Friday, 2 February 2018

Oh the Places You'll Go... Scottish Edu Projects

The Spy Quest mission in November was a real highlight of some of the recent projects I've been involved with. It was a joy to include my son in my world of work.

I've no idea the extent (if any) that the projects I've been involved with has helped in any way... but here's a summary of some of the Scottish education projects I've pitched in and helped out with.

Instead of simply telling my kids that they can do anything they set their mind to (IF they prepare and do their best), I've done my best to show them.

I wanted to collaborate with people who were doing interesting things with technology in education. Here's the story so far.

December 2010 
Set some new goals either to work at 1) A major tech company or 2) A Silicon Valley start up

The reason? I worked at a company and on a project that I loved for almost ten years, where I did work that I was proud of. I didn't see the subtle changes in culture and today there is little to show for my time due to the company sliding sideways. 

Tech companies and Silicon Valley startups seemed to me to know how to create products that last and where passion, culture, having fun, getting stuff done and giving back are important. But I knew both the risks and chances of success.

March 2015
Because of Sarah Thomas' SXSW Edu presentation on "Minority Women in Tech" I found out about Ramona Pierson and her work with Declara, which was being dubbed as  "The Google of Learning" at the time. This led to an amazing conversation with James Stanbridge, who saw the value in my ideas.

September 2015
Chris van der Kuyl gives a keynote at the Scottish Learning Festival with the call to action for educators to collaborate more. 

I've accurately identified both the chances of success with initiatives like Gazelle and FELTAG, and the reasons why they'd fail but my voice wasn't heard when highlighting the potential barriers.

So, instead of trying to tell anyone what was needed only to be dismissed and/or misunderstood, I simply started on my own. I curated Scottish Schools on Twitter and shared the details.

November 2015
The number of Schools in Falkirk on Twitter was a real bright spot and I shared some posts about Digital Citizenship with others in my PLN

I had a call with the organisers of an event that was promoting Digital Citizenship and said that I'd help with a UK event on one condition... that the event take place in Scotland, ideally in Falkirk.

When planning this event we went looking for funding, the process included asking educators which suppliers they would actively want to see at the event. Twitter and Skype were amongst the unanimous choices.

December 2015 
I established the idea of "Connected Educator Appreciation Day" (Inspired by CMAD) with the idea that it could be a connected educator "Black Friday" where companies who benefit from the advocacy of connected educators could provide a discount etc.

January 2016 
There was also a #DigCitathon, inspired by the inaugural Skypeathon and organised with the support of Edcamp Global organisers.

January 2016 
A UK event took place but was moved so it was closer to London so people could also attend the BETT Show.

July 2016
In collaboration with a number of ISTE PLNs and Declara, I explore Pokemon Go in education by writing a report that is well received by the education community.

September 2016
At the Scottish Learning Festival I was advised to check out what Microsoft is doing in Scotland... I don't need to be told that twice! The data I pulled together confirmed the accuracy of this advice... I found that a lot of hustle had clearly gone into the MIE Expert program.

The last time I checked in on UK ambassadors (maybe 2 years ago), I can't remember how many MIE Experts there were but vaguely recall that there were not too many, and there were definitely only a handful of Google Certified Educators/Trainers.

October 2016
The 2nd US Digital Citizenship event took place and was at Twitter HQ with Microsoft as one of the sponsors. While I was not too involved with this movement as it was off and running, but I do wonder to what extent the Thunderclap I set up a year earlier had regarding this support? May have been no effect, but I can wonder all the same ;)

December 2016
By the time I finished exploring MIE Experts it was coming up for the 2nd Skypeathon and I could only find 2 Scottish educators who took part the previous year... so pulled some more data together from the 2015 event and tried to connect some Scottish Educators with Connected Educators in my PLN to see if I could help get a few more educators Skyping.

Some of the Skype Classroom Connections made during the 2015 Skypeathon

June 2017
I do some research to follow up with my Pokemon Go in Education Report. In the first report I simply curated educator comments and had very little editorial.

This follow up would include lots of opinions about how and where the edtech ecosystem has it's challenges and what to do about it.

Through this follow up I found out about Spy Quest and had a few meetings with "The Next John Hanke" and his "Ingress for Kids" books and AR game

September 2017
I updated the stats for Scottish Schools on Twitter and found that around 50% of Scottish Schools were on Twitter and offered a few resources and suggestions.

September 2017
Spy Quest Founder, David Goutcher, tells me that he's going to be taking part in the Falkirk Sotry Telling Festival and will be touring schools before the event.

An innovative game that's achieved "Product Market Fit" + A tour of one of the most connected Local Authorities in Scotland + A book signing and game after the tour = Bring the local shopping centre to a standstill.
Image result for spy quest falkirk story telling festival video

November 2017
Microsoft host a number of roadshows in Scotland. While I had zero involvement with this, I mention it here because while am not sure if these roadshows have taken place previously... but, if this is the first time, you've got to wonder if the cultural conditions are looking pretty good ;)

November 2017
The 3rd Digital Citizenship event takes place at Utah and I find out that Westquarter Primary School will be Skyping in to the event and that David Goutcher will be surprising the Digital Citizenship Summit organisers.

The aims of this event when I first spoke to them was to get students to: "Act Locally but Connect Globally" so Spy Quest's Agent Jones asks my son if he would help out with a real live mission to model this message.

December 2017
The collaboration with Westquarter Primary, Spy Quest and the Digital Citizenship Summit organisers continues and develops further during the Skypeathon as eight Falkirk schools take part in a Spy Quest Mission live via Skype

January 2018
BETT 2018 walking around the impressive Microsoft stand was a masterclass in how to put social proof to work. Again I have zero involvement with this except to notice the things that they do differently.

I've learnt such a lot from exploring what Microsoft do differently to other education/EdTech suppliers.

Excel, Word, Twitter, Skype, Blogger and Zeemaps are the main tools that I use with the ideas and projects above and my youngest has been uber-inspired by Spy Quest.

...I wonder what projects and ideas await in 2018. I hope there are a few compelling stories waiting to be told ;)

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