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ICT in Scottish Education

Page history last edited by Alan Hamilton 12 years, 7 months ago

This page has been locked and the contents passed to the Scottish Government for analysis. Thank you for all your contributions.


The recording from the Summit is now available on the Education Scotland website.


How to join the Education ICT Summit Online


There are lots of ways that you can join in online...



  • Contribute via twitter (use the tag #EduScotICT). See who else is using the same tag by using a service like tweetdeck search or twazzup.



  • Email your thoughts and questions to olliebray1eduscot@blogger.com - they will appear in almost real time on www.eduscotict.blogspot.com (make sure you add your name if you want to be referenced). Add comments to any posts. This feature is now turned off - and was not very popular anyway!


  • Do your own thing. Skype with others, start a Google+ Hang Out, go around to a friends house and watch the live stream with a pal…


It really is up to you…










Welcome to a space on the Internet where we will discuss the future of ICT, Glow and Technologies for Learning in Scottish Education.


Objective 1
Change the culture

of use of ICT 

Objective 2

Improve confidence in the
use of ICT for learners, teachers,
school leaders and parents

Objective 3

Promote new behaviours
for teaching 

Objective 4

Deepen parental

Objective 5

Strengthen position on
hardware and associated



Other Wiki Content

ICT Summit - 17th October
Co-ordinating Content
Glow Future Tools   Links, References and Resources
ICT & ASN Ideas, improvements and suggestions


This wiki doesn’t have any rules but you might find this information interesting:


1) This is your place - please feel free to edit, comment, add pages and link to things.


2) We have purposefully picked a wiki for this on-line space to make all of the above easy to do. A wiki is a website that anyone can edit. More information on wikis here.


3) Please be polite and professional - we hope young people will become involved in the conversation. Try to avoid jargon; it can easily alienate people. We hope that you will encourage young people and your colleagues to get as involved as soon as possible.


4) You will need to register. It would be great if you used your own name but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. The only reason we ask you to register is to cut down on spam posts.


5) The Scottish Government and Education Scotland don’t own this space. We have purposefully picked a 3rd party wiki solution that is outside of Glow.  Anyone is welcome to get involved in the conversation.


6) As this wiki belongs to everyone you are invited to help maintain and help shape it. You also might have a suggestion of how it can be improved - feel free to add your suggestion to the suggestions list.



Why have we set this wiki up?


Mr Russell, MSP - Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning made the following announcement on YouTube on the 8th September 2011.


YouTube plugin error  


As part of the proposed work in this area the Cabinet Secretary has set five objectives.


These objectives are:


1) To change the culture of the use of ICT


2) To improve confidence in the use of ICT for learners, teachers, school leaders and parents


3) To promote new behaviours for teaching


4) To deepen parental engagement


5) To strengthen position on hardware and associated infrastructure


We have set up a separate pages where each of these objectives can be discussed in more detail. You might also be able to suggest ways that these objectives can be implemented. 


Comments (Show all 49)

Robert Hill said

at 5:27 pm on Sep 9, 2011

For some 4 months I was the WebSense administrator for Dundee and I only had a handful of requests to unblock specific sites in that time. However the one day that WebSense was not working for some reason I had several demands to know why pupils were suddenly able to get into YouTube and to please block it again urgently!

However I am on the side of complete open access in order to teach sensible use. I would also like to see all authorities allowing pupils access to a school network with their own devices including smartphones. I take the view I would rather have the phones on the desk being used for education than under the desk for something subversive.

FraserShaw said

at 5:49 pm on Sep 9, 2011

There are many things which are considered antisocial in a school or business environment - the ban on any kind of lewd or disruptive behaviour is implicit in all aspects of public life - be it the school or workplace. So why the need to block any sites? - a pupil should be disciplined for any kind of lewd or disruptive behaviour. There is no bogie man on the internet waiting to corrupt our kids. The sooner we make it clear that your behaviour online will be judged by the same standards as real life and enforce it the better. Don't tell them to avoid the water - teach them how to swim.

olliebray@... said

at 9:39 pm on Sep 9, 2011

@Fraser - would you allow access to all sites? Even the sites that you know are not appropriate for children?

FraserShaw said

at 10:48 am on Sep 11, 2011

Look a teachers job is to educate for life not for some weird enclosed society. Unless your teaching amish kids - your doing it all wrong. I have never put any filters on the internet at home and have 3 kids - from 12 to 18. Anyone who actually accesses anything inappropriate does so deliberately. If you treat this the same as you would a physical act of violence or lewdness, and make it clear that they will attract the same punishments then you are teaching them for life outside school. I think many teachers are institutionalised and are also frankly afraid of the internet.
There is noting new under the sun "The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times, one sometimes forgets which" JM Barrie

olliebray@... said

at 4:46 pm on Sep 11, 2011

Sounds like your points support:

Objective 5 - Hardware and infrastructure - where you are suggesting that the Internet should not be filtered in schools?

Objective 2 - Improving confidence - as you suggest that many teachers are afraid of the Internet.

Moira Macdonald said

at 8:00 pm on Sep 11, 2011

We need one simple, dependable and easily accessible portalwhich teachers can use through which resources assessment and networking between schools/regions etc can take place. Schools need greater storage capacity and a decent bandwidth/speed or we are going nowhere. @ FraserShaw..Although I agree it is important to give (esp older) students more responsibility in use of the internet I feel it is important to maintain blocks in the primary sector- most parents would surely wish these controls... Abuse of the facility were it to be unfiltered would affect not only the perpetrator but in these days of smartboards innnocent bystanders as it were. Perhaps a more responsive system of allowing access to particular sites as necessary would be a compromise ?

FraserShaw said

at 10:13 pm on Sep 11, 2011

sorry for being bit thick/not in the education system. It has taken me a bit to realise that this whole debate/consultation is about censorship. There are plenty of tools to do all the tasks - but we are worried about the internet bogieman. I for one am in favour of the .xxx domain system mooted. However it is a real daily mail attitude that think kids are always stumbling upon violent or lewd content. It just doesn't happen. My kids have seen violence driving through glasgow and we once accidentally picnicked on a nudist beach in france - It doesn't mean I keep them locked indoors incase they see anything else. And whether the education dept likes it or not - a high %age of kids access the net at home - out of your control. I can tell you how your approach will fail in 3 letters A-O-L.

FraserShaw said

at 10:18 pm on Sep 11, 2011

One more thing you guys ban youtube? really? - you really are nuts - All human life ( except real violence and sex) is on youtube. Are you sure the education department isn't run by the wee frees? There is more sex and violence in Shakespeare than youtube.

olliebray@... said

at 11:00 pm on Sep 11, 2011

@fraser - As someone who has worked in the technology industry for a number of years why do you think some LAs block YouTube and some don't? As a parent of children in the Scottish Education System will your children miss out on their digital entitlement depending on what school (within an LA) they attend? How do we deepen parental engagement Fraser and flag these issues up via school boards? Why are the guys that are blocking? Do you really think it is the teachers?

FraserShaw said

at 10:13 am on Sep 12, 2011

Ollie - no offense intended "you guys" is a collective term for Michael Russel down to the lowliest lab tech ( you do still have lab techs? or were they removed as cost cutting exercise?). Your either part of the problem or part of the solution - you decide which.

john tracey said

at 2:19 pm on Sep 12, 2011

I am interested in the debate about 'do we/don't we' with regards youtube and other sites.
If only we had the capacity to access these openly!
As Head Teacher in Kingussie High School, I regularly (never a week goes by) have staff come to me with a complaint about access to the internet and to certain sites. This is not on the basis of 'do we/don't we' , but on the basis of 'we can't'. GLOW and associated glowmail are of particular concern. here we have something dedicated to Scottish education that we cannot access! Often, access to youtube is easier as we are asking less of the bandwidth.
I read an article in SecEd recently that highlighted 50% of Scottish teachers use GLOW. That means 50% do not and I can gues that frusration with access may be a major factor.
Week before last glowmail was not working for us so back to notices on the staffroom noticeboard - we can't afford a paper copy for each member of staff.

Theo Kuechel said

at 5:14 pm on Sep 12, 2011

I find it very encouraging, that the Scottish Government, (Mr Russell, MSP) is using YouTube to share this announcement. Like Wikipedia, YouTube plays a significant part in our information ecosystem, and provides access to our recent and contemporary culture, (often previously inaccessible).

It is almost a given now that when discussion of filtering/blocking of Internet sites in education arises it will YouTube that is mentioned. This is probably not surprising as research suggests that it is also being increasingly used as a search tool by both teachers and students; (Merchant and Davies; 2009), and that is is the first place that many educators will look for video to use in their teaching. (Burden & Kuechel in lit, 2011)

shirley campbell-morgan said

at 7:03 pm on Sep 13, 2011

Not at all encouraging when, along with most other useful sites, it is filtered in your school. I have great difficulty in uploading video etc to my Glow blogs. I don't let it put me off but can't understand why the things that work in Gliow are filtered by RM!!! I thought they were stakeholders in Glow. I don't know who to complain to about this but am extremely fed up with it and the apparent lack of trust!! Sorry for the rant!

shirley campbell-morgan said

at 7:20 pm on Sep 13, 2011

Sorry-hadn't read all above posts when I ranted. When I have previously complained to an LA person, they have told me that RM make the decisions. I know that not all LAs use RM but I don't understand why they can't listen to customers. I think we need to use this debate to finally do something about this. All teachers at my school complain about it, even the recent technophobes!!!!

Alan Tullock said

at 9:59 am on Sep 15, 2011

@Shirley I have also enquired (complained) at LA level about lack of access to valuable resources. Solution? Download what you need outwith school and bring it in on a USB stick. How does this fit in with the #mccormac report?

shirley campbell-morgan said

at 7:21 pm on Sep 23, 2011

Alan-I spent most of my time at SLF complaining to anyone who would listen. Hopefully will help but, if not, made me feel better!

hstar said

at 10:22 am on Sep 15, 2011

We use Moodle at school rather than GLOW, it is a great free tool and we have no issues accessing or uploading video content, quizes, course notes, presentations, podcasts etc to this platform. GLOW is just a front end for MS Sharepoint so it's a shame that all local authority schools are stuck with it, at great expense to the Scottish Government. We also have a Lightspeed firewall, that allows all staff to upload safe YouTube or other videos to it, where the ICT Manager can check the content then approve. This then allows the pupils to see only these videos through the firewall. The technology is there, without the need to spend millions of public money on it. Lightspeed will be at the SLF next week if you are interested.

David Miller said

at 11:08 am on Sep 15, 2011

It does make me despair to read of Shirley and Alan's 's experience and then to hear the infinitely more positive experience of hstar. It is so pedagogically diminishing that Scottish teachers are hamstrung by their inability to take advantage of the tools that are enriching classrooms around the world. When local authorities issue bland statements about 'bandwidth' being the reason for filtering, my response would be screw the bandwidth! Funding must be found, and, at the very least, teachers should be trusted to have access to these tools. The result, I believe, would be a paradigm shift in attitude amongst teachers to technologies for learning, not least in terms of self-directed professional development. Sadly, whatever the benefits of Glow (and I do believe there are some), the platform seems now to be irredeemably tainted in the eyes of so many teachers. And this from someone who nearly killed himself trying to make class Glow groups as rich a learning environment as he could ...

As a final aside, it would be interesting to know how many Scottish classrooms could access this software http://vimeo.com/28982824

shirley campbell-morgan said

at 7:20 pm on Sep 23, 2011

Sorry for late reply. One of my main complaints has been that I can't access Vimeo. It is recommended by Glowhelp for embedding video in blogs, Glow TV will make use of it and many educational sites host video on it. Makes no sense. However a very nice lady at RM has been sending me sympathetic emails since I spent my time at SLF complaining bitterly. So hopefully we can start to use that soon! But you're right, it shouldn't be this hard!!

dave terron said

at 8:25 pm on Sep 22, 2011

Our LA said today: The message for authorities at the moment is business as usual with Glow.

IS this a true statement given the probable changes to come in with new tools to be bolted on or whatever?

olliebray@... said

at 11:42 pm on Sep 22, 2011

Yes absolutely - this is the key message. We are committed to migrating any content that you want migrated to any new / replacement service that is put in place. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any specific concerns. Ollie

Susan lister said

at 3:16 pm on Sep 23, 2011

resources could be easily migrated but a lot of the time consuming part is administration of setting up classes etc. this might not be so easy to migrate. I am currently in a school where glow use is not high but as the ICT across learning group we have been trying to encourage adoption to roll out. I am concerned that if we spend time training teachers and they in turn invest time setting up classes in glow there may be a bit of a problem persuading people to do the same with a new system. Do we have a timescale (obviously just a ball park ) for when a new platform would be in place?
I have to say that generally I have found most teachers willing to learn about this but only concerned about any time which may have to be spent setting things up.

olliebray@... said

at 3:41 pm on Sep 23, 2011

It is difficult to give even a ball park time scale at this stage. We hope to have a clearer idea on all of this after the event on the 17th October.

Neil Winton said

at 8:46 pm on Sep 23, 2011

I would argue that you've actually identified one of the key aspects of how we proceed, though you may not be aware of it. Whatever we put in place, the information and data and 'evidence' that it contains has to be moveable. One of the great strengths of a service like Wordpress is that a user can easily export the information it contains and import it into another wordpress install. I would hope that whatever is implemented will allow the learners to import and export data and allow the user to use it in a variety of different services. There is little to be gained, and much to be lost by tying information into one system.

One of the hallmarks of how we work in the real world is the ability to take data and mash it up into different forms. If we have an open and transferable system, then there is so much more that we could do.

Laura Compton said

at 2:56 pm on Sep 29, 2011

I agree with so much of what has been said but if we go back to the question posed "How do we change Culture"? For me I believe that culture has changed in the last couple of years and attitudes to ICT with it. The idea of open wireless and pupils bringing their own devices onto the network and having access to all the tools they require to suit their learning style and to satisfy the learning objective agreed between them and their teacher is not new. We (the Authority I work in) have been working towards this for 5 years. The culture change I see is the one that sees education as a business in a very risk averse society. The pressures on LAs to comply with National security standards is filtering down to schools and it seems to me that we are looking at applying the same security standards to MIS data as to P4s homework. Moving forward with all the great ideas about pedagogical change seems impossible to me while educational requirements have such a weak voice in this area.

Allan Wilson said

at 4:26 pm on Sep 29, 2011

Some teachers from Denmark were recently visiting Moray House School of Education. They said that a decision had recently been taken in Denmark to abandon their equivalent of glow in favour of unrestricted access to the web and web-based tools from schools. ("A BRAVE decision, Minister", as Sir Humphrey would have said). But, if many pupils have unrestricted access to the web outwith school, why restrict access in school, provided that there is a culture of responsible use?

David Miller said

at 5:49 pm on Sep 29, 2011

Interestingly, I am in Denmark just now, Alan, and delivered a workshop on Digital Storytelling and then a final Keynote on the use of Emerging Technologies in Learning and Teaching. Although still not as widely used as they might be, the issue is not accessibility (or command and control, depending on where you're looking at it ...) From what I understand, the Danes do have a portal for learning resources, but that it is widely regarded as old-fashioned ... Danish schools also have much greater access to many of the emerging technologies that are 'unavailable' in Scottish Schools. a brave decision? Or simply carrying through the spirit of enlightened thought that makes Denmark a happy and successful small independent country. For me, everything is about attitudes, and not just of those who 'make decisions' ... Perhaps unrelated, but for me it's insignificant that in Denmark, the cyclist is king - not the motorist ... As I say, a society that has grown up (in both senses) with different priorities and attitudes ...

David Miller said

at 5:57 pm on Sep 29, 2011

That clearly should have read,' NOT insignificant ...' above ...

Theo Kuechel said

at 7:56 pm on Sep 29, 2011

I agree Allan, it is often good to take wider international perspective of education and schooling. I recall talking to a Danish Minister at the Media and Learning conference in Brussels last year who mentioned that there is no Internet filtering, for Danish schools; a few UK jaws dropped at this point. Denmark is also leading pilot studies in allowing Internet use in exams http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8341886.stm whilst the UN Education index (literacy) puts Denmark near the top of the table http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_Index

Bruce Robertson said

at 11:37 am on Oct 6, 2011

We do so badly need this strategy and i think that the objectives are the right ones. However the key to the success of it will be the leadership demonstrated by Government. Authorities and Schools. We surely must realise that the needs of 21 Century Learners will not be found in 20 Century solutions. CfE badly needs this but most of all our learners deserve it.

Robert Gibson said

at 11:38 am on Oct 7, 2011

I think it is very heartening to read that many people are suggesting broad access to services such as YouTube and other great utilities. I find it concerning that we should attempt to block these as not only are they available to the pupils elsewhere (such as their own phones or at home), but that we are restricting ourselves to the opportunities to develop and provide great content in new and innovative ways that work for different people in different ways. One thing is certain, that we need to see leadership demonstrated from the Government in bringing the various constituent parts of the eduction community together and developing a strategy that opens up channels rather than closes them down. Also the strategy must be for us all to take similar approaches to development where possible, to maximise synergies and get more from the suppliers we use. This can be done by strength in numbers rather than each of us going down our own paths and wondering how to join up services later.

Stephen Arnott said

at 4:01 pm on Oct 7, 2011

Hi all

I've watched this thread with some interest over the last few days - and I find the focus on web filtering interesting. Surely the issue is not whither we filter internet access for children - but how we apply the rules and the issue that (as with almost all things in Scotland) we always have 32 versions of everything, meaning each local authority (and sometimes just one individual within an authority) gets to implement their own view as to what resources should be accessed and what should be blocked in schools.

As someone who has implemented school filtering solutions in over 1,000 schools across the UK - I can speak with reasonable authority that filtering is a necessary evil. I do not believe in the normal scaremongering tactics employed by many, but filtering is necessary - especially when you look at the potential for abuse and inappropriate behaviour the web offers. I do agree strongly with the sentiment that we should teach our children to be responsible "Net Citizens" and what constitutes proper "web etiquette" - but surely the safety net of filtered access is a key tool in teaching children what is appropriate and what is not. Would you allow a child to play with fireworks to teach them how dangerous they are?

Would it not be a more sensible approach to have a single country wide filtering solution, where decisions can be made based on educational relevance and restrictions can be lifted as children mature and learn to be responsible.

A key point that no one has mentioned is the role web filtering has in protecting local networks and client machines from Malware and associated content and protecting individuals from scams and fraudulent content, and I feel strongly that filtering can be used to promote content and ensure children are focused on the task at hand, not randomly surfing the net during class!

Thoughts / comments / flames - most welcome.

Enjoy the weekend!

dave terron said

at 9:31 pm on Oct 7, 2011

"Would it not be a more sensible approach to have a single country wide filtering solution, where decisions can be made based on educational relevance and restrictions can be lifted as children mature and learn to be responsible." yes, what many of us have been asking for ....for years in some cases 8-(

billgayler said

at 3:10 pm on Oct 9, 2011

In my experience the issue is much bigger than just filtering alone. There is a personal identity issue and a duty of care issue that we cannot abdicate from. Content is accessed in many different ways from many different sources and they all involve identification in some shape or another where the school or government has varying degrees of control. For sure there is a lot of content that is publicly available where all you need is a url but these sites generally collect personal information and may present adverts or inappropriate material that we cannot control or police. Some content is protected through pre-registered usernames and passwords, some (like pbworks here) have an unregulated self-registration process, others allow generic code-based access and others manage access through trusted domains or other mechanisms.

Our challenge must be to figure out a way of providing the sense of freedom that allows students to explore and discover collaboratively in a safe wrapper that society's duty of care demands.

The existing solution provides a good solution to the duty of care issue, but does not provide enough freedom to allow learners to properly explore and discover. To replace this with a solution where there is little or no control could be considered wreckless and unreasonable and would open up the government to a whole raft of legal challenges.

IMHO the answer lies in a light touch but robust identity management solution that provides a degree of centralised control whilst still allowing students the option to access material outside of the approved domain responsibly.

