November 12, 2007

My first 'proper' website gets Commended

  Annelie and Patricia with our award 
  Originally uploaded by Edublogger

Last Thursday night my content editor star Annelie (on the right), Online Services manager Patricia (left) and I went to a glitzy night in London for the UK eLearning awards and ended up scooping a Commendation for the Modern Foreign Languages Environment.

The site was my first 'proper' website as Development Officer for the national education agency, Learning and Teaching Scotland, designed to support teachers in the teaching of languages. From the start, I had had a vision of it being a trial of co-creation (it was, on paper, a trial community for the national intranet Glow), that is, I didn't want to have a bunch of experts telling the rest of the profession how things "should be done", but rather get all the interesting stuff from the community of language teachers in Scotland and beyond and give it some public space. By teachers, for teachers.

Being a little wet behind the ears also meant that there was no temptation to draw on the old 'black book' of contacts and "old boys" for content - there was no black book.

The result was a site which unashamedly emphasised new technologies that allow people to share stuff themselves, without the need to even visit the site (a bit of reverse psychology that paid off), leading to one of the most burgeoning teacher blogger and podcaster communities in Europe (second now only to the eduBuzzers!) and a 'traditional website' that boasts some fantastic content based on some real highlights of teaching and learning practice. Despite only catering for one rather narrow area of the curriculum the MFLE has proven one of the organisation's most popular website, consistently in the top five, often in the top trio of websites visited (out of a huge Online Service.) This is, in large part, down the speed with which the Content and Technical teams have been able to turn around some pretty stretching stuff.

Most of the other eLearning awards winners were dealing with rather traditional notions of top-down training, or blended learning, but only one other (Royal Caribbean Cruises) was using social media to transmit this training and none, bar the MFLE, appeared to be using the learners as the principle source of education material.

It's a model that works, that is hugely sustainable in the long term and which has, as far as we can see, benefited the teaching and learning of languages in Scotland, and beyond, over the past two and a half years.

If you've not been to the MFLE yet, whether you're a linguist or not, then please do have a visit and let us know what you think. The site can only continue to improve with your help.


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Congratulations on your award, your passion and drive are great to witness! I'd like to have a conversation with you on email, however the link to your email address on this blog doesn't appear to work (perhaps the problem is my end?!). Would you mind emailing me at [email protected] to enable further discussion. Thanks. Stephen

Hi Ewan,

Congratulation on your award from me too. On which theme is this Blog based?

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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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