43 posts categorized "Tags"

October 29, 2012

Rosendale Book: How we learn what we learn

One of the schools my firm NoTosh is lucky enough to work with every week is Rosendale Primary School, in south London, UK. Its teachers, its students and its leadership team are a treat for Tom, who spends every week with them, and for Peter and me when we're lucky enough to come in as reinforcements. For nearly two years, we've worked alongside teachers and leaders there to develop thinking and strategy, as well as some damned good practice, around formative assessment, 70% negotiated timetables and design thinking in the curriculum, which now permeates their work from Reception through to the final year of school. Neil Hopkin and Kate Atkins, the Executive Head and Depute Head respectively, with their staff have developed a truly Tots to Teens strategy for their students. And they talk about it all the time on their own learning log.

To share with parents and the wider world how they do what they do and why they do it, Neil and Kate have authored a great online and paper edition book, outling How We Learn What We Learn. It's a gem, and a year-by-year manual on how to inspire creativity and excellence in learning.

January 04, 2012

Collaboration 3: Overcollaboration

One of seven posts about collaboration and why it nearly always fails to deliver results, inspired by Morten T Hansen's Collaboration.

The quality of the teacher is the number one factor in the improvement of an education system, collaboration is the key factor in improving the quality of that teacher.

Collaboration helps increase academic success, yet most collaboration doesn't work. Here is one of Morten T. Hansen's six key reasons for collaboration failures:


BP fell into the trap of having the emergence of far more networks and subgroups than were strictly necessary to get a result. There was a period where there was “always a good reason for meeting”.

Through social media, particularly in education, it can feel that there are just too many places to go, too many hashtags to follow, too many LinkedIn Groups and Nings to join in order to get some strong, actionable learning out of them.

The result of this over-collaboration can often be disastrous for the student publishing their work or seeking someone to collaborate with - "it's just another student blog", "it's just another wiki of debatable quality" might be the thoughts running through the minds of teachers and students elsewhere when the initial callout for peer support and comments goes out.

Even if comments are made, are they genuinely helpful in the way that structured, framed formative assessment can be within the walls of a classroom, or are they perfunctory "well dones", a digital kiss on the cheek before moving onto the next request?

September 02, 2010

Quotabl.es - finally our quotations history gets the home it deserves

Quotabl.es Quote
My good chums at Mint and Channel 4's Adam Gee have come up with a beauty of a service, finally providing a beautiful, slick home for the world's best quotations. It's a brilliant resource for any student of history, English language, Classics, science, or PowerPoint 101.

Never again will I have to suffer inaccurate citing in keynote presentations, or dinner parties where people quaff fine wine while stealing great one-liners with the catch-all "I don't know where this comes from, but...".

Quotabl.es Quotabl.es is born.

Says Mr Gee on his blog this morning:

Ever tried looking for a quotation online (of the literary as opposed to the insurance variety)? Wasn’t much fun was it? Not that easy to find what you want. And just how accurate was it? And why does it look like the site was made by a geek with no design skills in his stinky bedroom?

But you love great quotes don’t you? On your Facebook profile. In that presentation. You know, those ones you keep in that file – the one on your old computer. They’re everywhere – on the tube, in that advert, on that building, in that caff.

So why don’t we get the quotation sites we deserve and desire? Although there are several in the Alexa top 5000 most are labours of love, evolutions, accretions of amateur solutions stuck one on top of another like the proverbial sticking plaster.

It's even more close to my heart since this brazen little startup is based out of Glasgow and, I feel, it's providing an education service. Where can you see yourself using this? What do you want the team to do for you this coming year? What toys do you want them to offer you this Christmas? Don't spend too long answering here - jump over and have a play now. Or, as Spike Milligan would have said:

“Well we can’t stand around here doing nothing, people will think we’re workmen.”

April 09, 2009

Teens' media literacy leading to mass political action

Well, it's not Twitter and Facebook but the cunning means through which over 10,000 young Moldovans managed to reach out to each other through the services.

By harnessing a unique tag for their protests it was easy for the mass to get together at the same place, same time, for the same purpose. My question: how many of Britain's young people would a) know about the existence of Twitter, b) know what a tag is and c) how they could use a tag to convene a protest or campaign?

It kind of puts into startk context the English Government's plans to 'teach Twitter' and the perhaps better-formed plans of the Scottish Government to include text messaging and social networks language in the fabric of language teaching and learning [pdf]. Read more on the NYTimes. Pic from Flickr's own blog post on the photos captured.

