Some more thoughts on closing gaps⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

There is a lot of talk, and action, going on at the moment in the Scottish education system, and others, around the closing of gaps and raising attainment. Indeed, the Scottish Government has directed a lot of resources, in terms of  finance, people and policy to try and address these persistent issues. Just about every school in Scotland started the new school year with extra funding through the Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) provided from Scottish Government direct to headteachers.

Unfortunately, the main criteria being used to allocate much of the funding being allocated is linked to free schools meals entitlement (FSM), and areas identified as having high levels of deprivation through the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). I say unfortunately, because the SIMD results in a 'post-code lottery' allocation to funding, with some areas getting substantial sums of money, whilst others get very little as a result of their rankings. Factors such as income levels, employment, health, education, housing and crime are used to establish a ranking for post-code areas, from the most deprived to the least deprived. There is no doubt that high levels of deprivation exist and are experienced in the areas highlighted by the SIMD. It is equally certain that similar levels of deprivation can be found in just about every other post code. Scottish Government recognises this, and it is highlighted by research, such as that produced by Edward Sosu and Sue Ellis for The Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2014. 'Closing the attainment gap in Scottish education' This means every school, in every area, will have families and learners who are experiencing high levels of deprivation, but these can be 'hidden' in otherwise affluent post-codes. But, the allocation of extra 'raising attainment' funding to schools and local authority areas hardly reflects or acknowledges this, thereby disadvantaging those schools and learners further and contributing to widening of gaps.

The use of FSM entitlement as another criteria for further funding is also problematic. The new PEF funding is heavily linked to FSM, which means as a result just about every school (95% of them according to the Government) has received considerable amounts of funding targeted at the FSM cohort. The problem with that is that often FSM pupils are still attaining and achieving well, whilst others not in receipt of FSM are struggling due to other factors. In their guidelines, the government do say that schools can 'use professional judgement to bring additional children in to targeted interventions.' The problem there is that there might not be enough funding to allow schools to support other learners they can identify, as well as their FSM ones. I am not sure how schools will square the allocation of funding using one criteria with their desire to support other learners identified using different criteria? Again, gaps may be actually widened for some learners if schools are not careful.

In addition, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland have identified a list of 'what is known to be effective at raising attainment' strategies that schools are to seek to employ in spending this extra funding. The approved list includes, early intervention and prevention strategies, social and emotional wellbeing, healthy lifestyles, targeting of literacy and numeracy, promoting high quality learning, differentiated support, using evidence, partnership working and evaluation to monitor impact. There are twelve in total and schools are referred to the  Education Scotland and National Improvement Hub for further information and examples of 'good practice'. There is also an expectation that schools not only develop a plan in consultation for the allocation of these monies, but that they are able to monitor, evaluate, measure and report on the impact of those they employ. Therein lies the rub. The pressure is on to show impact, and quickly, with a thinly veiled threat that if you can't do this, future funding is at risk. Governments do persist in thinking short term and so schools and their leaders are between a rock and a hard place when allocating such funding and being able to demonstrate impact quickly.

I am becoming increasingly aware that the improvement of attendance is becoming one of the key focuses for  schools and local authorities as they plan for how they might use this funding. The argument being that if we can get more of our young people more often, then we will raise attainment and achievement. This is also something schools have readily accessible data on, which can be used to easily show 'impact'. 'Our attendance was sitting at 87%, after intervention it is now 91%.'  This results in money being spent on home-school link workers and more attention given to attendance and 'lates' by senior managers. I am aware of schools that now have a blanket policy of issuing attendance warning letters to parents when attendance falls below 95%, no matter what the reason. This has meant parents who's children have been off ill or in hospital with underlying medical conditions, receiving letters warning them that their child's attendance has fallen below expected levels and will now be monitored, with the threat of further action if the situation does not improve.

I am not saying attendance is not a factor, but I think schools and governments put too much emphasis on its impact, and less the 'why?' of attendance. If we insist applying neo-liberal approaches to education, any 'business' where a significant percentage of 'customers' were voting with their feet, would be looking to change its practices, not blame those 'customers'.

