking the world by storm.

    We are delighted to be hosting the only Scottish event for author Pierce Brown.

    Join us at 6.30pm on Wednesday 24th February to hear about the science fiction trilogy as epic as a Star Wars and Hunger Games.

    Pierce will be chatting about his writing, the up-and-coming film, and signing books afterwards.

    This event takes place at The Edinburgh Academy, 42 Henderson Row. Tickets are free but should be booked on 0131 447 1917 or mail@edinburghbookshop.com or book though Eventbrite.

    This event is suitable for secondary aged pupils.

    About the books:
    Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
    Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
    But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
    Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

    Gaelic Education Award at the Scottish Education Award⤴

    from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

    Have you made a nomination yet for the Gaelic Education Award? There is still time to apply.

    The award is open to all 3-18 provisions doing Gaelic (Learners), Gaelic Medium as well as those that may be doing some learning of Gaelic and about Gaelic as part of the curriculum in English medium education.

    Here are some questions which may encourage you to make a nomination:

    • Do children and young people enjoy learning Gaelic due to the approaches you are using?
    • Do you have a project which has included children and young people learning about Gaelic language and culture or learning some Gaelic?
    • Do you have a successful club, trip or an event which is helping children and young people to develop their fluency?
    • Does a group, organisation or business support the learning of Gaelic within your curriculum?
    • Have you changed the curriculum model with the result that there is an increase in the numbers learning Gaelic?
    • Are you using the Advice on Gaelic Education to improve the quality of provision?
    • Is there a sense of pride, value and identity with Gaelic within your provision?
    • Is there effective practice within a cluster group in implementing the 1+2 policy for language learning?
    • Do you have any effective examples of supporting families with Gaelic Education?

    Please make a nomination to the Gaelic Education Award by 12 pm, 15 February. For more information, please visit: http://www.scottisheducationawards.org.uk/index.asp


    Reading: Digital Skills, Digital Literacies and Media Literacy⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    For example, teaching digital skills would include showing students how to download images from the Internet and insert them into PowerPoint slides or webpages. Digital literacy would focus on helping students choose appropriate images, recognize copyright licensing, and cite or get permissions, in addition to reminding students to use alternative text for images to support those with visual disabilities.

    Really interesting post by Maha Bali with some great real world examples.

    Knowing the Difference Between Digital Skills and Digital Literacies, and Teaching Both
    So often we only seem to have time for breezing through the skills and mentioning literacy. In my own work we deliver fewer and fewer daytime CPD opportunities, shorter twilights are delivered more often. Skills then become the main focus.

    I’d be interested in knowing how much penetration digital literacy has in classrooms across Scotland?

    Especially among staff who do not identify themselves as having digital skills?

    An even more challenging read is: Media Literacy: 5 key concepts to teach this year

    I am yet to see Microsoft or MinecraftEdu act in a way other than marketing and brand-building (ie scholarly).


    Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.
    To learn this, kids need to be removed from the kind of dubious activity that ‘brands’ are doing to children with the willing co-operation of teachers. Point 5 – The message that goes with the device you place in the child’s hand was not created, designed or sold to make them more literate – and yet, we call it ‘digital literacy’ to mask the obvious effect of forcing one brand over another into kids education.

    I’d like to see this discussed by a group of teachers who belong to different clubs, ADEs, MIEExperts, Google for Education Certified Innovators and the like. How do we deal with our bias when teaching? Do we walk the talk if we claim some sort of balancing act?

    The featured image for this post is Public Domain: Image from page 108 of “Argument to errors of thought in science, religion and social life” (1911) | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

    Da Da Da Data⤴

    from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

    I was thinking about an old Police song today, as I considered the current massive focus on data and its use in education. The Police song is actually called 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' and you can watch them perform it here. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7v2GDbEmjGE 

    Interesting that it has 'do' before 'da', which reflects how I feel about data and how we use it. We need to do something, carry out actions, in order to generate data, not start with the data and shape our actions to improve it. Data is important to schools and their leaders and we gather a whole suite of holistic data about how schools and teachers are doing, and on our impact for learners. Teachers do exactly the same, day in and day out, as they seek to understand where their learners are in their learning, and the impact they as teachers are having on that learning.

