Last Week/This Week 24.3.08

Started last week at a Scottish Government Glow Programme Board in Edinburgh. Glow continues to progress according to plan – slow and steady but supportable and sustainable. The publicity continues to be positive and the most important advocates of Glow, our pupils and teachers, seem to like what is in offer and see the potential for the future.

On Tuesday a student teacher from Canada started on work placement with LTS. She looked on the web and decided that Scotland was the place to be to learn about innovation in education (:

I also met with Frank Crawford, Chief HMIe, to discuss a couple of joint projects including the possibility of running an education futures event on the evening before the Scottish Learning Festival in September.

In the evening I was invited to the launch of the Scottish Screen archive Heritage Lottery Access project. A great project that will secure some of Scotland’s best film footage for future generations through the National Libraries of Scotland.

Wednesday was spent in Dundee with a pile of internal meetings.

Back in Glasgow on Thursday for a corporate management team followed by a ScotlandIS Technology Leaders lunch. This was an interesting event and an opportunity for me to share the ideas behind Glow with a wider audience. I got all the usual questions but was stunned to be asked by one of the lunch guests ‘what problem is Glow designed to solved?’. Not a bad question but I am now so used to the ‘problem’ being self-evident that it took me a few seconds to pull together a coherent answer. The key ‘problems’ that Glow is designed to address are, first of all the problem of duplication of effort – 53,000 teachers re-inventing the wheel in 3,000 schools across 32 local local authorities. The second ‘problem’ is that teaching is isolating profession yet we know that we get the best out of teachers if they work with their colleagues – Glow facilitates and enables collaborative working, mutual support and continuous professional development across Scotland. The third ‘problem’ is that of modernising education. What I have called bringing the 21st century into the classroom/bringing the classroom into the 21st century. We live in a world where digital communications play an important part in the lives of our children and young people. Glow builds a bridge between the world outside school and the classroom. To paraphrase a US teacher I met last year – coming to school should not be like visiting a foreign country for our students. I could go on …
Friday was a holiday and I am back in our Dundee office this morning. In a few minutes I am off to catch a train to Aberdeen for a meeting with Bruce Robertson, Director of Education, Learning and Leisure with Aberdeenshire Council, as part of the LTS corporate planning process.

Tuesday takes me back to Glasgow for more Glow stuff and external meetings with Microsoft and Teachers TV.

Wednesday is Glasgow again for an update with my boss Bernard, a catch-up Karen McCallum – the SQA’s director of operations and a ‘Directors Unplugged’ question and answer session with LTS staff.

Thursday takes me to Edinburgh to meet Eleanor Emberson the former head of New Educational Developments and one of the very important original senior supporters of Glow within the civil service.

The week ends with a joint LTS/HMIe management meeting in Glasgow. Between now and then I expect a few more appointments to land in the last few white spaces. Another busy week but really looking forward to it.

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