Embrace The Technology: My article on Digital Culture in GTCS Teaching Scotland Magazine Issue 67

Digital Learning and Teaching is The Responsibility For All

My article on digital technology as a responsibility for all teachers, has now been published in Teaching Scotland magazine. The article explores the culture of learning and teaching through the use of digital technologies, making a few recommendations on how we can better integrate this important aspect of the curriculum into our schools. You can access the article via the General Teaching Council Scotland website or directly from this post by clicking the image below.

Dunn, L. (2017) Embrace The Technology: Digital learning and teaching is the responsibility for all in Teaching Scotland, issue 67. pp18-19. General Teaching Council Scotland.


Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Reflecting

Design and (or) Technlogy 2.0

Dr David Spendlove's Blog

In a blog post just before Christmas (December 2016) David Barlex (along with Torben Steeg and Nick Givens) argued for the rebuilding of Design and Technology based upon the current situation where less than 30% of students now study D&T. In response to David’s proposal I would agree with the identified challenges as being:

  • A lack of agreed epistemology
  • Confusion about purpose
  • Uncertainty about the nature of good practice
  • Erroneous stakeholder perceptions

However whilst there is much that I agree with in the report I would argue that the proposed rebuilding plan is prone to failure. As such I would propose a more radical reclaiming, renaming and reframing agenda in the form of developing Design and (or) Technology 2.0.

Central to this proposal are two main points:

Firstly David’s proposal is looking to rebuild a subject in an environment that has already seen the perceived failure of Design and Technology…

View original post 699 more words

Posted in Education Studies

Speaking at BETT, London, January 2017 #digitalschools


I am delighted to speak at BETT, London on 25th and 26th January, 2017. I’ll be talking about the Digital Schools Awards, in partnership with HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Intel. You’ll find me on location for a few days, probably around the HP stand. If you plan to attend and want to meet up for a coffee, give me a shout.

I’ll be on Twitter for the majority of the event, using the #digitalschools and #BETT17 hashtags.

Tagged with:
Posted in Education Studies

Digital Schools Awards Scotland

I am delighted to be appointed as National Adviser and Programme Validator for the Digital Schools Awards, working in partnership with Education Scotland, HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Intel. More details can be found at http://www.digitalschoolsawards.co.uk

Digital Schools Awards Scotland is a new national awards programme which aims to promote, recognise and encourage a whole school approach to the use of digital technology in primary schools. Schools that successfully complete the programme will receive a nationally recognised Digital Schools Award accredited by Education Scotland. The 3 step programme has been developed to help schools assess progress and recognise excellence in the use of digital technology at primary level while providing practical support and encouragement.

Posted in Education Studies

Coming soon… a new novella series… The Silas Saga

“It is the story of your life, too. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. I also know that this story will eventually lead to my death. I am thankful for a great deal of things in my short life and the ability to tell you my story is probably where I proportion most of that gratitude. Eventually, all living things will die. It is the inevitable truth. It is the only constant in the Universe to which we all subscribe upon birth.”

Silas is an 18 year old living in a world haunted by dangerous gangs, smugglers and corrupt corporations. He travels from one system to the next, exploring abandoned ships, space stations and citadels as he unwittingly begins to unlock the secrets of the Universe. He is an ordinary young man living an extraordinary life. From a young age, Silas realised that he has the ability to see the darkness in people. His mission is simple. To save himself and to save humanity. Or to die trying.


Posted in Education Studies

Innovations in assessment: social media as a professional medium

Social media is becoming increasingly important in learning and teaching, however the specific use and teaching pedagogy remains unclear, with some academic staff embracing it and others distancing themselves (Bowen, 2012). National focus on using these technologies within Higher Education has seen an increase in attention given to online social platforms for collaboration, discussion and knowledge exchange. It is recognised that we still have much to learn on issues around ethical use, assessment and professional contexts, including identity and digital footprints. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities of using social media as an integral component of a degree programme. Crucially, the session will focus on a case study from the School of Education, which is part of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow.
Presented as an interactive workshop, we will explore:
The benefits to students and the opportunities to enhance their learning experience;
The initial and ongoing challenges that present to teaching staff;
Online protection for the developing professional;
An internal study (Dunn, 2015) that presents data from students, staff and an External Examiner;
Draw upon the latest literature e.g. Henderson, (2015).
As part of our discussion, we will focus on aspects of assessment and feedback, which includes the use of recorded audio and visual feedback via software such as Camtasia and emerging technologies such as Google Glass. There will be opportunities to ask questions and to discuss your own experiences of using social media as a construct for learning and teaching. Access to a wireless device and the internet is recommended but not essential.

Typical References

Bowen, J.A. (2012) Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. John Wiley and Sons: San Franciso.
Dunn, L. (2013) Using social media to enhance learning and teaching. In: Social Media 2013: 18th International Conference on Education and Technology, Hong Kong, China, 1-3 Aug 2013.
Dunn, L., Dickson, B., Trinder, J., Kerr, J., and Andrews, M. (2015) Analysis of Digital Media: Supporting University-Wide Online Learning via Moodle. Project Report. University of Glasgow, Glasgow.
Henderson, M. (2015) Using social media: assumptions, challenges and risks. Teaching and Digital Technologies. Henderson, M. and Romeo, G. (Eds.). Cambridge University Press: Australia. (Ch10. pp.115).



