Category Archives: Professional Learning

SLF 2014 – looking forward to Frank Dick’s keynote

With SLF 2014 now only 5 weeks away we hear for one of this year’s keynote speakers, Dr Frank Dick OBE, on his thoughts about how people are prepared to take ownership of their lives and the vital role that teachers and mentors play.

A Winning Lead

Whether as teacher, coach or mentor, our purpose is to prepare the pathway that takes people from who they are to who they will become. My thinking in this was mostly shaped by two life changing books: Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull which to me was about taking the risk of being different; and The Prophet which persuaded me that the coach is to the athlete as Kahlil Gibran saw the parent to the child – the parent is to the bow as the child is to the arrow.

Both of these seemed to point to preparing people to take ownership of their lives – to doing things right and to do the right thing.

We are not in total control of conditions in our lives, nor of results, but we are of our attitude to dealing with them and of our performance. And because life is more like a white water ride than a flat water glide, our attitude must find us controlling the controllables and being agile to turn uncertainty and adversity to advantage. In this, focussing on the performance of those whose development we influence and our own, is key.

Our behaviours, it seems to me, must work to a simple acronym: “O.D.D.” Own: take personal ownership of each moment to turn it into opportunity. Decide: take considered risks in decision making to turn opportunity to advantage. Do: just do it – effectively and excellently.

Giving ownership means not only preparing people to be let go (arrow) but being prepared to let go (bow).
Whether teaching, coaching or mentoring or being taught, coached or mentored, the most important quote to reflect on is Arie de Geus: “Probably the only sustainable advantage we have, is the ability to learn faster than the opposition.” The key to this, clearly is in being prepared to learn.

“Being prepared” is about attitude (again!) and process. The attitude part is clear and must be there every step of the life experience pathway towards who we will become.

The process starts with learning to learn and having in place the “machinery” to learn. For example, before a Commonwealth Games you must put in place how you will collect the necessary intelligence to debrief meticulously all that has influenced the performance and results.

In all of this we might agree that there are some things in life we can be taught, and others we can only learn.
Early in our life experience pathway of shaping personal and professional growth, we are taught the “science” for our education and development role. As we proceed, through experience, we learn the “art” of translating the science to action excellence by effective decision making.

The trouble, however, as Vernon Law avered, is: “Experience is a hard teacher, because she gives the test first and the lesson after.”

Yet if we are to learn the art of delivering our purpose in education, we must be exposed to the challenge and pressure of experiencing the untrodden path. It is by taking such risk that we turn fear to courage in the process of making right judgement calls.

It is important to get this right. The learning experience must be planned to ensure it is appropriate for the intended lesson, and we must have a critical competency set in the person responsible to teach, coach or mentor following the experience.

To return to our purpose: by preparing the pathway well, we not only develop people for their arena, but through the process for a better life. We not only develop them to improve performance, but to deliver it under pressure, on the day.

Want to hear more from Frank? Then register for SLF 2014 today.

Bookbug in the Home-Evaluation

Blake Stevenson and consultant Dr Suzanne Zeedyk recently undertook a year- long evaluation of the Bookbug for the Home training, which aims to expand the reach of the Bookbug programme (this encourages families to read with their children from a young age) to vulnerable families and those living in deprived areas. Professionals who work in families’ homes, such as social workers, are provided with the knowledge and resources to introduce the principles of Bookbug Sessions – talking, singing, cuddling and book sharing. 1,145 professionals have been trained over the last two years and 800 more from 8 local authorities in Scotland are signed up to take part this year.There was a noted impact on professionals who undertook the training, with 99% saying it was relevant to their role and a good use of their time and 71% stating that it had positively impacted on their professional practice.


