January 22, 2007

Why teaching your Granny to suck eggs can be great fun

Today's been a bit of a Central Scotland marathon but I've been lucky to meet three groups of people who have 'got it' pretty quickly.

I finally got to sit down for a long coffee with Bobby Elliot and Joe Wilson from the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Both are really strong on assessment (as you would expect) but see Web 2.0 tools as a natural part of the assessment process. They say it with raised eyebrows, as if "it's a given". If only I could can that expression and wonderfully innovative attitude to assessment and give it away at my talks, life would be so much easier ;-)

Social media learning portfolios were, for them, a natural step and something to be encouraged, although some qualifications groups might need a session or two to do the 'reveal' on what that means. It tied so well into my last appointment of the day in Haddington with a couple of the Local Authorities Principle Teachers of Art. Until they get blogs or Flickr accounts I can't link to them ;-) What I felt here was that I would be teaching my Granny to suck eggs - that the notion behind Flickr, Splashr and Bubbleshare would be so "duh..." to them that I would be wasting their time and mine.

Far from it.

The notions they got before I had even finished a sentence, and straightaway they were both suggesting ways that the whole Art movement in the Authority could be using their new-found tools, like Flickr, to let former pupils in the Art School serve as mentors to those following in their footsteps back in High School, that younger kids could be having fun with Flickr toys, getting to know some basic art concepts like Warhol and Hockney. They were impressed at the homework and in-class opportunities offered by adding notes to pics in Flickr, and finding free-to-use Creative Commons images in the Advanced Search.

Splashr is a great tool for students who would be better being questioned by peers through an art concept they have prepared, rather than trying to stumble through a linear presentation (let's face it, it's hard enough for those of us who present every week to remember the order of slides). Could be cool for an interactive parents' evening display, too, on an IWB.

What was even cooler was meeting my French neighbour on the way in tonight. He saw my camera bag and lauded the wonderful crisp evenings we're having and the light it offers for taking cool photos. Feeling my macho-ism kicking in (what lenses do you use? Do you use HDR?), I asked him where abouts on Flickr he shared his photos. Pardon? Fli... quoi?

There, my friends, on my doorstep was my final workshop for the day.

Black Bean Chicken Stir Fry awaits...

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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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