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Objective Two - Confidence

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Objective 2: Improve confidence in the use of ICT for learners, teachers, school leaders and parents


Update: The Cabinet Secretary has expanded on this objective and set the context in a post on Engage for Education.


Benefits: to increase the amount of sharing of practice and resource amongst teachers, leaders and learners in Scotland; improved reliability of technology in use; increased achievement for learners through the use of technology; enhanced reputation of Scotland in the wider digital world.


What do we need to do:


  • Encourage development of good practice, sharing, peer recommendation, personal learning networks, communities of practice and on-line learning opportunities.
  • Build on strong roots – how we use technology in other aspects of life.
  • Address reliability issues with hardware/connectivity/filtering.
  • Help existing and future school leaders understand the benefits of using technology to support and improve learning and what it means to be a responsible digital citizen.
  • Support school leaders in developing a culture of technology to improve learning through professional development for teachers.
  • Provide effective CPD opportunities within in schools, at local authority level and at a National level, so that teachers can develop their skills in using technologies for learning, and look at how we share effective use of technologies for learning, for example Glow CookbooksConsolarium Blog


How will we do this:


  • Have a basic standard for ICT competence in classroom - re-enforced by GTC , Teacher Training Institutions, HMIE ( Education Scotland) , SQA ( perhaps through appointee network and where necessary qualifications ) and  the BCS (ECDL, Digial creator, e-type, e-safety etc....)
  • Work with BBC and other external agencies to promote digital literacy across Scottish society
  • Make better use of technology standards in CfE to make sure learners are developing necessary skills
  • Schools and Local Authorities should have some basic standards around ICT access and infrastructure. There are lots of models around the world from institutional kite marking to local auditing systems - all aimed and open up networks and improving services for teachers and learners - one example  http://uat.generatorfeandskills.org.uk/
  • Taking McCormac Review recommendations into account, move responsibilities for ICT & CPD co-ordination from senior management remits to short term contract PT post(s), and allow them the time to identify - a) staff ICT training needs b) suitably skilled members of school staff to deliver training to colleagues
  • Ensure that CPD for raising ICT skills & confidence has a purpose - projects with specific goals, agreed at the outset, rather than training to use a tool simply for familiarisation. There must be a benefit for learners.
  • Identify free or cost effective web tools and open source software solutions that are already being used or could be used in schools. Share how these tools and services are being used though localised case studies and Glow cookbooks.
  • Provide examples of how technology can be used to support learning and teaching, and to improve productivity and efficiency.
  • Personal learning networks have been show to provide an effective form of support for professionals. It would be good to develop a national resource to show practitioners how to build their own personal learning network.
  • Professional development is one way to improve staff confidence. CPD Find is excellent and should continue to be developed. Any publicly funded conferences or events should be digitally captured, tagged and archived. Consideration should be given to developing an on-line version of the SLF (perhaps bi-annual?) and developed in a similar way to the K12 Online Conference.
  • Materials and CPD on how technology can support teaching, learning, organisation, planning and productivity should be made available on-line (through Glow or the GTCS) for all teachers as soon as they are registered with the GTCS.
  • Teachers can gain confidence from understanding and seeing other people's practice. Schools should be encouraged to have their own website where they showcase practice. Websites could be nationally supported and stories signposted to appear on the Education Scotland or Engage for Education website. Functionality should be built in to recommend story to a friend / colleague.
  • Teachers should be encouraged to take risks, but financial constraints are currently creating new barriers to change. Some of the savings generated from not continuing with the procurement of Glow Futures should be developed into a fund for providing teachers with small amounts of money (grants) to try new things, observe lessons, visit other schools and undertake training. 
  • When HMIE inspectors see examples of good practice they should capture it and digitally share it with others. These examples should be added to CPD Find and turned into CPD Shorts. 


Comments (Show all 48)

Anne Forrest said

at 7:07 am on Sep 20, 2011

I think the integration of ICT into the curriculum really has to start with our TEIs. I have worked with some of them over the last few years, and they have such a lot to fit in to their course, but ICT comes way down the list. Speaking to EA Advisors, the general feeling is that as far as ICT is concerned, new teachers are just not ready. My main interest is in IWBs, and I know for sure that most of our new teachers have to walk into their first school with very little experience, yet many schools now have no other board in the classroom. Some TEIs are now starting to address this, but use of IWBs should be part of the core curriculum together with some input about how to use Glow effectively. If new teachers go out to schools keen to use the new technology, then hopefully this will cascade to other less enthusiastic staff.

Neil Winton said

at 7:36 am on Sep 20, 2011

IWBs are a massive white elephant. There is no independent empirical research to support the notion that they improve learning (however you measure it). There is plenty to suggest they have no impact — I'll provide links later, but I'm on a bus without wifi atthe moment so will need to wait till this evening...

