Living and learning in a beautiful natural landscape

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, Health & Well Being | Posted on October 30, 2010

Today I took a short trip from Dumfries to the Forest of Ae with my youngest daughter. The shades of gold, silver, yellow, changing browns and the scarlet of hawthorn berries stood out boldly against the background of evergreens beside the Water of Ae.  A great opportunity to take photographs and for us both to learn a little more about the stunning landscape on our doorstep.

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Escola Internacional do Algarve

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Featured, International Education, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, video conferencing | Posted on October 24, 2010

Headmaster John Butterworth in the school library

Headmaster John Butterworth in the school library

I very much enjoyed my visit last Tuesday to the International School of the Algarve, the largest private school in the south of Portugal. The school offers teaching at all levels (3-18) through a National Section (following the Portuguese Ministry of Education programme) and an International Section (following a modified English National Curriculum).

Headmaster John Butterworth gave me a very warm welcome and took me on a tour around the school. Pupils and staff I met were very friendly and it was really interesting to see the young people engaged in their lessons across the school.

I had a chat with John about a range of education topics from staff development to ICT issues. I shared with him our work in Dumfries & Galloway through the application of video conferencing for pupil lessons and staff development. We had an interesting chat around the possibilities of establishing a link with his school to some of our schools back in the UK. I hope to keep in touch with John and possibly establish a collaborative project with teachers and/or pupils in the school, which helpfully, is on the same timeline as the UK for much of the year.

Minus temperatures back in the UK this week; but the weather here in Portugal has been beautiful!

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Calculus, golf and Francesco Molinari

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, International Education | Posted on October 24, 2010

The rather tenuous education link to this post is that the only positive memory I have of mathematics lessons at secondary school was that my maths teacher said his two great passions in life were golf and calculus, and that they were both very much related. Trajectory of the ball apparently. If what he said was true I just wish he’d given us some maths problems featuring golf shots, distances, power, force etc. to make interesting for me what I found to be an astonishingly dry set of lessons all those years ago.

Ryder Cup winner Francesco Molinari meets one of the fans!

Ryder Cup winner Francesco Molinari meets one of the fans!

With no thoughts of calculus or formulae for golf ball trajectory I made my way to the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura. What a beautiful day it was in the Algarve, Portugal last Sunday for the final day of the European Golf Tour Portugal Masters. Great to see at close hand the fantastic play of winning Ryder Cup Team member Francesco Molinari shooting a 62. A very inconsistent few days for Francesco with a very unusual set of scores over the four days  –  74, 62, 74, 62.

Francesco claimed nine birdies and an eagle at the par-five 3rd for his second 10-under-par round of the weekend, giving him a share of second place. Also at 16 under were the Swede Robert Karlsson, the Spaniard Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño and Joost Luiten of the Netherlands. Robert Green of Australia won the tournament at 18 under. And I bet none of these brilliant golfers are any good at calculus.

CPD filming with Keir Bloomer and Gary Kildare

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Featured, HMIE, International Education, Learning & Teaching, New Learning | Posted on October 7, 2010

Gary Kildare and Kate Raeside in Gary's office

Gary Kildare and Kate Raeside in Gary's office

Keir prepares to ask Gary a few questions

Keir prepares to ask Gary a few questions

It’s a wet and windy October day for driving up from Dumfries to Edinburgh to meet Keir Bloomer for lunch and a chat before our appointment later in the afternoon with Gary Kildare. In the past few weeks we’ve made a start to the production of some short films to assist Dumfries & Galloway school staff in implementing ‘Curriculum for Excellence’.

Keir arranged for us to meet Gary Kildare (IBM Vice President, Human Resources, Europe, Americas, Asia Pacific) to capture on film Gary’s thoughts on the skills and attributes young people need to live, work and be successful in the 21st Century. Gary’s contribution to this CPD video for teachers is much appreciated and very significant, given his role as a leading figure in the global business world. We’ve already filmed Keir’s introduction to this ‘Skills’ video and will also include excerpts featuring school pupils demonstrating ‘higher order’ skills, such as problem solving and critical thinking.
It’s been a busy day, and this evening I fly to Birmingham for the ABRSM Course Leader and Mentor training weekend. Fortunately I managed to get a good sleep on the short flight down south!

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