Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Alchemist

While I read an awful I don't tend to read all that many novels and fiction books. Two books that I revisit again and again are The Fountainhead and The Alchemist.

I've just finished reading The Alchemist again and while the start of the book intrigued me at the start of my own personal journey in my career with education and EdTech... It's the end of the book that spoke to me the most as I come to the end of another challenging chapter (one where I now realise I was a fool to ever attempt and that failure was always going to be the outcome... Oh! The benefit of hindsight! Lol) 

This will now be swapped with a new set of uncertainties. *Sigh!* 

The rest of this post includes a few extracts of The Alchemist.

"That's why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes... If I really am part of your dream, you'll comeback to me one day" Fatima to Santiago

"This is the first phase f the job... I have to separate out the sulfur. To do that successfully, I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I'm beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I'm happy at least that I didn't wait twenty years" Aspiring Alchemist to Santiago

"Then, one day, the oldest seer he had ever sought out had asked the camel driver was so interested in the future.
"Well... so I can do things," he responded.
"And so I can change those things that I don't want to happen"
"But then they wouldn't be part of your future" the Seer had said.
"Well, maybe I just want to know the future so I can prepare myself for what's coming"
"If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise" said the seer. "If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they ever occur"
...The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, what comes later will be better...

"Santiago had succeeded in reaching through to the Soul of the World, and now the price for having doe so might be his life. It was a frightening bet. But he had been making risky bets ever since the day he had sold his sheep to pursue his destiny. And, as the camel driver had said, to die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day."

The stranger withdrew his sword from the boy's forehead, and the boy felt immensley relieved.
"What is a stranger doing in a strange land?" 
"I am following my destiny. It's not something you'd understand"
"I had to test your courage" the stranger said. "Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World"
...The Boy had met the Alchemist.

"Sometimes the boy was frightened by the idea that he might not find his treasure, or that he might die in the desert. At other times he was satisfied: he had found love and riches"
..."Naturally your heart is afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you've won."

"Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him... Unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them - the path to their destinies and happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place."

"What you still need to know is this: before a dream can be realised, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's at that point at which... one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon. Every search begins with beggingers luck. And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested"
The boy remembered the old proverb that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.

"When you possess great treasure within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed"

"Your money saved us for three days. It's not often that money saves a person's life"

"If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: The fear of failure.
"I'm not afraid of failing. It's just that I don't know how to turn myself into the wind"
"Well you'll have to learn: Your life depends on it"
"But what if I can't"
""Then you'll die in the midst of trying to realise your destiny. That's a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never knew what their destinies were" (NB good time to highlight Lost in the Ghetto?)
"But don't worry" the alchemist continued. "Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives"

"That's what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too"

"I believe in our proverbs. There's one that says 'Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time"

"In ancient Rome, at the time of Emperor Tiberius, there lived a good man who had two sons. One was in the military, and had been sent to the most distant regions of the empire. The other son was a poet, and delighted all of Rome with his beautiful verses.  
...The father died as he tried to save a child who was about to be crushed by the wheels of a chariot. Since he had lived his life in a manner that was correct and fair, he went directly to heaven... "You were always a good man. You lived your life in a loving way, and died with dignity. I can now grant you any wish you desire.
"Life was good to me... I don't want anything for myself. But any father would be proud of the fame achieved by one whom he had cared for as a child, and educated as he grew up"

"You're not going to die. You'll live, and you'll learn that a man shouldn't be so stupid. Two years ago, right here on this spot, I had a recurrent dream, too. I dreamed that I should travel to the fields of Spain and look for a ruin church where shepherds and their sheep slept. In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that, if I dug at the roots of the sycamore, I would find hidden treasure. But I'm not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream"

Those are the sections that spoke to me as I re-read the book this time round.

Seems as good a place to close one chapter... hope the next one is a little less challenging!

To those who continue to support me on the journey (You know who you are!) You have my gratitude, friendship and support any time and with anything that you do. 

To all the change makers and Pirates out there... I'll repeat the last piece of advice from Bill Aulet's Entrepreneurial Marketing workshop which I attended in 2010... "Don't let the bastards get you down"

Saturday, 18 November 2017

What If... You Don't Have a Voice? Keep Telling Your Story!

Last night I joined a webinar hosted by Mark Guay with Tim MacDonald on the topic of "How to Build a Life with Impact" one of the topics Tim talked about was the importance of telling your story and 

"Letting the world feel your heartbeat."

I've taken quite a few risks and an unconventional approach with trying to re-skill from sales to Community Management, and I can't say that it's felt like my voice and ideas have always been heard. 

Given that there have been some fantastic collaborations and interesting events in the last few weeks (as well as some exciting opportunities appearing on the horizon!) I thought it would be a good time to stop and reflect on "My Story"    

This time 2 weeks ago I had just finished a Spy Quest Mission to surprise the DigCitSummit organisers who had a Skype call with Westquarter Primary School.

This time last year this event was in Sunny Silicon Valley at Twitter HQ for the 2nd annual Digital Citizenship Summit. 

Two years ago I had my first Skype call with the DigCitSummit organisers and was organising a Thunderclap and reaching out to my contacts trying to create some buzz and managing over 100 volunteers to get the first international #DigCitSummit organised within 2 months on a zero budget.

In 2015 I understand that a Skype call also took place with the Summit Co-Founders and Twitter executives after the Thunderclap went out and they asked, “Who is William Jenkins?”

I'm someone who's had the same ideas since 2010 and have tried to make them work for 7 years (And counting).

Last night Tim MacDonald told some some stories about living a life of impact, the difference between rational and irrational fear, telling stories and community building. During the session I asked:

What if you feel that you have a story to tell, but no one hears your voice?

The advice given in the reply?

Keep telling it!

I had no digital footprint until UK Head of Education at Microsoft told me 

“Social media comes with the job today” 

So I checked it out and got connected. An invaluable resource with getting social was the #Cmgrhangout that Tim established.  

Last night Tim told some fun stories about public speaking and live streaming for the first time and how cringe worthy he felt some early talks were... and how no one likes doing these things to start with. It reminded me of the call I made during this years' DigCitSummit at Mrs Jelland's class (@ElliePrimary1).

I started to blog because he felt so sure that I had a message of value to deliver that I hit the “Publish” button with a level of anxiety that I’ll never forget. 

