January 18, 2007

East Lothian (secretly) forms large basis of Becta report

Impact_ict_schools The latest Becta report, The impact of ICT in schools - a landscape review features some of the sterling work we were doing in East Lothian in the field of social media as long as three years ago and has good words to say on the Modern Foreign Languages Environment (MFLE).

While no schools or Local Authorities are named in particular this major review was carried out by researchers at the Quality in Education Centre, University of Strathclyde, including Dr Rae Condie from Strathclyde University who observed some of my French and German classes getting stuck into blogging and podcasting (back when the average age of my 'colleagues' was 13 ;-)

The report is in PDF but there's mention of some of the MFL antics (pp.33;39) and live moblogged school trips (p.50) we have run at the Grammar since 2002. The podcasting East Lothian was amongst the first to do in Europe also flavours the report, with citations from Steve O'Hear's Guardian story on Musselburgh Grammar's podcasting of 2005 (p.89).

The MFLE, the online service I manage with LTS's Annelie Carmichael and Robert McKinstry at Scottish CILT, has since gained a significant mention in the research, too (pp.34).

There are some interesting points for future development in Scotland. A need for systematic development of information literacy is highlighted, which is something the new Learning and Teaching Scotland Info Lit resource will go some way to starting off (esp. once we get the blogging content a little more in line with current thought) (p.13).

The MFLE, it rightly suggests, is due some independent research to guage its impact on MFL teaching and learning in Scotland. Judging by the MFL-heavy uptake of social media and exemplary teaching which is in line with A Curriculum for Excellence, coupled with great conferences like Communicate.06 (.07 on the way) and some impressive usage stats that land us as one of the top performing LTS online services, I think the impact is there to be discovered.

Finally, the report notes that there are considerable difference in the approaches to using hardware in schools North and South of the Border (p.16). In Scotland there are considerably fewer labs for whole-school use, with more individual classroom computers. Is this a shortfall in space and equipment or is the report's inference correct, when it states that in Scotland we are learning through ICT instead of learning about ICT?


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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.

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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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