Tuesday 26 June 2007


I would like to point everyone to this Blog on the BBC island Blogging site.

It is the 3rd in the IHS's world experiences. Happening every 2 years.

Previous groups have gone to Costa Rica, and Ecuador. The Ecuador group blogged about their experiences but this time the group are much more aware of what it means.

The group are heading to Malawi - Ileachs are people from Islay,btw. It will a great adventure and a lifetime experience.

Please go and voice your support and follow their adventures.

Live Writer

I have been using Live Writer Beta 1 for quite a while now. Its an app which allows me to write my Blog offline (Very handy when I have over 2 hours on a ferry to get to the mainland).

I have recently noticed that the Beta 2 was released (OK a month ago, I am slow). It is a significant upgrade with lots of additions and it looks very different too.

The main improvement that I have noticed is the much better integration of plugins. I have downloaded 2 already. Insert video means I no longer have to change the view to HTML to embed the video.

Ink Blog

Google Sketchup of Islay House Square

We have been using Google Sketchup for quite a while now. Here is an example of some of the work.


Video: Islay House Square in Sketchup

The work is all the S1 pupils from one class. The pupils split themselves into groups. They decided on what they needed to do. They got the plans of the square and shared the work out amongst them. They worked out the sizes from the scale on the plans (1:400). They asked if they could go and visit to take photo's of the elevations. Transferred the images over onto the PC's and started to edit them-They wanted to remove the people and the cars they didn't want. They took the images and used them the create the textures.

6 of the year went to the Young Engineers Conference in Glasgow last Friday and while their they took the different models of the various buildings and placed them into a single model and created the animation. They then exported the animation as an AVI file and made the video in MovieMaker.

All this before they get a hold of the UMPC's!

What do you think?

PS I am giving presentation on this at SFL (SETT)

Sunday 24 June 2007

Promethean's interactive whiteboard gets multi-input upgrade

OK This might convince me about interactive whiteboards......... at least a little but I have still major reserves.

Though Catherine from Bowmore PS Pre 5 unit has completely won me over with the use of boards by the pupils lower down the school system


Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Source: Promethean's interactive whiteboard gets multi-input upgrade
Originally published on 24/06/2007 12:03 by Joshua Topolsky


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Friday 15 June 2007

Scottish Education Awards

A huge congratulations to the Bowmore Primary Pre 5 Unit for winning the Scottish School Award for ICT. Catherine MacMillan does loads of amazing things with her pupils.

I am so proud.

Monday 11 June 2007

Leadership Training

Last Friday we had the pleasure to have Geoff Moss and Elizabeth Floyer  from Behaviour & Learning Management in school for our summer inservice day.

Geoff had been over on the same inservice day last year to move us on in Assertive Discipline. This was a very enjoyable and enlightening course which has helped embed assertive discipline across the school.

This time Geoff and Elizabeth were doing a 1 day course to introduce Situational Leadership.

This was aimed at giving all staff a common language of leadership and mentoring. This will give the staff a common reference when talking to each other. So they know what is meant when sharing professionally. When someone is learning a skill each phase is called a Directions

It describes a cycle of learning which happens to us all. The example I used when finding an example where I was a learner was learning to ride a bike

D1 - Before you learn a new skill - That is easy to do, anybody can do that!

D2 - While learning a new skill - This isn't as easy as I first thought. Leave those stabilsers on!

D3 - Learned the new skill but still not sure - What do you mean you have let go of the saddle Dad!!!!

D4 - New skill is embedded - How come they find riding a bike so hard!!! I never did.

Each of these need a different form of Leadership or Mentoring but only for that particular skill. The person is not a Phase only the learning.

S1 - Very directed - Look where you are going. Keep the legs moving, Don't move the handle bars so much

S2 - Directed but with much more encouragement to keep the learner going - That's it! Little less on the brakes.

S3 - Communicating with the learner - How does that feel. You want me to let go? Well I already have let go.

S4 - Delegating. - Off you go. I know you can do it.

