Training events: Respect for All and Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

A training event on the recently published guidance documents –

Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People
Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2: A Positive Approach to Managing School Exclusions

Background: ‘Respect for All’
‘Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People’ was launched by the Deputy First Minister on Wednesday 15 November 2017. The main purpose of the refreshed guidance is to support all adults working with children and young people to develop environments where bullying cannot thrive. The document aims to encourage a proactive and inclusive approach to the development of anti bullying policies and guidance. The focus of this guidance is prevention and early intervention.

Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2
Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2: A Positive Approach to Preventing and Managing School Exclusions is a refreshed version of the previous guidance on managing school exclusions, which was published in March 2011. This refreshed guidance gives a stronger focus on approaches that can be used to prevent the need for exclusion. This guidance also contains new sections on de-escalation and physical intervention and on managing incidents involving weapons.

Training events
The training events will be delivered in partnership with Education Scotland and respectme, Scotland’s national anti-bullying service for young people.

‘Respect for All’ sessions will take place in the morning from 9.30 – 12.30 and the ‘Included, Engaged and Involved’ sessions will take place in the afternoon from 1.30 – 4.30. Tea and coffee will be provided at both sessions.

To confirm your place, please click on the link below at the venue you would like to attend. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis on the following dates and locations.

If you wish to attend both training events on each date, please book onto both using the following links:

Respect for All Event
Edinburgh 23 February – Victoria Quay
Perth 8 March – Perth Concert Hall
Glasgow 12 March – ITE Building
Kilmarnock 14 March – The Park Hotel Kilmarnock
Stirling 16 March – Stirling Court Hotel
Aberdeen 20 March – Pittodrie Stadium

Included, Engaged and Involved Event
Edinburgh 23 February – Victoria Quay
Perth 8 March – Perth Concert Hall
Glasgow 12 March – ITE Building
Kilmarnock 14 March – The Park Hotel Kilmarnock
Stirling 16 March – Stirling Court Hotel
Aberdeen 20 March – Pittodrie Stadium

If you have any questions in the meantime please contact Carolyn Wales on 0131 244 4482 or email carolyn.wales@gov.scot or Iain Mitchell on 0131 244 1505 or iain.mitchell@gov.scot

The 1+2 Leadership Programme⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

2 – 5 July 2018, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

This national leadership programme is now open for registration.  It is hosted by SCILT and Education Scotland. The programme is aimed at those who have, or aspire to have, a responsibility for leading languages and developing colleagues’ capacity to deliver the 1+2 approach to languages in their context.  The programme is free of charge for educators in the public sector and begins with a summer school.

The programme themes include:

  • 1+2 languages: the national picture and the position of languages within the National Improvement Framework and the Scottish Attainment Challenge
  • Strategic leadership in languages: planning and evaluation
  • Progression in language learning
  • Parental and wider engagement in language learning
  • Raising attainment: practical ways to develop literacy skills across languages
  • L3 – existing models, diversity of languages
  • Inclusive practice in languages

More information

Listening to Aaron’s microcast⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Read Write Microcast #008 – Limits of Automation by Aaron DavisAaron Davis from collect.readwriterespond.com
Confident – the connecting of the dots and capitalising on different possibilities. Essential Elements of Digital Literacies In this microcast, I reflect on automating technology and wonder if there is a limit to how far we should go. Further reading: When Automation Goes Awry https://col...

The dilemma in supporting schools in using technology: Give out fish or teach to fish. Before I came back to school I was faced with this problem more than once.

What I would say now, in hindsight, is that if you make the solution yourself it adds risk. I thoroughly enjoy making simple scripts and workflows, but these are generally fragile. You might end up with more long term support than you thought, or worse raising and dashing expectations.

In my part-time life I am still supporting Glow Blogs. Quite often it would be easier to fix something in response to a request for help. More often now I try to write instructions instead. I can add these to the help and point the next problem a those.

I need to get back to microcasting. I enjoyed listen to this on my commute. The focus on one subject in the short form podcast is valuable.