    If you were to see some of the press releases and statements that have accompanied the introduction of the new National Improvement Framework (NIF) http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/01/8314 in Scotland, you could be forgiven for thinking that schools, headteachers and teachers in Scotland have been failing to recognise how data can help and support them, and have been failing to capture any such data about how their learners are progressing in their learning. In my experience this is very far from the truth. Schools in Scotland are awash with data. The trouble is a lot of this is complex and quite sophisticated and is not in a simplified form of percentages, percentiles, levels or letters that everyone can see and understand, especially it seems our politicians. They are looking for a simplified piece of data that they can use to identify year on year improvements being made by the system and by our learners, and perhaps how effective they are in holding schools to account and driving forward improvements. We're it just that easy folks!

    As part of the process and procedures to help provide us with the data that 'will enable us to close the equity gap and raise attainment,' as the NIF states, is the reintroduction of standardised testing for primary and early secondary pupils. Andy Hargreaves, who helped write and inform the OECD report on the Scottish Education system published in December 2015, said only last week 'the data can't tell you what to do.' He, and the report which interestingly was commissioned by the Scottish Government after they had produced the draft NIF, recognises the importance of data in improving our schools, but he is pointing out that, useful though data is, what it doesn't do is tell teachers and schools what actions they need to take to address the issues that the data might reveal. To do that, in my opinion, we need to focus on three main areas. We need to embrace career-long professional learning, improve leadership and really focus on, and resource, early intervention strategies. After all, recent research by Edward Sosu and Sue Ellis for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/education-attainment-scotland-full.pdf ) and others has  shown that there is already a substantial gap in language and problem solving skills in learners from the most disadvantaged households and the most advantaged before they enter the education system.

    So, it is action that is important, not just data. The data can and should inform the actions we need to take, as long as it is the right data and we remember to engage critically with it. So it is what we 'do' with data that is important, and which can lead to improvements for our learners, as long as that data is showing what it purports to show. The Education Minister and First Minister in Scotland have been at pains to point out that it will be 'teachers professional judgement' that will be at the heart of the evidence they will collect about learners progress in the Scottish system. I hope that this is so, and that this 'professional judgement' is informed by a suite holistic data gathering, which will include standardised testing, as it does now. What my fear is, and there are signs of this happening already, that everyone's attention narrows down to the standardised test results and this will quickly be the way that we decide on which are good schools and good teachers, and which aren't. Standardised testing was never created for that purpose and to use them in such a narrow 'cause and effect' way fails to understand what they can, and what they can't, do. Should this happen, we will move to a 'data driven' system and all the pitfalls associated, such as 'teaching to the test', 'high-stakes', 'high accountability' and a focus on 'performability' and 'compliance'. This would be a disaster for schools, the system and learners. Performance measured in such a narrow way might look to improve year on year, but gaps will widen and nothing will have really changed for our learners. All that will have happened is that everyone has got better at 'playing the game.' 

    The NIF sets high ideals for Scottish education that no-one could really argue with. The jury remains out on whether it can support us to achieve those ideals, or whether it will be consigned to the history books of educational development as another example of the failure of 'more of the same' approaches to produce different results.

    'Insanity lies in continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.' as someone once said.

    Getting Going with GoNoodle⤴

    from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

    GoNoodlemontageGoNoodle is a free online resource bank of action videos and associated activities to support and encourage learners  to get active while helping engage with information being learned in the classroom (or anywhere) or prepare for a change of activity, or even set the scene for reflective thinking!

    There is a GoNoodle blog which is full of ideas to inspire teachers with learners across any age group, with specific ideas suggested for topical events in the school calendar, or to support learning in a specific curricular area.

    A teacher simply signs up for a free account (there is the option for additional premium features) to access the dashboard where the teacher can set up videos for different classes – they can customise their playlist of videos to suit their classroom and needs of their learners.

    There are hundreds of movement videos to get young learners dancing, running, stretching, and more. And there are many which seek to help deliver health and wellbeing messages reinforced with rhythmic actions.

    Below here you’ll find a some to give a flavour of what to expect.

    GoNoodle: 101 – an introductory video to GoNoodle

    Engaging less confident learners with GoNoodle

    Changing classroom behaviour with GoNoodle