The same can be said of the call at Westquarter Primary two weeks ago, I got the chance to tell a story to the audience that I had wanted to for some time now: A Nervous Call with a Connected Educator

I have been trying to find ways to implement these ideas but have all but given up trying to explain some of them. Sure, I’ll start to explain the ideas (Whether in this blog or in meetings) but can either get blank looks or resistance. I know that look by now so I just stop the conversation just say:

“I’m not gonna tell you, I’ll show you”

The bizarre thing with this is, if I try to explain the exact same ideas in exactly the same way 12 months later these ideas are not only accepted but are obvious... Go figure?!

I am NOT an early adopter, so have an appreciation about how people with concerns and apprehension feels. 

I should perhaps rephrase that, I am only an early user if I'm convinced that the tech (AND culture!) have value in order for me to reach out to people in my network. 

I am fully aware how busy educators are and how many tools are out there that are underwhelming... and I never take educators time for granted.   

Like my first Skype call, my first post was a little garbled
...but I felt I had a story to tell 
I felt that the SNP and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum came close to achieving this… and Twitter played a huge role with this. 

A year later I connected with the Digital Citizenship Summit organisers after the first event took place. The #DigCitSummitUK “Pirates” put me forward for the Best New Community Manager CMAD award.

When I had that first call with the event organisers one of my first statements was:

“I’ll help on one condition… that the event takes place in Scotland, ideally in Falkirk and preferably at Larbert High School”
The organisers agreed to this (But I think they wondered what all the fuss was about with the insistence on this location), unfortunately, we had to move the event so it was closer to BETT.

Earlier in the summer I met SpyQuest author, David Goutcher and we discussed all things Pokemon Go. In a follow up meeting David mentioned in passing he was going to the inaugural Falkirk Story Festival and that he would be visiting some schools before then.

The conversation continued and the end of the second meeting I said “I think I can help,” I think David thought I meant with US educators because I was working on data for a Pokemon Go follow up. 

But I saw the Falkirk event as an opportunity to further develop what was started a couple of years ago. 

I saw what would happen at Falkirk because I’d been working on the same ideas since Chris van der Kuyls’ 2015 Scottish Learning Festival where there was a call for educators to collaborate more. 

I saw the potential in this because I’d listened to LI Paper's Community Manager, Kelly Hungerford, and stayed up at 1 am local time to listen and learn to and learn from educators across the pond

This was all there in 2015. I knew what the opportunity was and what would probably happen and, as I had predicted… my voice wasn’t heard: EdTech is Tough – Welcome to Scotland

At the third annual #DigCitSummit I tried to finish what was started. I updated my map of Scottish Schools on Twitter and am also working on a few things that will take place between now and the Skypeathon... These projects should benefit Twitter and Skype. 

And why exactly is it that I'm a fan of these tools? Because I heard at the 2011/12 World Ecomonic Forum that 
"In times of uncertainty, it's not leaders that are needed, it's networkers"

As this is where ideas come from (a message that was delivered at ISTE2013), which educator perhaps didn’t bottle up and take back home with us… But I did (And I wasn’t even there! #NotAtISTE), but my main tools for networking have been Twitter and Skype. Many of the projects I've worked on would not have been possible without them.

Tim and Mark told the importance of stories that had impact, context and empowered and gave some examples with Tim's posts about "No Kid Hungry."

In 2013 I read an article called “This will be the #1 Business Skill of the Next 5 years,” before this I had read Made to Stick a recommendation from Bill Aulet. 

I tried to tell the same story through this

I have “Stories” in in my Twitter handle…  So I never forget the importance of telling a good story, people didn’t hear this story so I tried again using some really memorable and appealing characters. 

I only read this article recently but I sure can agree with the top lesson that Oracle’s John Able learnt from all his projects

“Agree the end before the beginning; this is one of the biggest lessons I learned. Agree the outcome with the business community and make sure everyone has a good understanding of the expected outcome” John Able, 26 years, 300+ projects and 5 key lessons learned

This particular chapter started with Chris van der Kuyl's keynote at the Scottish Learning Festival and included a Skype call with a connected educator two years ago and two weeks ago. 

There were calls for Scottish educators to collaborate more and the aim of the DigCitSummits' on that first call was to encourage students to act locally and connect globally, I hope that I helped with this story too.

I feel that my voice and ideas still struggles to be heard but I'll take Tim's advice and will keep trying to tell it and like many of his videos, webinars and advice his magnets example will stay with me for a long time.

I will be having some interesting conversations about work as a Community Manager early next week, conversations that would not be possible without the advice of Tim, the #Cmgr community and a few others.

I'm so grateful to each and every person that's been part of my story.

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” Alan Turing. A message I saw regularly through collaborating with Declara last year.

Please support Tim and his work with #NoKidHungry during #GivingTuesday this year.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Why I wasn't at School Today - I Went to Utah

Seen TES Scotland this Week? See Mrs Jelland's work on P9?
Follow the Leader by clicking this Link to see
Oh The Places You'll Go... and where we went on Friday
My Dad was told by DWP (Don't know who that is... But he doesn't like them very much!)
"That a blog post is not a job search" 

On Thursday night I was called upon for a Spy Quest mission and went on a Pirate Adventure with my dad.

This is my first Dog post? Oh blog post... But my Dad is helping with it (Like a lot of parents do with their kids homework... He's helping A LOT! You should see some of the homework that people bring in!). 

As you will see I'm a Spy Guy Pirate Pig now (It's like The Simpson's Spidey Pig except better!) and I wonder if a blog post is the same as a school note to say... 

Why I wasn't at school today.

Image result for why join the navy when you can be a pirate

If it isn't good enough for a note then maybe I can use it for my reading passport instead... I got to meet my favourite author and my role model... in a way that REALLY brought the book to life! 

Wonder if my Dad will get a good write up too...
Your Why I Wasn't at School Today note "Could do better" (*Sigh*) 
19:30 - Skype Message from Agent Jones
Isaac I may need you're help with a mission. Stand by for further instructions.

08:00 - Do we get ready for school? Do we stay off? Should we phone? If we phone what do we say? Do we tell the truth... we're waiting to go on a Spy Quest mission? Or do we tell a lie? Agent Jones says that we need to be kind... Maybe best to say nothing.  We'll send a note on Monday... 

"Today we'll turn Pirate"  


10:30 - Message from Agent Jones
It's a #Skypeathon Sprint to the Train to make our International Connection

Your mission should you choose to accept it... meet me at Westquarter Primary School at 13:30.

Dad looks at his watch and sees that it's 11:30 and says

"Do we accept? If we do we need to go now!"

Image result for spy quest agent jones

11:35 We're Off and Away
(Agents: Note the Time Here. This is WHY we synchronize watches. My Dad's a Dumb Nugget!)

I'm quite nervous and say no to start with but then
"I Think I Can! I Think I Can! I Think I Can!" 