How does such an approach match with the stated desire and policy of developing more effective partnerships and collaborative working with parents? One of the problems with such a blanket approach is that it can take no notice of individual learner and family circumstances. In schools, we generally spend a lot of time getting to really know our learners, their families and the issues they are trying to deal with. Issues that may be impacting on attendance and punctuality, as well as a lot more around mental and physical wellbeing. So many learners and their families are dealing with issues teachers and school leaders have little experience of, and sometimes little empathy. We have to get better at trying to understand differences, and their impacts. Getting heavy-handed over attendance is another strategy that has the potential to widen gaps for many of our most vulnerable learners and families, and to create more barriers between ourselves and those we seek to support.

In addition, perhaps we should ask the question what happens if we get almost 100% attendance but the learning and teaching experiences for our learners do not improve? It is generally accepted that teacher effectiveness is the most important factor in school and system performance, and our ability in schools to close gaps. If that is the case, have we done all we can to ensure the learning experiences we provide are the best they can be, for all our learners? I would suggest we still have a long way to go. There are a lot of excellent teachers working in our schools, I have met them and am the first to defend them. But, there is still too much practice that is not so good and which fails to reach and impact on too many learners. Too much is still generic pedagogy that continues to be delivered, no matter who the learners are in front of the teacher. As I have said in previous posts, we need teachers with high levels of agency and adaptive expertise, who adjust their teaching and the learning in response to their context and the learners' responses. We are not there yet, because still too many teachers, and school leaders, continue with what they have always done, and see no reason to change, instead looking for the learners to change to fit what they do.

Education and schools should not be about command and control. They should be about collaboration and partnership, as everyone comes to see themselves as true life-long learners. Everyone I speak to acknowledges that learners have changed in capacities, aptitudes, attitudes and expectations. We, in education, have to do the same, instead of expecting current learners to change to fit into the systems and structures we have created for past generations of learners. We have talked a lot about the flattening of hierarchies in schools and systems, but how many of these still persist because various elements like where they sit, and their perceived power? In the meantime, nothing changes for teachers and learners, with gaps getting ever wider, and more and more coming to the conclusion that holistic education doesn't really start until you have left school and started living.

I will leave you with two Mark Twain quotes.





Slatan-tomhais Slàinte agus sunnd/Health and wellbeing Benchmarks⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Tha na Slatan-tomhais airson Slàinte agus sunnd a nis ri fhaighinn ann an Gàidhlig aig:

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Pages/Curriculum-for-Excellence-Benchmarks-.aspx

 

The Gaelic version of the Benchmarks for Health and wellbeing are now available at: 

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Pages/Curriculum-for-Excellence-Benchmarks-.aspx

 

Student Engagement with OER at University of Edinburgh⤴

from

Earlier this week Christina Hendricks at UBC put out a call for examples of student engagement with open education and OER.  I was going to reply in comments but as we have lots of great examples of students getting involved with OER at the University of Edinburgh I thought I’d write a short post here.

Together with LTW Director Melissa Highton and Stuart Nicol of Education Design and Engagement, Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) provided the initial impetus for the development of an OER policy at the university.  A short paper presented at OER15 by Melissa, Stuart and Dash Sekhar of EUSA, reported that in 2014

“the EUSA Vice President for Academic Affairs challenged University senior managers to explore how learning materials could be made open, not only for students within the University, but across Scotland and to the wider world.”

Student-led OpenEd and wiping away the open wash by Melissa Highton, Stuart Nicol & Dash Sekhar, OER15.

The result was the University’s OER Policy which was approved by the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee in 2016.

Reproductive Medicine Students, CC BY SA, Ewan McAndrew

The University’s Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew,  has also been instrumental engaging students in the creation of OER through a number of Wikimedia in the Classroom initiatives that have seen students contributing original articles in a number of languages to the world’s largest open educational resource – Wikipedia.  Subjects that have incorporated Wikipedia into their courses include Translation Studies,  World Christianity and Reproductive Medicine.

“It’s about co-operation from the get-go. You can’t post a Wikipedia article and allow no one else to edit it. You are offering something up to the world. You can always come back to it, but you can never make it completely your own again. The beauty of Wikipedia is in groupthink, in the crowd intelligence it facilitates, but this means shared ownership, which can be hard to get your head around at first.”

