St Andrew’s Day⤴

from

Today is St Andrew’s Day, Scottish feast day of Andrew the Apostle. no day off for me, as although it’s a Bank Holiday, institutions are not obliged to honour it (boo!).

The Daily Create today asks us to use an online video generator to show What Might Obama Say About The Daily Create? I am not sure that my attempt is particularly successful, but here he is reciting the last stanza of Burns’ Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation.

And here’s the poem in full:

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam’d in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro’ many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor’s wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour’s station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till m

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam’d in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro’ many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor’s wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour’s station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I’ll mak this declaration;
We’re bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Being Alive⤴

from @ lenabellina

Just around about 30 years ago my life changed. Up until that point I had been muddling through, not really knowing what the point was or what my place in the world was.

In the many years since, I’ve come to realise that I was a young woman with ADHD. Back then, however, I just felt like a misfit, someone who did not quite fit the mould and who always seemed to be slightly on the outside and different to others.

Something I had always known was that I felt better when I was involved in creative activities with others. Throughout school and my university years, being in a play, or particularly a musical, was the thing that gave me energy and a sense of being alive.

At my darkest times, after I had left home at the age of 18 and fallen into the depths of anorexia, not even music and drama could rekindle the spark inside me.

But then gradually I managed to find my way back to performing, always as an amateur and never going on to “make it” in the way I might of dreamed of. My mum once said to me that I’m always happiest when I’m involved in a play and I’m sure it’s for this reason that I turned to drama teaching and have, apart from during the last three years always had a production on the go, either as the director of a school or youth group, or as a performer.

But nothing will ever compare to the production that I had the immense privilege to be involved in at the end of my time studying at university.

A young director took a chance on me, casting me in the role of Mrs Lovett in a student production of Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim.

I can’t exactly put into words why that experience was as deeply influential on me as it was. But I know that it is down to the genius of Stephen Sondheim, in creating a vehicle for humans to come together and experience the sublime act of exploring their existence through music, drama and intense emotional connection.

A light has gone out in the world this week.

But those who have been taken from darkness by that light have a duty to ignite another candle and share Sondheim’s legacy into the future. Because being truly alive is what every single one of us deserves.

A Culture of Sharing: Strategic Support for OER at the University of Edinburgh⤴

from

Many thanks to P-8 Digital Skills Project “Strengthening Digital Skills in Teaching”, ETH Zürich and ZHAW for inviting me to speak at their OER Conference 21. Slides and transcript of my talk, which highlights the work of Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, GeoScience Outreach students and Open Content Curation Interns, are available here.

Before we get started I just want to quickly recap what we mean when we talk about open education and OER.

The principles of open education were outlined in the 2008 Cape Town Declaration, one of the first initiatives to lay the foundations of the “emerging open education movement”. The Declaration advocates that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, and redistribute educational resources without constraint, in order to nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.  The Cape Town Declaration is still an influential document that was updated on its 10th anniversary as Capetown +10, and I can highly recommend having a look at this if you want a broad overview of the principles of open education.

There are numerous definitions and interpretations of Open Education, some of which you can explore here.

One description of the open education movement that I particularly like is from the not for profit organization  OER Commons…

“The worldwide OER movement is rooted in the human right to access high-quality education. The Open Education Movement is not just about cost savings and easy access to openly licensed content; it’s about participation and co-creation.”

Though Open Education can encompass many different things, open educational resources, or OER, are central to any understanding of this domain.

UNESCO define open educational resources as

“teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”

And you’ll see that this definition encompasses a very wide class of resources, pretty much anything that can be used in the context of teaching and learning, as long as it is in the public domain or has been released under an open licence.

This definition is taken from the UNESCO Recommendation on OER, which aims to facilitate international cooperation to support the creation, use and adaptation of inclusive and quality OER.  The Recommendation states that

“in building inclusive Knowledge Societies, Open Educational Resources (OER) can support quality education that is equitable, inclusive, open and participatory as well as enhancing academic freedom and professional autonomy of teachers by widening the scope of materials available for teaching and learning.”

