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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Glow Gossip

Yesterday, Paul Smyth returned to Knox to join my INT1 Biology class and I. He was accompanied by his colleague,

Alan Atwell from LTScotland.

We are currently working on 'Alcohol And it's Effects'. Today the pupils were creating new slides for their projects using my suggested links. They could also download my revision notes (PowerPoint) that cover the Learning Out comes of the first unit. Though today’s lesson was no different to others involving glow, we did stumble across a few more glow usability issues.

Firstly, I posted a 'News Flash' on our glow group. I mentioned ‘Mr Smyth’s’ visit, followed by today’s task. I illustrated this with a series of bullet points.

Create three slides on the following:
· The Liver and its function
· Alcohol- The short term effects
· Alcohol- The long term effects

Although the bullet points were clearly visible when drafting the item, when I saved the post, they just disappeared. I repeated this two or three times, each with the same result. Today’s second problem lay with the uploaded documents. As mentioned, I uploaded some power points that the pupils could download and view. Once I had viewed my own uploaded document (ppt slide show) I clicked the back button with the intention of re-entering the portal. This didn’t happen. The document automatically downloaded it’s self onto the hard drive of my machine. And, logged me out of the portal. I am not sure if this is a consistent fault with ‘glow’ or if it indeed could be an issue with the school browser. However, I would like to thank Paul and Alan for taking time to come and visit us yesterday, my apologies that your visit could not have been longer.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Skiing Or Boarding?

Having read Robert's blog, and commenting recently, I felt the need to write this post. I am an avid skier. Robert Jones is currently taking votes on; ‘what do you do when the snow comes?’

Robert is one of my colleagues in East Lothian.
We are currently engaging in an ‘informal’ battle of the skier/snowboarder superiority. I am hoping most of you will vote for skiing (top left-hand side of his site, then click ‘vote’).

Flo, the boarder, had to be resecued 'off piste' as you can see!

Vote now

Ali, I know you will be influential on the outcome of this one!

In the mean time, enjoy this!

Happy time!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Kind of Blogger are you?

I have just had an email about this quiz. Not sure if I agree with the out come here. I have to say I feel I put alot of thought into my posts. What kind of blogger are you?

You Are a Link Blogger!

Your blog is more about cool links than thougtful posts.

Better to be entertaining and breif than longwinded and boring!

Friday, November 24, 2006

More Diet Coke and Mentos!!!!

Obsessed, me?

Never. But what fun!

More Diet Coke and Mentos!!!!!!!!!!

Have a fab weekend!!!

Tess :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

GLOW GLOW and more GLOW!

Yesterday, I arranged a very last minute glow session with a few East Lothian 'Glow' colleagues. Initially, Dave R, Brian C and I decided to meet so that we could explore the glow portal further. After a few skype chats and a couple of emails on Monday night, our trio developed into a small gathering. By chance, Ollie B, David G, Ewan Mc and Paul Smyth (RM) were available to join us. This was great. From 4-615pm we explored the portal (I am sure we would have spent even more time together, but the portal is taken offline during the week after 6pm). During our informal gathering, we investigated the use of HTML, flickr badges and, of course, talked non-stop about glow (It was great!!)

Today, Paul returned for more glow feedback. He joined my INT1 class for our first glow ‘Biology’ lesson. He observed the lesson and activities. More importantly, he was able to chat to the pupils about their experiences and views.

My INT1 pupils have been working on their 'Health and Technology' projects for three months now (2 year INT1 Course, replacing SG Science at Knox). If the accommodation is available, we spend one period every one to two weeks in the ICT suites. They have created an array of fantastic slide shows that they can now share and comment on within the trial portal. We plan to give a presentation, around Christmas, to a member of management and any staff who are free at the time. This proved to be a fantastic experience for the pupils and myself two years ago (the first Intermediate 1 cohort to pass through Knox)

We did encounter a few more problems today, the majority involving the pupils uploading their own documents. Glow has a ‘banned words’ policy. When I set up the glow group for the class, I forgot to change this setting. Glow has about five settings for filtering words:

Full filter
RMPS allowed
Biology allowed
PSE allowed
No filter

As a Biologist, I am sure you can imagine, many of the words that we use are banned. One particular case today was ‘body fat’. This is a physiological measurement that we study during this unit. I would have tried to alter the filter had time allowed.

My pupils are really enjoying this exciting experience (So am I as you have probably guessed!).

Dave and I are still in the midst of writing a feedback report for RM. The experiences of Today and last night have brought attention to a few more ‘glow usability’ issues. We will submit our report along side Leeann McMillan (Kings Meadow Primary school) towards the end of this week.