Reflections on a Wikipedia assignment by Áine Kavanagh

Meteorological Visibility Observations: A User’s Guide, CC BY, James Holehouse

Another course that has been instrumental in engaging students with OER is the Geosciences Outreach and Engagement course. Over the course of two semesters, students undertake an outreach project that communicates some element of the field of GeoSciences outside the university community. Students have the opportunity to work with schools, museums, outdoor centres and community groups to create resources for science engagement including classroom teaching materials, leaflets, websites, smartphone/tablet applications, and presentation materials.

“By taking this course, not only was I, as the student, able to learn about the values and excitement of public engagement with other disciplines, but I also developed a working tool for further scientific engagement for a new audience.”

A call for increased public engagement in geology higher education by Jane Robb in Geology Today, Vol. 29, No. 2.

For the last two years the University has also employed student interns during the summer months as Open Content Curators whose role is to repurpose materials created by staff and students around the University to ensure they can be released under open license and shared in places where they can be found and reused by other teachers and learners, such as TES.  Reflecting on his time as our first Open Content Intern, Martin Tasker wrote

“Open Education is a large part of the reason I’m at Edinburgh studying physics, and I firmly believe that it is one of the keys to widening participation in education in a meaningful way. The proliferation of the internet among all classes in society means that a savvy university can reach those that would previously have had little access to education beyond their school years. And with our work in OERs, we can hopefully feed back some of the expertise of our academics into the classroom, raising the standard of teaching and taking some of the pressure off extremely overworked teachers.”

Wrapping Up: My Time as an Open Content Curator Intern, Martin Tasker

These are just some of the ways in which students at the University of Edinburgh are engaging with open education and OER.  I’m sure there are many more around the University that I have yet to discover!  Further information about many of the University’s OER initiatives is available from Open.Ed.

New term with nowhere to go, but still lots to do⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Well, this is strange. The new school year has begun in Scotland, but for the first time in twenty five years I am not part of it. Having stepped down from my role as headteacher of two schools in April, I am having to reconsider my daily routines and activity, in a way I have not had to do throughout my career in schools. As a teacher or school leader, so much of your time allocation is determined by your role. Not only that, those roles are so demanding, that it can be difficult to create the time for yourself and your personal aspirations and interests. The way I managed to achieve this, to some extent, was to combine my professional role with my personal aspirations and interests. Easier to do, when you love your work.

My first term being out of school, had been filled with completing my forthcoming book, 'Practitioner Enquiry: Professional Development with Impact for Teachers, Schools and Systems', which as the title suggests looks at practitioner enquiry and professional development. That allowed, or rather forced, me to develop a new daily routine of dedicating my mornings to writing. Afternoons were dominated by walking my daughter's dog, playing a bit of golf and basically doing whatever I wished, till my wife got  back from her own work. There's a lot to be said for it!

Of course, I should add that I also did all the household chores, that I had never found time for before, and usually completed them before I started writing each morning, as I was, and am still, waking and getting up at the same time I did when I was in school. So, I now sorted dishes, hoovering, washing, ironing and gardening into my new routines and 'freedom'. I must confess I quite enjoy these, now that my time and mind is not under the pressure it was previously as a school leader. My wife wants me to develop my culinary skills, so that she has even less to do. But, I am resisting that at the moment.

Now the book is finished and off to the publishers. There are still some administrative and editorial tasks to do, associated with the book and its publication, but generally I am back to trying to find time for all the things I still want, and need, to do.

The holidays are over in Scotland, including mine. There is still lots for me to do, and to be involved in. I remain professionally curious, and I need to keep my mind and body active. I have to keep myself busy, and I am succeeding in that. Someone asked me about this and I replied, 'I am still busy, but now it is my busy, not someone else's.' There is a big difference.

I still need to write and think. That is a given, so I have to ensure I create the time I require each day to do that. Writing, like most things worth undertaking, only happens and develops by doing it. You have to spend time each day actually writing. If you wait to be inspired, or for when you're in the mood, it just won't happen. I need to write, even if a lot of what I come up with I then discard and throw away. You need the discipline, and time, to sit down most days and just get on with it. I love it, the whole process, so this is not a problem. I have created a new office at home that looks out over the Border hills and fields that surround our village. I can think of worse places to think and write.