IWBs are a 'fun toy' for the teacher, nothing more. It is disingenuous to say that giving a teacher access to an IWB is the same as encouraging learners to use ICT. I'm even more concerned that the use of an IWB should be considered a 'core skill' for teachers. If you want something that WOULD make a difference to learners, make the video recording of lessons and sharing them in YouTube a core skill...

Many teachers are very able with regards ICT, new teachers will be increasingly so, but the real need is surely to ensure that learners are able to confidently negotiate the ICT world in which they live and in which they will work and learn after formal education... I don't see too many IWBs in the real world, but I do see social media tools and creativity and innovation. At some point someone has to point out that the IWB is like the Emporer, naked.

IWBs are a tool, and one for the teacher not the learner, the sooner we acknowledge that it is no more than a fancy and expensive board — and one that perpetuates the 19th Century model of education at that — the sooner we can accept that they are but one possible tool in the teacher's toolkit. Let's move the conversation on so we can focus on what is important.

Anne Forrest said

at 8:53 am on Sep 20, 2011

I agree that IWBs are but one tool in the armoury of the teacher, but to say that they are an fun toy is clearly not the case. This is not the forum for a full discussion on the merits of IWBs, but I will just say that where an IWB is used properly, ie as an interactive teaching and learning tool, it does make a difference. The reason for the bad press is that a large number of teachers (I presume yourself included) use the board as a screen to project on. And as to your comment about not seeing any IWBs in the real world, you need to get out there. This is a huge growth market and numbers are increasing by the day. Soon every SME will have at least one IWB in the board room. Already the police, fire service, ambulance service and other public bodies make full use of the technology, therefore it is important that our young people also know how to use it. I strongly feel the starting point for this is the new teachers who have a much better understanding of ICT in general, and who are keen to make a difference.

Neil Winton said

at 11:08 am on Sep 20, 2011

Disclosure: I have been using IWBs in the classroom for over 8 years. I do not simply use it as a projector. I am a real teacher wh has worked in other industries before taking ip teaching.

I am deeply concerned that IWBs should be touted as a core skill. I return to my original assertion: there is no INDEPENDENT empirical evidence that I am aware of (and I have looked) to show that IWBs have real impact in the classroom.

I will provide links as soon as I can access them.

You are right that this is not the forum to discuss the merits of IWBs, which rather begs the question of why you brought it up in the first place? I think some disclosure from you is in order, don't you?

Anne Forrest said

at 1:43 pm on Sep 20, 2011

I have never tried to hide who or what I am. Most folks in Scottish Education know exactly who I am and that I work for Steljes. The reason I brought it up was in agreement to 2 previous postions saying pretty much the same thing. I also am a 'real' teacher who has worked in both the primary and secondary teachers for a very long time!

Claire Griffiths said

at 11:02 pm on Oct 8, 2011

It is important for those who are teaching teachers ICT have if possible teaching experience themselves at the same level as those they are teaching. If I learn something today and then teach it to teachers in a CPD course tomorrow I bring with that new knowledge 25 years of teaching experience which helps me to give the teachers examples of where they can apply what i have to teach them. Teaching a skill in isolation without giving people examples of how to apply it in their classroom will mean the new skills will be left unused soon to be forgotten and the knowledge (and the cost of training) wasted.

Dorothy Coe said

at 12:55 am on Sep 21, 2011

My IWB is a valuable tool in my classroom, engaging pupils and motivating them. I rarely use it simply as a projector, and it's usually pupils, and hardly ever me standing at it. I don't need anyone else's empirical evidence to confirm my own observation that judicious use of the IWB certainly enhances learning, collaboration and enjoyment in my classroom. Is that what we mean by "impact"?
As you both point out, this is not the place to have the IWB debate, but I would echo Anne's opinion that new teachers would find it useful to have some experience of how to use this technology to give them some confidence before they arrive in school. Every year I (willingly) spend time introducing our probationers to the basics and only one in the last few years has had any prior knowledge at all.

Steven Grier said

at 11:21 am on Sep 23, 2011

Hey my first post! It has me rather worried when I read the posts above regarding ad-hoc, informal and above-and-beyond type sessions needing to be run to teach ICT to teachers. For Glow to have been more successful and, in future to be more successful, it would seem that training in the use of Glow and Classroom ICT would need to start in the teacher training institutions with an exercise undertaken to bring existing teachers to a certain level.

I spend quite a lot of time talking to LAs and Govt. about basic Digital Literacy and Skills for those in NEET or Determined to Succeed groups and these types of courses are now covering social networking and "survival" in the world of FB, Twitter etc. Lots of effort being spent on this group when perhaps it should be spent with teachers.

