February 05, 2011

The United Kingdom: Explained

This is a great video, and hundreds of thousands have watched it to gain an understanding that England is not the United Kingdom which is not Great Britain (alone) and where on earth Canada, Australia and a plethora of small islands fit into the grand scheme of all things Crown and Her Majesty.

My question: why has it just been created when this is the stuff school students the Commonwealth over have studied at some point over the past nearly six YouTubed years. Because an essay whose writing felt like having teeth pulled was somehow better, more educationally sound, showed his or her understanding so much more? I don't think so.

If we're going to assess children on what they know, wouldn't it be more educationally worthwhile to also assess children on their skill at sharing what they know in a compelling fashion? And if we're looking to help children understand how to share effectively this means we have to use the same tools as their audience - the rest of the world - rather than confining their creativity to a class group on a Learning Environment or private, closed down blog that only a relativel handful can see.

And on an assessment note, this video would get some great marks from me. What would it take to get full marks, to improve next time?


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Terrific film, and yes, I agree with all you say. But unless the hold of formal educational structures is genuinely broken (and that ain't gonna happen - formal education is way too powerful a Political power chip) then there will never be a situation where schools can effectively share through using the same tools as the (potential) audience. The Safeguarding agenda will ensure that the communication and publishing systems available to schools remain closed, and the Safeguarding agenda will continue to rule all education agendas for as long as the cult of the child remains such an all-powerful element in our society and culture. I know my school has a more open approach to these things than many others and I admit I am anxious about how that might be viewed by OFSTED, for example. I personally believe any risks are far outweighed by the potential for progress and good, but you know what? I think that's a distinctly minority view...

Also, teachers are very much at the mercy of exam boards and government policy (of course!). For regardless of how passionate any individual teacher may be about the value and importance of using and producing multi-modal text forms, when the form by which their students (and by explicit inference they themselves) are being judged remains almost exclusively (hand)written text then exactly how many opportunities do you think they will give students to present work in a different form?

As for this particular piece of work getting full marks next time? Well, I'm guessing for most exam boards (and certainly for Mr Gove) it would be a case of ditch the pictures and write the script. Preferably by hand in black ink. On parchment. With a quill...

This is excellent - I'm not sure about divine right bit
we stopped all the theocracy nonsense a few centuries ago .. but I can see where it is coming from.
Overall sheds lots of light

This was wonderful! I had always wondered whether to say UK or England or Britain so this really helped. I can't wait to share it with my friends who couldn't answer my questions about this.

what would it take to get full marks?
perhaps when they read/see the value from comments like this:

This was wonderful! I had always wondered whether to say UK or England or Britain so this really helped. I can't wait to share it with my friends who couldn't answer my questions about this.

they will seek their own improvements.

and i hear Alistair loud and clear.
but louder and clearer, we need to take the boldness from the likes of this:

i think the majority is craving that minority view. i think they're waiting for someone to say - enough. perhaps the kids, when we let their voices be heard, when we give them free space to create -such as this.. they will be the loud and clear..


Brings back great memories of you explaining to my Danish students why the word England does not include Scotland. That really made an impression on them when someone who was directly affected by their error took the time to explain. My guess is that they don't make that mistake even now.

Having lived here for 57 years I was pretty certain the Isle od Wight was part of Great Britain. Not that I'm complaining if we're not. The English have a lot to answer for...

Ewan, Another Scottish friend sent this to me a couple of weeks ago via FB. A most accurate picture of the state of affairs - but how complex as well! I, in turn, have sent it along to British friends in Silicon Valley to share with their American amigos.

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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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