Making Connections between STEM Central & Glow Science

STEM Central provides a rich, stimulating and challenging context for learning and teaching. It makes connections between sciences, technologies and mathematics through the context of engineering allowing learners to broaden their understanding of the applications of concepts and skills developed in curriculum subjects. It allows learners to develop solutions to problems and demonstrate creativity through inquiry.

Glow Science (Glow login required) is an online resource comprising hundreds of short films. The resource is for teachers and for learners from age 8 to 14. Their films are mapped to Curriculum for Excellence outcomes and experiences, and cover all four science disciplines: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science.

If you visit the Glow Science Section on STEM Central in Motion you will find out STEM Central and Glow Science can be used together to support learning and teaching.

Glow Meet – Employability Skills in the Early Years


We would like to say a big thank  you to all who tuned in to our Glow Meet yesterday it was one of the most successful Glow Meets we have ever had, with all attendees sharing their enthusiastic comments and questions, particularly in relation to assessment and tracking. Also thank you to Lorraine Munro from Dens Road Primary School in Dundee who shared her expertise in the early years.

Due to the success of this Glow Meet we are really keen to organise another to follow on from yesterday’s discussion so watch this space!

In the mean time, to continue the discussion and share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and questions click here and join our discussion forum.

To Watch Again Click Here

We look forward to hearing from you.

Glow Meet with Tom Renwick – Monday 12 March at 2 pm

Alcohol – using percentages to calculate units

Education Scotland will be hosting a Glow Meet with a difference with Tom Renwick from Maths on Track. Aimed at third level and suitable for S1, S2 and S3 pupils, this live transmission from the Medical School at Glasgow University, will examine the percentage calculations required to confirm units of alcohol, given the volume and alcoholic strength of the liquid.

Please note that cans of beer, as well as bottles of wine and spirits, will be used as examples of numeracy in the context of everyday materials.

Colleagues from the Medical School will be on hand to help explain the effects of units of alcohol on the body.

The lesson will last about 45 minutes and be available shortly after on Watch Again TV. You will need a Glow login to view this event.

Click here to sign up!

Learning point 4 – This time it’s personal!

This is the fourth post in a series by the CPD Team outlining some of our thinking in preparation for the new Glow platform. As a result, a small number of the links below point to examples on Glow, so apologies in advance if you are not a Glow user!

One of the interesting discoveries in the development of CPDCentral on Glow (which is based partly on Microsoft Sharepoint) was the discovery of the ‘Me’ filter. This allowed us to create parts of CPD communities that reflect back what I have shared in that community. A good example of this is the CPDMe page on CPDCentral. The CPDMe area has a number of uses for the reflective practitioner, for example:

  • keeps you on track with intentions
  • records your community activities for further reflection in the PRD (professional review and development) process
  • helps you find stuff that you know you have shared!

To take this a bit further, filters by ‘us’ also feature heavily in the existing CPDCentral. If I join a community, I can easily see who else has joined, shared or added intentions. Just follow the menu links on any of the communities on CPDCentral for examples of this in action (or watch the slideshow below).

Of course the definition of ‘us’ is anyone who signs up for that community. Individuals have no control over who joins them in the journey which is not necessarily a bad thing if you are a firm believer in the value of serendipitous CPD, like I am!

However, what would be really great is to add the concept of following or friending (as happens in Twitter and Facebook) to the community model on the new Glow.

In other words, if I want to see what is being shared by individuals I value, I can do so. That, combined with the ability to track keywords (eg #hwb for Health & Wellbeing) would mean the ability to create a genuinely personal, and more effective, one-stop shop for CPD.

Thank you and good luck . . .

A number of our good friends and colleagues have reached the end of their Education Scotland / CPD Team contracts this week, and I am very sorry to see them go. Each has made a unique and important contribution to the team over a combined total of more than twelve years and each will be sadly missed.

So farewell and thank you to Susan Lafferty who has worked quietly and efficiently to make our online communities so popular and effective. In particular Susan was the engine behind CPDStepin – and I know many colleagues have benefited from her excellent personal skills and her meticulous attention to detail. She built a strong skill set in the area of online facilitation – a very rare attribute and we shall miss her enormously. I hope she finds the job she deserves very soon.

