July 27, 2007

Scotsman newspaper: Education has whole-heartedly embraced blogging

Scotsman Learning and Teaching Scotland, East Lothian Council and some bloke called McIntosh feature in a story in today's Scotsman newspaper, Employers Bring Blogs In From The Dark [free registration required to read].

It's great to see some national press coverage of what has been developing in Scotland's social media landscape. It's even better that the pivotal role the education sector has taken in pushing this new way of thinking and working is brought to the fore:

The education sector appears to have whole-heartedly embraced blogging. Ewan McIntosh, a teacher and new technologies specialist for East Lothian Council and Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), describes part of his job as getting employees in the Scottish education sector blogging.

"When I arrived, there were maybe 20 employees at East Lothian blogging about their working day, but now they've got more than 350 staff doing it," he says. "Some of them blog in their free time but most of them will also be doing it in little snatched moments during the day."

LTS spends a lot of effort trying to raise the profile of these teachers who are blogging about what they feel about the Scottish education system because, according to McIntosh, their blogs provide a great means of communication.

"A year ago bloggers were seen as pesky individuals whose opinions maybe didn't matter, but nowadays there is a realisation that one blogger has an audience and whatever they are saying is being amplified, so it's worthwhile for the public sector not just to listen to the conversations but to take part in them. It's a way of seeing what the office chatter is because often it's the chatter over coffee that the genius idea comes from."

It's still quite strange for things to happen this way round when, in most countries, business has taken the lead with education running to keep up. This was exactly my point in Shel Israel's recent SAP Global Survey of social media - Scottish teachers are truly innovating in this field, ahead of many businesses.

What's even better is that in both Learning and Teaching Scotland's plans for the next few months, particularly surrounding some of the coolest online coverage of the Scottish Learning Festival you'll ever see, and in eduBuzz/East Lothian Council's coming year, the innovations will not stop coming.

Both plans come with some really nice tools to help those who don't know one end of a blog from another understand this increasingly vibrant, if yet sometimes confusing, world of sharing innovating educators.


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Fantastic to see recognition for yours and the Scottish teaching faculty efforts up there - well done to all involved!


Wholeheartedly? I think not. There are plenty of Education Authorities who are hostile to the idea of teachers using innovative practice and networking to improve the product, so to speak. Some will go so far as to block teacher sites from access within the authority, even if that means undermining teaching and learning. Their stupidity is only exceeded by their arrogance.

I just love the bit where the piece refers to an anonymous edublogger - and then goes on to name his blog and his education authority! He'll not be anonymous for long - he tells me he's waiting for his P60 any day now...

I think Nick's point is spot on, and the article makes that clear. However, *relative* to business, which the article was really about, we are making *much* more a whole-hearted adoption of this software, something of which we can be proud.

However, the next big challenge is working with Authorities to show the potential and how it outweighs all of the negative risk they push forward first and foremost. Something for us all to do a lot more of in the coming year.

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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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Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

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