He grabs a bag that he packed, writes down the instructions and we go. On the bus we talk about Sams adventure and try to think like a Spy Kid

11:50 Should We Turn Left or Right?
We need to go to the library to print a map and some other things. But the library is closed. Must be Oblivion says my Dad. 

"Let's just get on the train so we can get to Agent Jones... We're vulnerable until we get there"

11:55 Look Up and Down Streets
The first entrance to the train station is closed. So is the second. 

"Oblivion must know that there is a mission on today, so is closing the city's stations. Let's get on the train before they close all the stations in the city!"  

I spot the destination on the board quickly and we jump on the train.

Once aboard he wonders how many other agents will make it to see Ron Day Vue? Another agent, maybe? 

11:58 You'll Meet Many Strange Birds (A Tweeting ;))
My Dad takes things out of his bag and does something he never normally does... he tells me about his world of work. 

He tells me about some guy that makes EdShelfs (@MikeLeeOrg) and another who build an #EdTechBridge (@Mr_Isaacs) and Stand Bridges (@Stanbridge...Dad says he made ALL the difference for him and helped top up his "Think I Can" powers) 

He tells me about about some #DigCitSummit Pirates and a box that's been on the shelf for a while but hasn't been taken out the box. 

It's a sextrument (Sextant) and it helps pirates and adventurer's like Shackleton to help them if they ever get lost or a bit stuck... and to help them stay the course "By Endurance we Conquer" he says was Shackleton's family motto... and Shackleton liked to play games like I do.

“Some people say it is wrong to regard life as a (SpyQuest) game; I don't think so, life to me means the greatest of all (SpyQuest) games. The danger lies in treating it as a trivial (SpyQuest) game, a (SpyQuest) game to be taken lightly, and a (SpyQuest) game in which the rules don't matter much.

The rules matter a great deal. The game has to be played fairly, or it is no game at all. And even to win the 
(SpyQuest) game is not the chief end. The chief end is to win it honourably and splendidly. To this chief end several things are necessary. Loyalty is one. Discipline is another. Unselfishness is another. Courage is another. Optimism is another. And chivalry is another.” Earnest Shackleton... But with some (SpyQuest) subliminal messages in there. Did you spot them? Lol ;)

He also tells me about a boy I'm going to meet. His name is Curran and his mum has been training him to be a SpyQuest Agent too.

It was him that wrote to Santa to tell him we didn't have much money but knew I wanted a tablet even though my mum said no, so didn't put it on the list. THANK YOU Curran!

I hope I will be a kind kid

If you Skype 5,000 Miles... You never know who will end up at your door!Like the video?
You might like it EVEN MORE on Twitter
Agent Curran is going to ask the class if their teddy Ellie can go on a SpyQuest Digital Citizenship Mission and I've to get her and take her back with me and Agent Jones.

Then for the rest of the journey Dad does what he was asked for the mission, writes a note for Mrs Jelland...while I use my observation skills to look out for the right stop, we're going to Poland!... Or was it Polmont?

12:20 The Waiting Place (Did I Tell you my Dad's a Dumb Nugget?)

We arrive at the school and go to reception. A friendly boy says hello and asks what we are doing there I look at my Dad and say 
"Can I show him?" 

He nods. I unzip my coat and say 

"I'm a Secret Agent on a SpyQuest Mission" 

...Because that's How it Works, Curran. When you have a Diamond Network
The boy is friendly. My dad takes two Spy Quest books out his bag and says would you like to borrow these. He looks at them and says 

"Yes please!" 

I hope he becomes an agent too.

Dad's a Dumb Nugget... Epic Fail! The lady at the schools says 

"Do you know your an hour early?" 

My Dad looks at hid watch and says 

"Oh I forgot to turn my watch back...last week. I just looked at my watch and we rushed out" 

He says that's just like the film I was in with Obi Wan (for a second or two)... But I've not seen the film yet yet. 
"We'll come back in 30 mins, but could we use a computer when we get back" 

We were told ONLY to use Mrs Jelland's computer because it had been checked for Oblivion's spy gadgets.

12:30 It's Better Out there in the Wide Open Air
We have the best play in the grass kicking leaves about and having sword fights. No one would ever know that we were SpyQuest Agents on a mission to recruit more agents!

"See kids really DO make the best Spy Guys, who'd have thought we were on a mission at this very second? We're just having a laugh in the leaves" 

Says Dad 
"We're taking a leave of absence" 

He says with a laugh.I don't get what's funny. My Dad's a Dumb Nugget!

13:00 In a Slump... By the Computer. Working. Again!

We go back to the school and my Dad types something on the friendly teachers computer. He takes the sextrument out of his bag and says 

"Why don't you try to figure this out while I write this note"

Dad prints the story off and gives it to Mrs Jelland and say's this is what I'm going to say, Mrs Jelland must have liked it because after she read it she said she was going to get an iPad to record it... Or maybe it was so lame that she thought it would go viral (That's more like it! Did I mention my Dad's a Dumb Nugget?)

13:30 Oh The Places You'll Go!

Dad goes out because the class is going to say hello and sing a song then surprise her. I stay with Mrs Jelland's class.We sing I would Skype 500 Miles. Then my Dad comes in.

The people on Skype get a big surprise when she sees it's my Dad, but he looks quite nervous. He tells a story that we hear a lot of nights at bed time (But not all because sometimes he forgets because he's working... Maybe that's Oblivion again though using Lycortas or something?), he tells us

That words are the most powerful things in the world,
Books are the most powerful weapons
That we can do anything we set our mind to
... But only if we prepare and always do our best

He talks about "Oh the Places You'll Go" and "The Little Engine that Could" and how Agent Jones thinks kids make the best Spy Guys (And Girls!)

When he asked 

"Have you heard of a book called "Oh The Place's You'll Go" 

Some children said they had not but Mrs Jelland said that the read it in the morning. Oblivion was definitely in the room... Maybe that's why Ellie wasn't... maybe they got there just before us?!

Kids Beware: Oblivion is Everywhere!
Tech Can be Hacked... So Can Your Classroom!
Agents Trust No One: Find SQA's Cphers & Crack the Code
The rest of what he says can be seen here: A Nervous Call with a Connected Educator

Then he calls me over to say hello and I show Curran the Sextrument (Sextant) and what I have learnt about it so far... But here's the thing, my Dad was so relieved to be finished his talk that he didn't realise I was talking until he saw Mrs Jelland's Sweets? Oh, not sweets... tweets.

My Dad would have missed this if it wasn't for Twitter, Skype an ipad... and
"A Teacher That Can!" 

 he was in the room!