One year on – what’s happened since the first annual Cabinet meeting with children & young people?⤴

from @ Engage for Education

I am delighted to publish our progress report on the actions agreed at our first annual Cabinet meeting with children and young people, which took place on 28 February 2017 at Bute House.

Representatives from the Children’s Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament attended this meeting and raised issues that were important to them.

A short film, co-produced by the children, highlighted school and teachers, feeling safe in the community, bullying, and what children need as areas to be discussed.

On the young people’s agenda were “Lead the Way” (Scottish Youth Parliament  manifesto), children and young people’s rights, “Speak Your Mind” campaign (on mental health), and the future of Scotland’s relationship with Europe.

At the end of the meeting, Cabinet members and children and young people collectively agreed actions for the year ahead. These actions have been taken forward by relevant Scottish Government policy teams over the past year. The report sets out our progress on these actions. We have also developed a children and young people’s summary.

The purpose of the annual meeting of Cabinet members and children and young people is to support the development of a more coordinated, systematic and sustainable approach to engaging with children and young people, enabling them to lead discussions by raising issues that matter to them and to inform the government’s agenda over the coming year.

Agreed actions from the previous event will be reviewed at the meeting of Cabinet Ministers with children and young people the following year.  This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that children and young people are at the heart of decisions that affect them,  as set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

We are committed to meaningfully and credibly engaging with children and young people at a national level and ensuring they are at the heart of decisions which affect them, with the aim of improving policy development and implementation.

Access the reports here:

The post One year on – what’s happened since the first annual Cabinet meeting with children & young people? appeared first on Engage for Education.

Using wikidata for linked data WordPress indexes⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

A while back I wrote about getting data from wikidata into a WordPress custom taxonomy. Shortly thereafter Alex Stinson said some nice things about it:


and as a result that post got a little attention.

Well, I have now a working prototype plugin which is somewhat more general purpose than my first attempt.

1.Custom Taxonomy Term Metadata from Wikidata

Here’s a video showing how you can create a custom taxonomy term with just a name and the wikidata Q identifier, and the plugin will pull down relevant wikidata for that type of entity:

[similar video on YouTube]

2. Linked data index of posts

Once this taxonomy term is used to tag a post, you can view the term’s archive page, and if you have a linked data sniffer, you will see that the metadata from WikiData is embedded in machine readable form using schema.org. Here’s a screenshot of what the OpenLink structured data sniffer sees:

Or you can view the Google structured data testing tool output for that page.

Features

  • You can create terms for custom taxonomies with just a term name (which is used as the slug for the term) and the Wikidata Q number identifier. The relevant name, description and metadata is pulled down from Wikidata.
  • Alternatively you can create a new term when you tag a post and later edit the term to add the wikidata Q number and hence the metadata.
  • The metadata retrieved from Wikidata varies to be suitable for the class of item represented by the term, e.g. birth and death details for people, date and location for events.
  • Term archive pages include the metadata from wikidata as machine readable structured data using schema.org. This includes links back to the wikidata record and other authority files (e.g. ISNI and VIAF). A system harvesting the archive page for linked data could use these to find more metadata. (These onward links put the linked in linked data and the web in semantic web.)
  • The type of relationship between the term and posts tagged with it is recorded in the schema.org structure data on the term archive page. Each custom taxonomy is for a specific type of relationship (currently about and mentions, but it would be simple to add others).
  • Short codes allow each post to list the entries from a custom taxonomy that are relevant for it using a simple text widget.
  • This is a self-contained plugin. The plugin includes default term archive page templates without the need for a custom theme. The archive page is pretty basic (based on twentysixteen theme) so you would get better results if you did use it as the basis for an addition to a custom theme.

How’s it work / where is it

It’s on github. Do not use it on a production WordPress site. It’s definitely pre-alpha, and undocumented, and I make no claims for the code to be adequate or safe. It currently lacks error trapping / exception handling, and more seriously it doesn’t sanitize some things that should be sanitized. That said, if you fancy giving it a try do let me know what doesn’t work.