Central to the Recommendation, is the acknowledgement of the role that OER can play in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and particularly Sustainable Development Goal 4: to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

OER at the University of Edinburgh

Here at the University of Edinburgh, we believe that open education and the creation of open knowledge and open educational resources, are fully in keeping with our institutional vision, purpose and values, to discover knowledge and make the world a better place, while ensuring that our teaching and research is diverse, inclusive, accessible to all and relevant to society.  The University’s vision for OER is very much the brain child of Dr Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Online Learning and Director of Learning and Teaching Web Services. Our student union were also instrumental in encouraging the University to support OER, and we continue to see student engagement and co-creation as being fundamental aspects of open education. This commitment to OER is more important now than ever, at a time of crisis and social change, when we are emerging from a global pandemic that has disrupted education for millions, and we’re embracing new models and approaches to teaching and learning.  

OER Policy

In order to support open education and the creation and use of OER, the University has an Open Educational Resources Policy, which was first approved by our Education Committee in 2016 and reviewed and updated earlier this year.  Our new policy has adopted the UNESCO definition of OER, and the update also brings the policy in line with our Lecture Recording and Virtual Classroom Policies. The policy itself has been shared under open licence and is available to download along with several of our other teaching and learning policies.

As one of the few universities in the UK with a formal OER policy, this new policy strengthens Edinburgh’s position as a leader in open education and reiterates our commitment to openness and achieving the aims of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which the University is committed to through the SDG Accord. 

It’s important to be aware that our OER Policy is informative and permissive. It doesn’t tell colleagues what they must do, instead its aim is to encourage staff and students to engage with open education and to make informed decisions about using, creating and publishing OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience, expand provision of learning opportunities, and enrich our shared knowledge commons. Investing in OER and open licensing also helps to improve the sustainability and longevity of our educational resources, while encouraging colleagues to reuse and repurpose existing open materials expands the pool of teaching and learning resources and helps to diversify the curriculum. 

OER Service

In order to support our OER Policy we have a central OER Service, based in Information Services Group, that provides staff and students with advice and guidance on creating and using OER and engaging with open education. The service runs a programme of digital skills workshops and events focused on copyright literacy, open licencing, OER and playful engagement.  We offer support directly to Schools and Colleges, work closely with the University’s Wikimedian in Residence, and employ student interns in a range of different roles, including Open Content Curation interns.  The OER Service also places openness at the centre of the university’s strategic learning technology initiatives including lecture recording, academic blogging, VLE foundations, MOOCs and distance learning at scale, in order to build sustainability and minimise the risk of copyright debt.

And we also manage Open.Ed a one stop shop that provides access to open educational resources produced by staff and students across the university. We don’t have is a single central OER Repository as we know from experience that they are often unsustainable, and it can be difficult to encourage engagement.  Instead, our policy recommends that OERs are shared in an appropriate repository or public-access website in order to maximise their discovery and use by others. The OER Service provides access to many channels for this purpose on both University and commercial services, and we aggregate a show case of Edinburgh’s OERs on the Open.Ed website.

We don’t have is a formal peer review system for open educational resources.  The review process that different materials will undergo will depend on the nature of the resources themselves. So for example we trust our academic staff to maintain the quality of their own teaching materials. Resources created for MOOCs in collaboration with our Online Course Production Service, will be reviewed by teams of academic experts. OERs created by students in the course of curriculum assignments will be formally assessed by their tutors and peers.  And if these resources are shared in public repositories such as our GeoScience Outreach OERs, which I’ll come on to say more about later, they may also undergo a second review process by our Open Content Curation Interns to ensure all third-party content is copyright cleared and no rights are being breached.  While open content shared on Wikipedia is open to review by hundreds Wiki admins, thousands of fellow editors, and millions of Wikipedia users.

OER in the Curriculum

As a result of this strategic commitment to OER, we have a wide range of open education practices going on across the University, but what I want to focus on today are some examples of integrating open education into the curriculum, through co-creation and OER assignments.

