Designing a Design & Technology Curriculum

Yesterday (o8/02/2012) I had the opportunity to visit Kirsty McFaul, the Principal Teacher of Design and Technology at Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen. During this visit Kirsty described how they redesigned their S1-3 curriculum for  Design and Technology using the Technologies Experiences and Outcomes. One aspect of the course included an interdisciplinary project which involved the Maths and Art Departments. Kirsty also discussed how they used the National Assessment Resource (NAR) to help move towards a more formative assessment approach.

To find out more about this visit, watch the video on the Chalkface Blog.

Developing global citizens through sciences, social studies and technologies

Developing global citizens through sciences, social studies and technologies

Interdisciplinary learning for a low carbon and zero waste future

CDP event for practitioners in secondary schools

Menzies Hotel, Washington Street, Glasgow G3 8AZ

9:30am to 3:30pm, Friday 30st March 2012

Target audience: Practitioners, Principal Teachers and Faculty Heads of Technologies (e.g. CDT, Food and Textiles, Business and Enterprise), Sciences and Social Studies. Also local authority coordinators and QIOs.

Aim of the event:

This CPD event provides an exciting opportunity for secondary school practitioners to discover how cradle to cradle technologies and a circular economy can be used as a rich and stimulating context for interdisciplinary learning relating to sustainable development education and global citizenship within Curriculum for Excellence.

The Scottish Government is committed to a low-carbon and zero-waste economy, and the development of enterprise, creativity, STEM (Sciences, Technologies, Engineering and Maths) and higher order thinking skills in young people are essential if we are to realise these ambitious plans for the future. The circular economy concept proposes the use of sustainable technologies, innovative design and production methods and systems thinking to minimise waste and reduce the exploitation of the Earth’s precious resources. This event will draw on practical and exciting developments within industry which are set to transform the way our economy operates in the decades ahead.

Education Scotland is working in partnership with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the University of Edinburgh to develop strategies for professional development around sustainable development education and the circular economy to encourage the setting up of communities of practice among practitioners in Scotland. These will provide opportunities for ongoing, localised support and collaboration.

To find out more about the circular economy visit:

How to book

To book, please email: or Tel. 0141 282 5172. Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. This is a free event!

Download CPD event flyer and programme >>

The Daily What in Mind Reading shock!

At the start of February I was blogging about the amazing breakthrough in brain computer interfacing, reported widely in the press, which links to our forthcoming Bioengineering context on STEM Central.

Turns out those clever folks at The Daily What read my mind to come up with this article and interesting lesson ideas and suggestions. The Brain Quiz (mind reading not required, just click the mouse) can be used to introduce or refresh prior learning on the brain and nervous system, with ideas for discussion topics and links to information and animations to support learning and teaching.

Talking Stem Cells

21/02/12 – 2pm
Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) have been running a series of interactive workshops on the topic of Stem Cells.

The workshops are delivered live by scientists enhancing the class room experience and providing a unique opportunity to explore science as a career. The scientists presenting this session are Dr Paul Shiels from Glasgow University and Dr Andy Downes from Edinburgh University.

Resources address key objectives by setting up scenarios to encourage Interdisciplinary learning specifically addressing areas of  Science, RMPS together with issues from Health and Wellbeing. The resources are designed to develop skills in group work within and across schools and critical analysis skills where the students will be assessing the moral and ethical issues associated with scientific advancements based on factual information validated and delivered by experts in the field.

The workshops are lead by a stem cell scientist, making use of a mix of presentations, interactive quizzes, video and web based activities and cover:

• A basic introduction into stem cells, the science.
• How can we use Stem Cells
• What does the future hold
• The Ethical questions
• Careers in the Stem Cell Industry

These workshop sessions are aimed at S5 Higher Human Biology/ Higher Biology classes.

This event will be coming live from Forth Valley College on the day.

Click here to sign up and join in! (Glow log in required)
Please ensure that you have contacted Henriette Laidlaw prior to the event to ensure that you have the relevent materials –

Schools TV from Dumfries & Galloway

Schools across Dumfries & Galloway are giving every other school in Scotland the opportunity to join them as they broadcast lots of fantastic outdoor activities through GlowTV.

So what’s planned:

Monday 20th of February @ 9:30 – 10:15
Photography can be done by anyone, anywhere. What’s around your school? In this session, live from their local environment, the pupils from the Gatehouse Primary School camera club & the Forestry Commision will show you how.

