Until Saturday night you'll find me over at Connected Live, blogging, podcasting and vodcasting from BETT, at London Olympia, trying to capture some of the innovations and excitement along with 30,000 other people.
I'll also be attempting the occasional blog post in between compering Friday night's TeachMeet08, which is shaping up to be fairly mega, too. Thanks to some incredibly generous sponsorship from Learning and Teaching Scotland, Emap, RM, Edutxt, Futurelab and Middlesbrough City Learning Centre and Amazing Interactives Ltd, we have
Dean has set me one of the toughest end-of-year-navel-gazing-but-jolly-good-fun tasks: my favourite five photos. I could spend a long time on this, so I've also used Flickr's interestingess and stats, too, along with my personal prefs to find the five ones that mean the most:
The most beautiful baby on the planet, my number one choice for a photo (though not taken by me). Amongst the memorable times, her first aeroplane trip to New Zealand - 26,000 miles at six weeks.
One of my cheeky shots at BLC07 this year of Will, it's indicative of the thrill and fun I had meeting old friends and meeting old online friends for the first time. Our evening on the ship, with raucous laughter and far too much of Christian Long's favourite brandy, made all this blogging stuff worthwhile! [more pics]
This was a pivotal moment for me: the people (and beer) that made me decide to go self-employed. Steve Moore, left, is one person to whom I am eternally grateful, for his confidence-boosting and considerable recommendations that have led to many an interesting rencontre. Euan Semple helped me work out how much ($) and how much (:-) I was worth. This scene is from Reboot in Copenhagen, a conference/unconference based around the theme of Human?, at which I talked without meaning to, and had confirmation from those outside education that education was doing lots of things right. [more pics]
The stats say you love this one: the kilos of kit required to keep online conferences on the road (and this RSS/Flickr/unconference junkie in one piece). I've since upped my insurance cover... This particular bunch of kit was for something else I loved, but didn't have enough photos for: TeachMeet.
Mike Coulter decided at the beginning of 2007 that anyone interested in social media in Edinburgh needed a place to wax lyrical: Edinburgh Coffee Morning was born. The off-white tables at Centotre have been the stage for many a discovery, a talk-through, an idea-bounce, a new friendship. Thanks to Mike for starting it all, and all the lads and lasses who've made it along on those early morns this year. [more pics]
This is the final element of five parts in a personal learning log review of 2007. It might be of help to you, might not be. Bear with me, and normal service will be resumed...
In 2006 I had started to organise TeachMeets and various other informal unconferences for teachers and techies to talk about teaching, learning and technology, preferably with large doses of beer, bordeaux and blogs. I eventually got around to learning some of the things to do, and not to do, and the events continue to provide a safe haven for some of the most inspirational teachers to inspire and be inspired. In 2007 this continued apace:
January 7th and March 3rd: The inaugural BarCampScotland, which I helped create, was announced and ended up being a resounding success, with 150-odd attendees from across the tech and education industry meeting on common social media ground. December 15th, and the second BarCampScotland is announced for February 2nd 2008.
January 19th, and Edinburgh Coffee Morning began, every Friday from that point at 8am in Centotre. Since then, these coffee morning boys (and the occasional woman) have become great friends and allies as we try to get more social media projects undertaken in Scotland. It continues to be a source of inspiration, finds, community-building and trading of work.
On February 4th we talked about Glow, life, love, blogging and education in a Stormhoek-fuelled haze as Hugh MacLeod paid some Scottish edubloggers a visit in their local.
August 9th marked the first steps towards TeachMeet07, the fourth edition to be held at Glasgow's Science Centre on September 19th, and gnerously sponsored for the first time, by Channel 4, whose In The Wild event brought the discussion of young people's media habits to a wider audience still.
Almost simultaneously, we had calls and requests for England and Wales' first TeachMeet, at BETT on January 11th 2008.
This will also be the first job to get through on the return to work this January, and I hope to be able to see you in London on January 11th. I wonder what the main innovations will be in 2008. Maybe I'll try to predict something which eventually becomes true, or gets lost until next year's roundup. That, however, is at least one more year to put down to experience...
1/5: Hit or miss? Spotting innovation that's worth spotting
2/5: The changing ways of the public sector
3/5: eduBuzz: East Lothian online publishing increases 5000%
4/5: Building a business
5/5: Having a bash - social media gets social
TeachMeet08 at BETT, the top professional development unconference of its kind, is effectively ten days away, when you take school holidays into account. There are a few things you may need to do...
There are a few press articles coming out during the week at BETT which will mention TeachMeet08 so, if you want to make sure that you get a spot before the numbers are capped, please leave your name on the TeachMeet website and register for BETT as soon as possible.
Spread the word
Please also spread the word about what is an amazing professional development event, one of the best out there in the world. It's not just about technology, it's about the teaching behind it. If you know teachers in the south-east in particular, or if you know an international visitor to the BETT Show, then get them to come along on January 11th for that 'alternative' Friday night out.
Register for TeachMeet08 and BETT
Finally, even if you've already signed up to TeachMeet08 on the wiki webpage, you also need to register for BETT, in order to gain entry to Olympia on the Friday afternoon/early evening.
Sponsor the event
As ever, we're really grateful to sponsors for helping with the event. So far, though, we have the generous support of Emap, who are donating the venue, their staff's time in setting up and cleaning down, and, importantly the wifi. We also have had an offer of support from TxtTools, whose mobile phone text service will be used to allow the masses to communicate with the speakers all night long - good for those who haven't quite converted to Twitter yet.
If you would like to sponsor the event, no matter how little the amount, then please contact Emap, via me or your BETT Emap contact, who will handle your request.