Salford Presentation Final

Future Affordances of Digital Learning and Teaching Report

Analysis of Digital Learning Project Report


Posted in Conferences, Curriculum Design, Learning & Teaching

Social Media for Learning in Higher Education #SocMedHE15

#SocMedHE15 is the inaugural Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference, a one day conference, hosted by Sheffield Hallam University. The conference will debate and examine our use of social media and its impact on the higher education learning landscape. Together, we will develop our understanding of good, sustainable practice by sharing accounts of emerging innovation in the pedagogic use of social media. Further details here can be found on the conference website.

I am delighted to present a paper (due Feb, 2016) titled: Social Media as a Professional Medium: an equilibrium of enthusiasm and protection for student teachers.

This paper explores the use of social media within a blended mode of study. Specifically, it aims to consider the professional use of online social contexts to support teaching and encourage collaboration between learners. It will illustrate some factors intended to protect their digital identities, confidence and online well-being.

The University of Glasgow School of Education recently established a blended learning course at undergraduate level (initial teacher education). It was the overall aim of the course to expose 70 students to an eclectic mix of exciting ideas within education. This was designed to challenge them. Delivered through the virtual learning environment (VLE), students and teaching staff were expected to engage in professional dialogue by blogging and participating in discussion through social networking platforms such as Twitter (see: Hashtag #MEduc14 #MEduc15). The course aims to enable students to demonstrate understanding of the foundational content and values of education and to be able to articulate a personal stance towards the discipline. It aims to enable them to engage with conventional and new modes of communication as well as facilitating personal confidence and collaborative styles of working. As part of their assessment, students must evidence their online collaboration through the production of both verbal and visual media e.g. YouTube, WordPress, Instagram etc.

In creating this culture of online discussion and in encouraging students to use Twitter and to write blogs, the course takes a pragmatic look on the use of social media as a professional medium and seeks to protect the newly created digital identities of the students as they begin their career as school teachers.

The paper draws from an evidence-based approach and presents data captured through the wider evaluation of the course to describe the use of social media in this context from the perspective of both the course tutors and the students. Crucially, it makes a series of suggestions which other educators may wish to consider when encouraging students to create virtual learning networks and digital media for teaching, learning and collaboration.

My conference presentation can be downloaded here: Presentation.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Conferences

Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching #digilearnscot

This literature review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore how the use of digital technology for learning and teaching can support teachers, parents, children and young people in improving outcomes and achieving these ambitions.

This study is designed to help inform the development of a strategy for digital learning and teaching by providing evidence of how and why digital learning and teaching can benefit learners, teachers and schools. It also aims to identify the conditions that lead to its successful implementation and any differences between primary and secondary settings. In particular it focuses on how digital technologies can support and contribute to five specific educational priorities: raising attainment, tackling inequalities and promoting inclusion, improving transitions into employment, enhancing parental engagement, and improving the efficiency of the education system.

A literature search was undertaken, collecting nearly 1,000 items from academic, governmental and professional sources. These were reviewed to determine their thematic relevance and the strength of the evidence they presented. The most useful were then collated and assessed to:

  • Identify evidence of relationships between digital learning and teaching activities and the expected outputs, outcomes and impacts;
  • Show the relationships that exist between the digital learning and teaching activities and the outputs, outcomes and impacts for different beneficiaries (learners, parents, teachers, and the school); and
  • Identify which outcomes are immediate, medium-term and long-term.The key findings of the research are presented below, separated into the key thematic areas which were examined during the review. In the cases where studies of similar digital equipment, tools and resources have been systematically reviewed or where there is a large body of evidence from different studies which have measured change (from quantitative studies using counterfactuals and testing learners before and after), it is possible to state there is conclusive evidence. In other cases where the evidence base is weaker (mainly qualitative studies drawing on relatively small samples of learners and schools), it is only possible to state that there is indicative evidence or (where few cases) promising evidence.

More effective use of digital teaching to raise attainment happens when teachers are able to identify how digital tools and resources can be used to achieve improved learning outcomes, as well as having knowledge and understanding of the technology. This applies in all schools.

Where learners use digital learning at home as well as school for formal and non-formal learning activities these have positive effects on their attainment. This is due to the extension of their learning time. This is particularly important for secondary age learners.

There is indicative evidence that the use of digital tools and resources can help to reduce gaps in subject attainment when they are effectively implemented. There is promising evidence that the use of digital equipment and resources can help learners with additional support needs to improve their skills and competences in literacy and numeracy.

Teachers’ skills and competences in recognising how to use digital tools and resources and applying them effectively are critical to achieving positive results for learners with additional support needs or who are disdvantaged in other ways.

There is promising evidence that digital tools can, where effectively used, build skills in interactivity and collaboration, critical thinking and leadership for secondary age learners. These are considered to be vital skills by employers. There is promising evidence too that for secondary age learners, digital resources coupled with digital tools can increase knowledge and understanding of career pathways, applying for work, and working environments. These resources can make it easier for employers to provide help and support to learners.

In addition to the skills that teachers require to harness digital tools and resources to build learners’ employability skills, it is evident that they need to be prepared to develop learner-centred learning approaches. Support for learners to access digital equipment outside the classroom is also important.

