May 13, 2009

Scotland teaching agency LTS launches iTunes U

ITunes LTS I'm pleased to see that former colleagues in Learning and Teaching Scotland have managed to get their LTS iTunes U site opened, following our friends at the Open University. Scotland heads out as the first iTunes U provider of professional development material podcasts for those working with 3-18 year olds.

It's not been an easy journey. In 2005, on joining LTS to head up their Modern Languages work, I challenged the organisation to get podcasting (audio) the entire Scottish Learning Festival contents, and video as much as possible. Four years on we're still not able to access good quality recordings of everything, despite the costs of doing so being derisory and the long-tail interest being high - just take a look at the figures viewing what might be conceived as obscure education topics on the Slideshare site I created for the event.

We also had a challenge getting more audio and video material out in subsequent years through the now-defunkt Connected Live site, intended to be an evolution of the print magazine with media-rich addition to the limits of the atom presented by the magazine. Arguably, as with all social media projects in the large, it took two years for the culture to change sufficiently for blogging one's experiences to be seen as part and parcel of one's work, not a geeky pass-time. Mike Coulter along with Saint Andrew of Brown and others have continued to develop that culture slowly and successfully over the past year. We now have an education agency with elements that have moved the organisation from its glossy corporate sheen, to a more 'honest', approachable voice.

LTS's involvement with iTunes U is part of that evolution, and signifies a small victory for those of us who had been pushing for some more budget and effort to be spent on bite-sized professional development designed for small mobile screens, at a time when there was no YouTube or video podcast device.

The organisation's biggest challenge is to make sure it does not become the voice of the marketer or a self-referential poster-child for the politics of education, but a place where grassroots honesty and constructive reflection on our teaching and learning practice can be amplified.

Comments

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Ewan,
Interesting post.

Just a point of accuracy. Any hyperbole about being first into iTunes in the UK is not from LTS. The claim from Apple is that we were the first organisation to be invited into the K-12 (schools) section of iTunesU in Europe. I suspect Apple knows what it is talking talking about in this respect.

Laurie

Nuance noted, Laurie, and sorry for any misrepresentation. Thanks for the comment - a reflection in practice at how responsive LTS can be. Thanks!

Thanks Ewan. Your post is particularly interesting to me in terms of how you see your time at LTS – both in terms of success and frustrations. Wonder how I will see it all in a couple of years :) Also important that public bodies continue to be challenged to do even better, especially those that are not satisfied by being ahead of most others and continue to aspire to excellence.

Laurie

Another point of accuracy, Ewan - 'Saint Andrew of Brown'? ;-) Seriously though, it'll be a big challenge making the most of such a site. Here's to grass-roots honesty!

This is a really exciting development.
If it turns out that supply cover for SLF is beyond my school's budget this year, I know I'll easily be able to access the keynotes and other stuff in this way.
On the other hand, if everyone said that....

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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