It’s based around two classes: one which sets up a custom taxonomy and provides some methods for outputting terms and term metadata in HTML with suitable schema.org RDFa markup; the other handles getting the wikidata via SPARQL queries and storing this data as term metadata. Getting the wikidata via SPARQL is much improved on the way it was done in the original post I mentioned above. Other files create taxonomy instances, provide some shortcode functions for displaying taxonomy terms and provide default term archive templates.

Where’s it going

It’s not finished. I’ll see to some of the deficiencies in the coding, but also I want to get some more elegant output, e.g. single indexes / archives of terms from all taxonomies, no matter what the relationship between the post and the item that the term relates to.

There’s no reason why the source of the metadata need be Wikidata. The same approach could be with any source of metadata, or by creating the term metadata in WordPress. As such this is part of my exploration of WordPress as a semantic platform. Using taxonomies related to educational properties would be useful for any instance of WordPress being used as a repository of open educational resources, or to disseminate information about courses, or to provide metadata for PressBooks being used for open textbooks.

I also want to use it to index PressBooks such as my copy of Omniana. I think the graphs generated may be interesting ways of visualizing and processing the contents of a book for researchers.

Licenses: Wikidata is CC:0, the wikidata logo used in the featured image for this post is sourced from wikimedia and is also CC:0 but is a registered trademark of the wikimedia foundation used with permission. The plugin, as a derivative of WordPress, will be licensed as GPLv2 (the bit about NO WARRANTY is especially relevant).

The post Using wikidata for linked data WordPress indexes appeared first on Sharing and learning.

Bursting bubbles!⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

When I first stepped away from my busy life of work as headteacher of two primary schools, I started to notice different things I was either unaware of, or perhaps had just lost sight of, whilst so much of my focus was consumed by my leadership role. Joni Mitchell sung 'you don't know what you have got till its gone' in her song 'Big Yellow Taxi' and I was experiencing something similar, now  that I was released from the busyness of my professional role. Only, for me, it was more a case of me finding out 'what I didn't know was there, till I had the time to notice.' Would have made for a slightly different song, but the sentiments were similar. Whilst Joni pointed out in her song the sort of things we all take for granted, and don't realise we have them till they disappear, I was discovering a whole new world of existence that had little to do with work or schools. It was only now that I had the time and space to notice them. I hadn't lost anything, I was just re-discovering things that were always there, had I had the time to notice them. I had emerged from the 'bubble' of my previous existence to discover lots of other 'bubbles' that I never had time to appreciate before.

One of these was that there is a whole world of people and activity that goes on each day, which is outside of the routines and world of work, schools and education, but which is an important part of millions of peoples' lives. When you are enmeshed in the world of work, schools and education, it is very easy to slip into the mindset that thinks 'so is everyone else.' They are not. Far from it. It was when I was freed from the day to day fervour of my role, that I began to recognise that there was a whole other way that many people spent their time and lived their lives. Shock! I now had time to get out and about during the daytime, and no longer had to squeeze other activities into the end of another busy day or precious weekends. I expected to find shops, cafes, galleries, the countryside a lot quieter than I was used to, whilst trying to fit them into my busy work patterns, but they weren't. They were just different.

Whilst I existed in the 'bubble' of my demanding working life, when I found the time to fleetingly think about the world outside, I tended to think everyone else was also inside their own particular work 'bubble' with associated routines, actions and thinking. What I discovered now, was that there was a whole different world of existence that had nothing to do with work or busyness. Places I wanted to visit were still busy, but now the people in them tended to fall into two different age groups. There were the older members, who had obviously retired or semi-retired like myself and were enjoying their new found freedoms, and their were younger, usually female, members who had very young children, too young for school yet. Obviously this is a gross generalisation, but I think it generally holds true, except at holiday times when the population becomes more multi-generational again.