 Engaging with OER creation through curriculum assignments can help to develop a wide range of core disciplinary competencies and transferable attributes including digital and information literacy skills, writing as public outreach, collaborative working, information synthesis, copyright literacy, critical thinking, source evaluation and data science.

Wikimedia in the Curriculum

One way that colleagues and students have been engaging with open education is by contributing to Wikipedia, the world’s biggest open educational resource and the gateway through which millions of people seek access to knowledge.  The information on Wikipedia reaches far beyond the encyclopaedia itself, by populating other media and influencing Google search returns. Information that is right or wrong or missing on Wikipedia affects the whole internet and the information we consume. Sharing knowledge openly, globally and transparently has never been more important in building understanding, whether about the Covid pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, or other critical issues. And the need for a neutral platform where you can gain access to knowledge online for free has never been more vital in this era of hybrid teaching, remote working, and home schooling.

Working together with the University’s Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, a number of colleagues from schools and colleges across the University have integrated Wikipedia and Wikidata editing assignments into their courses.  Editing Wikipedia provides valuable opportunities for students to develop their digital research and communication skills, and enables them to contribute to the creation and dissemination of open knowledge. Writing articles that will be publicly accessible and live on after the end of their assignment has proved to be highly motivating for students, and provides an incentive for them to think more deeply about their research. It encourages them to ensure they are synthesising all the reliable information available, and to think about how they can communicate their scholarship to a general audience. Students can see that their contribution will benefit the huge audience that consults Wikipedia, plugging gaps in coverage, and bringing to light hidden histories, significant figures, and important concepts and ideas. This makes for a valuable and inspiring teaching and learning experience, that enhances the digital literacy, research and communication skills of both staff and students.

Here’s Dr Glaire Andersen, from Edinburgh College of Art, talking about a Wikipedia assignment that focused on improving articles on Islamic art, science and the occult.

“In a year that brought pervasive systemic injustices into stark relief, our experiment in applying our knowledge outside the classroom gave us a sense that we were creating something positive, something that mattered.

As one student commented, “Really love the Wikipedia project. It feels like my knowledge is actually making a difference in the wider world, if in a small way.”  

Other examples include Global Health Challenges Postgraduate students who collaborate to evaluate short stub Wikipedia articles related to natural or manmade disasters, such as the 2020 Assam floods, and research the topic to improve each article’s coverage.

History students came together to re-examine the legacy of Scotland’s involvement in the TransAtlantic Slave Trade and look at the sources being used in evaluating the contributions of key figures like Henry Dundas but also balancing this against and presenting a more positive view of Black History by creating new pages such as Jesse Ewing Glasgow.

And Reproductive Biology Honours students work in groups to publish new articles on reproductive biomedical terms. Being able to write with a lay audience in mind has been shown to be incredibly useful in science communication and other subjects like the study of law.

And I want to pause for a moment here to let one of our former Reproductive Biology students to speak for herself. This is Senior Honours student Aine Kavanagh talking to our Wikimedian Ewan about her experience of writing a Wikipeda article as part of a classroom assignment in Reproductive Biology in 2016.

And the article that Aine wrote on high-grade serous carcinoma, one of the most common and deadly forms of ovarian cancer, which includes 60 references, and diagrams created by Aine herself, has now been viewed over 130,000 times. It’s hard to imagine another piece of undergraduate coursework having this kind of global impact.

Last year, in collaboration with Wikimedia UK, the UK chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, our Wikimedian co-authored the first ever booklet dedicated to UK case studies of Wikimedia in Education which you can download under open licence here.   Also many of the resources Ewan has created during his residency, including editing guides and inspiring student testimonies, are freely and openly available and you can explore them here.

Open Education and Co-creation – GeoScience Outreach

Another important benefit of open education is that it helps to facilitate the co-creation of knowledge and understanding.  Co-creation can be described as student led collaborative initiatives, often developed in partnership with teachers or other bodies outwith the institution, that lead to the development of shared outputs.  A key feature of co-creation is that is must be based on equal partnerships between teachers and students and “relationships that foster respect, reciprocity, and shared responsibility.”