I would like to thank Paul Smyth for visiting today (and last night). I hope our lesson provided useful feedback.

Thank you to all of my East Lothian colleagues who popped in last night. I felt our seesion was very useful. I would also like to thank my Biology class for being fantastic ambassadors for Knox Academy.

(blogger.com is, yet again, not uploading JPEGs for me. I am very angry......VERY ANGRY!!).

I will try and post images later.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Interesting Science......Find That Bean Man!!

This will be a fun test for the kids. As I am still in the midst of S4 prelim marking, I thought I would lighten my evening with a jovial post (not that I have time...15 min break. All has been copied from and earlier email).
So check out this. Try to find the 'man' in the JPEG (photo)

It's not a trick, i.e. there is no play on the word "Man". You don't have to squint your eyes in a funny way or anything like that.

QUOTE Random USA Scientist(allegedly) (:

"Now here's the dodgy science bit. Doctors have (allegedly) concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, your right half of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, your right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger!!! "

I don't know how long it would have taken me tonight, had I not received the image earlier.

Back to the grind-stone :(

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Networking And Rugby???

I don’t usually write posts about my social life out side school, but today I am going to. Yesterday I met two individuals from the teaching profession. To illustrate what blogging is about, I thought I would write a small post for them.

Yesterday, after a two hour marking session, I decided to take a break and head down to my local rugby club, George Heriot's (Golden Acre). I am a big rugby fan. Ever since I have been a student, I have helped occasionally helped behind the bar there. George Heriot’s RFC is not only a fantastic place to watch great rugby; it is also a great place to meet individuals from lots of different professions.

With a superb victory of 31-13, networking and blogging were far from my mind. This was until I started speaking to Peter Hill, one of the members. Peter is a Lecturer in Physical Education at Moray House. I was chatting to him about blogging and glow. He was interested to hear that he knew some of the people behind the blogs that I read. He is not the most keen internet user, but I am hoping that he will now become one of my regular readers! (I am sure you will Mr Hill!)

Another member who I regularly enjoy chatting to is Alex Dunbar. Alex has been a loyal Herioter for many years. He has a wealth of rugby and war stories. His most interesting are the tales of when he was stationed out in Rangoon with the RAF during the War. Yesterday Alex brought his daughter, Morag Moir, to Golden Acre. Morag is the Head Teacher at Causewayend Primary School, Aberdeen. She had come down to Edinburgh to visit Alex for the weekend. No sooner had I sat down to chat with Alex and Morag, I found my self talking about glow and blogging! One particular person, that Morag mentioned, was Andy Watson. Andy’s blog is one that I had not read before. Andy is the ICT Development Officer with Aberdeen City. A very useful connection. Thanks Morag!

It was very nice to meet you I hope you have a safe journey back up to Aberdeen.

So, in a nutshell, welcome to blogging. Keep up the networking!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Third Glow Trial Update!

We have completed our three secondary class trials. Dave's third and final group had great problems logging in, as mentioned in my earlier posts. This wasn't helped by the fact that the network access was like treacle. The main problem with the passwords was the font in which they were typed. Even when Dave changed this, it still was a challenge (i.e. a straight vertical line could be a number '1', a capital 'I', a small 'L', etc).

Dave, Brian Cunningham (Musselburgh Grammer) and I, are proposing to spend some sessions, after school, exploring glow further this week. Although our trial lessons are over, many of our pupils are keen to use glow for various projects for the remaining time of the trial. I will report back in due course.

Our fourth years sat their Biology prelim yesterday so I am off to entertain a 'door step' sized pile of marking :(

I will let you know how we get on. Keep the glow gossip up!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Glow, Second Trial Lesson Update

Today, Dave and I monitored the second glow lesson. This went very well. The pupils were nearly one step ahead of us this time! By the time we were on task 3 (of the supplied pupil document) half of them had already changed their glow themes! The problems that I mentioned in my last post were the only ones that cropped up today.

Difficult passwords
Copy and pasting
The use of the apostrophe (Frames started to jump)
And of course, time

It was fabulous to see the youngsters so enthusiastic and progressing on a very steep learning curve. They posted their views on the theme (Global Warming: Is It Real?), uploaded their documents and started to create their own address books. This was all very exciting to be part of.
I am in the fortunate position with this class that we currently do a ‘project’ period once a week (if the ICT accomodation is available). My pupils and I are really looking forward to using the trial portal to enhance this. I haven’t had any free time to experiment more, as yet. I have uploaded some revision documents that I hope introduce to the class next week.
Today was such a success. I am very pleased! Dave and I had 8 pupils from the first two trial classes’ request that they come in at lunch time to explore a little more! Our third and final trial is tomorrow. Unfortunately, I am teaching, but Dave will give me a summary that I can report back on. We will then summarise all our collected feedback from pupils and staff for RM.