However, this did set me thinking about the 'bubbles' we spend our lives in,  either deliberately or due to circumstances, whilst we are at work, and elsewhere. One of my mantras to staff when I was still a school leader was 'never assume what goes on in your classroom or school, or even what you think, is the same as what goes on in other classrooms and schools.' We can be very guilty, as teachers or school leaders, of existing in a  professional and personal 'bubble', which assumes what we think and experience is the same as what everyone else is thinking and experiencing, after all we are all in the same profession delivering similar curricular experiences. Teachers and school leaders are all different, as is their thinking, practice and context. Yes, there are lots of similarities, but each person and context brings a different dynamic, perceptions and behaviours.

When I began to think more about this, I recognised that we all carry around with us our own personal 'bubble' of thoughts, perceptions, views, experiences and internal voices, and that these can be difficult to break out of at times. Our personal 'bubble' of existence shapes our actions and our engagement with other 'bubbles' we create, inhabit or come into contact with, as we go about our professional and personal lives. Each person's is unique, ensuring each one has different perceptions and understandings about everything. Even when we experience the same activities and stimuli at the same time, each persons perception and understanding of those will be different.This is why life and social interactions can be so complicated, and why school development can be so complex, with no guarantees of success. It is also why we need to engage with as many different people and organisations and their particular 'bubbles' of existence, in order to make our own better informed and more collaborative in nature, if not obsolete.

Recognising the 'bubbles' that exist and which we inhabit, through our thinking or our actions, is the first step in being able to step outside of them, to help us develop different perceptions, thinking and action. As a school leader, I always encouraged collaboration and openness to help individuals explore different ways of being. It is only through exposure to different thinking and practice, whether this be through direct contact or through reading and research, that we can hope to develop and expand our own. After all, we are all standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, as well as with each other, and to do that we need to engage with and consider the actions and thinking of others, so that we can become better versions of ourselves. Doing that requires us to break free from the 'bubbles' that exist, give us comfort, and stop us from growing. Fullan characterised this as the 'silos of practice' in education, which need to be broken down so that we can engage in powerful and focused collaborative practices.

We will all still have our 'bubbles' but some are larger than others, with more connections. I think we will retain these as a way of dealing with the complexity of life, and not be overwhelmed by all that is happening and all we have to do, but that we should look to enhance them rather than using them solely for protection purposes. Knowing they are there and seeking to step outside of them, should be a healthy disposition for us all, personally and professionally. If we stay inside our own particular 'bubbles' we constrict ourselves in so many ways and may well miss opportunities to grow and to develop informative and helpful new connections. It is only through growth and development of each individual school teacher and leader, that our schools and systems can hope to grow and develop. For that to happen, this needs to be a co-operative and collaborative endeavour.

Just as I discovered a whole new world when I stepped away from day to day engagement with the schools I used to lead, so can individuals and schools discover new possibilities by stepping outside of their own particular 'bubbles' and begin to build connections and practice for focused collaboration with others seeking to do the same. Many of the most important insights I gained as a school leader occurred when I was able to step away from the busyness of every day, and visit other settings or engage with colleagues and other educationalists, who all had their own perceptions and insights to share, to help enrich my own. Life is for living and professional development is for growing. You let yourself down by staying inside a 'bubble' of comfort and safety. We all need to step outside of those 'bubbles' to grow bigger and better ones, which support everyone to live, grow and to release their full potential, individually and collectively. This is just as true professionally as it is personally.

What are the 'bubbles' that support and constrict you and what you do? It may be time you burst one or two.



Education Scotland National Modern Languages Network⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Local Authority colleagues with responsibility for languages, together with colleagues from the Universities Council on Modern Languages Scotland, Bilingualism Matters, SQA and Scottish Government met at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow 29th January 2018, to hear about updates on languages, with a particular focus on 1+2 implementation, as well as looking at languages policy beyond Scotland. The group heard from Professor Judy Kroll, from the University of California Riverside, on language learning policies in the USA and closer to home, the findings of the recent Eurydice report on language learning in Europe; the report  contains more than a  fair share of mentions around language policy in Scotland, which is always pleasing to see. Professor Antonella Sorace of Edinburgh University gave a presentation on bilingualism and how language learning positively affects cognitive functions – ‘bilingualism’ in this sense meaning knowing more than one language, not just those born into bilingual families. Great news for all linguists out there!

