Aberdeenshire Council’s Work Placement Unit Newsletter 2018⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

The latest newsletter on Work Placements has been released by Aberdeenshire Council providing an overview of the breath and depth of the developments in the authority.  This includes case studies from schools, the experiences and perspectives of employers  as well as accounts of learners participating in a wide variety of work-based learning opportunities.

Find out more about Aberdeenshire’s offers and achievements by accessing the Workplace Newsletter 2018 Final.

African aims for a Free Trade Zone⤴

from @ Mr McGowan's Learning Blog

Great news from the continent of Africa. The 1.2 billion people who live there (with the exception of Nigeria who have withdrawn at the last moment) plan to create a Free Trade Zone similar to the EU Single Market. The economic impact and benefits to the diverse and varying countries could signal a shift towards raising the standard of living.




Social Enterprise Opportunity⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

In support of Year of Young People 2018, Historic Environment Scotland and Social Enterprise Academy have launched a new opportunity for schools and social enterprises, aimed at inspiring young entrepreneurs and promoting Gaelic language. For more information contact kathleen.mclaughlin@hes.scot.

Challenge questions to support improvement⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

We have updated the Advice on Gaelic Education to reflect some recent changes to the 1+2 policy. This change enables children to continue with L3, as they move from primary to secondary, if schools are able to demonstrate that children’s achievements are “approaching the second level”.  We have included challenge questions, matched to the quality indicators, to support self-evaluation for self-improvement.

This section of the Advice is available here:


There is also an earlier blog entry which may be useful to read.

New figures on higher education students at Scottish institutions⤴

from @ Engage for Education

New figures have been published today by the Scottish Funding Council examining the higher education sector in Scotland in 2016-17.

Read the key points from the publication:

Commenting on the figures, Further and Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“It is welcome to see in these latest statistics that we have a record number of post-graduate students and increases in both part-time and older learners.

“This Government is determined to make higher education as accessible as possible to everyone in Scotland. We recognise the importance of post-graduate study and providing the opportunities for people to get a higher education qualification later in life. That is why we are enabling even more people to study for a postgraduate qualification in the coming years by expanding access to tuition fee loans and living cost loans to students studying by distance learning.

“What these figures show is that the higher education sector in this country is continuing to go from strength to strength, with colleges playing a vital role in the delivery of many higher education courses across Scotland.”

The post New figures on higher education students at Scottish institutions appeared first on Engage for Education.

Stop-motion animation with Stikbot iPad app in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Stop-motion animation creation by pupils in a classroom is an engaging way for learners to demonstrate their learning.

Whether that’s showing the steps in the processes involved in a numerical calculation (from something as simple as showing the story of 5 for young learners, or how to do long division to more complex mathematical equations); or to illustrate a short text (whether poem or story); or to illustrate a phenomenon in science or an experiment (such as showing the water cycle or life cycle of a butterfly).

Learners spending time breaking down what they are learning into stop-motion animation frames gives time for reflection and to help both deepen understanding as they work with others, conversing and collaborating to seek to show the essence of their learning in moving images.

The Sway below gives a step by step guide to using the free Stikbot stop-motion animation iPad app (also available for iPhone and Google Android phones or tablets), including illustrations of how it can be used in the classroom.




Broughton High School students’ social enterprise units the community over a cuppa and some cake⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

BRO Enterprise is a social enterprise and cooperative which aims to look at ways to tackle social isolation and loneliness in the community by bringing people together to enjoy a cup of tea and a cake, and to have fun together through crafts and interactive reading activities

Students of Broughton High School have created a safe and welcoming space featuring a community café and intergenerational workshops where everyone is welcome. Established in late November 2017, the enterprise has been running each Friday afternoon and boasts a growing customer base of café regulars and workshop participants from early years to the golden agers. A recent partnership with the Cyrenians Fareshare movement enables the enterprise to provide very low cost and healthy home-made soups and baking. Natalia’s red velvet cake is a definite favourite.

The social enterprise has been a really positive movement in our school.

Learners have real opportunities to become effective contributors and responsible, caring citizens who feel empowered to bring about change within their community. Students are developing skills for work and life in addition to building confidence and creativity. They plan and lead the interactive workshops, create the activities and resources and manage the running of the café. Already, we see that working closely with our community is helping to build a stronger and more caring society.

Each week we provide workshops for people of all ages. We might have an eighty year old making playdough with a seven year olds, or a whole room reading together with props and mimes.

Contested curricula: MBAs past, present and future⤴

from @ Stuart Allan

I wrote a version of this post as the introduction to a research proposal that I’m putting together. Among other things I’m hoping that my research will show how, through curriculum redesign supported by innovative use of pedagogy and digital technologies, business-school education can be realigned with the changing needs of students and society. Anyway, I’m sharing it here as a way to record my thoughts and in case it’s useful to others.