One successful example of open education and co-creation in the curriculum is the Geosciences Outreach Course.  This optional project-based course for final year Honours and taught Masters students, has been running for a number of years and attracts students from a range of degree programmes including Geology, Ecological and Environmental Sciences, Geophysics, Geography, Archaeology and Physics.   Over the course of two semesters, students design and undertake an outreach project that communicates some element of their field.  Students have an opportunity to work with a wide range of clients including schools, museums, outdoor centres, science centres, and community groups, to design and deliver resources for STEM engagement. These resources can include classroom teaching materials, websites, community events, presentations, and materials for museums and visitor centres. Students may work on project ideas suggested by the client, but they are also encouraged to develop their own ideas. Project work is led independently by the student and supervised and mentored by the course team and the client.

 This approach delivers significant benefits not just to students and staff, but also to the clients and the University.  Students have the opportunity to work in new and challenging environments, acquiring a range of transferable skills that enhance their employability.  Staff and postgraduate tutors benefit from disseminating and communicating their work to wider audiences, adding value to their teaching and funded research programmes, supporting knowledge exchange and wider dissemination of scientific research.  The client gains a product that can be reused and redeveloped, and knowledge and understanding of a wide range of scientific topics is disseminated to learners, schools and the general public. The University benefits by embedding community engagement in the curriculum, promoting collaboration and interdisciplinarity, and forging relationships with clients.

The Geosciences Outreach course has proved to be hugely popular with both students and clients.  The course has received widespread recognition and a significant number of schools and other universities are exploring how they might adopt the model.

A key element of the Course is to develop resources with a legacy that can be reused by other communities and organisations. Open Content Curation student Interns employed by the University’s OER Service repurpose these materials to create open educational resources which are then shared online through Open.Ed and TES where they can be found and reused by other school teachers and learners.  These OERs, co-created by our students, have been downloaded over 69,000 times.

Here’s Physics graduate and one of this year’s Open Content Curation Interns, Amy Cook, talking about her experience of creating open education resources as part of the Geoscience Outreach course.

 

We’re hugely proud of the high-quality open education resources created and shared by our GeoScience students and Open Content Curation Interns, so we were delighted when this collection won the Open Curation Award as part of this year’s OEGlobal Awards for Excellence.

Conclusion

These are just some examples of the way that open education and OER have been integrated into the curriculum here at the University of Edinburgh, and I hope they demonstrate how valuable co-creating open knowledge and open educational resources through curriculum assignments can be to develop essential digital skills, core competencies and transferable attributes.  There are many more examples I could share including academic blogging assignments, open resource lists, student created open journals, open textbooks, and playful approaches to developing information and copyright literacy skills.  Hopefully this will provide you with some inspiration to start thinking about how you can integrate engagement with OER in your own courses, curricula and professional practice. 

Some reflections on next steps and a bit of kintsugi⤴

from

Last week saw the launch of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning Ireland’s latest report – Next Steps Moving Forward Together. The report is the culmination of a quite unique collaborative project across the Irish HE sector, exploring the impact of COVID 19 on learning and teaching and providing a framework for collaboration to help move the sector forward. It really is worth exploring the report and its accompanying insights papers from each of the partners involved in the project. Huge congratulations to everyone at the National Forum for bringing this project to fruition.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the IUA‘s response to this project, working with Sharon Flynn and Lewis Purser. The IUA decided to focus on the lived experiences of its members to share some qualitative evidence and highlight common issues across support services in Universities. In June I interviewed 42 staff and students from across IUA member universities, and produced a synthesis report outlining key themes and potential areas for “next steps”. The common themes identified through the interviews were: leadership and rapid decision making, funding, digital fatigue, well-being & flexible working and intra/inter university collaboration. Emerging areas for moving forward were consolidation of experiences, assessment lifecycle, re-imagining digital and physical spaces for learning, digital transformation and cyber security. A summary of the findings is available in the Insights from Students and Care Services on the Impact of Covid-19 and Next Steps part insight report available here.