Tuesday 21st of February @ 9:30 – 10:15
What’s around your school? What’s the space used for? Join St Mungo Primary in their outdoor classroom. Find out how they use their space and what activities they enjoy. You will have the opportunity to post your comments and questions.

Thursday 23rd of February @ 09:30-10:15
Join the pupils of Shawhead Primary learning how to encourage birds to come to their school grounds. Find out some amazing facts about the birdlife in their environment and learn how to build your very own nestbox.

Friday 24th of February @ 09:30-10:15
Do you enjoy playing board games? If so, why not join Tom, Liz and the pupils from Loreburn and Applegarth as they find out which environmental or wildlife themed board game will earn their school the title of ‘The Dr Finlayson Challenge Winners 2012′.

Monday 27th of February @ 9:30 – 10:15
Podcasting can be done by anyone, anywhere. If you have listened to the radio and wished you could have a go, you can! Ae Primary are going to demonstrate how they would report on the environment around their school. What’s around your school? What’s the space used for? When you’ve seen a live demonstration from a BBC Producer, you will have the opportunity to create and share your own podcast.

Tuesday 28th of February @ 9:30 – 10:15
The epic journey of the goose. The answers are –

3.Stormy weather

But what are the questions?

Join Wigtown Primary, Caerlaverock Primary and Longyearbyen Skole in Norway in partnership with Brian Morrell WWT Caerlaverock and Elizabeth Tindall D&G Ranger Service.

Wednesday 29th @ 9:30 – 10:15
Review & Share Time. If you have taken part in previous programmes of this series come and join in with the review and sharing.

So sign up to join in and find out more here

Challenge Sectarianism – Accreditation Scheme for Schools

Nil By Mouth is a charity organisation which offers free services to all Scottish schools to challenge sectarianism. We provide workshops for all ages, primary and secondary.

They have recently launched the Nil by Mouth Champion for Change Accreditation Scheme. This accreditation will acknowledge and promote schools that are actively working to challenge sectarianism through the school and the wider community. Find out more on their National Glow Group.

Aberdeen Uni investigate STEM Central

Yesterday (08/02/12), I visited the University of Aberdeen to complete a Technologies workshop with BEd3 & PGDE students. We began by discussing the misconceptions surrounding Technologies within Curriculum for Excellence, and spent the rest of the time looking at draft second level learning journeys for STEM Central. The students thought the website was easy to use, they liked how there were suggested learning intentions and success criteria and also felt that there was lots of ideas that they could adapt to their own lesson planning.

You can find the presentation here. (Glow log in required)

We ended by looking at some of the other resources available from Education Scotland to help with teaching Technologies:

STEM Central in Motion

Technologies Staffroom (Glow log in required)

Glow Science (Glow log in required)

Technologies area of the website

Exploring Climate Change

Weather and Climate Change

Working in the Energy Sector

Falkirk – global citizenship showcase and school open day

Falkirk Council global citizenship showcase and school open day

Venue: Bo’ness Academy, Falkirk

9:30am – 3.00pm

This event will now take place on Thursday 17th May 2012

This CPD event offers practitioners and school leaders an exciting opportunity to visit Bo’ness Academy and attend Falkirk Council’s Global Citizenship Showcase Event.

Bo’ness Academy is an inspiring example of a school that has used international education as a vehicle to engage the whole school in global citizenship activities. Through the Comenius Programme and other well established links the school has developed a rich international programme connecting it to countries across the world including: The Gambia, The Netherlands, China, France, Germany and The Czech Republic.

A focus of the event will be to identify and share the practical lessons and ideas that have helped the school move forward on its journey including: 

  • Making global citizenship a key priority in the school and a focus for the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence
  • Using international links to explore important issues in a global context and to create engaging, meaningful and challenging learning experiences
  • Developing strong international partnerships which can be sustained and which have made an impact on every learner.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the Head Teacher, International Coordinator, staff and learners and also tour the classrooms and school. Time will also be set aside for participants to reflect and share their own experiences.

Following the open day event, participants will also have the opportunity to attend Falkirk Council’s Global Citizenship Showcase event which will also be taking place in Bo’ness Academy from 4pm – 6pm. This will feature exhibitions and displays from leading organisations such as Eco-Schools and British Council and will showcase innovative global citizenship practice from many Falkirk schools.

How to book

To book, please contact Megan Farr, Policy Officer, Falkirk Council. Email: or Tel. 01324 506671.

 Places for the open day section of the event are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. This is a free event!

Download programme for Bo’ness Academy Open Day >>