Lets Make Things! – Using Technology to Innovate in STEM: Circuit Scribe (@Electroninks)⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

Exciting Learning - STEM

Just over a year ago a wrote a series of posts titled ‘Lets Make Things! - Using Technology to Innovate in STEM’. The series came out of the frustration that schools are increasingly unimaginative about thier core revenue spends when it comes to ICT and Technology in general. At the time I talked about Lego, 3D PrintingCubelets, MaKey MaKey, Games Design, Big Shot Camera, DIY Cell Phone, Raspberry Pi and lots of other things. I plan to add to this serise over time.

Recently, I came across Circuit Scribe from the NoTosh Learning Facebook Page. I was instantly taken by the idea and can see a real place for technology like this in the science and / or technology classroom. Circuit Scribe allows you to draw circuits (yes, draw circuits!). There is no shaking, no squeezing, no goop, no smell, no waiting for ink to dry. Circuit Scribe draws smooth lines with conductive silver ink and allows you to create functioning circuits instantly. 

You can Invent Circuits Instantly and Circuit Scribe is for Makers of all ages and skill sets.

STEM Education: Circuit Scribe was made for project based learning.  Young people and those young at heart can build circuits and switches in their notebooks and use those concepts to get creative!

Low-Cost High Quality Electronics: You can build a circuit with nothing but a coin battery, paper clip, and LED, or build out complex circuits with multiple components. 

Flexible Electronics: Draw your circuits, cut them out, and stuff them into your inventions - instant robot guts. 

Goodbye Breadboard: Breadboards add a level of abstraction and annoyance to circuit building.  With Circuit Scribe you can draw exactly what you want, no wires or breadboard required.

Open-Source Hardware: You can use Circuit Scribe with Arduino, Makey Makey, and many other electronic platforms.

Well, what do you think? Cool or what!

 Source: Kickstarter.com 

Why I Blog And Tweet⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

As I write this I am currently engaging in a Twitter chat with educators from all over the world. The theme of the current chat is about how important is research to teachers, and whether teachers need, or should, engage with research. The hash tag for this chat is #gtcsPL so feel free to join in as this will be happening over the rest of this week, till Friday. This chat is exploring a new 'slow' format and that is why we have been encouraging people to drop in and out of the conversation over the course of five days. Being involved, the chat has felt anything but 'slow' as there has been so much interest and engagement as people have shared their views and challenged each other on many of those views.

This is a perfect example of why I love Twitter. It provides me with opportunities to discuss and converse around issues to do with my day job, Headteacher, and education, both of which I remain passionate about. There was a time when our only opportunity to collaborate was within our own establishments and own areas, and that wasn't always easy. We might get the opportunity to go to the odd conference or course that would allow us engage with others from further afield. We could always read, and I have always done this, but we lacked opportunities to speak directly to the writers of those books, or the publishers of research. Not any more. Now, through the use of social media, such as Twitter, we are now able to engage directly with these same people and discuss their writing and research. We can now speak to teachers, leaders, academics and other educationalists at a national and international level, all from the comfort of our favourite chair or any other convenient space. I have even joined in discussions whilst sat in my car waiting for my wife to finish shopping. All of this engagement helps me to develop my own thinking and understanding and this has an impact on my practice, and enables me to better lead my schools so that we produce better outcomes for all our learners.

I meet lots of colleagues who ask me how I find the time to Tweet. My response is always the same. If you want to keep developing, if you want to keep improving, if you want to keep up to date and current, if you want to collaborate, if you want be involved in wider professional dialogue and if you want to extend your professional learning network, so that it has no bounds and if you want to do this at no cost except in the time spent, then how can you not find the time? Every engagement I have on Twitter is an opportunity to grow and learn, as well as helping others to do the same. And it's fun too! I have learnt so much from people I engage with on Twitter and they have helped me develop as a teacher, a leader and a learner. Being on Twitter has allowed me the opportunity to try out new thoughts and ideas, without having to wait to meet up physically with people, but as soon as I have had the germ of an idea. This allows me to test out my thinking and, most people, are helpful and want to support and encourage. One of the greatest joys is when you finally meet up with people you have been talking virtually to for a period of time. They always seem surprised by my accent, for some reason!