SQA gave updates on National 5 assignment and local authority colleagues shared with us some of the ways in which they are helping to ensure 1+2 is becoming the norm in their communities.

The group was joined by JohnPaul Cassidy, HMI, who started at ES in November 2017. Many of you will know JohnPaul already, as he was a former DO in languages at ES, before moving to a QIO post in Angus Council. JohnPaul’s background is in secondary modern languages and he spoke briefly to the group about evaluating modern languages in the secondary context. Jane Renton, Assistant Director at ES gave an overview of the arrangements around the Regional Improvement Collaboratives and responses to the Education (Scotland) Bill. Jane’s powerpoint presentation also contains updates on changes in the leadership team at ES.

The presentations from the day can be accessed here.

Not quite certifiable⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

After a slight delay, last week I received the result of my CMALT (Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology) submission.  While most of it was fine, the area which I had thought weakest, Core area 3: The wider context, was rated as inadequate. It has been lovely to see so many people celebrating gaining their CMALT over the last few months; and many of them have said how useful they found it to have access to examples of successful portfolios, which has also been my experience, but in the hope that it is also useful to see examples that fall short, and also in the hope that some of you might be able to provide feedback on improving it, I thought I would share here my unsuccessful portfolio.

The whole portfolio as submitted is available on Google docs, and the feedback from the assessors is here, but to focus on the area which needs attention, here is a copy of section 3 on Google docs,  to which I have added the assessors comments. The overall comments from the assessors are also worth noting:

Overall an articulate and insightful portfolio accompanied by appropriate evidence and contextualised reflection in most areas. However, in order to award a pass some minor amendments are required in Section 3a – Understanding and engaging with legislation, policies and standards: in particular, Area 1- student needs, and Area 2 – copyright, licensing and other IPR. Both of these areas require a greater depth and breadth of reflection. The details of this requirement are noted in the comments panel for each area.
These amendments would demonstrate to the assessors that the candidate has engaged with an appropriate level of reflection required in respect to the subjects chosen, which can have significant impact and influence on pedagogic practices in the use of educational technologies.

I have added the more specific comments from the marking table to the copy of section 3, and have added as suggestions my initial thoughts on how I might address these (those thoughts might be difficult to follow, think of them as scribbled aide-memoirs rather than a draft). If anyone would like to add their own comments or suggestions that would hugely appreciated. I really would like to think deeper about these issues, and it would help to know what I am missing.

When I was writing my portfolio I wrote that “I think I have learnt more by writing this than through any other thing I’ve done in the last five years.” I think much of the value in a CMALT is in the learning opportunity it presents, but it is also good to know that the assessment and feedback are robust, at least to the extent that the assessors succeeded in recognising those areas which I thought were weakest.

The post Not quite certifiable appeared first on Sharing and learning.

Conference for Gaelic Medium Education (GME)⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Flexible Approaches to Promoting and Delivering Gaelic across the Curriculum

Tuesday 27th February 2018 at Jury’s Hotel, Inverness

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are hosting a conference to support the delivery of GME at the secondary stages.   The agenda includes:

  • E-Sgoil sharing how digital technology may be used to deliver the curriculum
  • SQA providing an update on the qualifications that are available to support GME.

To register for the conference, please contact Carol@gaidhlig.scot

Please search Gaelic on the National Improvement Hub for useful resources to support the development of the secondary GME curriculum.  These include:

Quality and Improvement in Scottish Education, 2012-2016 with chapter on GME and commentary

Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education, 2017

Education Scotland Advice on Gaelic Medium Education at the Secondary Stages

Conference on Gaelic Education – Transitions to Secondary

e-Sgoil: A GME Curriculum Through Digital Technology

Advice on the Broad General Education

Advice on the Senior Phase and Beyond the Senior Phase

 

Why I’m Not Nice⤴

from @ Know it, Show it

I want you to give me a hard time. No really. Go for it. Read some of my blog posts and then give it to me straight. Tell me what you really think. I am giving you full permission to be honest with me. Be critical. Please.