There is promising evidence that using digital equipment and tools for direct communication with parents can improve learners’ and parents’ cooperation with requests from teachers about attendance, behaviour and support for learning.

Teachers are more likely to do this once they are more competent in using digital equipment and tools, and once schools use digital tools such as virtual learning environments to facilitate communication with parents.

There is promising evidence that teachers’ efficiency can be increased by using digital equipment and resources to prepare for teaching. There is similarly some qualitative evidence that digital tools and resources enable teachers to do their job better in relation to teaching, assessment and their own on-the-job learning and development.

While many studies clearly focus on specific learners in terms of age, settings (primary, secondary, special education) and domestic circumstances, none make any comparisons between the impact of digital technologies on educational priorities for different age groups. As a consequence, it has not been possible to identify any differences in the use and impact of digital technology in primary and secondary school settings. However, it is generally the case that the impacts found apply relatively equally to primary and secondary school learners.

Successful utilisation of digital technology depends not just upon sufficient access to equipment, tools and resources, but also on the availability of sufficient training, and knowledge and support networks for teachers. Providing teachers with this support will allow them to understand the benefits and applications of digital technologies and enable them to use digital technologies effectively.

Full text (sourced here): Scottish Government Publication

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Learning & Teaching, Reflecting, Technology Enhanced Learning

Global Education Conference 2015


Bienvenue! Welcome! 歡迎! Willkommen! Benvenuto! 환영! Seja bem-vindo(a)! Bienvenido!

We are pleased to announce the sixth annual Global Education Conference, a free week-long online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world, will be held Monday, November 16 through Thursday, November 19, 2015 (November 20th in some time zones).

The entire virtual conference will be held online using the Blackboard Collaborate platform (formerly known as Elluminate/Wimba) with the support of iEARN worldwide as the conference founding sponsor.

The Global Education Conference is a collaborative, inclusive, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity. Last year’s conference featured more than 260 general sessions and 35 keynote addresses from all over the world with over 7,500 participants. To attend this year’s conference and to be kept informed of the latest conference news and updates, please 
join this network: http://www.globaleducationconference.com (text source).

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Conferences, Curriculum Design, Education Studies, Learning & Teaching

#UofG Students to facilitate workshop at the 2015 STTA Conference

The 2015 Scottish Technology Teacher’s Association Annual Conference will be held in Glasgow on Saturday 7th November 2015. The workshop programme will consist of activities based on the new Design & Technology curriculum and N4/5 courses. I am delighted to announce that a group of BTechEd (Hons) students will facilitate a workshop at the conference.

All teachers of craft, design, engineering and technology (including student teachers) are invited to attend.

Planned highlights to include:

  • Conference Keynote Speaker Dr Diane Aston from The Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining talks materials.
  • Full Exhibition of Educational suppliers of technology equipment & support resources.
  • An opportunity to meet colleagues from throughout Scotland.
  • Prizes awarded to the winners of the TTA Competitions.
  • Workshops detailed below
  • Full hospitality including tea and coffee on arrival and lunch.

Bob Baldie will return to the TTA Conference this year with a special workshop on wood turning with Peter Fordyce.

James Bleach is the creator of JAMBLE D&T Resource website and will be giving a workshop on how to create effective D&T resources.

Scott Hunter has returned following a highly successful workshop at last years conference. This year the focus is Manual Graphics.

Lynsey McNamee follows last year’s success with another workshop for TeachMeet, an opportunity to see what others have been doing and ask questions.

Our Keynote Speaker has also agreed to do a workshop. There was a lot of positive feedback from attendees last year about her amazing Smart Materials session last year and she has kindly agreed to do so again.

Students at The University of Glasgow BTechEd are doing an interesting workshop on Engineering Systems and Robotics and how to effectively use it in the classroom. A great opportunity to meet the new Technology teachers and learn something new.

Following feedback last year about the effective use of Inventor and desktop publishing in the New Graphics courses, Alan Delany will be doing two workshops: one on Inventor and one on the Serif suite.

Further details and booking via: Scottish TTA

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Conferences, Design & Technology, Learning & Teaching, Reflecting

Global Collaboration Day #VET

Please see the post below for details. This was sent via the UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Experts Forum. I decided to share as it may be of interest to some of you.

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to share with you the launch of the Global Collaboration Day. Over the next couple of days, students, classrooms, teachers, administrators, parents and organizations will be either attending and/or hosting events online that are designed to showcase and promote global collaboration. Over 100 groups have designed and planned their own events which we have then organized into a directory and in special calendars to allow these events to be seen in any time zone in the world.

This is a huge worldwide experiment to demonstrate the power of globally-connected learning.

You are encouraged to browse the event directory or the calendar and choose a compelling event to attend!

Here are some important links for you to keep handy:

We have scheduled an event to contribute to this effort:


Warmest regards to All!

Chris Chinien, Ph.D.


Compétences/Skills R&D Inc.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Employability, Guest Articles, Learning & Teaching, Reflecting, United Nations

My brief reflections on the OECD Report: Students, Computers and Learning

OECD Report

So we have just seen the publication of a new report from the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills – Students, Computers and Learning: Making the connection (OECD, 2015). First, let’s mention that this is probably going to be an important document which will not only gain international interest, but will also be a discussion point somewhere in Government. Second, this post seeks to provide some of my own thoughts on what it says. You do not need to agree with me on everything and that is a point worth illustrating. When it comes to technology and learning, the infrastructure (which also includes the teacher and curriculum, etc) is very different from one country to the next. Likewise, so the research differs too. There are many variables at play and as such we often need to look at the smaller detail locally than the big picture holistically. For example, if you are doing something with your class in your school and it works, this does not mean it will work for everyone nor should you stop doing it if someone else says so.