Some people Tweet direct from conferences or meetings and many of these now have hash tags as they seek people to tweet live as the conferences and meetings are happening in real time. This is a fantastic way to hear key messages being delivered at conferences and meetings that you haven't been able to access because of location or cost. I have tried this myself, but found it quite hard to listen to what is going on and tweet at the same time. I much prefer to take notes at such events then tweet about them, or blog, soon after. Either way, this helps me to engage with and remember the main messages I have heard and allows me an opportunity to find out what other people think about these. Like Michael Fullan and others, I really believe that collaboration is the key to school and system development. Twitter provides us with another means of collaborating with as wide a network as you wish. If you are not tweeting now, find time and give it a go. You could start with #gtcsPL

I also Blog. Of course you will know this if you are reading this. The reasons why I blog, and I make time to do so, are similar to my reasons for being on Twitter. I want to engage with others. I want to develop and clarify my thinking. I want to collaborate with others. I want to explore issues around teaching, education and leadership. Yes, I can and do take part in conversations around all of this within my schools, within my area and even at a national level. But the more people you engage with, and the wider that engagement, the more likely you are to be able to achieve the aims above. I don't want to be parochial in my outlook, I want to explore thinking, research, evidence and experiences from educators all over the world. Blogging, as well as Tweeeting, allows me to do this. I have always written in order to help develop my own thinking. Blogging is an extension of this. I also like to think I am contributing to the debate on leadership and education and I am, hopefully, helping and supporting others on their own personal journey of professional development and growth. I want to contribute at a local level, at a national level and now at an international level. Readers of this blog are located all over the world and I am honoured that I have regular readers in lots of countries and am hopefully helping them, even if it just to think, 'I don't agree with that' or 'that's not what I would do.'

If I am asked again why I Tweet? Or why I Blog? My answer is going to be "I can't afford not to' I owe to my pupils, my colleagues, my employers and to all the wonderful people I have met and worked with to share our experiences and our learning so that I keep growing and developing and help other to do the same.

Google Drive for Education: Unlimited Storage Arriving⤴

from @ ELC Education ICT

In case you haven’t heard: In the coming months, Google Drive for Education will be upgraded to provide unlimited storage: Store as many Google Drive files, Gmail messages, and Google+ photos as you need. Individual file sizes up to 5TB will be supported. Source: http://googleappsupdates.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/announcing-drive-for-education.html  

Early Learning & Getting Ready for School – early years’ practitioners’ event⤴

from @ eduBuzz.org Learning Network

Early Learning & Getting Ready for School – early years’ practitioners’ event – last chance to book your place! Friday 7 November 2014 1pm – 3.30pm Fisherrow Community Centre This event is part of a festival of learning and sharing about how we achieve the best possible start for all children. The Early Development Instrument […]

Billionaires did well at school!⤴

from @ Mr McGowan's Learning Blog

This article has some evidence that is reassuring in a way for pupils and students who are motivated and want to do well… the vast majority of billionaires went to university and are highly educated.


Sometimes pupils are misled a bit by the success stories of Richard Branson and others who left school with no qualifications… but no everyone is lucky enough like Branson to have a millionaire relative who financed his early failures.




Hearts go for the "Living Wage"⤴

from @ Mr McGowan's Learning Blog

Scottish football club Hearts are introducing a living wage at the club. This will affect staff employed on a part-time and contract basis.


Hearts owner Ann Budge told the Edinburgh club's website: "We believe it is entirely in keeping with the values we hold dear as a club."


The living wage is updated annually and calculated according to the cost of living in the UK.


As of October 2014 the living wage is £7.65 an hour, while the minimum wage for over-21s is £6.50.

Pixar: The maths behind the movies [@TedTalks]⤴

from @ OllieBray.com


The folks at Pixar are widely known as some of the world's best storytellers and animators. They are perhaps less recognized as some of the most innovative math whizzes around. I loved this TED Talk by Pixar Research Lead Tony DeRose which delves into the math behind the animations, explaining how arithmetic, trigonometry and geometry help bring Sheriff Woody and the rest of your favorite characters to life.

Just a shame computer animation doesn't appear in the SQA Lifeskills Maths Course!

Whats you favorite Maths video (under ten minutes) that is guaranteed to get kids excited about Maths?