Being critical is too often seen as a negative. Harsh. Uncalled for. Blunt. Hashtag Ouch.

But, you know what, I’d take it any day over the alternative.

Because nothing amazing ever happens when you are nice.

Our indoctrination towards nice begins in childhood; ‘be nice to your sister’ ‘play nicely with the Lego.’ In Britain, we prize being nice over being honest. We let people push in front of us in queues and we accept bad haircuts and we don’t make a fuss when our cheese toasties arrive on white bread instead of brown.

Being nice is not the same as being kind. Kindness is pure, undistilled magic and a tiny drop of it can spark whole miracles. Niceness is just cheap window dressing. It’s what I punt out front so you don’t see what’s really going on inside. It is saccharine- sweet empty space. It means nothing.

Niceness has long since seeped into our online communication too. Take the humble text message as an example- what a great invention. The point of a text message is to ask something or tell something. Quick, easy, straight to the point. Usually routine communication with people you already know. ‘Can you get milk on the way home?’ ‘Be there in 10 minutes.’ But that is not enough. I have to also be nice. I have to add a kiss or a smiley face to my text message. So that you know I am nice. A world of pain and paranoia can open up for the text receiver if the previously established kiss or smiley face is inexplicably missing; what does it mean? Have I done something wrong? Why is she not being nice to me? Otherwise rational adults go into mini meltdown mode because of a missing emoji. I know this because it has happened to me. I have been that paranoid, panicky text receiver.

And do not even get me started on LOL.

Professional niceness is even worse. I watched your lesson today and I really didn’t think it was very good. But I won’t tell you that. Because that wouldn’t be nice. Instead, I’ll mutter something about the children being very polite and then I’ll hightail it out of there before I have to get honest with you. I will tell you that your lesson plan sounds great even if I think it doesn’t. Even if I think I could suggest ways to improve it. Because being nice matters more than being honest.

But there is another way.

Accept that criticality is what makes change happen. You telling me what you really think is what will make me think. I might not like what you tell me, I might choose to disagree or discard your feedback, but it is 100% guaranteed to make me think. And that is the bit that matters. Because when you look at what I do with a critical eye, it makes me do the same. And that will lead to change.

Being critical does not mean being a jerk. You don’t need to be rude or aggressive or judgemental. You don’t have to try to make me do it your way. Shaming people achieves nothing but shame. But if you are honest and you are respectful and you say to me ‘Look, here’s my opinion on what you did…’ Well, I need to be big enough to take it. I need to swallow that lump in my throat and curb my initial response to cry and/or punch you in the head for not instantly telling me how amazing I am. And that can be hard. But I will manage it because I will understand you are talking to me in the spirit of helping me get better at what I do. I will understand that being critical is way harder than being nice and that you probably have a lump in your throat too. I will take a deep breath and I will listen to you and say thank you and then I’ll step through whatever door your honest criticism has opened for me.

So here’s my idea- let’s sack off all the nice and get real. I’ll be straight with you and you be straight with me, ok? If I watch you teach or you read my writing or we disagree about something, let’s assume we are both big enough to handle the subsequent critical feedback. We won’t be jerks about it, but we won’t be nice about it either.

And we won’t feel the need to smother every communication in a thick layer of nice. We’ll just say what we need to say, safe in the knowledge that you are no less my pal because I forgot to LOL at your last message. And I promise you won’t ever need a text kiss to know that I love you.

You and I will know that being critical is actually being kind. We will not be nice, because nice means nothing, but instead we will be critical and we will be kind. Telling me what you really think is a tremendous act of kindness. It is a leap of faith. Honest, critical feedback is a gift, the most precious gift you can give. And I will thank you for it.

#notnicealwayskind

Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Louise Kinsella on Unsplash