How much is he missing from my day when he's not?
How much of a connection was made with Mrs Jelland's class and with Utah on this one day, than all the others at my own school?

Mrs Jelland and Ellie... World Class Agents of Change
Then Curran and I asked if we could take Ellie on a DigCit SpyQuest Mission, then Agent Jones took over telling the boys and girls in Westquarter and Utah about his books and how he brings them to life.

He did when I first read the books, he did when Curran read them and he did with Mrs Jelland's class who have not read them yet.

NB Mrs Jelland did video the Skype call but, I don't know if it was because
  • Agent Jones jammed all transmissions so Oblivion couldn't hear, or 
  • My Dad was so nervous that she didn't want other teachers to be put off skyping people or 
  • Oblivion hacked her ipad and deleted it. 
But the video is gone. But it's OK because Agent Jones ALWAY, ALWAYS plans for the best but prepares for the worse... and has a Mission for SQAs newest Agent Teacher (with the help of an Agent Fox? I've not met him yet... But I hears he's very cunning, but extremely kind!) to retrieve the information and pass it on to others... and, do you know what? I think she can! And I think she will!

The Little Engine that Could

Mission complete! Westquarter P1 Kid's We Moved Mountains Today!
We have our manners and thank everyone for allowing us to be creative and disrupt their class and Agent Jones says that he'll visit again. I hope he takes me... and I hope Agent Ellie comes to my School too.

Primary 1 Adventures the class will never forget... I bet
Agent Jones takes us home and he tells me how important the work my Dad does is for SpyQuest.

The message that we gave to the people at the DigCitSummit and our newest recruit, Agent Ellie, is below and because I had good fun I think that other classes should try it. Does your school agree?

Dear Mr Swinney, 

We need, as educators and parents, to model
Digital Leaders for kids everywhere
To connect classrooms on Twitter and Skype
with educators and policy makers with
schools locally but we need to learn
and globally kids at Westquarter and at Utah today
Help Ellie

Be a kind kid, be the change you want to see... For the sake of the Kids we are Better Together (#BetterTogether in the New Teachers to Twitter #NT2T kind of way, not the other one).

Mr Swinney, if you mean it when you say that you want to empower educators... I think my Dad can help.

Agent Jones needed me for a SpyQuest Mission. We acted locally and travelled 25 miles... to connect globally 5,000 more. People at the DigCitSummit needed us and I wanted to be a kind kid... and that is why I was not at school today. 

Pst Kids, I have included a secret message for you in the message to the grown ups. If you want Ellie to come to your school and Skype with my new friends at Westquarter, Curran and Agent Jones.

 Tell you're teacher or your parents to Tweet 

"@SpyQuest I want to help @ElliePrimary1"

A be a kind kid agent will hear you. Maybe it will be a Pigeon, or a Fox, or a Mole... It might even be a Lion Hearted Griffin that ends up at your door

...Griffin Door?
Where have I heard that before?
Must be SQA mind tricks playing with my head!

Anyway we will hear your Tweet and someone will take it from there and give you your @SpyQuest Mission. 

It might be a little kid with a big heart or a grown up with a child-like mind

...You never can tell who is, and who is not, an Agent of SQA.

I think that Agent Jones must have an SQA Agent at TES Scotland too because my Dad's name was in that on Friday... so was Mrs Jelland... and so was the Bloodhound Car that @Stanbridge works on. 

I wonder where my Dad will take me next time I turn Pirate and go with him to his "work"

I hope it's another awfully big adventure... I wonder what I missed in my class today? I hope we can compare notes with Westquarter Primary soon

(Pst To my fellow Agents in the field (Oink Oink...Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink): I have the cipher... The code phrase is "I want to Help Ellie" if you want to join the SQA)

Friday, 3 November 2017

DigCitSummit SpyQuest Mission – Help Recruit Ellie the Elephant

As you may know we have had a fantastic experience with SpyQuest as a user and as someone involved in Education. Today myself and my son accompanied Agent Jones to recruit Ellie the Elephant at Westquarter Primary school.

Agent Jones was supposed to join the Skype call when the kids finished singing “I would walk 500 miles”… Instead, just before the mission went live he told me I would be doing a training exercise first.

I had make some notes en route and then borrowed Ms Jelland’s computer to type it up. Just as well we were an hour early… who bothers with daylight savings time when you’re out of work. Right?

Glad Agent Isaac is able to get work unlike his Dad, *Sigh*
LOL! About the clocks today though!
I'm an out of work #EdTech #Cmgr in Scotland because there are no jobs... get me out of here! Ideally CA.

I will add to this post over the weekend to include what happen before and after the call but here’s and EdTech Story that includes

A Nervous Skype Call with A Connected Educator

Mr Swinney, Mr Russell, Ms Fabiani,

We need, as educators and parents, to model
Digital Leaders for kids everywhere
To connect classrooms on Twitter and Skype
with educators and policy makers with
schools locally but we need to learn
and globally kids at Westquarter and at Utah today
Help Ellie

Be a kind kid, be change you want to see… Build the #EdTechBridge because we are #BetterTogether

I would like to talk to you today about my world of work and my work as a parent.

We tell our kids that they can do anything they set their mind to, that their words are the most powerful things in the world, and that books are the most powerful weapons… They can only do anything they set their mind to IF they prepare and do their best.

You have the ability to change the world… you really do. With an Idea

We don’t just tell them these things, we try to show them! For example, I wanted to work with innovative tech companies.

Has anyone here heard of Microsoft? What about Apple? Oracle?

Oracle is a tricky one because they make tech you can’t see… It’s a company for dreamers who have their head in the clouds. But their products are in so many things that we use.

Who would like to work at Microsoft making Xbox games or work on a car that goes 1,000 miles an hour? That’s faster than a bullet… I’m not sure if that’s faster than Superman or the Flash
It was a Microsoft executive that told me to get on Twitter and other social media channels in 2010 because

It comes with the job today if you want to be in EdTech

I was nervous delivering those first messages online, putting myself out there… but who is it today who is telling educators that

It comes with the job today if you want to be an educator AND develop the young workforce

My CV had sat on Microsoft’s servers for 6 years unnoticed. Last year I got the following message after assisting with the Skypeathon

"William if you ever do take a break from connecting the world, we would love to have a conversation on the MIEE program in Scotland... your passion, committment and skills are admirable"

The person I met said “You’re a lot different in real life than your online presence.”

I “Lack presence” in face to face meetings and I get anxious... before I put myself out there online and publishing my words for the world to see this was a HUGE problem as my first impression would be bad. 

People get to know me in my preferred medium before we meet now… and that can make all the difference!