If you want to discover the hottest CPD on offer this year, and Scotland's a bit too far to travel, then the webpage for TeachMeet08 London is ready. Just head over there, click edit, and sign up. (Note the password for the wiki: teemhcaet)
BETT is the largest education conference in the UK and, for the first time, there will be TeachMeet08 in London, on Friday 11th January, from 5pm-9pm at Olympia, and you're invited. Just head over to the page and sign up right now before numbers are capped.
We've got room for a potential 300 TeachMeeters at what is now widely acclaimed as the best professional development for teachers since, well, sliced bread, but, depending on what sponsorship we receive this number might have to be capped.
It's going to be a Friday night, so we'll make sure that people enjoy it as much as an Eastenders cliffhanger.
But this is as open an event as they come. Thanks to support from these guys we're going to be able to put on some nice treats for those who want to be amused, enthused and learn something new, by teachers, for teachers. Teachers are invited to sign up an idea for a micro-presentation lasting 7 minutes, a nano-presentation lasting 2 minutes or just to lurk.
It might even be of interest to those working in the education media interest to see what innovation is actually going on in schools across the country.
All you need to do is head over to the page at www.teachmeet.org.uk, and sign up your name.
It's not a tech event, either, with the emphasis very much on the Teach. BETT provides a great opportunity to get some new faces interested in new and innovative teaching and learning. Get your friends and colleagues who are at BETT anyway to come along from 5pm and join in the fun.
I have tons more to share about the event, some time next week, If you're interested in adding your support to the event before the big sponsors' announcement at the end of November, then send your kind offers to me or through the wiki.
At Learning and Teaching Scotland one of my main roles has been trying to encourage as many avenues as possible to communicate with teachers, parents, learners, civil servants, whoever might have interest in what we do. Whether this was actually in my job description at first, I don't know :-)
What I wonder is: do people want to communicate with us?
Connected Live, the online version of our award-winning Connected magazine, is part of this, and how many comments we get on articles in one indication of how people feel about Scottish education today and how they express that.
We've just launched the current edition online, and it covers the Scottish Learning Festival, TeachMeet07, Channel 4's In The Wild, entrepreneurship, leadership and kids getting green (with the environment, that is, not with envy).
For the first time, you can actually comment on all the articles, adding where you think we've got it wrong, missed out a classic example of something, or just to add your point of view. So, do you agree with Carole Craig's view that Scots' main problem is that we don't have enough confidence in what we do well? Do you think that her view at In The Wild that social networks encourage inward, self-involved behaviour from young people?
Her talking points are just some of the issues with which anyone, in Scottish education or not, can add their opinion.
At the moment the team are working hard to speed up the time it takes for comments to appear. Hopefully, within a few hours/days, comments will just appear instantly, as is our wont.
In the meantime, I'd also like to give a shout-out to our Kiwi magazine neighbours at Interface, for which I was interviewed last month. I outline my new responsibilities and what I think the future of new technologies in the classroom is. Far too much of the royal 'I' from me, too, here, but I hope you get something out of it.
I've been finding LTS's new web project, Connected Live, quite a challenge to help bring together, but its coverage of the Scottish Learning Festival both last week and now is second-to-none, thanks to the wide range of interesting folk writing for the main blog, the Tartan Podcaster's superb mini podcasts, and some great captures from the film crew.
I've just written a mega summing up of all things Stephen Heppell, covering all the keynote videos, filmed interviews and blog posts about perhaps one of the most inspiring honorary Scots I've heard speak (he only ever seems to say nice things about us; that makes him a Scot in my book :-)
Coming over the next week there will be more podcasts from Mark, interviews with fascinating kids and teachers at the Festival, and the Learning Festival mini documentaries will start appearing soon.
I'm also hoping to host a series of discussions on the keynote speeches from the Festival in Second Life, once people have had a chance to visit our Connected Live Virtual Conference Hall and have a look and a listen (you may wish to view them online instead). A (very) few of us met there the other night and had a wonder. A few others turned up late to the party and felt a bit alone.
How do you keep on top of all this cool stuff?
There are a few ways (aren't there always?) of keeping all this stuff on the top of your list of professional development. the main thing to remember, and something I'm really keen to have marketed a bit better by us (note to self), is that nothing we publish takes more than five minutes to read, view or listen to. It's snack-sized portions of professional development for the teacher that really doesn't have the time but does have the desire to learn.
Soon you'll be able to have text messages or RSS to your phone, with all the latest from Scotland's national education agency and hundreds of Scotland's schools.
We've had loads of positive feedback, and a few people saying they want more 'hefty' CPD. Is snack-sized the way to go? Well, we'll still be putting loads of full sessions out on audio podcast and carrying out plenty of video shoots with interesting teachers and classes around Scotland.
Hefty CPD can live on, but fun-sized has just entered the market.
After a really hectic week at the Scottish Learning Festival, C4 In The Wild and TeachMeet07, and having had barely a chance to catch up over the weekend, it's with some trepidation that I enter tonight into Second Life to host a quick general discussion around the event. If you missed the F2F event and want to find out what people thought were the hits and misses, this is the place to come.
Head over to the SLF07 Island at 7pm British Summer Time tonight (late afternoon in North America East, lunchtime on the West, early morning in New Zealand and Australasia) for a 30 minute banter about what the highlights were for you. Later this month we'll start hosting regular, pre-planned discussions on more precise elements of the Festival, based on some of the video and audio coverage we'll post in world.
To join in just download Second Life for free to your computer and use this weblink to find the action.
In the meantime, you can catch up with the continuing Festival coverage, with videos, podcasts and blog posts, over the next few weeks on Connected Live.
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.
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.