January 28, 2008

Quintura site search: get cool tag cloud search for your blog

For a few months I've been testing Quintura's new site search, a tag cloud search engine which you can easily add to your own blog and which searches only the content of your site. It gives some interesting search results for archive posts on this blog. Now, you can go and get it for yourself. Enjoy!

December 16, 2007

Fun, quick, safe, personalisable search

Quintura_blog_search Kids' search
On Monday, Quintura will relaunch their safe search for kids with a Christmassy feel, but edu.blogs.com readers can take a look and get your kids surfing straightaway. I really like the visual approach to searching for images, movies, tv or gaming sites, and, of course, Quintura's beautifully slick visual search makes it easy to find stuff you never knew you wanted.

Personalisable blog search
Last month Yakov and the Quintura team won the first place in to the Top 100 alternatives to Google, and I can see why. They've been working with me on some impressive personalised blog search, too, which you can try out if you want to search the anals annals of edu.blogs.com. Let me (and them) know what you think. Is it returning useful stuff, or making you discover things you didn't know you wanted to know?

December 04, 2007

Wikia and the Future of Search

Jimmy_wales_wikia_and_wikimedia Wikia is a separate organisation from Wikimedia, concentrating on how the conversations around content can help change the future of our web searches.

I heard about it this time last year and it didn't make much sense - too early, not enough there to see why it works. I wonder if, after hearing the boss speaking about it this time around, our joint examinations of Wikia this week might prove more fruitful.

Search results are already dominated by content from conversations: blogs, Flickr images, forums and, of course, Wikepedia. The problem is the sheer quantity of content. On a search for the Muppets, Wikipedia returns 300 pages.

If you're a die-hard fan of the Muppets, though, where is the best place to go? On Wikia, we can see 15,271 articles about the Muppets, created under a framework of fans in a separate "Muppet Wiki". Its Muppet fan founder says: "This is just the beginning". In World of Warcraft, the game's creators simply don't have the manpower and expertise to document the game, so under the framework of fans in Wikia they have found a way to keep things up-to-date.

It differs from Wikipedia in the human element that has been added: a social network. To take part you have to create a Facebook-like or LinkedIn-like profile, where other users assign you trust and see whether you really are a spammer or just occasionally wrong in your edits. This, in turn, helps search become more viable, helping to push the most well-written, most admired content to the fore, not through algorithms so much as through human beings.

October 20, 2007

There are no shelves on the web

And there's no "top" to the web, either. If you've never had the time to read Weinberger's masterpiece on how the web has changed our assumptions about information, or to watch his talk at last year's Learning Festival, then this second Michael Wesch film (from the maker of The Machine Is Us/ing Us) is a must-watch.
Thanks to David, Euan, Johnnie and Adriana for the collective nod.

July 27, 2007

Plotting the floods with multimedia in MyMaps

Firefoxscreensnapz001 Swathes of England devastated by floods, 24 hour news providing unrelenting images of flooded high streets and most of us left with only the vaguest of ideas of where this is all going on. Not now.

Google Maps allow any individual to plot points on a map to tell a story. BBC Berkshire do this is tremendous style, illustrating the extent of this summer's flooding by plotting and bringing in their own TV and radio reports, user generated photographs and video, Environment Agency flood warnings and the magic of Google Maps' satellite imagery.

I clicked the 'KML' button to open up Google Earth and have that same information sitting on my version of the planet.

Importantly the main BBC Berkshire website gives a prominent link to their "interactive floods map", thus pushing this kind of thinking and technology further into the mainstream.

June 17, 2007

Perfect working-playing environment?

Jensclassfinal Since yesterday's post there has been a lot of interest in Jen Macaulay's classroom as a place of playing and learning, comments from both teachers and those working in business and a huge number of views. The classroom has been added to the expanding Classroom Displays group on Flickr, too.

I'm getting the feeling there is a genuine desire for more sharing of classroom environments through video, photo or text, a desire that's always been there for this teacher but which is now made far more possible than ever before thanks to the tools at our disposal.
The question is:

  • should it be the role of the teacher whose classroom it is to regularly upload images, video or text about their learning space; or
  • is there a role for visiting support staff, teachers and visitors from the education and children's services department to snap as they travel, posting to Flickr with the tag of the school and edubuzz, writing a small description of how the space is used; or
  • is there a role for students in documenting their learning space as part of their own learning log?

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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