There are no jobs in Scotland for what I want to do, so I got work with someone who some commentators were calling “The Google of Education” but communicating remotely was causing problems because I wasn’t shown how to do this effectively.

Have you heard of a book called “Oh The Places You’ll Go?” Or what about “The Little Engine That Could?” and
I Think I Can!... I Think I Can!... I Think I Can!

I was saying this all the way here today and I’m saying it in my head right now too!

Another great author is Jane Jacobs who said

“I place a great deal of faith in our young people, they don’t have as much trouble accepting new ideas”

I agree with her, my friend, Agent Jones believes this too… he thinks that kids make the best Spy Guys.

When on Spy Quest missions will you be flying high? You Sure WILL!!

Will you get separated from the other agents and be alone in tricky situations? Will you fall off the Eiffel tower and land with an unpleasant bump? I sure hope NOT!!

But you might get left in the lurch or need to sit in the waiting place for a while.

But will you succeed? 98 and three quarter percent guaranteed!!

Westquarter Primary kids in @ElliePrimary1 class, you’ve ALREADY moved mountains to connect today.

Dr Seuss was an introvert and never met his young readers because he didn’t want to disappoint his young fans.

In Susan Cain’s book Quiet, she discussed how Steve Wozniak worked:

"Most inventors and enginners I've met are like me - they're shy and they live in their heads. They're almost like artists. In fact the best of them are artists. And artists work best alone where they can control an inventions design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other committee. I don't believe anything really revolutionary has been invented by committee. If you're that rare engineer who's an inventor and also an artist, I'm going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is : Work alone.You're going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you're working on your own. Not on a committee. Not on a team."

You guys don’t have this problem today because my son’s favourite author, who is a Spy Guy, LOVES meeting his young readers, and politely asked if he’d come here today to talk about a special #DigCit mission he’s working on.

Until we got the mission brief at at 10:30am today, Isaac did not know much of the story over the last few years… He does now. He knows that you have been training Agent Curran… I hope both our boys work together.

Calling Isaac over, I hope you are always a kind kid!

I have a challenge for you too. Who makes the best kind of #DigCit SpyQuest stories… Introverts? Or extrverts? Let’s develop the #EdTechBridge because we are #BetterTogether
*Waves* to any New Teachers to Twitter #NT2T… Please say hi to @ShyJ for me

Oh The Places You'll Go - Connected Educator Style

Do you Like Classroom Skype and Webcams?
Do you like Classroom Skype and webcams?
I do not like them, because Spy-I-am.
I do not like Classroom Skype and Webcams.
Would you like to Skype from here or there?
I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I do not like Classroom Skype and Webcams.
I do not like them, because covert agent I am.
Would you like it in your house?
Would you then click on the mouse?
I might Skype from the house.
Am I the only one who still uses a mouse?
I do not like being here on this day.
I wonder if I might like it someday.
I do not like Classroom Skype and webcams.
I do not like them, but when the #Bethatkindkid #DigCit Spy Quest mission is live, I guess am a fan!!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Twitter in Scottish Schools - Some Observations & Suggestions

In my last post I included some of the data and resources that I had curated around Twitter in Scottish Schools. This post picks up on this data and includes some observations and suggestions that I hope proves useful to Scottish Schools... whether they are on Twitter, or not!

A long post? Too many links? Poorly structured or badly written? I work very hard on my communications but don't always get it right.

The intention of this post is knowledge transfer, to share what I've learnt from following the practices of Microsoft, Pokemon Go, US Educators the #Cmgr community... all in the hope that it assists people who are doing innovative work in Scottish Education.

I hope people can see past any poor communication (If any) and gets value from some of the information and resources shared below. I've learnt SOOO MUCH from every link that's included below. I hope including them in one place saves educators a little time, just like the ISTE DigCit PLN Pokemon Go report was designed to do.

I've no doubt that the links in this post will be an Acre of Diamonds for anyone who takes the time to explore them all.

I guess a good place to start to get people's attention might be to kick off with an article about how a Social Media campaign helped a school to find a new Head Teacher:
...Before resuming some discussions about the data I've been exploring and curating.

In the Community Management publication CMX, they have articles like their Guide to Getting Started on Community Management and How Do you Lead a Community? The 6 Common Characteristics of Servant Leadership in Communities the advice in these articles includes things like:

"Step 1: is to Listen, listen, and then listen some more. Get the lay of the land so that you know where you’re headed, like the picture in a Legos kit" and “listening without judgement is the first characteristic of a servant leader"

Listening Without Judgement
Listening is what I did in 2015, this is what I did when I explored Scottish Education via the Skypeathon in December 2016... and this is what I've done again over the last few weeks with curating this map and these lists.

Are there schools with 70+ accounts, who have a combined following of 30,000+ on Twitter? Are there local authorities where almost all the schools are on Twitter? There sure are!

Are there schools, departments and educators who have opened accounts in 2015 and appeared to have either deleted the account since then and/or not Tweeted anything for a while? Or are there Local Authorities with a relatively small percentage of schools signed up? Yep, there are!

Do I have an opinion about this one way or the other? Yes I do! And it's this...

I'd be surprised if many educators were given any kind of formal training on social media at Teacher Training College. I also understand the perspective of both the proponents and the detractors... the schools and educators who get a lot out of Twitter, as well as those who have tried micro-blogging but soon quit because they could not see what all the fuss is about.

So any educator who has wondered "Hmm I wonder what this Twitter thing is all about and what it could do to help me in my work" and gave it a go, regardless of the experience and results... good on you for exploring the technology!!

What I DON'T understand, however, is how policy makers and the current Government who (given the success they had with #IndyRef and #GE2015 campaigns on Twitter) know the value of Twitter and the impact it's had on their own job prospects.

But, according to the data, this group don't appear to have done as much as they perhaps could have in education. What data? I hear you ask...

When sourcing school accounts I curated Tweets where people were talking about schools who were not on Twitter.

This Scottish Schools Not on Twitter Storify includes politicians... I wonder how much they did to discuss the benefits of social media during these visits and photo opportunities. (That's not a snarky comment... It's an honest and genuinely curious question).

So educators... good on you for giving it a go. Policy makers/politicians... I don't understand your actions and doubt I ever will.

"This process could be used in many areas of Scottish society. The SNP benefited from the kind of process that major technology companies utilise, so they know it works. When I'll be impressed with the SNP, or any other party, is when they decide to use these principles in other areas, not just politics.

