June 01, 2006

blog.ac.uk - the journey begins...

I'm writing blog posts when I should really be getting a bag packed for the next couple of days of social software debate, strategy and - ooh, yes - fun. Blog.ac.uk is a conference title, not a web address (yet), a conference hoping to find ways of bringing social software into mainstream education sooner rather than later. The official blog is over at incsub. It's at the Living Space in London and looks set to be an unconference of unconferences - well, we have a mezzanine and roof garden for the sessions. Need I say more. It'll be great ticking off a few more bloggers on my F2F list: Stephen and Barbara, who are keynoting, Josie, who's organising it, Miles, Peter (oh, he was ticked off already; I'll still say hi ;-)... There's no attendance list, so I bet there are more of my fav. writers and podcasters coming, too.

I'll be leading discussion on finding successful strategies for getting management and the wider community to buy into social software for learning, instead of blocking it. There will be loads of perspectives on how to make this work, including the admirable work being done in East Lothian and Argyll and Bute.

I'd love to hear stories from people who can't make it to the conference or to our session. For example, I got an email from Peter Bolger who works in Gateshead LEA. They deploy blogs to support key initiatives within their Raising Achievement Service (BIP/Gifted and Talented/Healthy Schools and so on). They have a school website service which uses blogs to deliver "conversational web" solutions for Gateshead primary schools. Added to the mix are our web-radio station and podcasts aimed to celebrate the diversity of learning in Gateshead. We have about 50 or so blogs up and running. This is exactly the kind of solution that many LEAs would like but struggle to put into place. What does it take to get this far and move beyond? Hopefully, we'll come up with the beginnings of some strategies that anyone can put into action.


The social event in the evening looks equally engaging. We'll be heading over to ICA for the first Pure Protein° [Play] event as part of the onedotzero season:

Protein° are to present a playful evening of engaging entertainment with real-life experiments in
MMPG [massive multi-player gaming], PSP broadcasting and live console DJs.

I'm quite excited at getting into new stuff, blurring the line between gaming and music. Ghost-Code Militia featuring the 24th Scientist will be performing a Nintendo DS "Electroplankton" sound clash, with PlayStation DJ's Egypt Egypt and Dr Professor as well as N-Cube VJ Pikilipita. Talk about jargon and getting widdit. I'm lost already. Additional sound toys and surprise artists are to be announced on the night. I can only imagine...

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'Roof garden', 'playful evening of engaging entertainment' - it's a hard life as a blogging champion!

Are you sure this is a conference?

It's definitely a conference and it's certainly work - thinking, planning and coming up with a product before the end of the day. But who says work can't be fun? It SHOULD be, shouldn't it? I'm looking forward to really playing some of these games for the first time in particular, but think that the keynotes and insuing discussions will help move things forward yet another step across the country.

Hi Ewan,
Don't forget Glasgow!
I am slightly green, not getting to this one is very disappointing, hopefully you can keep us up to the minute.
It would be good if we could get some sort of commenting network set up for children's blogs. Andy's recent efforts prove it can be done and looks like disproving my serendipity theory.
We are seeing a great take up of blogs by edu workers, but learners should follow on fast, a welcoming committee of bloggers will ease the entry.

Just been to Leadership Teams for Learning Conference in Stirling (next part of Masterclass) and you'll be pleased to hear a few people were considering setting up blogs. Enjoy your conference.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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