Aside from informal training there are established education specific skills programs from the main protagonists e.g. Apple Distinguished Educator, Microsoft IT, Google Certified Teachers - as well as UNESCO frameworks for ICT Literacy in Education and teaching - I would imagine that any of these organisations would welcome the oportunity to do a "+ Glow" variant of these to give both a "qualification" valuable in the ICT world - and establish a level, even at a "train-the-trainer" level that would start to build confidence in use of Glow and associated tech. Establish a "Glow Academy" in each LA, establish Modern Apprenticeships to train young trainers in the technology, partner with FE/HE to deliver as formal or nightclass programs alongside delivery from the modern apprentices, and quickly you have momentum and have created valuable jobs whilst delievering core Glow skills to teachers?

David Miller said

at 12:05 pm on Sep 23, 2011

I enjoyed that post. Steven. Good imaginative solutions.
To help teachers get involved and perhaps feel they can get to grips with some of the emerging (and not so emerging) technologies, I've been creating screen casts for teachers with Scottish Book Trust. They are very much pedagogy focussed, and send the message that these technologies bring another form of richness to the 21st Century Classroom.

The films can be found here:
Wallwisher: http://vimeo.com/28982824
Bubbl.us: http://vimeo.com/28983523
Prezi: http://vimeo.com/29259850
Twitter: Part 1: http://vimeo.com/29441409
Twitter: Part 2: http://vimeo.com/29443756
Twitter: Part 3: http://vimeo.com/29451572

There are more to follow. It is hoped that these films can begin to give teachers confidence in terms of self-directed CPD.

Gillian Penny said

at 8:06 pm on Sep 23, 2011

Throughout my career in teaching I have delivered countless ICT training sessions for my colleagues. Clumsy and difficult to use technology should now be a thing the past, most of today’s technology is intuitive and simple to use. But this in itself is not enough to develop confidence. Unless the tools teachers are introduced to make an obvious positive impact on learning and their classroom practice they will not use them Identifying where the technology sits in learning is the key to developing confidence. I feel this is often overlooked I an eagerness to deploy technology. It has to be the right tool for the right job. Where I have introduced staff to new technology and have helped them to identify how it will enhance learning for their pupils, I have then seen the necessary skills and confidences develop.

FraserShaw said

at 12:57 pm on Sep 29, 2011

Oh good grief - do google have a "google academy" ? do you have to learn to use Facebook? I don't believe for 1 minute teachers are as stupid as these suggestions are making out - If you have to learn to use a pice of software then its "bad" software. The tail is wagging the dog here. Can you imagine a business model for a system like GLOW in the private sector? where part of the business model required special lessons to learn how to use it ? Completely barking. If you open up the internet - and let the teachers choose stuff they are comfortable with whatever it is - you will get immediate results. Overnight you will take a step forward - and eventually winners will emerge and teachers will gravitate towards the best tools. Unless of course you believe that Darwin was wrong?

JohnM said

at 2:52 pm on Sep 29, 2011

Fraser, it would be great if everyone was an activist and had a growth mindset like you but truth is a lot of people in this world, teachers included, have a fixed mindset. This makes learning any new application or even different versions of the same application, quite a challenge. These people need plenty of positive examples of how the new will make their working life easier and better before they will take the plunge. Everyone in this world is not the same, each has their own preferred learning style and appropriate training is needed before everyone will have the confidence to use it. It is nothing to do with "stupidity" as you suggest.

John Johnston said

at 7:48 pm on Sep 29, 2011

strangely a lot of folk need to be taught how to use software:
and there is a google academy (I googled it)

Iain Hallahan said

at 11:16 am on Oct 2, 2011

Fraser, having worked for over 15 years in various industry sectors before becoming a teacher, I can think of countless systems - successful ones at that - 'where part of the business model required special lessons to learn how to use it'. It tended to be called 'training' rather than 'special lessons', but I'm sure you take the point. I would argue that for anyone to do their job effectively, whatever that job may be, they have to learn how to use the tools to do the job effectively - I would hazard a guess that your company doesn't just throw a new recruit into a room with the laser cutting equipment and tell them to get on with cutting stencils. Now you can argue whether such training should be in advance or on-the-job,self-directed, mentor led or explicitly taught, but that's a different kettle of fish entirely. On a slightly separate not, I would also question whether successful software and good software are always the same thing. In my experience, the answer is "No".

FraserShaw said

at 12:20 pm on Oct 1, 2011

I can see I am going to have to be literal here no room for wit or colour apparently. I can't remember how to use some code I wrote myself so the command F example - completely missing the point. I have been writing code for 30 years but I still need my 12 year old to give me Facebook tips . Can teachers get positive results using common FREE tools that they are familiar with even if they only know 10% of its functions - YES. Is a complex clunky portal that falls over a lot and uses strange language found nowhere else on earth and is useful no where else on earth a barrier to inclusive digital communications YES. Oh and john what percentage of google users have been to google academy ? tiny fractions of a percent - or mathematically speaking "nobody" ( sorry can't help myself - zero to the nearest 4 or 5 decimal places) Good software should be useable straight away - note I did not say perfect just useable - good software draws you into it make you want to learn and is predictable and reliable first and foremost. If GLOW was in any way what it was supposed to be - it would have gone viral among teachers - they would have been beating their way to it - I can't believe we are even having this debate - the fact that it didn't is testimony enough. To say you need training is pinning the blame on the teachers - and that simply isn't true its a failure of infrastructure and management and regulation and gravy training on a government contract.