One separate fact, just as a by the by, the Operating system we use is:
Microsoft Win2000
And our current browser is:
Internet Explorer 6.0,Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)

I hope my post doesn’t appear as jargon. I am very sensitive to the fact that a lot of my readers have not had the privilege of exploring glow. I am currently working on uploading a number of documents on to the East Lothian Glow blog. These should give you any information that I have missed. Thankfully, Andy from Aberdeen has already done the deed. (Thanks Andy!)

I welcome any thoughts or views, positive or negative

Tess :)

Glow First Trial Lesson Update

Good Morning!

Yesterday saw the first trial lesson within the glow portal at Knox Academy. All was very positive, but on the critical side, the main flaws, that we have come across so far, are:

Difficult passwords
Copy and pasting
The use of the apostrophe (Frames started to jump)
And of course, time

Today, Dave and I will be monitoring the second trial with my Intermediate 1 Biology class. I am hoping Dave isn't given a cover class. I would like to thank John Taylor (PT Physics) and Elaine McMillan (PT English) for help and support yesterday.

My intentions are to write a more detailed post tonight.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mrs O'Neill's Blog

Liz O’Neill is a Teacher from the South West , Dumfries and Galloway. She recently made contact with me with regards to glow. She is really excited about glow, and is hoping to get involved. She, like myself, feels that the networking, enthusiasm and innovation that glow would provide, could transform her school. She is on the school 'Learning and Teaching committee' and doing her bit to publicise the great things that are happening in Scotland right now.

Quote Liz
“As an English teacher I think we need to be relevant. The pupils I teach are writing online all the time -and moaning and groaning over producing a paragraph for me. So, we need to start activating that aptitude”..

Though her blog is in the early stages, she feels it might be encouraging for other 'not very technical people'

I totally agree Liz! Give her blog a click!

Monday, November 13, 2006

BEBO: The Movie

Ewan McIntosh posted this video yesterday. It is called Bebo: the Movie. It’s been made by university students as part of a media project. It's only about 10 minutes long but well worth a look. As Ewan suggests, this video would be superb for using in class to get pupils thinking and talking about internet safety.

Quote Ollie:
'..... a great tool to introduce parents and teachers to the different uses, functions and dangers of web tools like Bebo'.

View the video at here.

I have already forwarded this to our Guidance department.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It Was All 'GLOW' For Knox Today!

Today Dave Rawson and I gave the staff at Knox Academy their first taste of glow. We ran three, forty minute sessions over the course of the afternoon. Unfortunately the trial portal does not run during Fridays and over the weekend as it is being updated and serviced. However, we managed with the static screen shots that I have included below.
Following the presentation, we took a range of questions. There were a number of queries regarding copy right. Dave and I are under the impression that this will be dealt with at the Local Authority level. One particular question which has got me thinking came from our PT Mathematics, Linda McInnes. She queried how she would be able to perform a ‘glow math’s lesson’ for up to thirty one pupils as our current ICT labs have a maximum of 20 PCs? Is this something that could inhibit teachers of non-practical subjects from using glow as part of lessons?
Though I felt I staggered slightly during the first session, our second and third flowed well. Dave and I would like to thank the staff at Knox for listening Today. We hope our presentation was informative.

Following on from Ewan McIntosh’s recent comments, I have included more screen shots of the portal. Yesterday, I managed to explore a little more. I have investigated the ‘search for other glow user’s' button. This allows you to browse through all the registered glow users. I believe it is only pupils and staff of the 'chosen classes' from the schools within the selected Authorities, who are listed within the portal for the trial (i.e. Knox Academy and Kings Meadow Primary in East Lothian).You can search under different categories; first name, Last name, area of interest, establishment etc.
I have also looked into the glow groups. I can see this becoming a very large part of glow and glow use. Before I say anymore on ‘glow groups’, I would like to spend a bit more time experimenting. Below you can see a number of static screen shots of various areas within the portal. I will post more information as and when I explore them. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments. For any other glow mentors reading, I am more than happy to email you the PowerPoint from today’s presentation.

Have a fabulous weekend. Catch you later!
Signing In

Main Page

Creating A Glow Group

The Glow Group

My Personal Calander

My Personal Area

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Trial Of Portal, GLOWing So Far......