This morning's view
                               

My writing consists of this blog, articles for TESS as well as other bits and pieces related to my professional role and experience. I am preparing a few presentations related to the book and professional development, as I am still being asked to speak at various events, and to organisations about my experiences or my thoughts on education and our direction of travel. This is all positive because I still care passionately about schools and education. My formal day-to-day role in school may have ended, but I still want to be involved and contribute in any ways I can. I will be supporting some schools and their leadership with their own development journeys too. Get in touch if you think I can help.

I have always wanted to write fiction too, and now I have the opportunity to do that as well. I am currently working on a story for upper primary, and will have to see how that goes. Whether I produce something that young readers will want to read, time will tell, but what I now have is the opportunity to try something I have always wanted to do, but have never had the time or space to pursue when I was working full time. Watch this space on that one.

For me, maintaining some sort of routine is really important. This provides me with a structure to my days and helps keep me focused on what I am still trying to achieve. When you leave full-time employment, my view is, that this is just another stage in your personal journey. I view it as a positive development and one which finally frees me up to tackle some of the things I have hankered after for some time. I am actually excited by the opportunities that lie ahead over the next year or so.

There is no doubt that I miss the day-to-day working with learners, staff and parents. However, I don't miss the rubbish I had to deal with, both as a teacher and as a school leader, which deflected me from core business, the development of learning and teaching experiences and impacts for all learners. I don't miss the frustrations of working within systems, organisations and structures that at times felt that they were designed and built in a way that worked against everything so many of us were trying to achieve for all our learners. I still take criticism of teachers and schools very personally, as it is only when you have had the privilege to work in them that you understand the commitment and professionalism displayed every day by staff who truly understand the complexity of what they are trying to achieve, and for whom 'sound bites' by politicians, commentators and others just betray the true lack of understanding in those who trot them out.

I remain busy. I also remain committed to defending what should be defended in our schools and system and fighting the imposition of demands on to teachers and schools that will not help or support them nor, most importantly, their learners.

I know next year will start busy and get busier. My own book comes out in January, as does the one being produced for Flip The System UK for whom I have contributed a chapter on teacher agency and accountability. We are planning to get back to Australia again, and I hope I have the time and opportunity to catch up with teaching friends and collaborators whilst there. I have been asked to consider writing another professional book, and I have a few ideas percolating away in my head for what this may be about. I have the time to think about this carefully, before committing myself. I have no doubt I will continue to contribute articles to various publications and, you never know, my golf handicap might start to decrease again, rather than going in the opposite direction. Fore!

New term with nowhere to go, but still lots to do⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Well, this is strange. The new school year has begun in Scotland, but for the first time in twenty five years I am not part of it. Having stepped down from my role as headteacher of two schools in April, I am having to reconsider my daily routines and activity, in a way I have not had to do throughout my career in schools. As a teacher or school leader, so much of your time allocation is determined by your role. Not only that, those roles are so demanding, that it can be difficult to create the time for yourself and your personal aspirations and interests. The way I managed to achieve this, to some extent, was to combine my professional role with my personal aspirations and interests. Easier to do, when you love your work.

My first term being out of school, had been filled with completing my forthcoming book, 'Practitioner Enquiry: Professional Development with Impact for Teachers, Schools and Systems', which as the title suggests looks at practitioner enquiry and professional development. That allowed, or rather forced, me to develop a new daily routine of dedicating my mornings to writing. Afternoons were dominated by walking my daughter's dog, playing a bit of golf and basically doing whatever I wished, till my wife got  back from her own work. There's a lot to be said for it!

Of course, I should add that I also did all the household chores, that I had never found time for before, and usually completed them before I started writing each morning, as I was, and am still, waking and getting up at the same time I did when I was in school. So, I now sorted dishes, hoovering, washing, ironing and gardening into my new routines and 'freedom'. I must confess I quite enjoy these, now that my time and mind is not under the pressure it was previously as a school leader. My wife wants me to develop my culinary skills, so that she has even less to do. But, I am resisting that at the moment.