We must also say good bye to our friend and colleague Catriona Oates. Although she has been with us for less than two years, the impact she has made is significant. Catriona has a clear vision and a rare understanding of the power of technology and social networking to transform teacher professional learning. In this context, she has achieved and delivered so much while with the team. She has designed, built and facilitated a number of successful GLOW communities, and has been tireless in seeking and sharing interesting CPD links. She has also provided strategic leadership, with her colleague and friend Bob Cook, of the team’s work on Professional Review and Development – so please do check out the excellent PRD Toolkit and the PRD Health Check which offer good and sensible strategies for improving PRD at school level. This CPD Team blog is now much more user friendly thanks to Catriona. Please do keep up with Catriona’s career on her own blog, Cat’s eyes.

The leadership strand of the CPD team will miss the positive, professional and collegial support of Kat Healy whose contract also came to an end at the end of February. Kat brought high quality organisational skills to the Flexible Route to Headship programme from its inception, and many of those who have participated in FRH will know her as your first point of contact. Kat epitomises all that is good in project support. She solved problems, maintained focus and showed flexibility and creativity in all her responsibilities. Kat of course is also a very talented singer/songwriter and we are all looking forward to the launch of her first album later this year. We are delighted that she has been head-hunted for the Children’s Panel, and will start work with this organisation on Monday.
You can keep up with Kat’s music on her website:

Finally I am very sad that we must also wave goodbye to Jim Keegans who has has reached the end of his contract. For five years Jim has been the driving force behind the development of the Flexible Route to Headship and as such has made a significant contribution not only to the work of the team, but also to Scottish education more widely. When Jim first took up this responsibility FRH was little more than an aspiration, and he has worked tirelessly, building partnership with a great number of colleagues from a wide range of stakeholders, to make it into the thriving, lively programme it is today. This significant achievement is not the only legacy that Jim leaves as he moves into the next stage of his career. He has led and contributed to so many aspects of the CPD team’s work, from our headteacher CPD programme, the development of Learning Rounds, the development of the online Educational Leadership Development Framework, and so on. Throughout this he has been a super person to work with, always calm, always cheerful and always more likely to seek a solution before a confrontation. He will be missed for so many reasons.

We’ll miss you all

Margaret Alcorn

National CPD Coordinator

Learning point 3 – educators leading their own learning

This is the third post in a series by the CPD Team outlining some of our thinking in preparation for the new Glow platform. As a result, a small number of the links below point to examples on Glow, so apologies in advance if you are not a Glow user!

Much has been written on the topic of educators being responsible for, and leading, their own CPD. Most recently I came across this blog post by Laura Varlas, an ACSD contributor in United States, who talks about how “schools in Sweden have moved from prescribed teacher training models defined by the central education ministry to teacher-designed projects focused on meeting real challenges in teachers’ own classrooms”

Of course, one of the big successes of the work of the National CPD Team in Scotland (in conjunction with SCSSA) was the development of the Learning Rounds model of CPD. In this model, educators do lead their own learning by observing each other in a non-judgemental way and discussing the learning. We are even seeing this being piloted as an initial teacher training model according to this BBC news story.

In this video, on one of our CPDLead communities on Glow, Denny the head teacher from Mossneuk Primary in South Lanarkshire explains how circumstances forced the school to look inward for its CPD and is all the better for it!

So what does this mean for an online environment like the new Glow and how might it encourage educators to take responsibility for their own learning? The answer is very probably to provide some tools and templates and then get out of the way!

There are many examples of Scottish educators taking part in DIY-CPD online through;

So, here are some ideas to support the reality of educators leading their own learning on the next generation of Glow.

  • Support the Scottish educators mentioned above to come together as an outward-facing and forward-facing community.
  • make it easier to host TeachMeets online
  • open an online, CPD Conference Centre where educators can do their own stuff with the web-conferencing tool whatever that may be (see the Conference Centre on Glow currently)
  • expand the CPDRequest service to be more of a ‘swap-shop’ where educators can do deals to support each other in their learning
  • start and support a CPD ‘dating agency’ for peer mentoring (there’s a nascent one on CPDStepin at the moment)
  • above all, continue to promote curiosity and rigour by providing tools to encouraging online reflection and sharing.