Following on from my recent post, 'East Lothian Was Glowing This Morning' , we received the usernames and passwords for the trial of the glow portal at Knox Academy yesterday. Today Dave Rawson (ICT Coordinator for Knox) and I experienced our first taste of glow.

After attempting to enter the portal, with some what ‘Krypton Factor Challenge’ passwords and a number of email enquiries by Dave, we finally gained access.

The trial portal, as it stands, can only be accessed within Knox Academy and Kings Meadow Primary in East Lothian. Hence the glow trial intranet is relatively empty. Today, Dave managed to create a test Glow Group and edit some of the images on the Knox site as an administrator. The format, tabs, drop down menus and general content appear to be user friendly so far. This is how I imagined it to be. After a pretty much full teaching day and a meeting after work, I was only able to play within the portal for half an hour. (After 6pm, and on Fridays/ weekends, it is taken offline for maintenance servicing and updating).

Tomorrow, I would hope to use my only non-contact period to experiment a little more before our trial lessons next week. However, this evening I did manage to edit my own personal space within the portal….!

Unfortunately, we will not be able to demonstrate the live portal to the Knox staff during our presentation this Friday. Dave and I will, however, try our utmost to provide the clearest static images.

All very exciting! Watch this space......

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Would You Like To Know About GLOW?

With the trial of the Glow portal looming, Dave Rawson (My fellow Glow Mentor) and I have been asked to give a presentation to the staff at Knox Academy. This is to take place on Friday during our staff CAT afternoon. Though this will be a joint effort, I think that the presentation should be very basic and perhaps include the points illustrated in my recent post 'East Lothian Was Glowing This Morning'. If you were a member of the audience, what would you like to know about glow?

HTML Cheat ;)

A few of my colleagues have been quizzing me with regard to using HTML and templates. I have a few ‘cheat’ sites that you can visit to help you add in those links.

Web Monkey
HTML Examples

Hope these are useful. If you are aware of any good HTML links, please can you leave a comment!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Second Podcast: GLOWing!

Pictured opposite is the mug that could complement a certain GLOW Mentor's tea set ;) I used it in my second trial Podcast.

Second Podcast! I am getting better, but still no sound (not sure what I am doing wrong? Maybe the camera mic). Once I am more practiced, I think I will Podcast an investigation to find out:

‘What Is The Minimum glow Temperature?’

Aren’t these mugs just LEDGENDERY!!! (lol)

(You will love this one Ollie!!!)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Blogging Bug Is Spreading!

The blogging bug has spread with three of my colleagues starting within one week!
Jan Peaston is a new member of staff in Biology, pictured right (sorry Jan, it is the only picture I have!). Luke Francis, a new member of staff in RME and my fellow GLOW Mentor buddy Dave Rawson.

Feel free to give their blogs a browse and leave a comment!

I am off to browse a few blogs before the weekend commences. Have a good one! Catch you later!

Is blogger.com Best?

After a very manic week, I am just embarking on a bit of blogging before the weekend. Having not had the time to read or post anything for the last two days, I guess you could say I am going to have a bit of a ‘blog binge’ for the next hour or so!

Public and Private Face of the Teacher (Posted by Kenneth)

Earlier in the week, David Muir and Kenneth left me very useful comments. I had mentioned earlier that I was thinking about moving to a wordpress or typepad platform. I have had a number of queries why? So, I thought I would give you a few reasons.
Firstly, when I decided to start a blog, the current East Lothian blogs were not up and running. An old university friend offered to help me set up a blogger.com account. At this point I was not aware of the vast abundance of platforms that could be used to host blogs. Since then I have found my self really enjoying networking and learning in this new way. As I have learned, the blogger.com accounts may not be the most appropriate platform for teachers like me. All blogger.com blogs have a next button at the top of the page. On clicking this, you will be directed to the next random blog (mine has now been removed). All fine I would say if you are directed to a blog such as David or Kenneth’s. Not so fine is when you are directed to a site which could be deemed as inappropriate. Though there are a vast range of blogs to be found on blogger.com, not all of them are the most favourable. I don’t want my site to be the referring URL to anything that I have no control over. I have a reputation to maintain. Now that the East Lothian blog site is up and running, I feel I should become part of their more 'secure' platform. After all, I am an East Lothian Employee. I guess it is a bit like using your Hotmail address instead of your work Outlook Express address. Maybe that’s not a valid comparison?

I am quite happy just now as I have managed to remove the next blog button, though I am still aiming to move into the East Lothian blogosphere. This might be considered a logical idea, especially with the onset and progress of GLOW.

I welcome your comments and views!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

East Lothian Was GLOWing This Morning!