Now the book is finished and off to the publishers. There are still some administrative and editorial tasks to do, associated with the book and its publication, but generally I am back to trying to find time for all the things I still want, and need, to do.

The holidays are over in Scotland, including mine. There is still lots for me to do, and to be involved in. I remain professionally curious, and I need to keep my mind and body active. I have to keep myself busy, and I am succeeding in that. Someone asked me about this and I replied, 'I am still busy, but now it is my busy, not someone else's.' There is a big difference.

I still need to write and think. That is a given, so I have to ensure I create the time I require each day to do that. Writing, like most things worth undertaking, only happens and develops by doing it. You have to spend time each day actually writing. If you wait to be inspired, or for when you're in the mood, it just won't happen. I need to write, even if a lot of what I come up with I then discard and throw away. You need the discipline, and time, to sit down most days and just get on with it. I love it, the whole process, so this is not a problem. I have created a new office at home that looks out over the Border hills and fields that surround our village. I can think of worse places to think and write.

This morning's view
                               

My writing consists of this blog, articles for TESS as well as other bits and pieces related to my professional role and experience. I am preparing a few presentations related to the book and professional development, as I am still being asked to speak at various events, and to organisations about my experiences or my thoughts on education and our direction of travel. This is all positive because I still care passionately about schools and education. My formal day-to-day role in school may have ended, but I still want to be involved and contribute in any ways I can. I will be supporting some schools and their leadership with their own development journeys too. Get in touch if you think I can help.

I have always wanted to write fiction too, and now I have the opportunity to do that as well. I am currently working on a story for upper primary, and will have to see how that goes. Whether I produce something that young readers will want to read, time will tell, but what I now have is the opportunity to try something I have always wanted to do, but have never had the time or space to pursue when I was working full time. Watch this space on that one.

For me, maintaining some sort of routine is really important. This provides me with a structure to my days and helps keep me focused on what I am still trying to achieve. When you leave full-time employment, my view is, that this is just another stage in your personal journey. I view it as a positive development and one which finally frees me up to tackle some of the things I have hankered after for some time. I am actually excited by the opportunities that lie ahead over the next year or so.

There is no doubt that I miss the day-to-day working with learners, staff and parents. However, I don't miss the rubbish I had to deal with, both as a teacher and as a school leader, which deflected me from core business, the development of learning and teaching experiences and impacts for all learners. I don't miss the frustrations of working within systems, organisations and structures that at times felt that they were designed and built in a way that worked against everything so many of us were trying to achieve for all our learners. I still take criticism of teachers and schools very personally, as it is only when you have had the privilege to work in them that you understand the commitment and professionalism displayed every day by staff who truly understand the complexity of what they are trying to achieve, and for whom 'sound bites' by politicians, commentators and others just betray the true lack of understanding in those who trot them out.

I remain busy. I also remain committed to defending what should be defended in our schools and system and fighting the imposition of demands on to teachers and schools that will not help or support them nor, most importantly, their learners.

I know next year will start busy and get busier. My own book comes out in January, as does the one being produced for Flip The System UK for whom I have contributed a chapter on teacher agency and accountability. We are planning to get back to Australia again, and I hope I have the time and opportunity to catch up with teaching friends and collaborators whilst there. I have been asked to consider writing another professional book, and I have a few ideas percolating away in my head for what this may be about. I have the time to think about this carefully, before committing myself. I have no doubt I will continue to contribute articles to various publications and, you never know, my golf handicap might start to decrease again, rather than going in the opposite direction. Fore!

Re: Chris Aldrich on making the IndieWeb easier for Generation 2 users?⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

I'm curious what, if anything, you all think that the IndieWeb as a community could do or do better to make things easier for Generation 2 users? by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (Chris Aldrich)

Hi Chris,
I am not sure there is much that the IndieWeb as a community can do more that the amazing efforts that are going on at the moment.

This reply turns out to be a bit of a ramble…

I think at this stage of the development of IndieWeb there is bound to be friction for new users.

I am certainly aware that some of my posts must sound like ungrateful whining (this is hard, I don’t understand, I am so confused…) hopefully if seen in the round some enthusiasm for the IndieWeb will shine through.