Its interesting when I think about various situations in ICT Training where I am a S4 leader and perhaps the individuals are D3 or worse when I am an S1 leader and they are D4.

I suspect I will be referring to this model a lot over the coming year.


Life's a Beach

I have been in full training for the Islay Beach Rugby tournament.

Then at the 2nd last training session, on the 5th June, I damaged my right knee.

After a trip to the Hospital in Glasgow (Yes, that's what we have to do is travel by plane to see a specialist) to be diagnosed with........."Hmmm, it looks like a sore knee". After a little more consultation with the consultant it was concluded that I had stretched the Quadricep tendon.

I had to rest it for 6 weeks............. So out of the beach rugby was I.

It'll be a lesson to us all......... training is dangerous and should be avoided.

I decided that I could lay my body on the line by eating, drinking and making merry.

The day itself was a great one. Possibly too hot (At least for Scotland) at 23C, for any form of physical activity.

We had 18 male teams and 3 female teams arrive. The competition was fierce and fully committed. Hillhead had to withdraw in the second round, due to too many injuries. From what I saw it was too many drinks but that could be a misrepresentation of the facts.

The overall winners for the 4th year in a row, was Melrose Rugby Club. Well done to them. And well done to Loch Lomond for doing so well against them in the final.

Islay 1's won the next level tournament beating my old club, Cartha in the final.

Cambuslang, Green machine won the 3rd level Quaich.

A particular thank you to Jim Stevenson from the SRU. Who not only played for 2 teams but also managed to dress smartly to present the winners. Iain "Mighty Mouse" McLaughlin, whose wife originates from Islay, was on hand to present the home team with their trophy.

Of course, that was only the day event. The evening entertainment was spectacular with over 400 people squeezing into the village hall to enjoy great camaraderie, great laughs and great company.

A huge thank you to all who came, saw and drank. Never have so few had so much sunburn.

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Sunday 3 June 2007

Other Changes - Leadership

From Blog Pics

 We have been developing a distributive leadership model within the school.

To quote Dr Liz Cunningham, HeadTeacher,

"Headship is fixed, Leadership is fluid".

What this means it me is that if you have an idea be prepared to lead it or don't say anything at all.

I really should define what I mean by Distributive Leadership as opposed to Distributed leadership.

Distributive Leadership is about the school community taking responibility. They look at where the school is going and then come up with the idea's which will help deliver it.

Distributed Leadership is about the management having the idea's and delegating that leadership responsiblity to someone.

Those are, of course, the extreme examples but I think its important to acknowedge the difference. The giving of responsibility without the giving of power gives no ownership.

This is the key. Ownership of the whole schoolcommunity by the whole school community. So long as they want to part of it that is.


CPD Development and my left shoe

Last Tuesday I was at a CPD development meeting at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.

The meeting involved teachers and other education professionals to have a 'Think and Do Tank'. They wanted to produce ideas of approaches and methodologies of delivery which would allow them to deliver CPD

The point of the meeting was to look at what the Lighthouse is doing as far as its offerings of CPD to education and what it could do to develop this further.

We had a inputs from the various parts of the Lighthouse Organisation looking at the 6 Cities Design Festival through the Education work to the exhibition work that they do.

The second part of the morning was to look at our ideas.

I really like the way that The Lighthouse approaches idea generation and encourages creative thinking. For example, instead of introducing yourself to everyone in that awkward way, you had to introduce your left shoe. You had say why you bought the shoe, what you like about the shoe, what you would change about the shoe. In fact you are make some design evaluations about a very personal product.

I won't go into too much detail about what we suggested but needless to say online resources and use of ICT were pretty high up their and not just from me either.  


Friday 1 June 2007

A Mile stone

Today is mile stone in the project.
100 Samsung q1's arrived this morning from Lanway (Samsung's supplier). The next load of 150 will be arriving in 2 weeks. So we have a lot to do.

We are now creating an image to be installed onto these and get the serial numbers recorded.
For JKK -
Samsung Q1b, Via Processor, with the full accessory park and 2 batteries. We are standardising with XP as advised by our Local Authority, Argyll & Bute