My main point throughout is thus: that the impact of technology on attainment is dependent on effective agency between the teacher and the learner. I would also point out that simply throwing gadgets into schools is not good enough. I am concerned here (and time will tell) that the media will pick up on some of the conclusions and make sweeping statements such as: tablet computers do nothing for learners or schools need to do more reading and numeracy and less IT. That (in my humble opinion) is a load of tosh.

I believe that there is a fundamental flaw in the terminology that we use. The impact of technology on attainment is statistical in nature and fairly easy to map over time. But the impact of technology on learning is far more complex and open. It is experiential and the cognitive process by which a learner engages with technology can bring around new experiences. It is human nature that this will differ from one person to the next but we could use theories of connectivism as an example in relation to driving new skills and information seeking.

On the whole, the authors have done a good job on pulling together the data that sits behind the report… but I also take some of the conclusions with a pinch of salt.

Here is the background:

Are there computers in the classroom? Does it matter? Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection examines how students’ access to and use of information and communication technology (ICT) devices has evolved in recent years, and explores how education systems and schools are integrating ICT into students’ learning experiences. Based on results from PISA 2012, the report discusses differences in access to and use of ICT – what are collectively known as the “digital divide” – that are related to students’ socio-economic status, gender, geographic location, and the school a child attends. The report highlights the importance of bolstering students’ ability to navigate through digital texts. It also examines the relationship among computer access in schools, computer use in classrooms, and performance in the PISA assessment. As the report makes clear, all students first need to be equipped with basic literacy and numeracy skills so that they can participate fully in the hyper-connected, digitised societies of the 21st century.

  1. The kind of things that are easy to teach are now easy to automate, digitize or outsource. I am not really sure what that means or if I agree with it. It seems to be a random statement made with intent but with little context. Let’s use augmented realities as an example. My premise is that we only make things digital (and I hate using that term too) if there is a need and a recognised benefit in doing so. The benefits of course, should be with the learner.
  2. The comparison between digital literacy and print reading is interesting and worthy of further study.
  3. Access to a computer. It would seem that 50% of participants in the UK have access to at least 3 computers and that this is wide ranging from almost 0% in Indonesia to around 85% in Denmark (lowest to highest) yet there is more equity across the sample countries when one looks at access to a single computer. The scatter diagram is stable for the most part with major variation appearing only where there is lower access to 3 computers but there appear to be gaps here. It does not look to study the type of computer and how powerful/new it is. Between 2009 and 2012, it looks like there has been an upward trend. I would expect this to continue as web infrastructures are developed and the costs of computing become lower. There are many issues of equity on the school online environ that I would like to pursue.
  4. The time spent online has many stories sitting behind it. I could ramble on here for hours but I wont. Too many connections around technology and society but I will point out that a significant whack of online activity will happen in the home or elsewhere outside of school. Given that many devices are now connected to the internet (PCs, games consoles, TVs and even fridges) there needs to be further discussion about what we mean with the term ‘online’. Without a doubt there are many questions regarding the impact of social media technologies. As a society, I’d argue that we are becoming increasingly bored with simply using technology for technology sake and that we are now looking for meaningful purpose.
  5. Now when it comes to attainment we have some sweeping conclusions again. Students who use computers at school only moderately score the highest in reading. Again, the agency and use of the computer is important here. There are many unanswered questions around what, when, where, how and why the technology has been used to support learning.
  6. Students who do not use computers in maths lessons score highest in mathematics. Now, the data suggests that paper-based maths will equate to a higher score but up pops the variables again. The actual score points are very close and we need more detail. For example, how much time is spent on the learning in both contexts, what is the instructional pedagogy? Really, I want to know more – why is there a difference between the two? Is this an equity issue? Is it cultural or are there socio-economic factors at play?

There is a lot to digest from the report and no doubt I will come back and rethink certain aspects over the coming weeks. I do like the fact that the report picks up on emerging technologies, experiential learning and interactive and metacognitive pedagogies. Some of the concluding thoughts are valid and I totally agree that we do need to put more thought into what we are doing with technology. There is a clear role in research informed teaching and this needs to be a local enquiry based approach from one teacher to the next. There must be renewed focus on learning with technology rather than teaching with technology and this is something that I have written about in the past.


OECD, (2015) Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection. PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264239555-en (last accessed 15/09/2015).



Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Learning & Teaching, Reflecting

Recently Published: Unleashing the Potential – Transforming TVET

Unleashing-potential-FullUNESCO has recently published the third volume of its Education on the Move series, a series dedicated to the analysis of key trends in education with the hope of inspiring dialogue among policy makers, educators and other key stakeholders on the challenges of education for tomorrow.

The latest publication, entitled Unleashing the Potential: Transforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training is focused entirely on issues related to technical and vocational education and training (TVET). It takes stock of the steadily increasing demands and expectations on TVET systems around the globe and presents recent policy trends in the field of TVET.

