Archive for the ‘Conference’ Category

CAS Conference Resources: HTML + CSS

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Here are the resources for my session at the Computing at School (Scotland) Conference 2014 & also the Education Scotland events in November /December 2014.

HTML/CSS resources (zip)

There are additional resources in the zip file that I didn’t have time to cover during the session, however these contain notes on how to use them.

Here’s a good ‘story’ that explains computational thinking in a non-computing way – Searching to Speak (pdf)

Game Development with Javascript – webinar and resources

Some delegates at the conference also had a go of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset that I brought along – see their reactions in the video below! I’m looking for ideas on how the headset can be used in education. I f you have any ideas, then please leave a comment or get in touch.


Education Scotland Higher Computing Science Support Event

Notes and resources from my presentation at the Education Scotland National Qualifications support event for Higher Computing Science on Thursday 29th May 2014.

Text Tools

Learn to code websites

EnchantJS Resources


Presentation [Google Drive]

Tasks to go with the example files [Google Drive]

Zip file containing all of the examples from the presentation.


Start of term and a new year

January 11, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s the end of the first week back at college after the holidays. What have I been up to and what is on the horizon?

  • Finished One Game A Month 2013 and ranked number 8 in the high scores
  • Started One Game A Month 2014 and am planning only two games this year, one made with my students (until May) and then a personal project after that.
  • Teaching a variety of subjects this term – Fashion photography, Photography Graded Unit 2 (HND), 2D animation, 2D Animation (Advanced), Games: Media Assets, Portfolio Production, Portraiture, Corporate Photography. The new block starts in March, but most of my subjects continue until June.
  • Anticipating a change of management at work. As part of the college merger process a number of head of department jobs have been advertised internally, so each department may have a different manager in the very near future. Uncertain times!
  • Started teaching on the Adobe Generation Animation course this week and am looking forward to starting a new course on Video in February.
  • Heading to Aberdeen in February to run an animation workshop at the Aberdeen Learning Festival.
  • Looking forward to participating in, but not teaching, the Adobe Generation App Design & Game Design courses later in the year.
  • Looking forward to publishing my first comic book in March and releasing a short film in April (details soon).
  • Hoping to start on a World War 2 history project in the Summer.


Learning Through Gaming

Photo courtesy of @Aktoman

Photo courtesy of @Aktoman

Learning through Gaming is part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2013. Held at Dundee College, the conference featured a series of presentations from educators and industry specialists on the use of video games for education.

Along with David Renton of Reid Kerr College I presented a session on current classroom practice, with reference to a variety of video games that are being used in education. Part of the session looked at a recent competition, designed as part of the conference, to get students designing an ideal learning environment using the Minecraft videogame.

Presentation resources

Featured games

History project involving video games

Other references

Serf’s Quest 2004 –

Greek Hero –

BBC Games –

ICT Magic –

Digital Creativity in Schools – Adobe

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

This week, Adobe UK are hosting workshops for teachers at their headquarters in Maidenhead. Teachers are exploring Digital Creativity and how they can use digital tools across the curriculum in creative ways.

I did a short presentation for the event via Adobe Connect on the subject of computing in schools.

The presentation is available here – Computing in Schools presentation

Recording of the Adobe Connect session

Categories: Adobe, Conference

Luddites Alive in a College Near You

February 3, 2013 1 comment

The Luddites were a band of artisans who rebelled against the introduction of machinery during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, claiming that the machines would lead to unemployment. The term ‘Luddite’ has come to be used as a derogatory term to describe those who eschew technology.

With the great advances in digital technologies, both at home and the workplace, one might expect modern day Luddites to be a dying breed. Fortunately this appears to be the case, however a few still linger on, and worryingly, in the education sector.

I had the great displeasure of meeting some Luddites this week whilst leading a workshop for college lecturers at the University of Dundee. While the vast majority of the delegates (studying for the Teaching Qualification in Further Education) seemed comfortable with modern educational technology and approaches, there were a few technology naysayers that took me by surprise.

In my workshops on the Flipped Classroom I talked about my experiences of using video lectures with two groups of students, and the subsequent changes to my classroom practice. I explained that it seems a waste of time to be teaching basic facts in class, the lowest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy; that time could be best spent working with students on more difficult tasks that require higher order skills at the higher end of the taxonomy. Flipping the classroom involves taking the traditional homework tasks and doing them in the classroom in a supported environment, and taking the traditional ‘delivery’ of knowledge out of the classroom and onto the web, usually in the form of video. The idea seems perfectly acceptable to me, and although student results increased after introducing the approach, it became obvious that a minority thought it was complete madness.