This Morning East Lothian was GLOWing, and not because it is Halloween!

Scotland has 32 Local Authorities, eight have been chosen to trial the GLOW portal. Out of the eight, three have been selected to trial the portal before Christmas (the other two being Renfrewshire and Dundee City).
The first schools within East Lothian to be selected are Knox Academy and Kings Meadow Primary. Today Leann McMillan (Kings Meadow), Dave Rawson and I (Knox) were able to see the portal in action. This allowed us to gain a vision of how the initiative will be used to aid Teaching and Learning.

“Glow is the national intranet for Scottish schools, linking Scotland’s 800,000 educators and pupils. Glow is a powerful set of tools for learning and teaching, sharing and collaborating which will be provided within a safe and secure on-line environment accessible from any location.”


The Portal was demonstrated by Paul Smyth and Dawn Adams, both Educationalists, and Tom Gregory, the project manager. (Pictured to the left).
Phase One
Initially the portal will have a very basic set up. Each participating pupil and member of staff will have a user name and password. This will allow them to enter into the GLOW Intranet. The initial facilities that can be accessed within the GLOW Intranet will include:
• Pupil site
• Staff site
• Establishment site.
• GLOW groups within your establishment that you are a member of. (i.e. sports clubs/homework clubs)
• Local Authority Site
• National Site
• Your own personal site.

If you can imagine how your own school server operates (i.e. emailing, sharing resources, the daily bulletin) this will give you a small idea of what is to come. But, let me reassure you, GLOW will be far easier to use. We as GLOW mentors will be here to help you!

GLOW Bulletin

It might not be very clear from the images that I have posted, but on signing into the portal, this is an idea of what you should see. (Pictured above)
There will different themes for different age groups. When I say theme, I mean appropriate aesthetics. Primary themes will be more icon based, while secondary will be more text enhanced.
For those of you who have been lucky enough to see the GLOW Movie, you will recall that part of the GLOW intranet will have such things as instant messaging and video conferencing? For the trial of the portal, and the initial implementation of the initiative, the setup will be far from any of this. (These are tools which will be implemented during later phases of GLOW) GLOW is not solely about ICT. Indeed, as our Educationalists pointed out this morning, GLOW will develop with its users. GLOW is an initiative that is being designed and developed to enhance Teaching and Learning in Scotland.

How are Knox Academy and King's Meadow Primary involved?

Phase one of the GLOW trial will involve four classes (three Secondary and one primary). These trials will test the usability of GLOW.

What is easy to use and what is not?
What is understood and what is not?
What is missing?
Why did or didn’t that happen?
I have a vision that these are the questions that are likely to be answered.

GLOW Lesson

Each class will be given a trial lesson which will involve each pupil interacting within the intranet. Pupils will have to upload images and create their own individual pieces of work during the trial lessons. This will be tailored to the specific age group. The purpose of this trial is allow RM and GLOW to find any defects that internal testing may have missed. It will also test the internal systems and processes in practice (i.e. support, infrastructure etc). In addition, staff and pupil feedback (both positive and negative) will be requested. This will be fundamental to success of GLOW.

"Phase 1 is not the final version. We expect users to find defects. It is not the whole of GLOW. It is being run from a smaller but equally secure environment".


The GLOW pilot should be available as of Monday 6th November (Knox Academy and Kings Meadow Primary) The pilot will run Monday – Thursday 0830 – 1800. During the other three days of the week, the portal will be serviced, updated and developed by RM. There will be a remote support (GLOW Helpdesk) that will operate when GLOW is available. Our trials will commence the following week. Of course I will keep you updated with our progress.

On behalf of East Lothian, I would like to thank Paul Smyth, Dawn Adams and Tom Gregory for their time and presentation today.

I hope this post has been informative. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions.

After five and a half hours on my PC, I am afraid that I am all GLOWed out for today!

No more 'NEXT BLOG'!

Having thought that there was no way that I could edit the template on my blog, (i.e. the ‘next blog’ button) David Muir posted a very helpful comment last night.

David Said:
“It is possible to hide the "Next blog" link in blogger (although they don't exactly make it easy!) I got the instructions on the MFLE section of LTScotland. It says "go into the template and find the tag. Just in front of it, type and right after it type . Andrew M. Brown, ICT Education Support Officer for Argyll & Bute, has produced this screencast on his blog to show you how.”

I would suggest that any teacher who decides to use blogger.com should alter their template. This means that your URL address cannot refer others onto ‘random’ blogger.com blogs.

Though I have rectified my situation, I think I will still move to a wordpress blog in the near future.

Thank you David!

Where I have been