In their analysis, the authors provide insights into what it takes to unleash the potential of TVET systems around the world. They propose an integrated analytical approach that takes into consideration such factors as economic growth, social equity and issues related to sustainability so that TVET can contribute more effectively to contemporary policy issues such as youth unemployment, gender disparities and climate change.

Overall, the book calls for a transformation of TVET systems to enable them to respond to the demands of their contexts. This transformation should enable TVET systems to acquire agility to stay current and responsive to the rapidly changing demands of the twenty-first century.


Posted in Education Studies

The Herald HE Awards 2015

I was recently nominated as a finalist at the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards for enhancing the student experience through social media. This is a nice media clip of the evening, which was hosted at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. The University of Glasgow won the institute of the year. It was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to mix with other people from across the FE and HE landscape.

Tagged with:
Posted in Learning & Teaching

#ResearchEd Scotland: my reflection on #rEDScot @GlasgowUni

On Saturday 29th August, I had the pleasure of attending my first ResearchEd event. It was held on my home turf at the University of Glasgow, hosted by the School of Education in the Sir Charles Wilson Lecture Theatre and the St Andrews Building.

Some of the speakers included: Bob Davis, Tom Bennett, Anna Beck, Isabelle Boyd, Gillian Hamilton, George Gilchrist, Mark Priestley, Valerie Drew, Mark Healy, Marc Smith, Jim Conroy, Stephen Tierney, Craig Jamieson, Gary Walsh, Gary Jones, Anne Glennie, Phil Tonner, Jonathan Firth, Kieran Dhunna Halliwell, David Cameron (the real one!), Chris Chapman and Margery McMahon. There was an additional recorded interview with Tom and Daniel Willingham.

The event was well organised and had plenty to offer everyone.

If you read the ResearchEd website (http://www.workingoutwhatworks.com), you’ll see it “is a grass-roots, teacher-led organisation aimed at improving research literacy in the educational communities, dismantling myths in education, getting the best research where it is needed most, and providing a platform for educators, academics, and all other parties to meet and discuss what does and doesn’t work in the great project of raising our children.”

The opportunity to listen to some great speakers and hear what is happening in classrooms and across education is an attractive one. In a time where Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in Scotland is looking to evolve into a Masters level profession, the timing could not have been more perfect. I can only assume that the natural route into an SCQF level 11 award is to become skilled and experienced in applying research-informed pedagogies. The fantastic turnout on a Saturday illustrates the passion and enthusiasm of those who attended. Those present where there because they wanted to be there!

There was too much going on to hear everyone speak and I struggled to pick my slots as there was often an internal struggle within myself between sessions. The day started out with a gathering of old (and some new!) friends and colleagues. Following the opening and keynote, we moved into a detailed programme of smaller inputs. In the end, after much deliberation, I attended:

  • Teacher Education Reform in Scotland: Teacher’s as ‘agents of change’ in the policy process with Anna Beck;
  • School-based curriculum development through critical collaborative professional enquiry with Mark Priestly and Valerie Drew;
  • Why we should not tell ourselves lies with Jim Conroy (especially thought-provoking!);
  • Recharge Learning – Research aware practices with educational technologies with Craig Jamieson;
  • The floating teacher project: action research into in-classroom instruction videos with Kieran Dhunna Halliwell; and
  • Improving our schools: Moving beyond school improvement with Chris Chapman.

It goes without saying, that taking on-board such an eclectic mix of ideas and research was challenging. I held my tongue several times (probably not within the ethos of the event) but for the day, I had set myself with the goal of listening and learning from others rather than mixing things up too much. I was also keen to hear what other people had to say as it is not often that an audience includes teachers from primary and secondary schools, educational organisations and academics. The format, style and delivery encouraged debate and discussion and most of what I saw was delivered with good humour. Although a formal gathering, the feel of the day was that equal to a longer conference whereby delegates also have the opportunity to engage informally, for example via break and lunch. I found myself laughing many times and this only made my own sense of purpose more fulfilling. I guess that common theme that seemed to run throughout was based on a question: why do we do what we do in the way that we do it?

The event concluded with a panel discussion – the key ‘take-away’ message for me is that we have an excellent opportunity in Scotland to create a culture of innovation and research-informed practice which is built upon evidence based approaches to learning. There needs to be more consideration on how we can collate and disseminate such research for students and teachers out in schools – and indeed there needs to be a change to the academic, cultural and structural systems that already underpin our education system. We have a long way to go, but with more events such as this on the agenda, we are, at least, moving in the right direction.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Conferences, Curriculum Design, Education Studies, Learning & Teaching, Reflecting

Nomination for a HE Award and GU Success!

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 15.28.46

The University of Glasgow’s contribution to national life was recognised with three major awards at the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards.

I am delighted that I too had been nominated for an award and that I had made it to the gala reception as a finalist. Sadly, I did not win on this occasion, though I am pleased to have received recognition at this level.

The University was named the Higher Educational Institution of the Year and the groundbreaking postgraduate Masters programme in Stratified Medicine received the award for Outstanding Employer Engagement. The Outstanding Contribution from a Student award went to University veterinary medicine student Ruby Shorrock for the Trusty Paws project, which helps maintain the health of the pets of homeless people.

