June 01, 2006

East Lothian - setting the path for excellence

East Lothian Council's education service really is setting itself up for exciting times ahead. I was speaking at the Head Teachers' conference in Haddington yesterday on the uses of new technologies and how their use links up, glues together and makes possible the application of A Curriculum for Excellence and Assessment for Learning in a 21st century school. The reaction to my 10 point presentation was overwhelmingly positive - I was very nervous that they might feel the task was impossible. However, this Authority has nearly 50 head teachers ready for the challenge and keen to get their staff sharing their work in a wave of web 2.0 goodness, as Will would say (and probably get sued for saying now).

What has impressed me most with Scottish teachers in general is when I show them my typical day, using podcasts, blogs, wikis and even Second Life to collaborate and communicate, none of them believe that one day it won't be their kids doing the same. The possibilities of this virtual world are beginning to be seen at an increasingly rapid rate, from David Noble at Hillside to Katie who left a comment on a previous post, but who has no blog as far as I can see. I would love to see her Second Life classroom project develop alongside what David and I are thinking about. Anyone else want to help us develop a virtual classroom or two (heck, is that not a school?)


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Great to hear you are speaking with HTs and getting a positive response - it is this section of the education 'establishment' that most need our attention at this time of change - they need to feel that it is 'ok' to let loose the reins if we want to see true creativity and collaboration in and across our schools.

Loosening the reins and giving up some power in the classroom, but not necessarily giving up control of the class, is probably the biggest fear of any teacher or Head who's been working in a particular way for several years. But they seem ready for the change!

Head teachers still have a powerful influence on teachers so getting them on side is vital. Glad to hear you were well received.

I'm interested in the building of the 'virtual classroom' and would be happy to help with any of the (virtual) labouring. Could you expand on what you have in mind?

From my experience the only way to effect change in a school is from the top down. The schools in Shropshire who have started to move down this exciting road have been the schools whose heads have been on board with the change, and the reason behind the need to change.

I am glad to hear you received such a positive response, I believe we are at a tipping point in learning. I set up a Second Life account last week and am just starting to have a play with it. I would be keen to be involving in building a virtual school - give me a shout when you want to talk about it.

I heard of a school recently where an English department, who got excellent results in examinations, was criticised anyway for being "too creative". Safe and dull seemed to be the preferred method (although I would question the "safe" bit).

P.S. I'm not sure which comment you are talking about, but if Katie is the computing probationary teacher that was at eLive and talking about SecondLife, then she does have a blog under the name DigitalKatie.

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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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