It's an oldie that I've only just unearthed. Nearly two years ago I spoke to 500 'creative agents', people from the creative industries working in schools, at their national conference in Birmingham on how to manage creativity in education.
It made me smile. I hope 2010 has been as good to you as it has been to the McIntosh Family. Best wishes to you all from a freezing Edinburgh, and see you for some more exciting projects, inspiring encounters and new friends in 2011!
A year ago yesterday I started NoTosh Limited, a to-the-point, action-based consultancy for digital media and education arenas, which has proven far more successful than I had hoped. Here's hoping 2011 is just as successful (actually, no, our target is to double revenues with some new stars on our team).
Crucial to this velocity has been the acceptance of overseas clients (thank you all so much!) to take a risk and have us over to inspire, cajole or troubleshoot. Plenty of their stories will appear on a new NoTosh.com site in the New Year. Exporting our skills makes up around 65% of revenue.
A colleague told me that every time you do a transatlantic flip you experience the same radiation as a chest x-ray, so neither I nor my current or future colleagues leave our families and jump on a plane lightly. We do so because we believe in our work, that it will make a difference to thousands of students lives and that this will far outweight the environmental impact we're having.
Not content with that, though, we're announcing a pro bono project in the New Year which will more than make up for our own airmiles (and probably all of yours, too, dear readers). Planting trees with Carbon Credits doesn't solve the problems we're creating today at all - it's going to take 20 years for their impact to be felt. So we're planning something far more here-and-now, that will take the edge of all those miles.
Until the New Year, and notwithstanding a blog post or two inbetween, best wishes for the festive season from a thankfully Edinburgh-based, airline-free Ewan!
In 6 minutes 40, the 20 ideas I think will affect educators in a big way in the next couple of years. This appears as part of New Zealand Core Education's EDTalks:
20. QR Codes and other smart mobile means of making the real world expand into the virtual world will become commonplace in the pockets of our students. With Layar you could craft a living history of your school transposed onto existing real-world buildings viewed through a smartphone camera. 19. We will gain a better understanding the hype curve, and what types of behaviour with technology can be spotted along it. 18. This gives us a chance to shorten that lead time to get to the learning quicker 17. Anything 'touch' changes the game, not necessarily because of the device itself but because of the way it affects the design of everything else around us, especially websites. 16. More will leave the desktop and go online, whether it's MIT's Scratch heading online next year thanks to the MacArthur funding we awarded earlier this year, or 15. Making real life products that students can feel, touch and use will be where the best learning takes place. Students will stop "doing" stuff at school and will more likely "make" stuff at school. 14. We'll think about how we build more interaction into our virtual spaces but also our physical spaces. 13. Think how engagement of the senses can do something as simple as encourage people to walk up the stairs rather than take the escalator. 12. The last 30% of our planet will get online in the next year as more of the world, south of the equator, gets powered up and online. This will mean an explosion in connections. 11. These connections will nearly all come from Africa and South America initially - most African countries are at the birth of their internet journey. 10. When we start collaborating with all these new partners at scale, we'll find that the ultrafast broadband of which our schools are so proud will become, rather quickly, slow-feeling. 9. This is especially true thanks to our changing TV habits. We'll be watching more television online than we do on the television, which will contribute to this higher demand for bandwidth. 8. We'll actually watch less television, but all of it online. Television choices will start to be made for us, using algorythmns to work out what we might want to watch based on our friends' and our previous selections. 7. We'll also stop just watching the television, and start interacting even more around it, online more than with the people in the same room as us. Maybe education will have a second chance at getting television use for learning right. 6. Understanding open data will become more important than social media has been in the apst five years. 5. This means, in the next two years, we might actually find ourselves with a teaching population that is more illiterate than the youngsters they are teaching, as this basic skill of understanding complex data is mastered by young people quicker. 4. There will be less money for spending in education, and innovation will start to appear as a result. 3. Open Source technologies will increasingly make us question why we spend so much on corporations' pay-for technology when so much else is available for free from passionate communities of practice. 2. The innovation will start to appear not from big industry making big things that do things for people, but from 'small' people in their bedrooms and startups making things that empower people to do stuff for themselves, and that includes learning. 1. And the people we're empowering will come at all ages, all cultures. The lead time for people to understand how they can become collaborators, makers and doers has decreased from the years and months of the industrial age to hours and minutes for new generations. Just see it in the way my daughter reacted to Skype over four minutes, from horror to fear to curiosity to comfort.
This summer and autumn I'm embarking on an eduTour of proportions that are slightly scary, but I hope you'll join me on the journey, keep me right, contribute your own glowing examples of interesting practice and let me know how I could be doing things better as I seek, after two years of feeling out to pasture in medialand, to find my education voice once more. I'm lucky enough to be doing large parts of this with some of my best friends in the education world.
Six months ago I wanted to see if it was possible to bring the lessons I
had picked up from the world of digital media investment and product
management back into the classroom, the school leader's intray and
policymaker's desk. I've been working with a few teams of brilliant
educators in the UK this Spring, testing ideas, hypotheses, practices
and concepts from one world transferred to another. It's time to give
those ideas a bigger airing.
It's a chance to take our messages to a wider, fresh group of participants who will help emulate and expand upon practice that many of us have been developing for nearly a decade - or longer. It's also an enviable chance to learn from the amazing practice in all the countries that I've chosen for this initial tour, places I believe there is the best in schooling, informal learning, digital media development and investment.
Here's the schedule of meetings, rencontres, masterclasses and keynotes that I'll be working with over August, September and October. Many are open to those working nearby or can be ticketed by the organisers. I'm looking forward to meeting as many educators as possible, sharing stories and approaches across a wide array of activity.
This blog and my other websites will be getting a 360 degree overhaul this summer to make the experience delightful for you, too, with the help of amazing graphic designer David Airey and NoTosh developer Fraser Waters. I'll be capturing daily photo stories, videos, audioboos and, of course, blog posts of what has struck me most. Please join me!
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.