HIE of the yearThe awards, organised by The Herald newspaper in association with the University of the West of Scotland and hosted by broadcaster Catriona Shearer, celebrate the impact colleges and universities have on national life and their role in society. The awards event was held at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “We’re very pleased and proud to have received three prestigious Herald Higher Education Awards.

“The Higher Education Institution of the Year award is a testament to the world-leading excellence of our research and teaching, which has been inspiring people to change the world since 1451. The Outstanding Employer Engagement award recognises our efforts to train a new generation of medical scientists to develop innovative, more effective forms of personalised medicine. The Outstanding Contribution from a Student award highlights a wonderful example of one of our students using her growing expertise to help society’s most vulnerable people.

“I’d like to congratulate staff and students for all their hard work.”

The University’s contribution was further acknowledged with six additional nominations at the award ceremony:

Student Support Team of the Year: Peer Support Programme
Academic Support Team of the Year: Dental School
Outstanding Contribution from a Student: Carla Brown
Enhancing Student Learning Award: Enhancing the Student Experience through Career Long Professional Leaning and Social Media (This was my nomination!)
Research Project of the Year: Tendon Therapy
Widening Access Award: Reach

Posted in Uncategorized

Analysis of Digital Media: Supporting University-Wide Online Learning

online learningThis report aims to provide an overview of a project which explores teaching and learning within a blended mode of study. Specifically, it looks to analyse the production of digital media and online social networking with a view to enhancing the learning experience. It was the overall aim of the project to contribute to the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy by developing media content; exploring the production process, analyse digital participation and explore the challenges and opportunities locally within schools. The project has placed emphasis on the production principles which enhance our online courses whilst providing a consistent quality of experience – recognising that our students often access course material produced by staff from across schools and colleges.

The project objectives where:

1. Use a variety of equipment and processes to create and edit media so that we may compare production processes, the cost of development and the end quality – to determine which offers the best value for money for teaching staff within schools.

2. Build capacity to deploy innovative pedagogy across a range of courses at undergraduate and taught postgraduate level.

3. Enhance our current suite of online media resources so that we may contribute to the development of the wider college strategy for e-learning and e-assessment.

4. Provide staff and students with a framework for local media production which can be used for career long professional learning e.g. media development, social networking skills, employability skills and developing graduate attributes.

The School of Education uses a range of digital and online technologies to support learning. It should be noted that transformational change does not necessarily occur within the technology itself, but resides in the agency from teachers to learners (Younie and Leask, 2013). Likewise, there is a fundamental difference in learning with technology and teaching with technology (Dunn, 2012). Indeed, to enable teaching staff to fully explore innovative pedagogical framing; resources and content must provide intellectual rigour, stimulate thinking and increase capacity for students to engage in contemporary forms of self-directed, autonomous learning. Duffy and Jonassen (1992) conclude that poorly structured learning environments are likely to create problems for the teacher and the student as a matter of course. The instructional design must allow the learner to fully interact with the intended cognitive nature of the course objectives. The experience and behaviour of the learner must be considered at all times. The composition of an online course demands a logical schema, which in itself mirrors the digital literacy practices and mastery of technologies which we (the teacher) expect from our students. There needs to be a strong catalyst for developing graduate attributes and to enhance learning.

This project has demonstrated that the premise is two-fold:

1. The teacher must consider the course holistically;

2. The teacher must consider the content specifically;

Further reading on this report:

Dunn, L., Dickson, B., Trinder, J., Kerr, J., and Andrews, M. (2015) Analysis of Digital Media: Supporting University-Wide Online Learning via Moodle. Project Report. University of Glasgow, Glasgow. (Unpublished)

Copyright © 2015 The Authors

A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge.

Content must not be changed in any way or reproduced in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holder(s).

When referring to this work, full bibliographic details must be given: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/107501

Posted in Curriculum Design, Education Studies, Learning & Teaching, Technology Enhanced Learning

Some random thoughts on #edtech beyond 2020 – and why we need to think beyond ‘just’ tablets

spaces image

Technological change continues unabated, and with it societal and behavioural change. These factors directly impact how people and systems interact, how spaces are used, and how learning, research and support are delivered.

Today, I attended a presentation from Richard Marshall of Gartner Research. He provided an insight into the direction technology is heading and the changes we might expect to see in the future. My own interest in this is two-fold:

  • How might emerging technologies impact on learning and teaching and the pedagogy of instruction as a facilitated process;
  • How can we mesh the physical learning space with aspects of digital learning.

 Richard focussed on predicted changes and advances in end user technology such as mobile devices, collaboration, social networking, wireless, visualisation, plus many more topics which were intended to prompt discussion on how learning and teaching, research and service delivery might be influenced by predicted changes. The presentation explored how buildings and information services can be constructed to facilitate agility and ease of change while maximising learning and research.

Richard cemented my own stance – something that has frustrated me for some time now. There are many (not all, thankfully) educators who think on #edtech as the integration of tablet devices into the classroom. Yes, it is true this is where we are for the majority, and we still need to learn many lessons from this process. I can see, however, over the next few years, a dramatic shift away from this way of thinking in favour of a more aligned approach to interaction and collaboration which is promoted by improved learning spaces and the embodiment of new and emerging technologies. For example, the use of other portable and connected devices such as smart phones and augmented reality which can interface with tactile display walls and holographic projection systems. It has never been about the actual device used – it is about the agency of instruction and the interaction between learners and a mentor.