I have to say that this was one most interesting and rewarding jobs I’ve had this year. And I don’t say that lightly. Colleagues and students responded very quickly to engage with the project, and gave their time, thoughts and experiences in an open and collegiate way. It was an absolute privilege to speak with them all and get an insight into their lock-down experiences. I was in awe at the level of support, commitment and work they all provided over lock-down.

One thing that did strike me again and again during the interviews was the speed that universities worked at to implement changes and provide continued support to students. Universities, not normally the most agile of organisations, proved they could adapt and make changes incredibly quickly. Processes, policies and procedures adapted and became more inclusive with clear focus on learning and teaching and student support.

During the panel discussion at the launch event last week, I think it was Tim Conlon who said that the pandemic had made many cracks in our systems visible, To paraphrase, the positive aspect about cracks is that they let in the light. In COVID-19 lockdown context, they shone light on areas such as digital poverty, accessibility and inclusion.

It’s important that these issues don’t get hidden or covered up again. As this discussion unfolded, I was reminded of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of the golden repair. A concept I was first made aware of by another wonderful Irish educator Su-Ming Khoo, NUI Galway in her OER19 keynote around culturally repairing pedagogies. Well worth watching if you haven’t seen it. Kintsugi refers to repairs in Japanese pottery that are made visible by the use of a golden thread. The repairs add to the history of the object, but remain visible, adding another layer of beauty and narrative to the original object.

One of my worries about the impact of COVID and the rush to get “back to normal’ is that we might actually forget what has happened, my Bobby Ewing moment! When I wrote that post I wish I had remembered kintsugi. As we move forward, I hope that we can weave some golden threads across changes in practice, policy and procedures that explicitly show the impact of the past almost 2 years. The next steps project is hopefully one of these threads for the Irish HE sector.

Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability: Teaching Resources⤴

from @ The IDL Network

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow is a critically important intergovernmental meeting of world leaders and scientists if irreversible climate change is to be avoided. It is also part of a much greater and broader long-term challenge of mitigating wider environmental degradation world-wide that threatens the sustainability not just of humanity but of … Continue reading "Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability: Teaching Resources"

Survive and Thrive as a Part Time PhD Researcher⤴

from

Notes from another excellent online course provided by the University’s IAD.

Pre course Actions

We were asked, about a week before the course, to read an article in the online Grauniad on How to juggle a full-time job and a part-time PhD; to think of 5 top tips for being successful as a PT PhD; and bring questions of our own to the course.

Within the correspondence were also buried a couple of unannounced pdf attachments which contained resource for the course, I think, but also some links to blog posts and articles1 2 3 4 on doing a part-time PhD. One message stood out from these, beyond those that resonated with my own “top tips” (below), and that was this:

students who study part time for their whole degree finish sooner and have better results than full time students.5

Wow, that is encouraging. I have a hope not to overrun on my own PhD, and finish early if at all possible but there are a lot of factors in that particular critical path, most of which I have no idea about. For now, I am focusing on sustaining the momentum by doing something every day, unless I specifically plan not to. It’s working so far, and I have managed when external factors have confounded that approach.

Having a TBR (to be read) list is a good idea: I have one but it’s huge and diverse. Next task is to organise and prioritise that. Lastly from the blogs, making use of buffer time that provides transition space between work, home and study. My job is closely related to my research and there is a “double divided” of much of the studying/thinking I am doing, so it matters less between work and study time, but I also need to be sure to be fully present at home: to not be nodding along to a domestic tale whilst mentally drafting some thesisable nugget. Working memory needs to be dedicated to whatever is current or in the moment. Multitasking is your enemy!

My 5 top tips

Block out time
You have to switch off everything that might distract you from your PhD. Everything. The only way I have been able to do that is block out time when I am doing nothing else but PhD work.
Have specific objectives
That time should be spent working on something specific, whether tidying up your reference manager library, reading specific papers, searching for new ones or writing up notes.
Track achievement
Have a to-do list that you check in on every day and check off the things you complete or progress. Watching that build into a record of achievement helps keep me keep moving forward.
Talk about your research
I find it feels good to talk to other people about my research project. It is important and interesting, what you are doing. Tell people about it and what impact you hope to achieve. If you haven’t got people, talk to a dog. Or a gonk.
Accept advice gracefully, and park it
When you talk to other people, they may well have their own ideas or a book/paper/journal for you to read. Keep track of that stuff but sustain your immediate direction – don’t be distracted by what others think you should be reading. Make time for it when you can to check back on once you have progressed what you’re working on today.