I doubt very much I can really add much to what the indieweb community already understands what they need to do. A stroll through Chris’s #indieweb channel makes that pretty clear.

Even in the short time I’ve been attempting to implement some of the principles here it has become simpler. I started with sempress at the end of 2014 but didn’t really take it much further although I read a bit and installed known.

It took micro.blog where I began to see the effects of webmentions from more than tweets to accelerate my interest.

Even in the short time micro.blog has been around the process has improved. The WordPress plugins seem much improved.

From my POV there seems to be several possible sticking points.

philosophy

I’ve instinctively alway enjoyed the idea of owning my own online space. This was backed up with an understanding of the Domain of one’s own idea through #DS106. This took a long time to think through, often with practical experience (posterous). We are really just scratching the surface of being online and everything that this brings with it, many folk will just not be interested in owning their own space.

In the U.K. there is a strong culture of home ownership compared to, say, Germany where renting is more popular it might be worth exploring the cultural reasons for decisions made between owning and renting.

learning

I’ve approached the IndieWeb from the same angle as I’ve taken to other technologies. I poke about a bit, try things out, change parameters and avoid reading instructions unless I am stuck. When stuck I search feather than read from the start. I am more likely to read a blog post that a manual. This method works well up to a point. With something that is a complex in both principal and execution as the indieweb I think it has some drawbacks. I’ve headed the wrong way a few times.

Engaging with members of the indieweb community is a really marvellous way to make progress. I didn’t really find my way into that until I used micro.blog.

The manual is pretty good, but there is a lot to understand.

Getting Started on WordPress is great too.

Perhaps shorter how-toos that don’t link off too much might and have a smaller scope might help generation 2 & 3? I am not the best person to judge this.

Some friction comes with the power. Especially if you have already got a blog, workflows etc going. I’ve found quite a few assumptions I had were slightly wrong.

nuts and bolts and choices

One of the difficulties that I found is that there are several ways to do most things. This is of course good, but can be confusing.

For example:

I had jetpack publishing my posts to twitter. When I started using micro.blog I took up a subscription for posting to Twitter, to see how it went and to pay something for the service.

I really like the way micro.blog posts images to Twitter, they look good, but they do not get webmentions in the same way other posts that go to twitter do.

I don’t like the way likes and replies that are posted on my blog are displayed on twitter. They include the Twitter card from my post and look like there should be some blog content behind them. This is fine for a article or longer note but doesn’t really work for replies or like. I guess I’ve not fully worked out how things are happening. Possibly I need to adjust the posts length or titles. I also dislike the way a quote at the start of the post can look as if it is my content rather than the person quoted.

I do like the way Chris’s replies are cross posted to Twitter. The look pretty much like normal replies except they are posted from his blog.

I wonder if using the bridgy publish plugin to send out my posts to twitter would be better.

This is just one example of a process I am, if not struggling with, am in the process of resolving. For me the process is interesting and certainly worth going through, I can see why some folk would not bother for the sake of owning a tweet.

All of this is harder than using a silo.

As I’ve tried the odd reply, like and bookmark here, I’ve had to slow down a bit. For replies at least this might be seen as an advantage. Moving toward a slow web avoiding this: You like my like of your like of my status on Vimeo.

Something’s I’ve decided, at the moment at least, to leave in silos, I like flickr, love it’s api and have the originals locally. My Videos on YouTube are mostly throwaway and I don’t think I could afford to host. They can wait while I slowly deal with what are more interesting issues to me.

This will probably not help Chris but it did help me realise that I’ve made some progress, enjoyed it and will continue. I don’t need to build my space in a day.

Finally I wonder how Chris replies to several people at once? I guess it is a known feature.

A last though, as I click Publish, will this end up as a comment on Chris’s post? How will it look on twitter, on micro.blog, I can’t say I am wholly confident that I know!

Key Performance Indicators for OER⤴

from

One of the things I’ll be looking into as part of my new role is key performance indicators for open educational resources.  At the University of Edinburgh we have a Vision and Policy for OER that encourages staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience, enrich the University and the sector, showcase the highest quality learning and teaching, and make a significant collection of unique learning materials available to Scotland and the world.