Below, I have concluded some (not so random) thoughts which occurred to me as Richard progressed through his seminar.

  • Predicting the future is difficult – but essential if education is to catch up with business and enterprise.
  • Current installation and technological instruction is out of date? What does this apply to and why?
  • Looking to 2018 is predictable – it will be much the same as it is now.
  • Looking to 2020 – we can make assumptions based on trends and advances in technology.
  • Looking beyond 2025 – imagination and realms of science fictions come to play as we see fully integrated ‘smart’ learning spaces.
  • Physical learning spaces and technological infrastructure must support new models of interaction. Do we all interact in the same way? Does this model change? If so , when, why and how?
  • Open access spaces are required, as are partitioned spaces – where does individual study and peer/tutor interaction start and stop?
  • What is the ‘agile’ minimum viable learning space that we require and what represents added value? What is the minimum practical refresh cycle – how can we create spaces, which can be reformed for other purposes in the future? These spaces need to promote learner-centred and teacher facilitated processes.
  • There is a huge diversity of portable devices – and the list is growing. They can’t do everything we want in work, home and play, so people often use more than one device e.g. phone, tablet, laptop. It’s important to consider the right technology at the right time. Throwing tablet computers into a classroom is not a solution to digital learning. It’s part of a bigger process.
  • In 2018, we’ll see similar devices in learning – hybrid devices will be the norm. We’ll start to see the integration of wearable devices like smart watches. Atomic interactions on small devices will allow us to manage ourselves and will mesh with building systems. This will continue into 2020 BUT we will start to see an increase in augmented reality. e.g. holo lens and electronic paper… and as we move into 2025 we’ll see smart paint and holographic interpretations e.g. creating tactile multi-touch surfaces in a variety of places. Smart pills and implanted technologies will become headline news.
  • Simultaneous collaboration spaces where multiple devices connect automatically to displays will become the ‘norm’.
  • Wireless infrastructure with cabled access points will remain – but grow. There are many exciting new wireless technologies due for release in the next few years which will benefit the use of technology for learning, for example, Galileo, 5G and advances in Bluetooth. All other devices connect to the wifi network. Local mesh technologies which interact with the building environment – smart intelligent buildings will emerge as we look to innovate.
  • Media streaming – increase on storage demand and network topology. Increase in internal and external bandwidth to allow 4k streaming in 2018 and 8k streaming in 2025.
  • Today we rely on projection systems which create dark spaces and this can lead to lack of interaction and a more didactic style of teaching. Smart displays and signage – video walls will start to take over and morph into active walls around 2025.
  • Technologies such as surface hubs and chromebox devices become the norm for meetings and collaboration where devices point to a URL without the need for a full operating system.
  • Connectivity and flexibility requires open access to cable trays and technological infrastructure for futureproofing.
  • Complex issues around the digital spaces and physical spaces. How can we manage the technology and provide support to building/technology users?
  • Digital collaboration technologies and the use of social media – we already share files, video/media and discussion.  Do we need to create spaces with no barriers? School policies often present a barrier to learning through online social technologies.
  • Flexible spaces must be self-service without the need for designated people to move furniture/walls etc. This may become automated by 2025 e.g. at the press of a button.
  • Issues around identity, location/presence, access, data, cohorts and activities will always need to be addressed.
  • There are risks – digital vandalism, impact of hacks, acceptable use of virtual and physical spaces.
  • We need to find the balance between all of these things which will happen as a matter of course – and what we actually need.
Posted in Education Studies, Reflecting, Technology Enhanced Learning

Education secretary makes major speech at the University of Glasgow

Poverty cannot be an excuse for failure in Scottish education. That was the key theme of a major speech delivered by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance at the University of Glasgow on Tuesday 19 May.

The event, organised by the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change set out her aspirations for the Scottish education system, with a special focus on schools, and analysis of existing strengths and areas for improvement.

The Education Secretary was introduced by Senior Vice-Principal Professor Neal Juster who welcomed one of the University’s most distinguished alumni back to Glasgow. This is the second time that Ms Constance has delivered a speech at her old University since she became Education Secretary in November 2014. ‌

Central to the speech, which was widely reported in the press and media, was the Education Secretary’s commitment to raising attainment for all children.

“If we are to want for every child what we want for our own children, we need an education system that is fair and which provides excellence to every child irrespective of their background or circumstances.

“So let me be clear, in pursuing a shared ambition to ensure that education delivers every child the best opportunities to excel, nothing is off the table. Let me equally be clear that the teachers at that table will be fully-qualified and well-trained – and they must be joined by parents who feel fully-engaged and well-informed about how they and their children are being supported to realise their aspirations.

“In the six months since I was appointed Education Secretary, I have seen so many excellent examples of work in our schools, at a time when we have record exam results and a drop in those leaving school with no or few qualifications, record numbers of school leavers securing positive destinations and record proportions of Scots from the most deprived areas entering higher education. But we know that we can and must do more.

“It will never be acceptable for poverty to be an excuse for failure. Parents, teachers, academics, local and central government – all owe it to the children of Scotland – to rise to the challenge of inequalities that persists within our education system.

“We can and must no longer settle for good enough. We must aim high.”