We have built a weird, almost unimaginable design for MBA-level education. We then lay it upon well-proportioned young men and women, distorting them (when we are unlucky enough to succeed) into critters with lopsided brains, icy hearts, and shrunken souls. (Leavitt 1989, p. 39)

Since their inception, business schools’ curricula and the graduates they produce have been the subjects of heated debate. As the first business schools spread across the USA in the early 20th century, critics argued that subject coverage and teaching methods were at a vocational level and not grounded in research, leading to claims that they lacked academic credibility. In response, many schools began emphasising more quantitative, analytical approaches to education, and making greater use of statistical modelling and ‘rational planning’ approaches to strategy, thereby aligning themselves with more established faculties such as mathematics, economics and engineering.

These measures established business schools’ credibility and increased the demand for their provision for almost a century; however, by the early 21st century MBA curricula were being critiqued again for de-privileging many of the skills that contemporary managers needed in practice. These criticisms reached something of a crescendo when business-school graduates (and by extension the schools themselves) were seen by many to be complicit in the global financial crisis of 2008.

The literature on the perceived shortcomings of the MBA is now considerable in both breadth and depth, but consensus seems to be emerging around some of the capabilities that managers need but MBAs typically fail to deliver. These include leadership, self-awareness, change management, interpersonal and communication skills, innovation and creativity, and the ability to solve complex problems by integrating the disciplines. Moreover, there is some evidence that these missing capabilities are the very skills that are most likely to determine graduates’ future career success.

Perhaps even more seriously, there are accusations that business schools are failing to develop graduates who possess an understanding of the moral and ethical dimensions of business: critics say that many MBA graduates are detached, driven by self-interest, and lacking in both empathy and leadership skills. In particular, ethics, sustainability and social responsibility are seen as being either absent from MBA curricula or not meaningfully inscribed into practice. This situation has led to demands that business schools re-examine their curricula and the assumptions that underpin them, and even ask themselves why they exist at all.

Meanwhile, many business schools are seen as being too slow to embrace the complexities of digital technologies, both in terms of their implications for practice and in terms of how programmes are designed and delivered:

[Business] schools remain desperately slow to embrace the digital world. Strong brands have enabled them to escape the implications of this, but they are likely to be found out as online courses become ever-more accepted and sophisticated. (Crainer 2015, p. 48).

Almost three decades on, Leavitt’s plaintive cry about lopsided brains, icy hearts and shrunken souls still seems to echo – unheard – through business schools. However, for schools that are perhaps smaller and more agile, there seems to be an opportunity to reposition themselves ahead of more established institutions that have been slower to embrace change.

Here are some of the questions that business schools might wish to consider as they think about their curricula, and particularly how they approach their online programmes:

  • What processes are required so that a dialogue can be established between schools’ curricula and the needs of students and businesses over the long term?
  • What academic, technical and administrative infrastructure is required in order to support online education that aligns with these needs while operating on a global scale?
  • How can business schools leverage the potential of global communities of online learners to meet educational goals, develop highly skilled graduates and inform future curriculum development?
  • How do business schools assess students in ways that are appropriate to complex and ever-changing learning outcomes, while operating at scale and protecting assessment validity?
  • To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the MBA appear to be greatly exaggerated. But do business schools need to shift at least some of their emphasis (and their resources) from the MBA to other qualifications, such as hyper-specialist MScs or micro-credentialing for business?


I’ve removed most of the citations to avoid interrupting the flow too much here, but some of the main works that informed this post are:

Crainer S. (2015) ‘MBAs: facing the future’, Business Life, October 2015, pp. 44–48.

Glen R., Suciu C. and Baughn C. (2014) The need for design thinking in business schools. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 13 (4), 653–667.

Laud R.L. and Johnson M.S. (2013) Progress and regress in the MBA curriculum: the career and practice skills gap. Organization Management Journal, 10 (1), 24–35.

Leavitt H.J. (1989) Educating our MBAs: on teaching what we haven’t taught. California Management Review, 31 (3), 38–50.

A short post -So what exactly are we developing on development days?⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

Here’s where I am on teacher education after nineteen years of teaching.

If you have, on average, six Development Days every year, and those last, let’s say, six hours each  at a conservative estimate. That’s thirty six hours of development time every year. If a school has one hundred teachers, which is not unheard of, then that adds up to, unless I’m worse at Maths than I thought, 3600 hours of development time. Imagine what we could achieve if all of those hours were focused on improving pedagogy which directly improved the education of our children, instead of meaningless processes of management speak.

Looking back at how much of my development time over those nineteen years has been wasted with comically time-wasting processes, box-ticking and time-serving, passively sitting in front of forty pages of someone’s Powerpoint presentation, is it any wonder that we become passive in our approach to Development Days?