John Johnston said

at 12:46 pm on Oct 1, 2011

Hi Fraser,
I think there is a room for wit, I thought it amusing that there was indeed a google academy.

I have no argument with he fact that glow/sharepoint is clunky, and often a barrier. I've been saying it as loudly as possible since I saw glow. I don't think many other folk would disagree with you on that either.
I also agree that most good software should be easy to learn, and a lot of free stuff is, the mechanics of posting to a blog or recording a podcast with audacity can be taught to 10 years olds in about 10 minutes. The teacher can then concentrate on helping the learner shape the content of their post or podcast episode.

Many teachers have access to these free tools and don't use them.
Part of this is, I think, down to a lack of confidence. Teachers like to feel that things are going to go well and although they are happy making mistakes posting to their facebook account at home, they might not be as happy not being a learner in front of learners in their classroom.
Another part is down to the preparation and class room time needed to make changes in teaching practise. Access to hardware can be perceived as a barrier too.

JohnM said

at 12:15 pm on Oct 2, 2011

Hi Fraser
Are you really saying that business nowadays does no training when a new software system is installed? At the very least, every employee will have had induction training to introduce them to all procedures and systems. If, as you claim you only need to know 10% to be effective then when your child's teacher only teaches 10% of the Higher Maths syllabus, you'll be fine? Would you be fine travelling on holiday with a pilot who has only completed 10% flight hours? That's tosh, and you know it. You would be barking mad. You expect your teachers/pilots to have a level of expertise in their chosen field.
Low levels of skill and high levels of challenge only result in worry and anxiety. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastery_learning. John is spot on when he highlights a lack of confidence as being part of the issue. Training is needed to embed the level of skill needed to give them the confidence to feel in control. For new teachers that should happen in teacher training colleges, for existing teachers there must be appropriate training if only to introduce them to the possibilities of using on-line tools.

FraserShaw said

at 11:40 am on Oct 3, 2011

JohnM - please read again - I said positive results - as a simple step forward as in going in the right direction. First your not a pilot - no-one is going to die if you accidentally delete a document, Secondly who suggested only teaching part of the syllabus ? If only 10% was dealt with via digital comms it would be a start - by all means do the other 90% what ever way you like. The reality is that in many schools it is currently 0% YES 0% while those responsible dither. GET ON WITH IT Take a step ANY STEP - JUST GET ON WITH IT. Good software and systems are self encouraging. Only government jobs can "afford" ( remember the deficit?) endless training and procedures - those of us that actually have to compete on a free world market have to get immediate results on finite resources. Sorry but your way of thinking is typical big government thinking - of the type that gets parliament buildings 10 times over budget. Every teacher in the land can start communicating tomorrow via Facebook if you let them. I know its a lowest common denominator but, as basic as this is it would be a start - it would be one small positive step, one that the education department has completely FAILED to take so far.

Peter Dickman said

at 12:08 pm on Oct 3, 2011

Fraser, speaking in a personal capacity but from a position in industry (I'm an Engineering Manager at Google) I think you're overstating the case and the anti-public-sector polemics aren't really helping matters. [Declaring an interest: I used to be an academic and my wife used to be a teacher and before that was a nurse - but I worked in industry and overseas before becoming an academic in Scotland and am very definitely back in industry now]

I do believe and agree that good software is rapidly and easily usable, but using something well pedagogically is not the same as simply using it. I agree that it's all too easy to put off trying new things while awaiting coaching, and for an industry of coaches & trainers & advisers to grow up around the tools, but the key problem here is finding time for the teachers to work out how best to use these tools in lessons to achieve meaningful educational objectives - they get all too little time to just stop and think as it is and those same bodies that you are so dismissive of are precisely the places where good educational advice originates.

And your suggestion that teachers should simply get on with using social networking tools without any initial discussion or guidance is dangerously naive: there have been too many cases already worldwide of teachers being abused and bullied by parents and students when they did that. I'm a contributor to an ENISA working group on Life-Logging and another on cyber-bullying so have some professional awareness of background here. The tools can (and I believe should) be constructively put to such use, but it is important that the teachers are supported in doing so and made aware of best practice. None of which is an argument for delaying though.

Incidentally industry has such guidance and coaches too; training & support contracts from 3rd parties & resellers are not unusual for larger Google Apps for Business customers.

Alison Taylor said

at 1:36 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Training is great, but pupils and staff need immediate access to ICT as and when they need it otherwise the lessons learned at the training will soon be lost. Use it or lose it!

FraserShaw said

at 2:09 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Peter I am not anti Public sector I believe in universal free schooling but this archaic attitude is testing my belief to the core. So you are going to play the internet bogie man card are you?Complete nonsense - I am so fed up with the same stuff getting trotted out again and again - "I know a guy who knows a guy who's cousin was bullied on the internet" so we must shut it down. For every cyber bully there are a thousand real ones so are you going to ban teachers and pupils and parents from meeting? Its very very easy to moderate such that only verified names of users are used. Then its actually easier to prosecute abuse on line as you will have an actual record of the abuse. Real abuse is much harder to prove. This is the excessive health and safety argument all over again - to which my answer is always the same " Do you really think the china factory that made your asda dvd player for £10 has the same health and safety practises as a UK factory?" Except now its Taiwanese kids getting excellent education on a shoestring by not spending 10 years worrying about nonsense like this before using the greatest educational tool since the printing press to its full effect. Again for god sake just get on with it.

Peter Dickman said

at 4:21 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Fraser, please calm down and read what I said. Or admit that you're trolling.

I clearly stated that I believe that the social networks SHOULD be used. I work for a company that just launched one! (Google+) I also said that there are issues (which you clearly don't want to face up to) around life-logging & cyber-bullying, and also around data ownership & control for that matter, which need to be handled correctly. That isn't difficult to get right, nor does it need to be done slowly, or expensively, it just has to be done properly.

I also tried to make the point that pedagogical use of tools is not the same as simply using those tools, as allowance has to be made for learning styles etc. And my comment about guidance to teachers wasn't intended to imply that we need some huge great organisation, or lots of delay (I specifically said that none of the points justified delay) or massive fear, just a small amount of guidance and suggestions and shared best practice. Teachers using social networking tools mostly already know to be careful, but using them as part of their work activity changes the game and that's where guidance is useful.

Example: anything & everything I write here potentially reflects on my employer, since I'm identified with them in the context of this discussion. And that includes my suggestion above that you might be trolling. I haven't bothered asking for internal legal clearance before making that suggestion, but in some companies I'd now be in trouble for having failed to have my text approved before posting. There is a difference between using a tool in a personal and in a work context, even though the tool itself might be exactly the same.

I realise you're frustrated that there's an on-line discussion going on now and the summit won't be until the 17th and you'd like people to just do stuff right now. Well some of them are already doing things. More will be done over the next few weeks and months. And the rest will follow.

Sharon Breakwell said

at 2:58 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Part of the CDP and training problem is how it is offered. A discrete session will only be attended by interested parties who want to opt in and give up their twilight time to attend - leaving the rest to continue to claim ignorance of ICT. Perhaps we need to look at how we approach staff to show them what is available - small groups where they can explore different programs, activities in their own schools during school CAT sessions might be more expensive but could be more valuable in the long term, giving staff the opportunity to ask questions and find solutions which are relevant to their own and their pupils needs.

FraserShaw said

at 5:20 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Peter - How dare you? trolling? Do you have children in the Scottish education system? I do. Hence my anger - I see from your profile that your not even in Scotland - what right do you have to pass an opinion on this? - my kids education is being undermined daily by the dithering going on here - how about yours? Or are you yet another theoretician? If not share it with us -where are the facts that all this extra naval gazing is required before we do what many private schools do already. Theres less censorship in China for god sake. We shave already had a report on here that Denmark has no restrictions - how are they doing? did the sky fall? did thousands of kids get preyed upon? did lots of teachers get bullied by parents? was it - to quote you "dangerous" ? There is a ton of data out there showing that we are falling behind particularly Asia.

I would like an apology for the jibe please. I can take any amount of refutation - IF you back it up with some kind of fact. I am always happy to admit I am wrong - to me thats part and parcel of a robust discussion - but I don't see anything to back up this archaic attitude except "old woman worrying". ( actually thats an insult to my mum whose perfectly happy to communicate with her grandchildren and grand nieces and nephews online)

Peter Dickman said

at 5:39 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Kids in scottish education: Yes. Though he just moved down to London to take a Masters course, having studied in Scotland through the whole system, including University, always in the state sector.

Switzerland v Scotland: I moved here for work 3.5 years ago. Before that I was an academic in Glasgow where I worked closely with schools in many projects trying to improve Computing education. I'm also active in CAS (computingatschool.org.uk), and have other roles which mean I can help answer questions here. I will *not* be involved in any decision making as it would be inappropriate, given my employer and where I now live.

What's sad here is that you and I probably agree on the way we'd like the Internet etc to be used to further the education of children in Scotland. As to this consultation process? I'm not party to the government discussions, but I suspect after the GLOW Futures cancellation this consultation is the best that political processes will allow to ensure money isn't wasted and something sensible happens. It's frustrating. Bureaucracies often are. That doesn't mean the people involved can skip the steps make an arbitrary decision.

Trolling? Yes; your repeated comments about dithering, public sector pay, etc are not moving the discusion forward. You're adding far more heat than light - hence my suggestion that you *might* be trolling. I deliberately used the word to get your attention. Now please stop and think. What are you trying to *achieve* in this debate? You want improvements, as quickly as possible, at low cost? Fine. Make constructive suggestions without the side-swipes and it'll help progress matters. Simply claiming repeatedly that this discussion is pointless doesn't help.

And you assumed from my mention of the ENISA reports that I think life-logging is bad or cyber-bullying is endemic. I don't. And the reports didn't claim that either, quite the opposite. But that doesn't mean teachers shouldn't be provided with some basic guidance.

FraserShaw said

at 7:44 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Peter - already agreed elsewhere to add basic guidance classes to teachers and pupils alike ( in fact the education department is so scared of the internet that it doesn't even do this - in my kids school they just pretend the internet doesn't exist - seriously) I honestly think that those that think they are making progress just don't realise how far behind they are already. I can confidently predict that unless there is an actual revolution nothing much will change. My eldest left school last year without ever using a commuter at school to do anything - think about that for a minute it was 2010 not 1980 - never once used a computer in school. Meanwhile my 2 youngest have 1 or 2 teachers doing maybe an hour a week ( they do use GLOW to reasonable effect but way too little result in way too short a time). Thats just not acceptable in a developed country that spends 7.7 Billion on education ( I think ) I want people on here to first admit just how bad this is - otherwise we will get some weak conclusion to this summit. Meanwhile every professional person I know lives and breathes online for all aspects of their working life. I had a joiner round my house yesterday - who left with a cheery " email me the details then and Ill get on it" - thats how things are in the world today - apart from in education.

Peter Dickman said

at 8:02 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Fraser: You don't have to convince me that the state of Computing education (don't get me started on ICT vs Computing) in UK schools is parlous - I'm an active participant in CAS and agree whole-heartedly with the comments my ultimate employer made in Edinburgh a few weeks ago. But here and now, my goal is to help improve matters. My suggestion: don't keep re-stating the problem(s), propose solutions.

Claire Griffiths said

at 10:16 pm on Oct 8, 2011

Please to see the Computing at Schools hub mentioned. I came across it when I submitted for the Royal Society enquiry last November. Now I am setting up a hub for people interested in computing science in the north-east of Scotland. We will meet in the evening to chat and listen to visiting speakers. Our first meeting is in November on the theme of what makes a good website. As someone comes to talk to the group I am combining this with a CPD twilight course for local teachers. It has proved straightforward to organise and host. Scran are coming in January 2012 for free (CPD course too) as will my friend who is a website designer (I am looking after his children part of half-term!).

Teachers need support in the form of ICT specialists in the schools at all levels (Australia does this). Glow will only get us so far. Teachers need and expect to have help available for every site Glow has a link to. I found as a glow/ICT officer I was expected to know glow and every change Scran or the audio network or the BBC etc....made to their sites too! Luckily I loved the challenge.

FraserShaw said

at 10:03 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Peter - I have - its very simple open it up. Stop the censoring let the teachers use whatever they want. Happy to have a simple safety induction for everyone as a compulsory thing - even a waiver signed by a parent before they are allowed - but let them take MacBooks pcs iPods iPads whatever to school and log on and get on with it. As soon as they leave school it is absolutely necessary - so why not at school? Way too many people in this discussion are getting bogged down in detail - I don't even understand this "single log on" thing that is consuming people for example. It bears repeating that at this stage I assume that my 12 year old will leave school with the same digital experience as my 18 year old. Nothing will change except in 5 years time they will STILL be sitting thinking " but this is a brilliant system why is no-one using it? - its so easy - all you have to do is attend this 6 week course and complete this form every time you want to access anything and get permission from the head and contact the ICT co-ordinator and and and and ........................why is it still not being used?"

Peter Dickman said

at 10:47 pm on Oct 4, 2011

I have great sympathy with the "open it all up" approach. But the mention of single sign-on systems is not fluff or ignorable. It matters a lot when you are considering a system that will be used by hundreds of thousands of children and teachers. See the next comment for a bit more detail (apologies if I get too technical too quickly).

Peter Dickman said

at 10:44 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Single Sign-On (SSO) is a mechanism whereby, having logged in just once, all the applications - even from different vendors - become accessible without having to re-state passwords. Using Google examples:

Think of the way you can login to Gmail and then Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Sites, Google+ etc all just work. That's due to SSO. Google Apps allows the customer admins to choose their SSO solution (pretty much anything SAML 2.0 based will work, for example); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_sign-on will explain more if you're interested.

There are important security benefits, for example the SSO mechanism can use multi-factor authentication, such as the OTP codes from Google Authenticator on a mobile phone, to make it much much harder for an attacker, including a successful phishing attacker, to access the users content. Other vendors' solutions will also provide and support SSO, it isn't a specifically Google way of doing things. Glow has a single sign-on solution and it's an important way of ensuring simplicity for the users while maintaining security of the system and the user data.