The seminar

The 90-minute seminar was led by Steve Hutchinson who I have met before on a speed-reading course. He’s an impressive teacher, whether in the 2-D Zoom space or 3-D in real life, where he is a pretty impressive sketch noter. I still have his notes from that on my office wall: and still use the methods he taught me. Delegates were grouped for chatting about what works and what doesn’t: based on our preparatory notes and conversations between us. As well as my top five above, there were some superb ideas to help, including:

  • writing is output, even if it’s shit;
  • when you stop writing, note down prompts for next time
  • get some time in early, before looking at your emails
  • don’t compare yourself with other people (especially full-timers)
  • focusing in small chunks of time

It’s also important to keep yourself reminded of why your PhD is important to you: what motivates you about it and the things you are learning. The vision involves “bricks, walls, and cathedrals”: the to-do list is the day to day reification of this idea.

“The PhD is a project to be managed, not a quest for truth.”

There were plenty of other ideas and strategies shared, reference within the course handout, that make it a useful reference to return to, especially when it might get sticky. Of greatest importance is the repeated reminder that the purpose is to pass.

Conclusions

This was absolutely well worth doing: both the preparation, the thinking, and also the engagement with the seminar. The delegates connected in a really lovely way, all fully supportive and empathic. I am thankful to them, and to Steve, and to the IAD for this course.

Notes and references

  1. https://thesiswhisperer.com/2013/03/13/5-time-management-ideas-from-part-time-phd-students/ 

  2. https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/editlab/2020/04/01/the-secret-life-of-part-time-phd-students/ 

  3. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/blogs/studying-part-time-phd-challenges-and-benefits 

  4. https://sccontrol.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/part-time-phd-some-problems-and-solutions/ 

  5. Pearson, M, Cumming, J, Evans, T, Macauley, P and Ryland, K (2008) “Exploring the Extent and Nature of the Diversity of the Doctoral Population in Australia: A Profile of the Respondents to a 2005 National Survey” in M. Kiley & G. Mullins (Eds). (17-18 April, 2008). Quality in postgraduate research: Research education in the new global environment – Conference Proceedings. Canberra: CEDAM, ANU 

Freire, university education and post pandemic digital praxis – part of the Post Pandemic University centenary celebration⤴

from

It’s been a bit quite here on this blog lately, doing lots but doing lots that it’s hard to share about here! Anyway one piece of writing I have been involved in recently has just been published so it’s as good an excuse as any for another post here.

My regular writing partners Keith Smyth and Bill Johnson and I have written a piece for the Post Pandenic University’s centenary celebration of the birth of Paulo Freire. Our piece “Freire, university and post pandemic digital praxis” builds on some of the key concepts we developed for our book. In this short piece we put forward a case for a more critically informed approach to university development. We propse that:

Critically, and most importantly, there is an opportunity now – an opportunity that is under threat if universities and politicians seek a rapid return to pre-pandemic practices – to critically engage in what the “new normal” for universities actually could be, and to create a Freirean ‘new normal’ understanding of what a university education experience is, who the university is for, and how the educational work of universities can benefit wider society”.

You can read the full article here.

Quick iOS Video Apps for the Classroom⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Over the years I’ve often though that video is most useful as a tool for pupils to report on their learning and learn a little about making media. I have not changed my mind but recently I’ve found myself using it to share learning quickly myself quite often.

There are a couple of useful Apps I’ve been using to do this, both have, in my opinion advantages over iMovie and clips.