Researchers found that parents who took part in Bookbug for the Home had developed closer bonds with their children, and felt more equipped to play, interact and read with them, with the number of people reading daily with their children increasing from 41% to 78%, and the number of people singing or rhyming daily with their children increasing from 53% to 78%. This in turn has had a beneficial effect on children’s confidence, social skills, speech and language development and positively impacted on parent and child attachment, with 98% of the professionals who undertook the training noticing a positive impact on the families involved in the programme. To read more about this positive evaluation and to learn more about the Bookbug for the Home programme please see link below.

http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/learning/early-years-professionals/assertive-outreach-evaluation

Bookbug is run by Scottish Book Trust and funded by the Scottish Government.

Education Scotland Higher Computing Science Conference

Higher Computing Science  – Conference Report

Background information

Education Scotland held a conference on Thursday 29 May 2014 as part of the ongoing support of the new national qualifications.  The need for this national event became clear following a series of meetings early in 2014 between the Technologies team at Education Scotland and the following local authorities:

  • North Lanarkshire
  • East Ayrshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • South Lanarkshire

Discussion with the local authority representatives focused mainly on the implications of moving from 2 Higher Grade courses in this area of the curriculum to one new higher.  The opportunity to up-date the content was quite rightly taken.  However this has resulted in a significant amount of new content which has resulted in practitioners being uneasy about their ability to deliver the subject content for this new qualification.  In order to evaluate the scale of the difficulties Education Scotland established a Short Life Working group for Computing Science to discuss the best ways to address the issues that were being highlighted.  This resulted in two main areas of activity

  • ‘crowd sourcing’ of support materials
  • organising and planning a national conference.

 The main aims of the conference were to

  • Examine a range of appropriate approaches to learning and teaching
  • Exemplify a significant amount of new course content
  • Continue to build a successful learning community for computing science
  • Examine other areas for development to be addressed over the next academic year

 Conference organisation and delivery

The programme for the event was a mix of keynote presentations and workshop sessions.  Gerry Docherty set the scene for the conference.  He is currently Chief Executive of Smarter Grid Solutions a fast-growing company, with operational bases in Glasgow, London and New York.  He leads on the implementation of the ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan.  This plan makes explicit the need for developing skills in this key area of the Scottish economy.   It also makes clear connections to the industry working much more closely with the education sector.  From an education perspective, Education Scotland see this report as being a powerful driver behind the support we are going to be giving this area of the curriculum over the next year or two.  Gerry did a tremendous job setting the scene for the conference and many of the issues he raised in the morning were discussed again in the closing plenary. 

Peter Donaldson set the scene for the afternoon sessions by outlining the aims and objective of PLAN C (Professional Learning and Networking for Computing).  He explained that the Core PLAN C team are connected to 50 lead teachers who are then connected to a further 10-25 teachers in their local area with industry, HE and FE encouraged to link in taking a more strategic approach to supporting work in this area of the curriculum.

The workshops were delivered by 9 practitioners identified by the Computing Science Working Group and delegates were able to attend 3 workshops over the course of the day.  It was planned that each of these workshops would focus on learning and teaching as well as new course content.

Evaluations

The evaluations and conversations with various stakeholders during and after the event indicate these aims were met.  The table below indicates how successful the event was with respect to the evaluation forms returned at the end of the event.  This is based on 66 returned evaluations.  In total there were 125 delegates in attendance and 30 out of 32 local authorities had representatives and there was representatives from the private sector and from colleges.

The key statistics from the table above are

  • 92% of delegates agreed that ‘meeting and exchanging ideas with colleagues was valuable’.
  • 94% of delegates agreed that ‘the workshops sessions and discussions were helpful’
  • 89% of delegates agreed that ‘the suggested approaches to learning and teaching were appropriate’
  • 67% of delegates agreed that ‘a significant amount of new content was exemplified’

 

The figure of 67% in the final statistic is probably explained by the fact that the delegates were approaching the new content from a slightly different teaching background.  These being either a Computing Science or Information Systems background.  It is also an indication that much more needs to be done to support teachers in this area.  One of the comments from the delegates also helped explain this

‘Still need more detail.  Some subjects were over-subscribed, more access to these would be helpful.’