SSO is a really nice example of user-perceived simplicity, giving important security & ease-of-use benefits almost invisibly, thanks to carefully engineered technology tucked away out of sight. There's lots of additional explanatory technical material available online, for example this item from the Cloud Security Alliance:

This is the sort of thing it's important to get right. As a standard consumer of cloud based applications this will be invisible - you'll create your own account and use it without ever realising how it all works. For a school or education body that needs to create an account for each child, with the ability to reset passwords when they forget them and so on, getting these account management services right is really critical.

Robert Dempster said

at 7:38 pm on Oct 5, 2011

I feel that many of the discussions miss the key point. Mr Russell has indicated that GLOW has a future but the current contract ends in less 12 months time. His announcement has effectively stopped the procurement process which would allow GLOW to continue in any form. If we simply allow this to happen then this will represent a significant waste of time, money and effort on the part of teachers and their employers.

Many teachers and their Local Authorities have bought into the ‘national intranet model’ and see it is an effective solution for collaboration and sharing. They have invested a significant amount of time and finance to use GLOW to share resources with teachers and pupils. Those teachers, who have committed to GLOW, are unlikely to commit to another solution, if they have to replicate their work in a new portal. Confidence will be destroyed.

Mr Russell’s recent statement does not guarantee that the GLOW ‘engine’ will continue or intimate how this could be replaced and have existing resources transferred. It is unlikely that RM will transfer data to a range of different portals as may be preferred by different local authorities. Before we debate which software tools are ‘the best’, we need to make sure that the foundations of a national intranet remain in place.

Therefore, I would welcome guarantees that the existing GLOW ‘engine’ will either be retained or existing resources that are stored within GLOW will be transferred to a new national intranet by the end of the current contract in September 2012.

David Banner said

at 9:38 pm on Oct 5, 2011

Hulk thinks that one of the biggest challenges and barriers to any progress to the success of the future of Glow and the effective integration of ICTs in to learning and teaching in the past decade is down to the lack of competence and understanding above a basic transition in PowerPoint of so many of those 'leading' learning in schools, Local Authorities and at the top most level of LTScotland, SQA and HMIe and now Education Scotland. How on earth can we expect digital technologies to make any movement or impact on learning in schools when the people leading us have limited skills and knowledge. It's not enough to use jargon at a meeting....

We have had leaders leading a hugely important aspect of learning in contemporary times who have been complicit in the passive acceptance of a dumbed-downed attitude to technologies and a culture of I don't do ICT. Many of these players are still in place and will be leading us into the future fray. Can this be right! How long can this nonsense of assumed knowledge by those in ‘power’ be swallowed by the profession and by parents who expect their children to be developing to the best of their ability?

We also have a profession who exhibit the most dependent of dependency cultures in relation to a safety blanket need for 'training' with anything to do with ICTs. Training that when delivered doesn't appear to stick. This is a huge unspoken elephant in the room. The EduScotICT wiki is interesting and has featured comments about the fact that just because you change the platform the practice won't necessarily do so. Hulk thinks this is what will happen. Until the importance of technologies is realised by ALL in our schools - including those leading it- then a similar review will probably be happening again in 10 years time.

Morag Giblin said

at 9:34 am on Oct 6, 2011

Sorry – I have had to split this into two posts to get it all in.
I have been following this debate and the discussion within the ICT Summit page with great interest.. Initial Teacher Education appears to be coming in for some criticism in its lack of preparation for new teachers and I would be the first to agree that perhaps more could be done within ITE .
I would, however, like to share some experiences.
The picture coming across throughout this debate is that schools have fallen far behind the students in terms of using technology – ‘most of the kids are more conversant with the tech than the teachers’ (FraserShaw)
There seems to be an assumption being made that young people are highly ICT literate. I would question this from my own evidence.
Each year, for the last five years, I have asked our new B.Ed 1students, most of whom have come straight from school, to grade themselves 1 to 5 on their knowledge, understanding and skills on using the internet with 1 indicating ‘limited use and knowledge’ to 5 being ‘expert’.
I repeated the exercise this week with our new cohort. As with all previous years the results were as follows - one or two felt they were 1s, a larger number gave themselves a 2, about three quarters (approx 60 students) said a 3 or 4 and a few said 5. A healthy confidence?
I then asked them to work together to complete a quiz which is based on an old one from Alan November.
The quiz is designed not to test the students but to raise their awareness of what they don’t know.
And they don’t know a great deal.
(Please continue to next post)

Morag Giblin said

at 9:35 am on Oct 6, 2011

Yes, they are conversant with Facebook, booking holidays, tweeting (perhaps), using Google, but actually, this year, as in most other years, nobody had a blog or had ever contributed to a wiki. Most were not sure about the difference between them. Nobody was aware of the term web 2.0 or had uploaded videos to you tube. Only a small handful had ever used or even knew about advanced search in Google, knew what tags were and why they are used and all were quite comfortable about using google images for downloading images to be posted elsewhere.
We are making headway though. All students will be using Glow Groups and Blogs for eportfolios, wikis are well used and the use of interactive whiteboards (interactively) is developing.
However, students spend a great deal of their time in schools and these can be very varied experiences. Some have the opportunity to make use of technologies and leave the experience having developed their skills, knowledge and confidence. Others can go through their full course (four placements) with very limited opportunities, entering their induction year lacking in confidence and, in some cases, having very negative ideas about technology picked up from school staff they have been working with. Indeed, a student reporting back about his experiences in his most recent placement illustrates quite well what students can experience. He was in a nursery class with an up-to-date computer sitting in the corner which was not switched on. He expressed an interest in using it with the children but was told that the children thought it was broken and if he used it then they would want to use it when he left.
I say no more!