HyperLapse is one I’ve used for years now. It seems to be called ‘Hyperlapse from Instagram’ now. It is however free and can be used without having an instagram account. Its main purpose is to record speeded up videos. But the main feature I use it for is it smooths out hand held video with automatic stabilisation. This means you quickly move through the classroom videoing activity and get a fairly good result without editing.

Here is an example I posted to twitter today:

‎Snapthread is another handy choice. It quickly pulls together videos from ‘live photos’ on iOS. You can add music, titles and the like quickly. I’ve found it especially handy in impressing visitors who ask me to tweet photos of their work with my class. I can usually get a video up in just a few minutes. You just need to try and hold the camera still for a moment or two before of after clicking the button. 30 second videos free, but I was delighted to be able to pay for longer ones to support an independent developer.

Here is a Snapthread example:

I’d not claim any artistry or skill in making these videos but they only took a couple of minutes to create. The longest part was probably the upload to twitter.

I also upload these to our class blog. I’d much rather just use the blog but twitter is ubiquitous in Scottish education now:(

#COP26 Week One Glasgow⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

As a Glaswegian it’s been great to welcome #cop26 to Glasgow. I am sure our visitors are picking up friendliness of city. The friendliest city in the world. There were some cracking placards on Saturday reflecting humour of crowd. I am posting this as I was asked twice today in external meetings about what's it like to be in Glasgow at moment. 

                                                https://twitter.com/PuddingPop0802
I’ve been working remotely most days but in the city and College on Tuesday, and on Friday in College as duty manager. The city campus has a great range of Cop26 events on and the Riverside Campus is hosting the large International Cop26 Maritime Hub. Both building and libraries are open for students and there is a full programme of events for learners and the community.

My commute from south side into City centre has been pretty much as normal and if anything the city is much quieter than I expected it to be. I’ve not experienced the disruption and road closures around the UN Blue Zone north of the river. But was very aware of the increased police presence across the city centre. Particularly on my walk back to central station on Tuesday evening I was suddenly in a phalanx of armed police but I think Leonardo DiCaprio was doing some shopping nearby. 

I thought there would be more going on and a more visible presence of all the visitors. I do hope they are getting out and about and enjoying the city. The autumnal rain has been torrential this week

I was kindly invited to participate and contribute to a Herald and Epson sponsored event on education and #cop26 on Tuesday morning. Thanks to Doug Belshaw for line and it was a 'white manel' but the audience was diverse and included school pupils.
There was some pessimism about role education can play in whole carbon neutral agenda 80% of school buildings today will still be with us in 2040 and they are hard to heat and insulate. Consensus seems to be that without gas boilers best way to heat schools is by biomass boilers.

Our domestic gas boiler went on blink to this week so I had a chance to talk to a british gas engineer. Old houses will never be able to take all the insulation needed for ground or air source heat pumps.  Hydrogen is apparently the answer. We'll see I hope boiler has a few years left of life. 

I am really fortunate to work in a new build and an institution that has thought through its own contribution towards the zero carbon agenda and as a skills based organisation leading out changes to other sectors of the economy. 

There has been lots of progress around getting a green curriculum into schools in most subject areas. This is easy to understate and some in the audience felt that special new green subjects should be shoehorned into the curriculum.

My bigger reflection;  the schools and media do need to end their fixation on SQA  changing its name is not going to change culture. One of the panel even suggested that everything can change, but attaining 5 highers will still be the gold standard,  that’s not really change at all. The debate strayed for a while onto global warming is really all SQA's fault.

We really need to get away from a knowledge based curriculum and move to a competency based system. What you know is good , what you can do is much better.

On Saturday I did my own bit and went out and enjoyed the #COP26 demo. I think there was around 150,000 people out on the streets and met many international folks and protesters from across the UK. Not tens of thousands as the BBC reported - pretty shocking really. The rain was torrential. 
I hope next week brings some sensible and workable actions from #COP26 .

COP 26 & Climate on Glow Blogs⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Every now and again I take a trawl through all the Local Authority Glow Blog home pages. It is interesting to see into all sorts of learning going on across Scotland. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Linked, in my mind at least, is outdoor learning, there is a fair bit of that going on too: