One of the points which came out of #rethinkingict for me is attaching a Creative Commons license to the #digitalstudies wiki. Miles Berry mentioned it on Saturday when I met him at #educationfest and it came up in his speech at the conference on Monday morning.
It has been something on the back of my mind for a while but just not got round to it but now I think is the right time for it. #digitalstudies has involved a lot of new thought and essentially the creation of new ‘intellectual property’ however we are not a commercial organisation. Furthermore some of the key concepts were developed out of what people like Mark Clarkson and Chris Leach offered. So I think it is important for us as a subject not to sit tight on what we have but to also offer it out as well for others to use and develop.
So I would like to propose that we use the Creative Commons Licence CCBYNCSA.
BY: just as much as we are attributing the original authors or ‘finders’ of resources it seems only sensible to ask for that similar attribution.
NC: although we are working with commercial interests this must remain a non-commercial enterprise. I would not want to see #digitalstudies products being sold.
SA: we want to give people the rights to share our work as well and this will protect the original license application.
What do people think? If there no real objections I will probably attach it later to the wiki.
On the 19th of June I went to what was the second Oxford Raspberry Pi meetup organised by Paul Read. It was held at RS components office in Oxford. I arrived not knowing anyone but really looking forward to it. There were 20? guys there (no women though … ) and various monitors and bits of kit scattered around
The evening was mostly demoes of existing projects which people are undertaking. All were especially impressive but the ones which stood out for me were the guy who was getting RiscOS running on the Pi and the other chap who was using XBee? boards to wirelessly send serial data in near real time to a small display unit. The thing which struck me about both their approaches (and everyone else as well) was when asked about practical implementations of their projects their only response was in a nutshell ‘not sure … just wanted to see if I could do it”. This to me is the spirit of true innovation and skill and in a sense true bloody minded British optimism in simply saying – “sod it let’s do this!” After seeing documentaries before with black and white footage of engineers standing around rocket engines or photos of 70′s hippies holding weird circult boards I kind of got a sense of what it must have been like at the time and what the Pi could herald for the future.
As I was standing there kind of trying to pedal fast to keep up with the conversation (someone says “Oh I do this using SSHDA on DX99 using )(*&^ etc” and everyone nods wisely and I’m thinking “Huh?”) I thought whilst I hopefully will be able to pick up some kills and competencies myself what I could contribute to the group in the future is my expertise as a teacher. The projects which are being booted around including home sensors would be perfect translated into lessons in school. Whilst I may not know much about how to build these things I may be able to help package what is created into something which teachers who may not be fully skilled themselves could use within a class.
I think this approach would help as a way of keeping the Pi grounded. With all due respect to the other guys there I think I can already see how guys could focus almost exclusively on the nuts and bolts of code or hardware and forget the bigger picture. So that when someone is asked ‘why did you do this?’ or ‘what is it for?’ they could turn round and say not only ‘I did it because I wanted to see if I could’ but they could also think ‘you know what – this could really work well in schools as something to encourage pupils to do even better things one day’.
original blog is here at designspark.com
Earlier today I blogged about a meeting myself and Nic Patterson (@teachesict) were going to with the Corporate IT forum and their Education and Skills Commission. In brief for those who haven’t read the earlier post the Corporate IT forum is an organisation which represents the interests of hundreds of organisations and thousands of IT professionals largely in the IT as a service industry rather than IT as a product industry. Earlier this year they formed an Education and Skills Commission to look at issues to do with ICT education and concerns regarding the quality of school leavers going into full time work.
Soon after the commission was formed we wrote to them introducing the concept of #digitalstudies and recently we received an offer to attend a meeting of the commission and present about our subject and then discuss with the members some of the issues. Why we wrote to the commission is important as well in terms of our motivation for going and what we hoped to get out of the day. I may be making some generalisations here but largely I think that teachers tend to be wary of outside business interests in education. We deal with shoddy businesses wanting to sell us quick fix but badly built educational products through to looking at the implications of Gove’s keenness on seeing schools being run for profit.
However we would be foolhardy to forget that just as much as we are preparing pupils to go into tertiary education we are also preparing pupils to go into the job market both as potential employees and if they themselves are developing new and unique ideas or products then they will become job creators as well. I therefore think that especially in a subject such as ICT or #digitalstudies forging links with business is absolutely essential.
So after meeting Nic for the first time (twitterlife – you can work for months with someone until you actually meet them!) we headed to the Gazprom offices in London. Very impressive setup including a great conference room with a triangular table which Nic and I briefly reflected on as a layout for a class and we then get going.
Partly due to lack of sleep and two celebratory pints Nic and I had in a pub near baker street at the moment I will not be able to recount absolutely all of the day. There will apparently be a transcript coming out sometime soon and until then I will probably write specific blogs about some of the topics discussed. For now though the main points from the day were as follows:
- Unsurprisingly business is taking very seriously the issue of pupils going into employment with the necessary competences and skills. This is something which needs to be recognised irrespective of whether delivering ICT or #digitalstudies. We have many pupils walking through our doors and what we do in class will not be about preparing them for the next test. We are not training colleges for employment but we can start building the capabilities into pupils for employment. It’s an obvious statement but I think it needs to be said again.