Let’s make our professional learning visible (to borrow a phrase from John Hattie)! Please feel free to add to the ideas mentioned above, or chuck stuff at them, in the comments section! 😉

Learning point 2 – Learn locally, share nationally

This post continues our discussion on key learning points from online CPD communities on Glow. It contains links to Glow but you can also click on the images to see expanded screenshots.

Here’s a thing we have learned! We can set up community pages for local events and programmes which ‘feed’ into CPD communities at a national level.

Here are some examples of this…

When the HWB team at Education Scotland led an event for NQTs, we worked together on a mini-community for the event which, in turn, fed into the national hwb-cpd community.

South Lanarkshire has a local version of the Outdoor Learning community. It sits within the “affiliated “ Outdoor Learning community in CPDCentral, and anything shared in that community can also be shared at national level, on the same principle outlined above.

Several authorities have local communities for their CPDLeaders which sit within CPDLead, which, in turn, is part of CPDCentral. Whatever is learned locally in these communities can be shared at a national level.

All of the above examples are local versions of national CPD communities. How about if all local communities shared at a national level? National communities wouldn’t have to come first. National communities would then be amalgams / curated versions of local communities.

Examples of this too are beginning to emerge on Glow…

MLPSNet (a community for primary languages practitioners in Stirling Council) share almost all of its activity nationally through the collegiate tools on CPDCentral. There are also links to existing authority areas on Glow to allow privacy where required.

Extending your Potential is an online, early leadership programme led by Rodger Hill of Dumfries & Galloway. The eyp-cpd community, however, is built at a national level so that the sharing can be seen by all on CPDCentral.

So here’s a thought. In the next iteration of Glow, instead of building ‘national’ CPD communities why not build a partnership with colleagues from local authorities to build communities that meet their local needs? The trick would be that each of these communities also shares at a national level, and possibly international level.

So why not have Stirling Council support modern languages for primary teachers across Scotland? And why not have an early leadership area of the proposed Virtual College for School Leadership (Teaching Scotland’s Future, recommendation 50) led by Dumfries & Galloway? And a coaching community led by Shetland folk, and an NQT community led by Aberdeenshire colleagues, and so on?

As always, your comments will be much appreciated

Catriona Oates and Con Morris

Learning point 1 – Share once, see many

With the forthcoming changes to Glow which we will know more about in the coming months, we thought it might be helpful if we outline a few of the features on our CPD communities thus far. Although we don’t know as yet know what Glow will look like in the new session, we can share here some of the key learning points from our work on CPD communities so far.

Note to illustrate these points we make several links to Glow communities below.

Learning point 1 – Share once, see many

We started a couple of years ago with CPDCentral – a hub where you could find other educators and share your ideas and practice?

From CPDCentral, you could then find links to CPD communities that might interest you, eg CPD leaders and Health & Wellbeing. The problem we hit quite quickly was that if you had the same thing to share, or say, in more than one community, you had to add it several times.

So we flattened the hierarchy for sharing and did away with many of the sub-groups. You’ll see now that CPDCentral has spawned a lot of mini-communities, and although they are nested within CPDCentral, they have their own identity and hashtag. The beauty of this system is that you can share and interact in more than one community at a time.

So, to take the example, CPDLead is the online community for leaders and co-ordinators of CPD. A member of CPDLead sharing some CPD practice on Health & Wellbeing can tag the item with #cpdlead and #hwb and share simultaneously across both communities.

Many other CPDCentral communities operate in this way: Outdoor Learning; CPD Consolarium; Gaelic; CPDStepin; Global Citizenship to name but a few.

The icons for these communities are shown here.

In addition, as an individual educator you can also see all your own community activities to date on the CPDMe page This might come in handy at PRD time!

In the new Glow, we would like to see this Share once, see many idea extended to the CPD work done by individuals, establishments, local authorities and national organisations.


  • the option to share items directly with colleagues from your online profile without double entry. A piece of evidence of impact could be shared in the profile, but also appear as part of a school contribution to LA improvement planning and a contribution to a CPD community
  • you profile yourself once and those details are made available to all your school, authority and national communities
  • a local authority CPD community can share a learning and teaching policy (and with the judicious use of tags) make it available to all its own educators but also to supply teachers, probationer teachers, leaders throughout Scotland as it sees fit

In the next post, Con Morris and I will be reflecting on our next (and related!) learning point – Learn locally, share nationally

Your comments would be very much appreciated below!

Catriona Oates