Professor Christopher Chapman, Chair in Educational Policy and Practice and Director of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change, thanked the Cabinet Secretary for a very thought-provoking lecture before opening up to what proved to be a short but extremely lively question and answer session. This included a contribution from Professor Anna Dominiczak, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of MVLS who emphasised the successful work that is going on at Glasgow to recruit students with talent and ambition from all backgrounds, including into high-end professions such as medicine.

Source text and recording of the event can be found here: http://www.gla.ac.uk

Posted in Conferences, Learning & Teaching, Reflecting

Horizon 2020 Conference in Budapest is underway #INNOVEIT15


The ‘INNOVEIT 2015’ conference is currently underway in Budapest and combines the previously separate events of the EIT Stakeholder Forum, the EIT Awards, the EIT Roundtables and the EIT Alumni Connect events.

The three-day event will discuss and debate the impact and achievements of the EIT and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), the contribution to EU education, research and innovation policies, and encourage the interaction between stakeholders and the EIT-KIC community.

Also taking place during the event are the annual EIT Awards, honouring the most promising European innovation and change leaders. Nominees have been selected from each of the three established KICs in the categories of EIT Venture award, EIT CHANGE Award and EIT Innovators Award.

Speaking before the conference, which he is also addressing, Peter Olesen, chairman of the EIT Governing Board, said: “It’s both exciting and promising to see Europe’s innovative talent turn their entrepreneurial ideas into action. The EIT Awards recognise new ideas that lead to new products and services and that improve our lives, societies and economies. Celebrating these achievements is important not only for their further development, but also for boosting innovation in Europe and securing global competitiveness.”

The conference includes the participation of Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth; EIT interim director Martin Kern; and Big Innovation Centre chief executive Birgitte Andersen. The event will also include the participation of the leaders of the KICs, namely Willem Jonker of EIT ICT Labs, Diego Pavía of KIC InnoEnergy and Bertrand van Ee of Climate-KIC, and the interim CEOs of the new KICs, that is Jens Gutzmer of EIT Raw Materials and Ursula Redeker of EIT Health. Many other speakers will also address the conference.

Added to the diverse attendance of the event are leading start-ups, venture capitalists and research institutes, as well as European policy makers and entrepreneurial students and graduates. Horizon 2020 Projects will be attending the conference in Budapest and providing coverage of the event online and in the next edition of Portal.

In a press briefing the chairman of the EIT said the organisation was bringing together business, education and research “to effectively innovate”.

One of the founders of TomTom and now consumer business managing director, Corinne Vigreux, drew attention to the “extremely worrying” situation facing Europe in light of the competition from Asia and the United States. She said the continent was facing a “wake-up call” and it was important “to aim for radical innovation”.

Speaking to delegates in the first plenary session, Vigreux added that: “Europe had lost some of entrepreneurial spirit”.

Posted in Conferences, Education Studies, Reflecting
Twitter Commentary
  • Who is ICAS? Global, Virtual, Diverse
    ICAS is a professional body for more than 20,000 world class business men and women who work in the UK and in more than 100 countries around the world. Our members have all achieved the internationally recognised and respected CA…Read more ›
  • Lee Dunn appointed as ICAS Senior Operations Manager
    Lee Dunn has been appointed as Senior Operations Manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland (ICAS). Lee is Head of Student Services, Digital Learning and Quality and will be co-leading the CA Education Division Operations Team, delivering global education…Read more ›
  • Webinar: Artificial Intelligence: How ‘new thinking’ is changing the world
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a profound impact on our society over the next 20 years. It’s important to ask how we are going to use it. It’s arrival will bring many positives, and possibly many negatives, such as: military…Read more ›
  • CA North America Magazine Launched
    This new monthly digital magazine is dedicated to the news and views of our members; a sizeable portion of our US and Canada members work in business and financial services, with many at management level, and we are focusing our…Read more ›
  • Technology Education: Do we have a PR crisis?
    It has been a long-standing commentary that resides with teachers around the country, that technology education suffers at the hands of science and mathematics. I have heard many jokes since I began my teaching career in 1997, as a student…Read more ›
  • Next speaking event: Learning Through Technology
    Learning Through Technology (6th June 2017) Technology Innovation Centre (University of Strathclyde) The Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland was published in September 2016. The report outlines how important young people consider the use of digital technologies as a…Read more ›
  • #EduTechScot Conference 2017
    The Scottish Government’s STEM Education and Training strategy points to the important role STEM Education & Training has to play if we are to fully realise aspirations for all children and young people to have the skills and confidence needed…Read more ›
  • Annual Survey Of The Use Of Digital Technology / Glow
    Education Scotland carries out an annual survey of school staff and pupils to find out more about their use of digital technology in general and Glow in particular. This has been run most years in the last decade and it…Read more ›
  • Education needs to move beyond tablet devices – a perspective on mixed reality #NDLW17
    The education technology landscape has changed considerably over the last few years. Emerging devices and new approaches to learning are at the fore of new teaching pedagogy, with an increased focus on the use of digital technology in the classroom.…Read more ›
  • Social Media in Education #NDLW17 #DigitalDifference
    Originally published via Efficiency Exchange. Re-written for National Digital Learning Week 2017. As a lecturer, I have the opportunity to explore many new technologies and new pedagogies. Through my work, I’m able to visit primary and secondary schools throughout the…Read more ›
Blog Archive
  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.