I’m Back

This blog has been lying idle for the last couple of years since I moved from my previous role as QIO to my current post as education manager for learning and teaching. I would like to use this space to keep colleagues up to date with what I am up to just now as part of a bigger experiement to look once again at being as open as possible in how we do things.

Getting GLOWing

This blog has not been updated for ages due to change of jobs, remits, etc.  As we are getting towards the end of term I though it would be worth giving a bit of an end of term report.  The deployment of GLOW has now been completed.  All schools and nurseries in Renfrewshire now have access to GLOW.  The uptake is still quite limited in some areas but is growing daily.  There have been lots of examples of the use of GLOW in learning and teaching in many of our schools.  For example some are using the VLE to assign homework,  groups have been set up to support a number of initiatives and schools have been talking to each other via GLOW Meet.

During next session we are expecting to continue to support the uptake of GLOW in learning and teaching.  All schools will have GLOW on their improvement plans and there will be lots of support for teachers developing theire practice.

Visit of Professor Tim Brighouse

You will be aware of the work of Professor Tim Brighouse through the two books issued to all head teachers over the last couple of years. The more recent book “How Successful Head Teachers Survive and Thrive” was issued to all schools at the start of this term. Professor Brighouse is a non executive director of RM, the company providing the infrastructure for GLOW. As such we are very pleased to give you advance warning of the visit of Tim to Renfrewshire on the 11th of March 2008. Plans are at an early stage but will include a conversation workshop with head teachers on leadership along with a keynote presentation at the third of our GLOW evening events. The evening event will be at Gleniffer High School from 7-9:30pm and will include presentations on the use of GLOW to enhance learning and teaching along with the keynote by Professor Brighouse. It will be possible to book your place at the evening event via the online CPD system (http://renfrewshire.cpdservice.net). You can book your place at this event using CPD online. Search for GLOW on 11/03/2008. If you have already logged in to CPD online then just click here. There is no charge for the evening.I am sure that you will not want to miss the opportunity of hearing Professor Brighouse so this early notification aims to help you in keeping your diary clear.

GLOW Launch

Last night saw the GLOW launch in Renfrewshire at Gleniffer High School. About 250 people with representation from most schools in Renfrewshire attended the event. We heard from Alan Wait from Learning Curve about the importance of digital literacy in the 21st century. Paul Smyth gave a first live glimpse of some of what GLOW has to offer. Finally Douglas Chapelle from RM gave a presentation of the importance of thinking through the issues of ICT in learning and teaching. Douglas highlighted the Tim Brighouse book”How Success Head Teachers Survive and Thrive” which was distributed to all our establishments earlier this term. If you have not yet had a chance to look at this can I commend it to you.

This was a great evening and we are very thankful to all the contributors for the time they gave up.  The next steps are all to do with implementation.  Steven Wilson has been working hard at the ops training and this is ongoing with mentor training later in the month.  It looks like it will be all go very soon!

A Quick Week

A busy first week of the new session was dominated by an important meeting with representatives of the Glow national team. The training model which we have proposed for the implementation of Glow in Renfrewshire has been accepted and discussion is now focussing on the content and timing of the training we will deliver to staff. I was worried beforehand that the training dates scheduled prior to the summer break (albeit tentatively) would have to be revised but the meeting ended on a promising note and I am hopeful there will not be too many major changes. Confirmation is expected next week and I will keep you informed.

Computer Games and Learning is another area on which we will focus this session. I mentioned the magnificent work carried out using Gamemaker by Janette Thomson with her P7 class at Craigielea in a previous post. There is an in-service course on Games Design and Learning (and Gamemaker in particular) on Thursday 6th September – please try to come along if you are interested in becoming involved with this project. The Renfrewshire on line CPD catalogue contains further details.

We are also participating in the LT scotland computer games and learning pilot programme organised by Derek Robertson and the Consolarium based in Dundee. I distributed several games consoles (PS2 and Wii) to a number of Primary Schools in June. The idea is that the teacher develops a topic of work based around the context of a game which will open doors to learning for the children to such an extent that everyone is engaged and on task. Once again I will keep you posted as this exciting iniative develops.

Enjoy the weekend.


A New Session

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Day 229 - close up

Day 229 – close up,
originally uploaded by Gordon McKinlay.

The new session starts this week. We are about to start getting geared up for implementing Glow in Renfrewshire. A lot of planning has been done and things are now in place to get the ball rolling as the schools return.

Watch this space for lots of information about how we plan to proceed.

Planning for Implementation

Glow Messenger - Success Glow Messenger – Success,
originally uploaded by Gordon McKinlay.

We spent a busy afternoon this week with staff from RM putting in place the plans that will allow us to implement Glow as early in the new session as possible. This was a very productive afternoon and I feel that we have now got all the important issues sorted out including the technical issues and training issues.

Importantly for staff in schools in Renfrewshire, EasyMail will not vanish at the end of June as we thought a few months ago. We are now looking at a direct switch from EasyMail to GlowMail in September or October. This should mean no loss of service.

On the training front, Steven and Ann have been working very hard to get all of this in place. There should now be an administrator a teacher administrator and a Glow champion in every school. Training for each of these people is in place. Steven will send out dates and further details at the start of the new session.

In the meantime, the last phase of Glow piloting has just about come to an end. Each of the elements being tested this time round all seem to work through our firewall. This was despit a wee glitch on mail day last week. Thanks to everyone who took part in that exercise.

It is now the end of term and staff in schools will be away for a well deserved break. Tose of us who don’t deserve a break are going to continue to work at making sure that everything is in place for the launch of Glow in the autumn.

You should also be aware of the Glow launch evening on the 9th of October. This will give everyone a great opportunity to see Glow first hand. This event has been designed on the back of the very successful showcase event we had last February. Watch this space for more details early in the new session.

Have a great summer!


Is there anybody out there?

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I have now managed to get round to trying out some more aspects of the Glow phase 3 pilot. I was keen to try out the messenger feature. However, as far as I can see there is no-one else on-line!

Anyone fancy a chat? We can set up a time to try it out!