One lecturer claimed that putting his lectures online would lead to him being put out of a job. Another claimed that using Facebook with students sent out a message that a lecturer would be on call 24/7, and that he would never do it. I tried arguing against these claims, but it was clear that there was no room for movement on any of these opinions. I explained that the same claim about lecturers losing their jobs had been made with the introduction of Virtual Learning Environments a decade ago, but  the job losses hadn’t happened. I also explained that I didn’t get so many questions from students via Facebook or other means that it had become an intrusion into my personal life. However, so vociferous were the modern day Luddites that it completely spoiled the workshop for me, and I expect it did so for some of the delegates. From trying to suggest a new approach to teaching and learning I’d ended up battered and bruised on the ropes.

I was quite shocked at these people’s attitudes. The blank refusal to accept a technology, based on incredibly weak arguments, was not the attitude I would expect of an educated person in charge of educating modern day youngsters. I honestly wonder what kind of experience their students have in their classrooms and sincerely hope my own children never face such narrow minded educators.

Later I posted some questions on Twitter, asking peoples opinions. I know it is asking the converted (they wouldn’t be on Twitter otherwise), but it went some way to restoring my faith in education after a day that frankly dented my hopes and aspirations.

Here are the questions and the responses I received:

Question 1

It’s 6.30pm on a Saturday & I just answered a college student’s question on Facebook. Do other lecturers do this? Is that acceptable?


  • I say yes and yes. We’re in their world performing, not the other way around.
  • Anytime, any place anywhere – it’s OK so long as you have a Martini.
  • I am more impressed they are thinking about college at that time
  • I do the same on our #glow blog. I figure if they’ve taken time to ask, it’s only polite to give a prompt reply. #neveroffduty
  • I once answered a (school) student’s question in the middle of hosting a dinner party …
  • I do. Keeps their engagement and ensures that at least some of the FB time is about college.
  • Totally acceptable & fab they’re thinking about college work on a Sat! Great use of social media-hopefully not tons extra work for you

Question 2

Does putting your lectures online in video format jeopardise your job? Had this response at a workshop on Flipped Classroom. Thoughts?


  •  If “teaching” is standing and the front and reading/speaking things which simply watching a video could replicate, then maybe…but I think that /could/ say more about the teaching strategy being used than the implications of flipping a classroom…
  • I use @udemy quite a lot and it’s great for learning. I think more lectures should be done like this. Learned so much from them…Well a video can help someone complete a task and learn to a point, but without the support I think it can be hard to go further
  • Not if you keep updating and improving them. The online lectures probably serve as recruiters.
  • “Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be.” Arthur C. Clarke – It’s up to us to change… I found (this quote) via Sugata Mitra, whom some accuse of trying to do teachers out of their jobs……!
  • Teaching is so much more than delivering a lecture – worrying if this is what others perceive our role as!?
  • If learning could be done by all from flipped resources, then teachers would already have been made redundant by the Web.
Categories: Conference, CPD, teaching Tags: ,

Connecting For Learning, 11th December

December 15, 2012 Leave a comment

This conference jointly run by JISC RSC & College’s Scotland focussed on how technology can support learning.

The programme included keynotes, ‘teachmeet’ style sharing sessions, and optional workshops and seminars.

The conference was opened by Marie Dougan, a former teacher and now professional genealogist who took us through the changing technology she’d encountered in her career, from BBC Micros to Moocs. This highlighted the rapid technological change that has affected education and life in general over the past 30 years.

In the morning there were several workshops to choose from including sessions on e-books, social networking and managing information overload.

The afternoon sessions included developing apps, using video effectively and using QR codes & augmented reality.

In between the main sessions there were short pecha-kucha or ‘teachmeet’ presentations on a variety of topics including educational games, movement analysis for sports and blogging. Some of the sessions were provided remotely via Adobe Connect.

I enjoyed the conference, however it confirmed my fears that Further Education is behind the curve in terms of some of the innovations I’ve seen in schools. Most of the topics I saw have been featured at other conferences I’ve been to and some of the ideas were several years old. This isn’t a big problem, as any kind of change can be beneficial, however it underlines that FE just isn’t as adaptable or flexible as it needs to be in a competitive education sector. The FE sector in Scotland is currently distracted by mergers and cuts, and this has left ‘teaching and learning’ and educational technology left in the background until the upset subsides.

On the whole though, it’s good to see there are pockets of innovation happening and a few lone souls battling against the tide to make learning relevant in current times. It reaffirms my belief that educational change doesn’t come from policy, but through individuals selflessly sharing with others.

Categories: Conference, CPD