If any politician (from any party) wants to know how to continue to take advantage of this process in politics or, ideally, apply to other areas, especially in education, you know where to find me if you have any questions."  
#GE2015 Why SNP Domination was Inevitable & in #GE2017 & The SNP - How the Mighty Fall

Look for the Bright Spots
Anyway back to educators and this data. When looking at datasets like this, one of the main things I'm looking for is "who are the early adopters and innovators?"... and to assess what stage progress is at? What's the uptake in the community like?

In the case of Twitter in Scottish education in 2017 I was looking for users like Larbert High, St Mungo (Falkirk), Grangemouth High, Fettes College, Stirling High, Bo'ness Academy and Forfar Academy all of whom have a collective following of over 10,000* across all their school accounts.

All of the schools mentioned above have over 30 accounts, as do Graeme High, Gracemount, Wallacestone, Dunbar Grammar, Newbattle High, Lornshill Academy and Carron Primary School.

Equally Falkirk, Midlothian, Inverclyde and Stirling Council have the majority of their schools using this resource... but in other councils less than 25% are.

When half of the schools in Scotland are not using a free resource that's tried, tested and valued by many... surely some questions need to be asked? And a good place to ask those questions would be with those schools who are a little further forward in their exploration of those tools.

NB* As you will see in this post, I know that the number of followers is not the bee all and end all... It's what kind of shape you community is in. It's the shape that gives your community and Twitter experience value.

Stats: League Table Vs A Little Friendly Competition... and "Social Proof"
One of the things that I got a number of enquiries about was the table with the number of schools in each LA and the number of schools on Twitter at the end of the previous post.

Some questioned the number of schools in the LA (Schools with both Primary and Secondary Provision were included in both columns and Independent schools were listed in the LA figures as well as a separate Independent row for private schools... then there's the fact that the data was from 2 years ago), others felt that the stats were a little bit "League table-esque"

Please allow me to state the two main reasons for representing the data in the way that I did:

1) To put social proof to work

"No leader can hope to persuade, regularly and single handedly, all the members of the group. A forceful leader can reasonably expect, however, to persuade some sizable portion of group members. Then the raw information that a substantial number of group members has been convinced can, by itself, convince the rest. Thus the most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favour" Robert Cialdini

As I've stated in the last few posts, the impact of me phoning and emailing educators would be both annoying to the educator and ineffective compared with organising the data in a way that "Arranged group conditions to put social proof to work" and show how popular a resource is amongst colleagues and peers.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Minecraft, Pokemon Go don't makes these pointless calls but seem to do OK when it comes to engaging educators... What is it that they do differently?

Check Out the Bottom Tweet! "I'm a Salesman... Get me out of here!"
It was during this session the idea of #StartupEduChat came to me
They collaborate with early users and iterate their way to "Product Market Fit" before scaling...when they scale it's word of mouth recommendation that helps them gain traction.

The significance of joining #EdTechChat in the first 6 weeks of the chat and, in particular, this exchange with Susan Bearden, cannot be underestimated regarding the ideas in this post and my professional development.

Social Proof and highlighting the "Bright spots," the fact that four Local Authorities have most schools using something *Just Might* encourage others to take a closer look, if the data is set out in a compelling enough way.

In sales? Reskill! Cold calling is dead! Work in a call centre? Reskill! You'll probably be replaced by a bot.

2) A Little Friendly Competition
I did similar research to this in UK Further Education in 2011 and produced this Twitter in FE Report.

At the time an article about how Texas A&M and Louisiana State University's sports rivalry had spilled over into social media... with students getting competitive to see who could get the most followers (See Page 10 of the report).

More recently, and a more local example, is (Again) Microsoft and their "Three Nation's Challenge" during the Skypeathon, which seemed to have an impact as 2 educators went 36,000 virtual miles in 2015... but 15 educators went 150,000 miles in 2016.

So, while some of the stats may appear to look a little "League Table-ish" this is not the case. The rationale was to see if "social proof" and a little competition (Whether between LAs, schools within a LA or different departments within a school) might help to "Nudge the Needle" forward a little.

The points above have certainly been in mind when trying to apply the fantastic ideas from Jisc's
Tweeting... Stats, Followers and The Biggest Lesson I've Learnt from Being on Social Media
People are coming to me to ask questions like "what does a good school social media account look like then?" 

The answer to this is both I don't know... and it depends. 

I don't know because I'm not an educator, I've never worked in a school so would be hesitant about telling others how to do their job in an area I've never worked in. 

It depends? It depends... on the reason for being on social media. 

For example, if the account is to keep parents informed of the classes' activity... then a protected account with a class of 30 which has a following of 30-60 people who are all parents or guardians with hundreds (or event thousands) of Tweets about class activities... and the communication leads to greater parental involvement and engagement, then that is one massively successful account!!

If the account has been created for an educator to learn from other educators but (For whatever reason) would rather not Tweet much themselves, follows lots of Education accounts and thought leaders, but don't have many followers and/or Tweet infrequently but get a lot of PD and ideas that help in the classroom, then that's a successful account too.

Equally, if you think that having 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 followers and you share one way broadcasts without really connecting with people is a successful account... You could not be more wrong! 

(Think the way most MPs use SM and you'll get the idea. Notable exceptions, in my experience, being Mike Russell and Linda Fabiani. Epic fails include every constituent MP/MSP since I've been on Twitter).

I had been on Twitter for a few years before watching one of THE MOST influential videos that changed the way I use social media and connect with people.

I know that Community Management isn't all that well known as a career in Scotland (Partly because there are few jobs to be had here!! *Sigh*), but experts in the field like Tim MacDonald (@Tamcdonald) and Richard Millington (@RichMillington) highlight that you can only have a close personal relationship with 15-60 people at any one time.

Companies like Yammer (This is the Community Playbook I refer to the most often for ideas), LinkedIn, Scoopit and LI Paper have grown using tactics like the one's in this #Cmgrhangout on "Scaling Personal Connections" a *Must Watch* video!

Image result for cmgrhangout scaling personal connections

Regardless of the sector you work in or the reasons for being on social media, there's a lot that people can learn from this video... I certainly did!

Another fantastic resource is Kelly Hungerford's Community First: Building Brand Loyalty and Word of Mouth post

Community Management (#Cmgr) in Education
Need more some education examples of these same ideas and principles?

A Community Management Resource that Educators will be familiar with is Michelle Cordy's 2016 ISTE key note. 

I learned a lot from a book about one of the first online communities called "The Well" by Kate Hefner (See also see The Epic Saga of the Well... Even if you don't have time to read all of it check out the sense of belonging that members like Tom Mandell felt here. I also see the online chat/offline connections here being played out in education with Twitter Chats -> Edcamps). This book was recommended by #Cmgrs.

Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold) was a member of this group and who mentored Michelle... Because "That's how it works"'ll need to watch this video to get that reference I'm afraid!! Go on click the link...

The shape matters...
In my Edchat Resource Plan I included Marc Smith's research about how political conversations on Twitter are polarised and don't talk to one another. 

During a Mrc's "6 Degrees of Seperation #Cmgrhnagout," after showing the political divisions he then looks at the shape of #Cmgr Community and said: 

"Oh wow! The #Cmgr community don't hate each other... it's a collaborative network"**. 

For more on the different shapes and connections of communities on Twitter:
To what extent are the divisive, angry and polarised crowds putting schools and educators off checking out micro-blogging? What? It's policy makers who say

"We need to do more about online abuse"

That are hampering progress in Education? How dare I make such a suggestion when they model #DigCit so well!

Well let's make sure that the "unconnected educators" know that! Sure, angry political discussions do exist on Twitter, and it's something that policy makers don't seem to discourage too much... Let's be honest and say "Sure! There will be tricky situations with student and parent engagement from time to time"

But let's also tell them about (and model) the valuable connections that can also be made on Twitter... And that more experiences people can help out with those experiences that are new for all of us.

...Build Diamond Networks
If anyone asks me about ambassador programs in education my advice is always 

"Go check out Microsoft's MIE Expert program" 

They are a very good example to explore, I have been since the first Showcase School "The School of the Future" It's mentioned in my EdTech report (Written in 2012)... This network is thriving right on Scottish educations' doorstep today! (See the Microsoft section at the end of this post).

**NB If anyone likes anything in this post, it simply WOULD NOT be here is if was not for the fact that the shape of the #Cmgr community is a real Diamond! And I'm talking the kind of Diamond that Franco Rodriguez steals from the Smithsonian in Spy Quest latest book "The Cursed Diamond"... They've certainly given me reason to Hope! 53 23 42 15 22 - 31 34 32 - 42 13 44 15 53 - 54 34 15 44 35 - 41 34 55 - 13 54 45 54 15 13 - 25 44 - 23 34 33 44 - 42 13 44 15 53 - 11 54 42 25 34 15 11.

Thank you to each and every member of the #Cmgr community who's helped me to reskill from sales to community management!

Mr Microsoft... Uncle Oracle... 
And for anyone who knows me and/or follows my blog... Words escape me when it comes to James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge):
  • He saw the value in my ideas when no one else did. James, what's happening now is what I was talking about in March 2015. Thank you for believing in me and my ideas!!
  • His intervention made the UK Digital Citizenship Summit possible!

    When DWP sanctioned me because they felt that what I was doing to get work in Community Management for a company that was billed as the "Google for Education" (See "Declara could very well become the 'Google of Learning")... Wasn't a proper job search

     "A blog post is not a job search" My 'Work Coach' Kathleen at Rutherglen Job Center would regularly tell me.... Stupid DWP with their Jobsworth Us Vs them mentality. Complete and utter idiots... That's not so much "IMHO" but more "in me and my family's rather painful experiences!"

    If these are the practices across Scotland then please do feel free to ask for my opinion of  DYW regarding the Digital/Sales/Marketing advice that's given.

    The thing that got me sanctioned also just happened to lead to me working with Declara... and was as per the recommendations in this CMX's article: Why you Should Hire Employees from your Community
  • James was instrumental in helping me secure work in Community management with this hot shot Silicon Valley startup. 

A Couple of 5 min Favours...

THANK YOU James! James is now with Oracle and I hope people in my PLN will do all they can to support him in his work. Please follow @Stanbridge @JAbel_Oracle and @Caz_Apsey... and ask them about their Bloodhound/Oracle STEM Education Ambassador initiative

When working at Declara the quote at the bottom of CEO, Ramona Pierson's, email was Alan Turing's 

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

Seeing that message in someone's emails, especially after reaching a goal that you'd set yourself 6 years earlier (2010:"Work at one of "Big Three - Google, Microsfot, Apple - Or a Hot Shot Silicon Valley startup up was on the "To Do list")...seeing that message on a regular basis has quite an affect I can tell you!

The Pokemon Go report that Declara and the ISTE DigCitPLN Collaborated on was to assist California with their #GoOpen program "Collaboration in Common." Almost 10% of my followers on Twitter are in sunny CA...CA Educators please do what you can to support my friends and former colleagues at Declara to build on your Diamond newtorks.

Here's my Community Management Resources Collection on Declara... all my fav #Cmgr articles in one place. (Yes there are more than the ones in this post. Lol)

Some Good Practice  
While I've not explored the content of almost 5,000 Scottish Edu Twitter accounts, there are a few things that schools, departments and educators might want to consider doing.

1) Create Twitter Lists
Twitter lists are a great way for students, staff and parents to see which members of staff and departments are on Twitter. School like St Matthews Academy, St Mungos and Wallacestone Primary all have staff Twitter lists.

As well as being able to find accounts easily with a Twitter list, another great thing is that, once it's set up, you can scroll through tweets from all the schools' accounts quickly, easily... and all in one place.

Wanna give it a try? If you go to you will be able to see all the Tweets for a particular year group/subject or local authority list to see what people in your subject/year group and/or region are tweeting about.

If you want to see what the Digital Leaders in Scottish Education are saying then you can check out what the schools who have registered for the Digital Schools Award on this list: Digital Schools Award List 

If you are looking for some people who have an interest in Digital Citizenship then here's a list of people who pitched in and helped out with the UK Digital Citizenship Summit 

I have over 500 accounts to add the curated resources as people have let me know which accounts are missing (which helps demonstrate the value of the Aggregate then Curate article above).

2) Account Profiles
Something else that has an impact when there are multiple accounts is when the photos include the school logo and brand.

There are a number of accounts I've explored that don't have any text in the bio/profile at all. With the ones that do, I've found it extremely useful when the School Name or (Even better) the School's Main Twitter username is included in the profile.

I hope that the school and departmental lists I've put together help to give people some ideas for creating and/or updating their profiles... I wonder if anyone can beat one of the faviourite ones I've seen to date. 

"Where everyone counts" Love it! Such impressive word play, and from a Maths department too... Who'd have thunked it. Lol ;)

Starting Out
I created a new account so that I had an account that was more focused on Scottish Education with regard to who I follow, so all the Twitter lists were relevant to Scottish education as well as the content of the Tweets. 

I also wanted to remind myself how tough it was to get the account started. After following over 4,000 accounts and sending 100 Tweets the account only has 20 followers.

If I didn't appreciate the value of micro-blogging, I just might be tempted to delete the account or just leave it dormant... Twitter sure can be tough when your starting out!!