Patrick Kirk said

at 7:56 pm on Oct 9, 2011

Having spent the past 15 years working in the public (education) sector and the private sector the challenge remains the same. How to keep the cognoscenti happy (perhaps the group of users active here) whilst ensuring that we have an environment that is accessible (usable) for the majority of users who are unaware that this discussion is taking place. So to echo the thoughts of others, based on meeting the needs of many (2 million) users: identity, security, coherence, sign on once, re-use data don't put it in application or service silos, recognise existing strengths, don't replace technology costs with adoption costs - all of these are important if Glow is to go from strength to strength.

jimbuchan said

at 11:15 pm on Oct 9, 2011

I have been listening to the discussion taking place here over the last few weeks. Some of this has been based on wisdom and experience whilst other expressions have been less so. I take the view that Scotland is at a choice point where it will be possible to move forward taking the best of Glow as we know it an supplement this with some new tools which will increase the effectiveness of it's users. Let's keep in mind that two essential components of glow are it's primary users ie teachers and pupils ( not forgetting parents too). When we gauge the contributions made here let us acknowledge that these must be coming from only a small minority of the potential ~1.5M user base. Scotland demonstrated considerable foresight when it embarked on Glow to provide a truly national platform to support learning, yes the first iteration was not perfect, but let's continue the evolution. My hope is that our leadership will not be seen to have 'thrown out the baby with the bath water' when the final analysis of this exercise in conducted. I have considered adding various contributions earlier in this consultation but did not want to be seen as simply supporting the status quo. In closing I feel that the last thing the majority of average users need at this stage is a complete disruption to the platform rather a carefully architected development of it is needed phasing out to the bad, stengthening the good and adding missing features. One of the core strengths of glow in my opinion is that it is based on a trusted user base which is the foundation of the single sign in system. Whatever tools are to constitute glow in the future let these be accessed via SSO which can be trusted by the entire user base. I would of course be happy to elaborte on this if anyone is interested in listening - but this would necessitate a more detailed discussion which I feel cannot be adequately conducted through this medium.

dave terron said

at 11:15 pm on Oct 9, 2011

A final point which, I hope gets picked up. Many of us are prepared to spend their own money on IT projects, spreading the word or helping each other progress. I am prepared to travel to Stirling, feed myself and travel back at my own expense despite knowing that some LA staff are being given hotels, travel expenses and subsistence allowance. I'm also prepared to give up a whole day of my holidays because I regard this meeting as being so important.

Joe Wilson said

at 10:08 am on Oct 10, 2011

Really just a final word of congratulation fpr using a wiki to engage with folk - . It is hard to imagine that blogging has been about for 11 years now and wiki technology arrived only shortly afterwards . It has taken organisations and policy makers longer to realise that these tools can be used in cost effective ways to do lots of things - I hope this model is used to crowd source discussion and ideas in other plolciy areas too - if only to show those resisitamt to use of technology how easy these tools are to use and how effective they can be.

In respect of this discussion it needs to be said - using tools like this require confident leaders who welcome dialogue and challenges and actively seek best solutions - The change agenda is as much about changing a culture that clings to a status quo and "authorised" communication channels as it is about the effective adoption of technology to support learners .

I hope we see this approach being used in a lot of other policy areas. I hope too that many of the great iideas are taken up and implemented

Iain Hallahan said

at 10:55 am on Oct 10, 2011

Patrick makes a very valid point here, one that I have heard voiced a few times recently. There are plenty of people in education - teachers, associated profesionals or managers, who are totally oblivious to what is going on here. I have heard other colleagues who have been told that what is going on here "Won't really affect us". Things need to be made clear to everyone, and not just the enthusiasts and/or experts, and the voice of the 'average' teacher needs to be heard. They are who will make or break any plan that is made to move things forward - there is a danger that in focussing too much on best practice, we might lose sight of the 'lowest common denominator' - these are the people we need to ensure are on board for the journey forward.

JimWard said

at 5:21 pm on Oct 10, 2011

Glow has tremendous potential and the investment to date is too great to lose. Teachers, students and parents have a great part to play in Scottish education and on-line access is the only way to co-ordinate all of these efforts.

In my opinion, what needs to be added to Glow, is some Validated Content, a modern front-end for students and easy access to the tools, with video tutorials and FAQs.

"Build it and they will come" was tried and there was no game to watch and players no-one knew! Add some materials, CfE lessons and support and teachers will use it! Add some fun content for students and they will enjoy the experience.

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