What is a MOOC? (and why would I want to know?)

MOOC = Massive Open Online Course

Why do I want to know this? For your own personal and professional development. Watch the video below to find out more. (If you’d rather read about it you can by clicking here, but to be honest the video does the trick…)

(Thanks to Dave Cormier for the video @davecormier)

For learners, and especially learners who are also busy educators, MOOCs are really exciting. We’ve grown used to learning online using YouTube, Khan Academy, podcastsiTunes U, and TED, for example. We’re used to these resources being available online whenever we need them. works with some of the world’s top universities to offer courses online, for free.

Our own Edinburgh University has joined the MOOC movement and is now offering a number of different MOOCs open to anyone and everyone. You may be interested in this one on ‘e-Learning and Digital Cultures‘. The Open University is beginning to offer MOOCs (I thought it already did? Yes, but remember these MOOC ones are free…) through an enterprise called You can also check out this list of MOOCs.

MOOCs will also appeal to our young people by offering a taste of further and higher education, covering a wide range of subjects that may not be available locally, giving opportunities for those unable to attend courses in person, connecting with a global community, the list goes on…

So spread the word, get involved and send us a picture of your certificate!

Glow is changing…… Phase Two

Glow will be changing in many ways over the coming months. The second change is that all school pupils will have the new interface,  RM Unify, from Monday 14th January by default.

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Each tile of the interface allows users to link to different tools in Glow. Clicking the Glow Portal tile will take users to the existing Glow website.

New features will be added to this over the coming months. We will keep you informed with the latest developments as they emerge.

For further information you can follow the Glow Scotland Blog.

iPad Scotland Evaluation Study Published

Hull SchoolsHull University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Research group, led by Kevin Burden (Principal Investigator) based in the Faculty of Education, have recently completed the first national evaluation to investigate the use and impact of tablet technologies (in this case the iPad), across schools and homes in Scotland.

The study was based in eight schools and six local authorities across Scotland where iPad devices were being piloted to investigate a range of issues associated with the deployment of personal mobile devices as tools for teaching and learning. Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh was part of this evaluation.

The headline findings from the study show that:

  • The ownership of a personal mobile device, like the iPad, facilitates many of the pedagogical aspirations set out in Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence framework.
  • The adoption of mobile technologies on a personal basis significantly increases access to technology for students, both inside and beyond school, with many attendant benefits for learning which include greater motivation, engagement, parental involvement, and understanding of complex ideas.
  • Personal ‘ownership’ of the device is seen as the single most important factor for successful use of this technology
  • Teachers are equally engaged by the use of a device like the iPad which has a low learning curve enabling them to use it immediately as a teaching tool and a learning tool for themselves
  • The use of the device is contributing to significant changes in the way teachers approach their professional role as educators and is changing the way they see themselves and their pedagogy:
  • Parents also appear to become more engaged with the school and their child’s learning when the iPad travels home with the student

To read the evaluation in full please click here.

“5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make…”

Edudemic, a site all about the best education technology tools and trends, recently posted the article, “5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them)“.

“Over the last few years K-12 schools and districts across the country [USA] have been investing heavily in iPads for classroom use. […] While we’ve witnessed many effective approaches to incorporating iPads successfully in the classroom, we’re struck by the common mistakes many schools are making with iPads, mistakes that are in some cases crippling the success of these initiatives. We’re sharing these common challenges with you, so your school doesn’t have to make them.”

The article is based on experiences with iPads, but the advice given applies equally to all technologies that schools may be purchasing en masse – iPads, Android tablets, netbooks, laptops etc.

How To Avoid These Mistakes!

All establishments have created their own vision for ICT but our 1:1 Toolkit should help you work towards achieving your vision.  The majority of schools will be at the planning stage just now, where time is taken to think about how best to support our learners and which technologies can enable this. The preparation stage is where any new technologies are introduced to staff and pedagogical change considered. After these phases have been completed, the implementation phase can begin. (Remember that for some establishments, your vision may be a full 1:1 initiative and for others it will be 1:1 access to technology in school when and where the learner needs it).

If you have any queries or would like to talk over your plans with someone from the Digital Learning Team please get in touch via

CALL Scotland – experts in communication and assistive technology

CALL Scotland  (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) specialises in helping pupils in education to access the curriculum and to participate and be included included alongside their classmates. Based in Moray House in the University of Edinburgh, CALL is both a Service and a Research Unit. Service activity is limited by the amount of staff time available, but is open to anyone in Scotland concerned with communication difficulties, particularly in a learning context.

There is a wealth of knowledge available on their website and you can also  browse the CPD opportunities offered by CALL by clicking here.

Report: The iPad as a Tool for Education

Naace have recently published their report – The iPad as a Tool for Education. Based on research taken from the implementation of iPads at Longfield Academy in Kent, the report is one of the most extensive studies so far into the use of tablets for learning. From the Naace website: “As one teacher put it, “The iPads have revolutionised teaching”, with appropriate use of iPads helping to enhance learning across the curriculum and encouraging collaborative learning. As more schools across the country consider adopting the use of tablets in classrooms, the messages from this research will be incredibly helpful for those who are deciding on their next steps.”

Read the full report here

Naace (originally the National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education, but now just ‘Naace’) is the professional association for those who are concerned with advancing education through the appropriate use of information and communications technology (ICT). Naace was established in 1984 and has become the key influential professional association for those working in ICT in education. Naace is a community of educators, technologists and policy makers who share a vision for the role of technology in advancing education. Members include teachers, school leaders, advisors and consultants working within and across all phases of UK education.

Scottish Learning Festival 2012

The theme for the Scottish Learning Festival 2012 is Creative Learning….Creative Thinking.

This year’s Scottish Learning Festival, organised by Education Scotland, takes place at the SECC in Glasgow on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th September. The Scottish Learning Festival is all about teaching and learning and offers a number of opportunities to enhance the education profession by providing: inspiration and new ideas; an opportunity to network with peers; a range of options to enhance the learning and teaching experience for all.

To find out more and book your place click here.