Staff and students at the university are already making open educational resources available through a range of channels including Open.Ed, Media Hopper, TES, SketchFab, Youtube, Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, and there are a number of initiatives ongoing that promote and support the creation of OER including 23Things, Board Game Jam, various MOOC projects, our Wikimedian in Residence programme and others.

So how do we develop meaningful key performance indicators to measure and assess the success of these initiatives?

Quantitative indicators are relatively simple to measure in terms of OER produced. It’s not difficult to gather web stats for page views and downloads from the various platforms used to host and disseminate our OERs.  For example our open educational resources on TES have been viewed over 2,000 times, and downloaded 934 times, a Wikipedia article on Mary Susan MacIntosh, created during a UoE editathon for International Women’s Day has had 9,030 page views, and UoE MOOCs have reached two and a quarter million learners.

Measuring OER reuse, even within the institution, is much less straightforward.  To get an of idea of where and how OERs are being reused you need to track the resources. This isn’t necessarily difficult to do, Cetis did some research on technical approaches for OER tracking during the UKOER Programme, but it does raise some interesting ethical issues,  We also discovered during our UKOER research that once authors create OER and release them into the wild, they tend not to be motivated to collect data on their reuse, even when actively encouraged.

There is also the issue of what actually constitutes re-use.  Often reuse isn’t as straightforward as taking an OER, adapting is and incorporating it into your course materials.  Reuse is often more subtle than that.  For example, if you are inspired by an idea, a concept or an activity you ome across in an OER, but you don’t actually download and use the resource itself, does that constitute reuse?  And if it does, how do we create KPIs to measure such reuse?  Can it even be measured in a meaningful way?

And then there’s the issue of qualitative indicators and measuring impact.  How do we assess whether our OERs really are enhancing the quality of the student experience and enriching the University and the sector?  One way to gather qualitative information is to go out and talk to people and we already have some great testimonies from UoE students who have engaged with UoE OER internships and Wikimedia in the Classroom projects. Another way to measure impact is to look beyond the institution, so for example 23 Things lornwas awarded the LILAC Credo Digital Literacy Award 2017 and has also been adapted and adopted by the Scottish Social Services Council, and the aforementioned article on Mary Susan McIntosh featured on the front page of English Wikipedia.

I know many other institutions and organisations have grappled with the issue of how to measure the impact of open education and OER.  In the US, where OER often equates to open textbooks, the focus tends to be on cost savings for students, however this is not a particularly useful measure in UK HE where course are less reliant on astronomically priced texbooks.  So what indicators can we use to measure OER performance?  I’d be really interested to hear how other people have approached this challenge, so if you have any comments or suggestions please do let me know.  Thanks!

Standard Measures, CC BY SA 2.0, Neil Cummings, https://flic.kr/p/aH8CPV

“Everybody involved, nobody left out”⤴

from @ Reach

Nobody likes being left out at school. Whether it’s not getting the chance to join in with activities in the classroom, playground or sports field, feeling excluded or unsupported is just SO not what anyone needs.

The good news is that young people called the Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are on a mission to help schools think about how they can become more inclusive. They recently met up with Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney to have their say about how important it is that ALL pupils – whatever their age, background, or support need – feel included in school.

Talking about what inclusion means to them and how to make sure pupils feel safe, accepted, and treated equally, the Young Ambassadors shared what matters to them the most:

“Everybody being included in education regardless of need”

“Making it easy for pupils to ask for help and offer the right support”

“Not being defined by any difficulties you have”

The young people thought that it was really important for schools to make sure that everyone understands and has a positive attitude about support needs like disabilities and mental health issues:

“Whole school awareness of additional support needs can support much better understanding and reduce stigma and isolation”.

And by ‘everyone’, the Ambassadors meant not just the pupils but the teachers as well – they told the Education Minister they think that all teachers should have training on inclusion and the different types of support needs pupils may have and how this might affect them in school.