Bruce Robertson said

at 11:55 am on Oct 6, 2011

Those authorities and schools who have had successes with Glow will advise that we need The Vision, The Leadership, The targeted and focused Training, The Connectivity, and of course the Requirement to use the systems if all this is to happen.The young learners I see are 21 Century digital natives and do not have confidence issues. Too few are getting access to 21 Learning opportunities.Confidence is important but can be overstated, I feel, in some quarters.

Stephen Bullock said

at 10:50 am on Oct 7, 2011

From a CPD perspective the new approach ('best of breed' and suggestions of more open access to online tools) seems to address the largest block to accessing Glow - that even online natives (whether pupils or staff) are having to learn to use and navigate two sets of tools - one in their personal life and one in their professional/school life.

I believe that the frustrations with Glow are not that Glow tools are difficult or not what users are used to, but simply that the skills are non-transferable in both directions.

The success in uptake of Glow Blogs can be partly accounted for by the fact that is uses Wordpress. I learnt to use Wordpress within a work context and now use it extensively in my personal life. The value of that learning is doubled since I can take it outside of the classroom and still use it. In much the same way I learnt to use Microsoft Word in my personal life, and am able to transfer it to my professional life. The effort saved works both ways.

When persuading staff and pupils to expend valuable time in learning a new tool, it is extremely motivating to know that the new skills will be transferable to other jobs and to their personal life and can be added to a CV.

Even Katy Perry uses Wordpress!

waltatek@gmail.com said

at 10:17 pm on Oct 7, 2011

We should look to other countries where next practice is being developed. The range of development opportunities provided by VITAL (http://www.vital.ac.uk/) show the benefits to be gained from a multi-faceted approach to developing teachers’ confidence and competence in the use of ICT in learning and teaching.

One of the most powerful routes to supporting teachers in schools (rather than taking them out of schools for training etc) is through peer coaching. Here is what I have to say about my positive experiences with the Microsoft Peer Coaching programme (and no, it doesn’t involve the selling or buying of Microsoft products!). http://youtu.be/OnZrzH0dP7g

Claire Griffiths said

at 11:52 pm on Oct 8, 2011

If the Scottish government wants to promote ICT and computing science in schools (reference Mr Schmidt @ Google) they will need to provide the following :
- Multimedia training at all levels including primary schools. Encouraging the provision of multimedia computing courses by local colleges/ OU would help here. The courses need to be set at an access level which will encourage the novice multimedia user as well those with more enhanced ICT skills.
- Hardware Investment. Old computers often don’t support the latest version of flash/shockwave so that BBC schools resources, expresso science or audio network etc... don't work. Teachers plan a lesson and then only half the class can get on the site. It is hard to teach a lesson involving audio files if there are no headphones. Using sites such as BBC Science clips with non-readers impractical. They could do the science quizzes/games if it is read to them but you can't have a class of 25+ talking computers.
-Free or sponsored hands-on training preferably at ASG level so that teachers don't have to travel too far for a twilight course. Online training is fine as a support but we wouldn't expect the children to learn that way all the time so why should we expect the teachers too.
-So who delivers this training? At primary level very few teachers have a degree in computing science yet we need Primary ICT specialists who have the multimedia skills. I have studied for my BSC computing studies part-time while still teaching at primary level. I realise I am the exception but we could start by encouraging others to take the qualifications mentioned at the top of the page (ECDL, e-safety etc...)to enhance their ICT/computing science skills by providing funds to do so. As experienced teachers too they can show others where these new skills can be applied directly into the classroom.

Gary Bryant said

at 4:07 am on Oct 10, 2011

Is there a danger of the framing becoming distorted if it becomes overly focused on the teaching of ICT alone? The promotion of ICT and computing science is one which it is easy to embrace but could it distract from a principle of it being first and foremost about teaching and learning utilising the power of ICT as a seamless enabler and effective delivery mechanism with an almost impercepitble underlying infrastructure where users are authenticated into a range of tools and services (which don't just exist as islands on the web) with a common, shareble, searchable base for collaboorative working where single points of failure are mitigated? Confidence then begins to become almost incidental in the same way that abilities to teach or learn have not been previously predicated on confidence in, say, a pen working.

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