Weeknote 35/2013

Weeknote 35/2013

This week I’ve been:

Monday is Labor Day in the US which will means I’ll have a quiet start to the week. I’m not travelling anywhere so I’m looking forward to getting stuff done before heading to Amsterdam with my wife to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary!

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Weeknote 17/2013

Weeknote 17/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Planning and then delivering (with Tim Riches) an Open Badges workshop in Glasgow.
  • Meeting with people representing organisations who want to integrate with the OBI.
  • Hosting this week’s Web Literacy Standard community call.
  • Meeting with colleagues at the Mozilla London office.
  • Launching the first draft of Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard.
  • Teaching kids how to ‘hack’ their school website with X-Ray Goggles at Maker Faire in Newcastle

Next week I’m in London to do some judging for some funding Mozilla’s involved in, but I’ll be taking it a bit easier after travelling the length of the country this week, working an extra day and launching some work!

Weeknote 15/2013

Weeknote 15/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Creating two new grids for Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard work with the community. The first one’s here and the second (updated) one is still just on Flickr at the moment.
  • Planning my PELeCON keynote presentation. You have no idea how long it takes to collate, choose and organise animated GIFs.
  • Hosting the weekly Web Literacy standard community call. You can catch up here.
  • Catching up with people like Laura Hilliger, Tim RichesLucy Neale and StJohn Smith.
  • Editing the Wikipedia article for Open Badges. Only a bit, though. Must revisit.
  • Moderating a Connected Learning TV webinar featuring Liz Lawley and her work around a ‘gaming layer’ for students and academics.
  • Travelling to Plymouth by train, plane and automobile (literally) for PELeCON.
  • Attending, keynoting and running a workshop at PELeCON. The animated GIFs from my keynote aren’t so animated on Slideshare, so you may want to try this Evernote notebook. Photos are here (when they’ve finished uploading)

Next week I’m in Sweden keynoting and running a workshop at the Swedish equivalent of BETT. Better get planning…

Weeknote 12/2013

Weeknote 12/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Delayed coming back from the DML Conference in Chicago (my write-up of the conference is here). My flight was cancelled due to the First Officer being ‘sick’ on St. Patrick’s Day. 😉 My subsequent flight was delayed meaning I didn’t get home until Tuesday lunchtime!
  • Taking a day off to spend with my family.
  • Working with Matt Thompson on a diagram to explain what Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard is for. It still needs some work before sharing more widely!
  • Summarising the previous week’s Web Literacy standard work.
  • Booking travel to OER13 and the PELeCON conference, both of which I’m keynoting. Also booked flights to the Mozilla All-Hands meeting in Toronto in May.
  • Planning out my OER13 keynote in Evernote. I’ll be talking about ambiguity, Open Badges and Web Literacy.
  • Talking to people who may want to align with the draft version of the Web Literacy standard being launched on April 26th.
  • Continuing to talk to people/organisations about Open Badges.
  • Writing an abstract for the PLE conference (with Tim Riches) and sending Brian Kelly a title and abstract for IWMW13.
  • Helping interview a potential new hire to our team.
  • Getting things sorted for Nesta’s One Day Digital event in Edinburgh next Saturday. I’m running a workshop on Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker and taking my family up for Friday/Saturday.

Next week I’ll be returning to the place of my birth (Nottingham) for the OER13 conference (Tuesday/Wednesday), continuing to work on the Web Literacy standard stuff and travelling up to Edinburgh on Good Friday with my family for the Nesta event mentioned above.

Why the knowledge vs. skills debate in education is wrong-headed.

Gnome heads

Back when I was a lowly trainee teacher I engaged in a debate with someone high up in the local authority after a training session. They were arguing that ‘skills’ are all we need to teach young people. I argued (as a History teacher) that they didn’t know what they were talking about.

Now, however, I realise that we were both wrong.

This post by Oliver Quinlan about A.C. Grayling’s presentation at the recent Education Festival got me thinking. Especially this bit:

What we should be looking for is not the acquisition of knowledge, but the acquisition of understanding. Many schools recognise that theory of knowledge and learning about learning are supportive of the rest of the curriculum. Grayling feels that this should be at the centre of the curriculum, not as an added extra.

And then yesterday, Tim Riches tweeted me the link to this post, pointing out how scary it is that the government are preventing people from talking about ‘skills’ in a curriculum review:

Among the wilder, though double-sourced by me, rumours I’ve heard about the curriculum review were that the word “skills” was banned from any documents by ministers, simply because they wanted to emphasise “knowledge”. While I am not going to get into the knowledge versus skills debate here, suffice it to say that most university prospectuses stress the importance of both.

But then I realised. What we should be developing in young people are capacities. Skills and knowledge flow from these.

It’s what employers look for when hiring people. It’s why we have phrases like “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” We recognise that certain people have greater capacities in certain areas than others.

I look forward to seeing an education system that promotes capacities.

(oh, and when we get there, we should award badges) 😉

Image CC BY-NC-SA amy_b