“When staff have an understanding of different additional support needs and can understand certain behaviours, it helps them understand why young people may act in a particular way”

They had some good ideas for how to raise awareness, like holding pupil conferences, taking part in national awareness weeks, putting on school assemblies led by pupils, or developing awareness raising days about specific issues such as mental health or being LGBT.

The Inclusion Ambassadors said that it was really important for schools to make sure pupils with support needs had the same chance as other pupils to have a say in decisions:

“If school don’t support you to try things how will we ever get the chance?”

 “Support staff have ideas of what young people are good at or not good at. Don’t make assumptions.”

We need to create positive stories about pupils with additional support needs rather than focus on the negatives.”

Summing it all up perfectly one Ambassador told John Swinney:

“We want to be seen as individuals with our set of unique strengths and skills. 

So what next for the Inclusion Ambassadors?

After the success of their meeting with the Deputy First Minister, the Inclusion Ambassadors are creating a pledge that schools can use to show they are committed to inclusion. They are also going to make a support pack and short film for schools to raise awareness of inclusion and how important it is to listen to young people’s views.

 

 

The post “Everybody involved, nobody left out” appeared first on Reach.

Real results.⤴

from

30 years ago today I turned 18. I cried for most of the morning. 30 years ago to the day, I also received my A Level results and “only” got 2 As and a B so was not going to be accepted into my chosen university.
The tears were related to the results and not the birthday, which should have been a day of celebration and joy.

Of course, I had done incredibly well. But I felt a failure. The system of exams and university entrance, so divisive and narrow in its definition of “success” and “intelligence”, had led me to equate value with being able to do well in exams.
No matter that I was a good, kind person, a creative and talented singer and actor and a deep but slightly chaotic thinker.
In the end, I got a place by re-applying the following year. But the experience having “failed” on the basis of a few hours sitting in a stuffy hall and spewing out all I could remember about French, German and Politics hit me hard.

So reading this fabulous piece this week makes me wonder what on earth we are thinking and doing, thirty years on from my results day:
https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/after-sitting-28-gcse-papers-four-weeks-i-was-left-thinking-what-was

Having worked in education for over twenty-five years, I have seen attempts to challenge the system come and go:
Vocational GCSEs;
The revival of Drama and other creative subjects in the noughties;
The accreditation of work experience;
The inclusion of Key Skills in A and AS levels;
The attempt by organisations like the RSA to promote the value skills-based qualifications.

And in Scotland, where I now work, the creation of a new Curriculum For Excellence qualifications system that allows pupils to be assessed without an exam.

But what are we doing in Scotland? We are talking about re-introducing the exam into our National 4 (lower tier GCSE equivalent) as seemingly people don’t value it without one.

In fact, all that needs to happen is that we need to do the PR better. Pupils, parents and the universities need to be persuaded that exams are only one way of assessing pupils, alongside many other equally valid methods.

Exams are indeed often a memory test. And they are easy to administer and mark.
But let’s not pretend that easy is best for our children or for the future of our country.

When I go in tomorrow for our first day of term and ask my colleagues to analyse our exam results, I will be just as interested in the non-exam results; in the non-examined National 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s.
But I will also be keen to hear the narrative around each child and to reflect on how well we have supported them in their journey to become educated and achieving in the broadest sense; to be happy, healthy and doing the best they can.

 


Self indulgence⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 1 minute

My social media and news feeds are full of angry white racists.

3 good things:

1. Calling it like it is:

2. Remembering the origins of this time of year:

In 1947, after the devastation of World War II, the founding vision was to reunite people through great art and “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”. In these historic early moments, people overcame the post-war darkness, division and austerity in a blooming of Festival Spirit.

(http://70years.eif.co.uk/)

“The International Festival would focus on common ground, on undisputed greatness and in so doing would make itself a safe place to come together. This was most symbolically achieved with the reuniting of Jewish conductor Bruno Walter with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.”

(https://www.eif.co.uk/70th-anniversary)

3. Positive challenges from our students:

“LiberatEd is an initiative created by Edinburgh University Students’ Association and led by Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), Disabled, LGBT+ and Women students from across the University, aimed at challenging the academic establishment to become more diverse, more inclusive, and more critical of historically dominant narratives.”

(https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/representation/campaigns/academic/liberated/)

…and another thing