Further comments from delegates were very helpful and they focused on the following key areas.

Ongoing Support

The delegates recognise that this is just the start

‘More events like this to show ideas and methods.  Better continued support.  Direct guidelines to local councils as to how staff should be supported – reinforce the importance of computing science.’

‘We are still unclear about the depth of coverage and are simply guessing.  Fortunately we have a year to get the handle on this so hopefully more information will come out from SQA and yourselves.’

‘More meetings where we can gather, talk face to face and get away from being lots of ‘wee islands’ – the sessions were excellent and I am away feeling muchh more confident about the higher. Anything for ISDD would be great.’

Professional Learning Community

While computing teachers have an excellent ‘professional learning community’ through CompEdNet there is still more that we can do.

‘Local ES events welcome.  How can we develop a shared agenda?’

‘More of the same please. Always good discussions + inspiration.’

The role of key organisations

In the context of on-going work across education and the ICT sector this comment is pertinent

‘Very interesting and useful event.  Great speech by Gerry Docherty’.

Education Scotland and SQA are still expected to do more in this area too.

‘SQA arrangements still require more guidance on depth of treatment required.’

‘More detail on the support team at Education Scotland.  Who’s our contact? Who does what?’

Summary/Conclusions

Education Scotland would like to thank the Computing Science Working Group for their support in making this conference a great success.  The conference would not have been possible without their knowledge and understanding of the computing science context in local authorities and in schools.  Workshop presenters did a superb job and the level of ‘interactivity’ in the sessions was impressive. 

The following comment is one that we should finish on

‘Absolutely fantastic, we need more of these to get up to speed.’ 

It may be worth considering following this conference up in May 2015 to cover other aspects of the new higher but also have a focus on the new ‘Advanced Higher’.

Next steps

The following suggestions have been made as to how we build on the success of the conference

–          Work with the CompedNet practitioner network to identify the features within Glow that will support what they are doing through their professional on-line community.  This will focus on the added value Glow brings that is different from what’s on offer already through CompEdNet e.g. Glow TV, Glow Meets etc

–          Create user stories (identifying practice that’s worthy of sharing)

–          Monthly Computer Science update (publication, 2 sides A4)

–          Host a series of regional events to roll out the information from the conference

–          Host an online national conferences.

Education Scotland is aware that more support is required for computing science and this will continue over the next academic year.

Become an inspection volunteer today

Passionate about good care?

The Care Inspectorate is looking for people to help them carry out their work. They would like people with first-hand experience of care to help make sure care in Scotland continues to improve, by becoming an inspection volunteer. Inspection volunteers are members of the public who use a care service, have used a care service in the past or care for someone like a family member or friend who has used a care service.

Volunteers help the Care Inspectorate get the views of people using care services.  They work closely with the Care Inspectorate’s teams of specialist inspectors and together they help spot where things need to improve, help keep people safe and ensure that the rights of people receiving care are respected and their needs met.

Interested?

To find out more please click the link below

http://www.scswis.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7731&Itemid=757

Graeme Logan joins Young Academy Scotland

Congratulations to Graeme Logan, School Years Strategic Director, who has been appointed as a new member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS).

Graeme joins a growing membership of over 150 academics representing a range of sciences and other varied fields, in addition to professionals, civil servants, entrepreneurs and social innovators, helping YAS to address some of the most challenging issues facing society in Scotland.

Graeme’s appointment follows a rigorous application and selection process from which new members are chosen who have demonstrated drive, enthusiasm and commitment for contributing to the public good.

YAS, established by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011, is the first Young Academy in the United Kingdom and brings together the brightest minds and leading talents from across academia, business, third sector and public life.

It facilitates interdisciplinary activities and working groups to help its members develop a coherent and influential voice affecting policy and practice across all areas to benefit society.

To find out more about the latest group of YAS members, you can read the full press release here: http://bit.ly/1mDN4r3

Some of the new Young Academy Scotland members