- There was a lot of discussion with regard to skills versus competencies. It was acknowledged that skills are updated quite fast due to changing technology but that competencies may be more permanant. It was noted from the research the forum had done that companies were mostly more interested in hiring pupils with competencies rather than skills. At the end of the day we were all asked to develop a list of 10 competencies for submission back to the commission. Expect another blog post on this soon.
- The #digitalstudies presentation went down very well. Nic and I had a ton of very searching, incisive and very fair questions from the commission members. Their motivation to get to grips with the issues to do with #digitalstudies and general ICT education was obvious and very welcome to see as these are serious issues.
- A number of commission members expressed interest in the #digitalstudies projects and Nic and I have a some contacts to work through and process.
Overall it was a very productive day. Unlike reading and hearing about most things which seems to come come out of DfE tinged with ideology this was a day of productive, focussed and practical discussion about moving forward the debate surrounding ICT education. A few key elements moving forward were decisions to try and continue influence of exam boards in their future development of GCSEs, acknowledgement that support needs to be given to projects furthering ICT curriculum developments and as part of that using research to look at a key list of competencies that pupils need to show by the time they are 16. This issue of competencies is a key one as it could provide the framework for a #digitalstudies curriculum which I have written about before.
We certainly enjoyed being able to offer her opinions during the day and the opportunity to shape future ICT policy for schools across the UK is quite exciting. I look forward to being able to continue to work with the commission but I hope that they will continue to take input from as many ICT teachers as possible. I know I would certainly have a number to recommend.
(note: blog was started on day of meeting but only managed to finish it today but have kept the time references)
Recently the steering group received an invite to attend a meeting of the Corporate IT Forum’s Education and Skills commission. Their press blurb is as follows:
The Education and Skills Commission was created by The Corporate IT Forum in March 2012 to tackle the growing ICT skills crisis. Forum members were concerned that their employment needs were not being addressed by the current education and training environment.
The Commission has 28 members drawn from large companies, public sector organisations and education and training bodies. Its Chair is John Harris, Chair of The Corporate IT Forum and Chief Architect and Head of IT Strategy at GlaxoSmithKline.
The Commission is informed by the experience of its members, research from contributors and through feedback from The Corporate IT Forum. It will publish its findings and recommendations over the next two years.
The Commission’s response to the Department for Education’s public consultation on proposals to disapply the current ICT curriculum was also informed by a survey of members of the Corporate IT Forum carried out in March 2012. The Commission’s response to the proposals were published in full on the Corporate IT Forum website at: www.corporateitforum.com
The Corporate IT Forum is the premier representative body of the largest corporate users of ICT in the UK. The Forum represents 320 IT user organisations and supports over 10,000 IT professionals. The collective spend on IT of the Forum’s members is some 35 billion euros per annum.
As you can see this is quite an important group! Nic (@teachesict) and I will be presenting to the commission on #digitalstudies. We will cover what we have done and why we have done it and just as importantly we will be looking at what they could hopefully do to support us.
We will be presenting at 10:45 this morning so if you can keep the hashtag #digitalstudies going and we will try and keep you either updated during the day or blog after the end of it. I’m posting this from the bus wi-fi so will add the presentation later.
After taking an initial look see at the iPad blogging app Blogsy I thought it would be a good idea to finally delve into it a little bit more. I have enjoyed blogging with WordPress ever since I switched my main blog from Posterous however editing and uploading posts is not as streamlined as Posterous and app support on iOS is not nearly as good. Blogsy is a fantastic third party app which although it has its quirks it certainly has its advantages.
So far I have enjoyed the ease of integrating photo and video services like Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo and the ability to quickly swap to the HTML view through a three finger swipe. A couple of things which annoy me include what seems to be a lack of spell checking and a general problem which iOS apps suffer from and that is having to remember all sorts of finger swipe combinations to do things as the app must remain ‘simple’ in its design. A further issue I have just noticed as I have been typing this is that as text disappears below the keyboard the text doesn’t automatically move up to show what I am typing.
Still as this is a great app with a lot of features I look forward to seeing how it develops.
To finish off let’s see whether a YouTube video can be embedded
For those who have never read my blog before my name is Brian and I am a head of ICT and #digitalstudies at a small independent school in Oxford. I am also studying towards my Masters in ICT and Education. For my final major piece of work I am conducting a critical study on the use of blogging in the classroom.
This is where you can help. In order to gain a picture of the use of blogging across multiple schools I have setup a survey which is available here.
The survey is about 30 questions long and is designed specifically for pupils to complete. Although there are a number of questions many of them are quite brief. In asking for some pupil details I am not seeking anything which would individually identify them. If you are going to get your pupils to complete the survey if they could please do it in the next six weeks before the end of term.
In addition if you are willing for your pupils to take part in the survey I would appreciate it if you yourself could add your name on this form as I would be interested in perhaps following up with a quick interview of yourself.