December 03, 2007

An early Christmas present: a new job

Ewanmcintosh This week, after five-and-a-half years of working with East Lothian Council, I'm working for someone else. For most of my working week I will now work for Learning and Teaching Scotland as National Adviser: Learning and Technology Futures. I've also decided to expand my independent work, such as consulting and some speaking, which until now has been on holiday time and weekends, but which has opened my eyes to things education is maybe missing out on.

Along with my new colleague John Low, from West Lothian Council, there is a more concerted effort now from LTS to benefit from the experiences of Local Authorities who have been getting things right, and an attempt to drive home the key points of successful innovation in teaching and learning to classrooms elsewhere. What was the phrase cited by my workmate Con? "If it's not happening in the classroom, it's not happening." We aim to make it happen.

I had been working with East Lothian Council, as a French and German teacher developing a Local Authority languages site,, before creating another 'trad' website for my school, Musselburgh Grammar School and then, since 2003, creating weblogs and then podcasts to provide a mechanism for students to speak for themselves to the wider community.

In 2008, we're aiming to do the same thing but with far more robust technology than we had then, and with some more exciting communication tools in the mix. These might be my main points of action over the next few months:

Everyone looking the same direction: Media Literacy
Awareness of the  constraints and opportunities offered by an understanding of media literacy is my number one priority. Already a not-so-small group of teacher union representatives, professional organisations, national media corporations, public arts and media groups and Learning and Teaching Scotland colleagues is being pulled together to try to support a Media Literacy Summit for Scotland in April. Local Authorities will also be invited to have their say and help pull together some national guidance which will help keep students and staff not just safe online, but informed about the potential that lies in knowing how to use the web effectively.

The national intranet: Glow
Glow, the national intranet, is already being rolled out across Scotland, with half the Local Authorities now formally signed up to the process. However, how the look, feel, functionality and educational potential of Glow evolves is arguably as important, if not more so. Along with John, I'll be curating the great ideas from the blogosphere, from emails, and from our own vision of where Glow could and should head to produce Glow v.1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and so on. We'll be doing our best to skip over Glow. 2.0 as quickly as possible ;-)

LTS goes transmedia
Since I started banging on (and on, and on) about why LTS needed to get blogging, well... we have. There are now several healthy internal and external blogs, helping keep colleagues informed about the work of the teams, showing the developments in certain programmes and sharing interesting practice. Over the next year or so I'll be creating a more formal programme of staff development for our own staff, covering what some would consider the 'old' social technologies, and leaving some slack to give time to explore newer ones from an educational perspective.

Pushing the use of new technologies across Scotland
This remains the one thing we've been reasonably good at doing over the past two years or more, helping more people understand what's on offer, and supporting the ever-growing community of savvy experts in Scottish schools. Nuff said: long may this continue, but I hope we do it even better than we've done thus far. Better online support, more personal support perhaps through peer-to-peer (in the literal sense) support facilitated by LTS tools.

Let me end with some quotes from Barry Vercoe, one of the six founding professors of the MIT MediaLab, as cited by  cited by Derek Wenmouth.  I think they sum up even better what we're aiming for, or at least, what will happen. How does innovation occur?:

The future is not to predict but to design... Innovation comes from:

  • a clash of cultures
  • clash of disciplines
  • clash of ways of doing things
  • high tolerance of failure

Hurrah to that! I hope that you, dear blog reader, might join us on this exciting journey making education in Scotland, and maybe elsewhere, more aligned with the aspirations of our young people.


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Count me in !!!!!!!!

Congrats Ewan!!

Ewan, congratulations on your new post, I will follow your progress with interest. Thanks for helping move things on in East Lothian. Good luck!

Amen! Go for it! Good for you, Ewan -



I look forward to your views over the next few days at Olympia.

Congratulations Ewan I am glad that LTS will have your services on a permanent basis. I look forward to following your journey and hitching a lift when I can.

Congratulations Ewan - we'll be watching from South of the border too... :-)

Well done, hope to catch up before xmas!


Here's hoping you can drive as much change from the centre as you have done so successfully in East Lothian - more power to your elbow

Congratulations Ewan! You made a difference here in East Lothian. I'm sure you'll go on to make a difference nationally.

Congrats, Ewan. :)

Congratulations, Ewan. Best wishes in the new post.

Good luck, Ewan: looking forward to a real movement in new media in teaching over the next few years. I hope you can work to help all Local Authorities enter the age of the enlightened :D


I'm sure you will have the same impact nationally as you have in East Lothian. You will be glad to know that things aren't standing still in EL and we hope you will stay in touch. Thanks for everything you did for learning in East Lothian.

All the best


Good luck Ewan!

Great news Ewan you've inspired and encouraged many teachers & children in EL and I'm sure you'll go on to inspire many others.


Congratulations Ewan
sounds like a great job to have - will be very interested to see how you engage with it in 2008!

Congratulations Ewan, You rocked New Zealand when you were here. Im branching out with a group of boys into an online environment. Thought Id give your Samarost ideas a go. Have them working when they don't think they are. Not being a gamer myself its stepping out in the dark. Have any of your readers got any other games linked to a rich literacy environment?
Keep up your inspitational work. Scotland is lucky to have you.

CONGRATULATIONS!from The Sausage Machine, a tiny experimental 'learning blog' of language and literature teacher janien (native Dutch and foreign German) and her two classes in secondary school in Flanders, Belgium!

Very very beautiful what you tell and teach us! Thank you! Very inspiring, stimulating, energizing, emancipating and enhancing my knowledge and skills ...

GOOD LUCK, Ewan McIntosh!


All the best! You were so supportive of the newbies. Promise not to lose that. But hey, sometimes it's hard. I prepared a mock lesson, tongue in cheek, that I knew my children would love, knowing their teacher so well, using Won't load in school, because we use Safari, so enquired of one of the technicians if I could use firefox which will load it...he says whilst it's not on the banned list yet it soon will be, so don't bother. With such encouragement, at the (nearly said chalk face there, old you know) whiteboard, it's hard to keep up with practising and developing the technological educational possibilities out there, by hanging onto coat tails such as your own. As your Mama might say, Goan yersel!


with your C4 connections I guess you may be well au fait with their SNS plans already, but in the context of the planned Media Literacy Summit, I was struck by Tuesday's notes from Kevin Anderson on the sort of Alternative Reality Games they had in development for 2008.

Particularly the one called 'The Ministry' " online, networked ARG that challenges teens to think about online privacy and identity and how they apply to their lives. How do you develop trust with people you can't see? Do you think about the information that you are posting online when it "remains persistent and public"? Those are issues that everyone, not just teens, should be thinking about."

A step onwards from an anxiety-provoking session with CEOP, perhaps?

Congratulations on your change of role, btw!

I've just got around to writing about C4's new stuff - about three days late :-s

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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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