Wednesday 23 November 2011

Pre work and travel

A few weeks before travelling to Microsoft Partners In Learning Global Forum I had attended three livemeets. These set the scene for being a Mentor and also set some collaborative tasks to get the mentors working and talking together.

This proved to be rather difficult for me as these took place twice a day to cover the globe but on my local time they took place at 6am and 4pm. I couldn’t get access to the live meeting at school as the live login is blocked. I did make it home for one of the 4pm times but I had to attend (Is that the right word?) the 6am meets. Fortunately these did not involve me being on camera so I could be ‘relaxed’ about my image. The last one though took place after the clocks changed, and yes you guessed it, I arrived for the end of the meeting.

I enjoyed using OneNote 2010 hosted on Skydrive to collaborate with others and answer some questions. The really interesting part is OneNote web apps and live sharing on that.


Getting too and from Islay can be an adventure. Yes we are 2 hours on a ferry from the mainland and yes that ferry is over 2 hours drive from the nearest city (Glasgow) but by plane its less than 30 minutes to Glasgow. And that's what I did on the morning of Saturday 5th November.

A chilly but bright day and a stunning flight across from the west. I could see right up into the highlands with its high ground covered in fresh snow.

I still had another day to go before I headed south. Some last minute shopping like a new kilt pin to go with my new kilt.

I was fortunate in that while I was in Glasgow I had the oppertunity to attend a Teachmeet. This was teachmeet EPA (Enterprise Practitioners Association). This was a great event bringing a whole load of new people to TeachMeets and then to Twitter. Loads of great ideas as always at a TeachMeet.

I spent the night visiting my Father and set off to Glasgow airport on a very foggy Glasgow Airport. Several flights were already delayed. I was very nervous as I checked in. I needn’t have worried my Heathrow flight was on time as the aircraft was already on the ground.

So far I had been traveling on my own but I had planned to meet up with old friend Ollie Bray. Ollie was attending the Global Forum as a judge and was traveling to Heathrow from Edinburgh. I was also going to meet 3 other people traveling from the UK that I had never met before. I knew I was going to get on well with everyone when we arranged to meet in the bar. Though I must admit that myself and Ollie were sitting on one side of a wall while the others sat the other side of the same wall and it took a while to realise what was happening…….. it did set a tone.

If you want to get involved with the Partners In Learning UK go to

Sunday 20 November 2011

Partners In Learning Global Forum



This is the first of a series of posts on the Microsoft Partners In Learning Global Forum.

Two weeks ago I was on a journey to Washington DC. I attended the Microsoft Partners In Learning (PIL) Global Forum as a Mentor.

The journey was more than geographical, it was very much based in Education.

So what is PIL?

PIL is to, “…. help educators and school leaders connect, collaborate, create, and share so that students can realise their greatest potential.”

I have been a member a member of the UK PIL for the last 5 years. Its been a good basis of info and resources as well being wider than the web site, its also a large number of fellow teachers who are active on Twitter.

As a Mentor I was working with a group of fellow teachers from all over the world. In my case they were from Azerbaijan, Sweden, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Bolivia.

They were all PIL winners in there own national groups and were all impressive in there own right. They were focused on the Global competition but my job was to get them to work together as a group to develop educational resources.

The journey of a mentor was in team Building, applying ITL’s Research, Coaching the team. I will be going deeper in to these over the next few posts.

I was so impressed with people and the processes. It matches very well with all the changes we have been doing in Islay over the last 5 years.

I did wonder why I had never put in a Virtual Classroom Tour (VCT). I always use the excuse of time but really that is an excuse. Of course there is what the pupils do…….. If I don’t try I won’t fail.

Well let me assure all Scots teachers. You will stand up well against the rest of the world. Lets do it!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Teachmeet Remote

I really enjoyed TeachMeet West Argyll the other week. I was part of a mixed group of primary and secondary teachers in Islay High School watching in via Flashmeeting.

What made it particularly good for me was not just that the talks were excellent (Which they were) and about teaching and learning but that I was talking to colleagues about what was being said (as well as with various people from round the world in the FlashMeeting).

This has given me an idea for a long planned TeachMeet Remote.

Small groups gather in various places and link in to share together.

Each group will act as a round table and then feedback to the rest to the topics.

Topics could be collected centrally or each group could opt to raise a topic to introduce for discussion in the roundtables. One of the table could well be an online group of individuals.

What do you think?