Monday, 3 March 2008

The John Muir Trail

It was great working with Glow mentors over two days in East Lothian last week. There was as you might expect; a wide range of backgrounds and a mixture of accents in the room. I heard Welsh, Scottish, English and American accents. East lothian is a small and rapidly changing local authority. It has a highly developed learning community in its teachers who have a vision to translate the potential in Glow for e-learning, into exceptional learning experiences for children. There is such a high standard of digital literacy among staff in this authority that it constitutes an advantage in digital and educational capital. This is a geographical area with a rich mixture of old and new. There is mix of coastal and market towns, such as Musselburgh, Haddington and North Berwick which provide room for an expanding commuter population and retirees, on the edge of Edinburgh.
I was in Prestonpans, almost in view of Aurthur's seat to deliver mentor training. Over the two days I demonstrated how to plan, create and populate a Glow group. Having taught Intermediate 2 Geography and People in the Landscape, it was an ideal opportunity to draw on my classroom experience and to use Glow to model something I could not imagine until recently. I was now able to show how a Glow group could be used to enhance teaching and learning: for example in teaching difficult concepts such as, wilderness, conservation, beauty, and conflict. John Muir (1838-1914) was born in Dunbar and became the father of the National Park system in the USA. It is ironic that Scotland did not have it's own National Parks until 2002. Some would say we have been been just as slow to integrate ICT into schools in Scoltand. Many English schools have been using online learning spaces more extensively and for longer. However, Scotland not only has the largest and most spectacular National Park in the UK, with the Cairngorms NP, it now has the largest educational intranet and most connected national educational system, with Glow.
East Lothian will very soon be exploring the possibilities of accessing emerging technologies in Glow groups and building on their digital experience with edubuzz and bloggers such as Tess Watson, Don Ledingham and Ollie Brae. These teachers are part of a confident teaching community who do not fear the exponential growth of information or new technology. East Lothian mentors started to create a variety of interesting and useful Glow groups which could offer new ways of being creative and participative for teachers, pupils and parents. These are exciting times in East Lothian. I hear there is a plan (watch this space) to create a Glow group and use it to assist with an existing exchange between schools in the USA and East Lothian. To connect a school in Dunbar, the birth place of John Muir, with a school in Yosemite Valley, the first National Park in the world, using virtual learning tools that can be found in a Glow group: The John Muir glow group?


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Tessa said...

Hi Martin.

It was indeed a fantastic couple of days. We are all very excited about Glow and we are keen to start the roll-out ASAP.

Tess :-)

Dave said...


I am always pleased when something I've organised goes to according to plan. Following the previous Operational training sessions, I had great confidence, of course, in the skills of the trainers and I was certain that the training would be well received.

We, in East Lothian, are blessed with an excellent team of Glow Mentors full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm anxious to make up for the delays that followed the splash launch of Glow at SETT 2006.

All that remains now is for me to get users provisioned so that I can satisfy the mentors demands to get to grips fully with Glow.

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a.brown said...

Hi Martin - you seem to have a bit of a spam problem on this post?

martin said...

Thanks Andrew, I need to moderate.