I am back from the Scottish Learning Festival (SLF09) and now have had time for some reflections. I was amazed to see it was a tenth anniversary for this and its predecessor SETT. That means I must have been coming to Glasgow in September for that number of years near enough so it is perhaps time to take stock.
A cursory search of the internet failed to find any direct reference to the start but there were acknowledgements of its existence in the last century. This recent excerpt from the Times Educational Supplement bears witness to its importance and all those who have worked for it over the years should take the credit.
This show is one of the most valuable opportunities available to anyone in education who wishes to improve their understanding of what information and communications technology can do for them in their jobs.
The formula has not changed radically although it has evolved. The basic ingredient of a showcase for what is going on in Scottish schools alongside a trade fair has worked well. There are now several keynote and spotlight speeches and a myriad of seminars to go to. For me it is also a time to meet colleagues from far and wide. It is an intensely stimulating two days.
For a few years now I have tended to go to seminars whose titles take my fancy as I glance through the list. This can be a bit hit or miss but I have had far more hits than pure chance would suggest, indicating the high quality and surprising magic of many of the presentations.
This year in particular I infiltrated a full seminar entitled “Making Glow and the Curriculum for Excellence Work Together” – a totally clear and unambiguous description. It was very nearly full but within minutes about a quarter of the participants had left claiming that they had been misled as to the seminar’s content. To me this was a deep embarrassment for the whole of the Scottish teaching profession; teachers unable to comprehend a straightforward title and so rude as to walk out! The presenters from Argyll and Bute proceeded to do “what it said on the tin”. I have been concerned for a while about the development in parallel tracks of CfE and Glow, but here was a presenter who had not only a very simple way of joining the two but who was offering us the very considerable fruits of her labours free, gratis and for nothing. Serendipity indeed! So much so that I am going to leave the rest of the festival for others to write about or view online at the Learning and Teaching Scotland website.