Europe v USA at Southerness Golf Club

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

I had a great time last Wednesday at Southerness Golf Club with Dumfries & County Golf Club former Captain Ian McEwan, and American friends Dr Chris Nagy and Steve O’Neill. The weather was beautiful, perfect for a round of golf as we took some time out in the midst of a hectic education exchange visit. The Southerness course provided a challenge for us all as we took part in our own fun Ryder Cup event. This picture, taken last month at the Scottish Golf Show in Glasgow is the closest I’m ever likely to get to the Ryder Cup!

Fun and games!

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Health & Well Being, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

Whether you’re from Scotland, the USA or anywhere else in the world, everyone (of all ages) likes to get together and just have fun! The 48 kids and 9 chaperones that made up our New Jersey / Dumfries & Galloway exchange group had a great time at Cream O’ Galloway, Xscape and on the water at Loch Ken. The pictures say it all!


USA / Scotland exchange visit

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Health & Well Being, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

Young people from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland and Northern Valley, New Jersey shared a week-long exchange with visits to a variety of cultural places of interest. They also had great fun at Xscape in Glasgow on the snow and kayaking at Loch Ken. The weather was great, although a tumble into the loch felt more than a little refreshing!

Visit from New Jersey, USA to Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, International Education, Learning & Teaching | Posted on April 12, 2013

We’ve had the most fantastic time this past week with young people and staff from New Jersey, USA on an exchange visit with students from Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway. The weather all week has been great, allowing us to enjoy visits to Hadrian’s Wall, Edinburgh, Glasgow and today at Ellisland Farm (where Robert Burns famously wrote Auld Lang Syne and Tam O’Shanter). This afternoon we enjoyed fun (and ice-cream!) at Cream O’ Galloway, near Gatehouse. Chaperones of the group also visited Drumlanrig Castle on Tuesday when the students were kayaking at Loch Ken. Tonight the farewell meal and disco takes place at the Douglas Arms Hotel, Castle Douglas with everyone this evening already anticipating and looking forward to the reciprocal visit to Northern Valley, New Jersey in April 2014. The young people of Demarest, Old Tappan, Castle Douglas and Dalbeattie have been a credit to their families and schools. For many, this week will have seen the start of lifelong friendships.

Music Education Expo, Barbican Centre, London

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, International Education, Leadership for Learning, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, video conferencing | Posted on April 4, 2013



Over 3000 delegates signed up for the UK’s largest ever music education conference. Sponsored by Rhinegold publishing, and with the endorsement of Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) the event took place in the Barbican Centre, London on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st March. I was pleased to be invited by the editor of Music Teacher magazine, Chris Walters to present at the Music Technology session on our video conference teaching programmes. Polycom UK gave great support to my presentation, enabling me with ease to have a live link with John Wallace (Principal at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) in Glasgow; with Grant Golding (brass tutor) demonstrating a live lesson to a pupil in a Dumfries & Galloway school; and with Christianne Orto (Dean of Distance Learning) in the Manhattan School of Music, New York. Many thanks to all participants who assisted in demonstrating the amazing potential of video conferencing for learning and teaching.

Visit from Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard, Chris Lubbe

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, International Education, Learning & Teaching | Posted on April 4, 2013

Almost a 1000 kids in Dumfries & Galloway schools were totally captivated, thrilled and amazed to hear Chris Lubbe share stories from his life in South Africa. I had the pleasure of hosting Chris from Sunday 3rd through to Thursday 7th March when we visited 13 schools across the region (10 in person, 3 by video-link). To hear Chris tell stories about how he became a member of the illegal ANC party in a struggle with Nelson Mandela to free the country of the shocking apartheid system of inequality and brutality was truly amazing and inspiring for all, young and old, who listened to him.


Chris received a very warm welcome in schools and also spoke one evening in a hotel at an open meeting, and on another occasion with some friends at my house. Through all his stories of the harsh laws and unfairness of apartheid, Chris’s message to young people in schools was uplifting, encouraging all to forgive each other, to be kind to each other and to show love and concern for everyone we meet in life.┬áChris was so well received everywhere he went that there is now a great demand for him to return to Dumfries & Galloway soon!

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