In 2015 I put this Scottish Schools Adoption of Twitter document together. With around 7-800 schools on Twitter I can see why there were (and possibly still are) some dormant accounts, the "Network Effects" were not the same as they are now.

Dormant Account? ...Dust it Down & Try Again!
Are you one of the people who gave Twitter a try... opened an account, didn't see what all the fuss was about and just left it? Can I suggest that you dust the account down and give it another go?

Why listen to me? Wouldn't expect you to... here's what I suggest you do:

1) Click on this link: Scottish Schools on Twitter 2017
2) Find a School that has multiple accounts and click on the pin on the map (Or on the list)
3) Look at the "2015 Twitter Accounts" field at the bottom of the entry and/or check the 2015 Map
4) Look at how many more accounts these schools have today
5) Ask yourself... "Would my colleagues have opened this many more accounts in the last 2 years if they were not getting value from using this Twitter thingy?"
6) Follow them on Twitter and then Tweet out "I'd love to learn about how you use Twitter" ... Because that's how it works, right Michelle? Lol ;). Or you could go all "old school" and email/phone them.

If this is a step too far then another option might be to explore Yammer, which is a Microsoft application that is available on Glow, and is another way that students and classes can connect without the content being in public. As far as I am aware, has good uptake amongst Scottish educators.

Twitter Advocate... Helping the Newbies
Given that the "network effects" are now there, if people who were proponents and advocates of Twitter were to follow the "newbies" in any given geographic region and/or subject area those people would have a good number of followers with similar interests.

This would then make the "Feedback Loops" positive as the new teachers to twitter (#NT2T) would find like minded people quicker... and would soon be telling their colleagues of the benefits and then you've got some real momentum going on. 

The more people you know, the more value you get from it, the more frequent the visits and more time you spend on each visit  = real momentum!

Tech Does Not Roll Out in a Linear Fashion
Something that I've been exploring ever since I wrote my EdTech Report in 2012 is the way that technology gets adopted and to highlight ideas like Geoffrey Moore's Technology Adoption Cycle.

In 2015 I found 800 Schools with an account for the school, two years later this has almost doubled and 50% of Scottish Schools now have a presence. 

The Customer Profile for the groups in the image below are quite different, so the approach to engage each group needs to be different too.

Even in schools where there are a large number of advocates it's still not everyone who is Tweeting (But BOY is @LarbertHigh close! Just ask their S1 Digital Leadership team. 122 accounts now I think).

Having an understanding of these ideas and principles could speed up the way technology in general is adopted (Not just Twitter) at a macro and micro level.

Early Adopters
In my previous post I acknowledged some of the early adopters that I had connected with on my travels in Scottish Education (Bob Baldie, Ian Stuart, Malcolm Wilson to name a few) and I could very clearly see the role they played with encouraging their colleagues to check this particular platform out.

THAT is why I have acknowledged their time and efforts in the blog post, and why the stats have been represented in the way that they have been... It's not been to say "Oh look at them aren't they great!" (But, for the record, I do believe that they are!). 

From my own work and involvement with some projects, I know that the early adopters are the people who get the party started, but before long you can't even see them in the crowd because everyone is doing it... But it's those early users who got the party started ;)

Image result for geoffrey moore leaderships lessons from dancing guy

Technology isn't a silver bullet in education, it never was and never will be... HOWEVER, you sure as heck can use technology as a way of creating the culture that I believe is needed and would make a big difference with things like the Attainment Gap and Developing the Youth Workforce... and would empower educators in the way that the politicians say they want to... whether they mean what they say is another thing entirely ;)

Feeling Adventurous... Skypeathon?
If you do dust down your old Twitter account and find it to be a positive experience then why not connect with other classes on the 28-29th November when the Skypeathon is on?

I'd have loved to have heard from some of the experts on some of the organisation who run virtual field trips when I was at school... and I'd love for my kids to be on Skype with these experts too.

The Microsoft in the Room
Anyone who follows my ramblings will know that I see tech companies doing more for Ed reform than politicians (See Pokemon Go... Tech Vs Policy Maker Results.

...*Waves* to @GoutcherD and his "Ingress for Kids"AR  @SpyQuest game, I'm telling you... it's gonna be big!! And I guess Biz Stone was right too, I would LOVE to these two videos updated by being edited and mashed up together.

There's an elephant in the room regarding what policy makers are doing, and that elephant is the fact that, if you look at the data... It's Microsoft that's responsible for a lot of the things that are going on, not the politicians (MIE Experts, MEC, Yammer, Skypeathon, Digital Schools Award, Bloodhound/Race for the Line).

And what is it that Microsoft appears to have done to get to this stage? Just like my EdTech report highlights, where the aim was to explore what the major tech companies do differently, they do indeed appear to have "Developed Relationships and Delivered Value" in Scottish Education - at a macro level by work on Glow, Scottish Educators intranet, and at the grassroots level by empowering educators.

And what's of the criteria for being a Showcase School? That at least two educators are working towards MIE Expert status (Good luck with your application @TolleyA!) ... This provides a nice example at the school level in education the extract of Google Employee #59, Doug Edwards, in "I'm Feeling Lucky" (Which Doug kindly allowed me to include in my EdTech report (P36):

"Two smart guys working on complex technical problems, it turns out, can accomplish a hell of a lot"
Doug Edwards Google Employ #59

There will be some Microsoft Roadshows at a number of Scottish schools in November... why not sign up to go along and assess for yourself if there is anything in this idea: Microsoft Education Roadshows

It might be worth highlighting a couple of points here:

1) I have no affiliation with Microsoft in any way shape or form... But it was a Microsoft Exec who encouraged me to get onto Social Media in 2010 telling me that "It comes with the job today"
2) Wondering something along the lines of "Ah but Microsoft only do this to shift their products... it's just marketing and PR?"

Go have a conversation with an MIE Expert or two, or a Showcase School and ask them if that's what their experiences have been... or if, as my EdTech report highlights, it's been a partnership where ideas are co-created and collaborated on?

The Last Word re: Twitter in Edu
I'll leave the last word on this post with the best possible source I can think of... Here's @ElliePrimary1 and @katrinakennett post detailing

  7 Reasoon Why Teachers Should Tweet

What is an #Edcafe?

Because, as Michelle and ISTE PLN leads would tell you, that's how it works.

Here's a list of some of the links included in this post that I learnt from people in my network. Random articles in a post that's way too long and rambling... Or Learning from a Diamond Network? I'll let you Decide...
Other reports that I've collaborated on with other thought leaders and industry experts can be found at Tech Stories - Research