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January 11, 2010



What the picture doesn't show you is the remarkable low turnout for this lecture. Not a reflection on Strathclyde students but the general poor quality of the ICT lectures as a whole. We've had three now and the numbers have steadily declined with each one.

Three speakers, three laptops. If ICT is genuinely supposed to make things collaborative, can you explain why we had to wait while we changed from PC, to Mac, to whatever? Perhaps these would come in useful? http://www.mymemory.co.uk/USB-Flash-Drives

Glow looks like a genuine waste of time, bloated. The unanswered threads posted by teachers and students, visible in the lecture, told its own story. Not used. Also misinformation, Fife and Glasgow haven't taken it up, only trialling it. Yet "the last LAs have come online".



Then we get to Mr Bray. I'm surprised they managed to fit his heid in the Coats hall. What an exercise in self promotion that was. Website check, Twitter check. Nothing but a fancy power point presentation recycled to death. Apparently you can find stuff with google. Good to know. And with links to stuff you found (presumably with google) on the internet.

So I visit the heids website. Nice. Lot of effort, good topical URL. All in all a nice CV.

Lets finish with a quote from the man himself "As with most years I’ve probably achieved a bit more than most people" http://olliebray.typepad.com/olliebraycom/olliebray/

We're gonna need a bigger heid.

Ollie Bray

Dear Anon,

Great comment, and I look forward to replying to it in more detail. Probably by the weekend before I get round to it. Some of your URL’s are wrong BTW.


Ollie Bray

Dear Anon,

First of all sorry its taken so long for me to respond – I have been working away from home this week and wifi access has been a little bit hit and miss. Secondly, can I apologize that you don’t feel comfortable being able to use your name on your comment.

Lets first of all take the subject of poor ICT lectures at the university – it would be useful if you could expand on this to help me understand the current provision within ITE. You have made comments on our input but what made the other lectures so bad. What is it the lectures are missing and how can they be improved.

Why did we change the computers over. A very good question. I was basically because we had both prepared our presentations on different laptops. Ronnie was using his Mac and keynote and I was using my PC and technical beta of Office 10. This isn’t meant to be an excuse by the way (although I am sure that you will think it is?). We actually just didn’t have time to put both presentations on one machine as we are not allowed to connect our laptops to connect to the university network we had to use the lecture theater PC to demo Glow. All things considered I didn’t think that the change over’s (while maybe wasting 2 or 3 minutes) went relatively smoothly?

Thanks for pointing out USB flash drives – I’ve actually got one

Now to Glow – I’m interested to know why you think trying to connect every teacher in Scotland via a national intranet is a ‘genuine waste of time’. Don’t get me wrong there are aspects of Glow that we would all like to see improved but the philosophy is a very good one. Some of the tools like Glow Meet have been used extensively by many Scottish schools. Many teachers have also used the intranet to access quality CPD.

There was no misinformation in the presentation ‘the last LEAs have come online’ that’s how they are able to trial Glow. Both Glasgow and Fife have Glow roll out plans. Training for Fife’s Glow mentors took place last week.

Now lets get to me – I do hope you will help me tease this out.

First of all why did you think the presentation was full of self promotion – yes, I did mention my twitter account. I do in all presentations as I like people to ask question via twitter. Sometimes this works well and sometimes it doesn’t – I also like to promote the idea that its OK to use mobile phones to gather feedback. Yes I did mention my blog because that’s where I post the slides and the links that I mention. I think paper handouts are a waste of time. But also I use my blog to share what I find and what I think could be useful for teachers – I think it is very important that we all share more. In fact, I think it’s the biggest efficiency saving we could make in education. How much have you shared? How do you share it? Or why don’ you share things? I am genuinely interested.

Also happy for you to give me some feedback on my presentation style. Did I come across as arrogant or speak to fast or too confident? You say I have a ‘big heid’ lets talk it over or debate it professionally – what is it you mean exactly? How do I make ‘me heid’ smaller. You can rip me to shreds Anon – I won’t get offended I am just keen to improve.

I don’t think it was a fancy PowerPoint – it was really only images, screen shots and a couple of words here and there. It’s interesting that you don’t think I should recycle previous material? Why is this? Why is it necessary to re-create everything from scratch when your brief for audience engagement from one institution to the next is exactly the same? Did you feel cheated?

Now on to the quality of the material. I take it from your comment that you learnt nothing useful from the presentation. That is a shame, but also fine – it’s difficult to deliver a lecture on ICT in Education and for everyone to learn something.

You obviously thought it was pointless mentioning the Google advanced search and the way to select specific file types. Or using the advance image search to only get big images back for presentation – to help save teachers time. In your opinion (be honest now) do you think everyone thought that these tips was a waste of time?

Is there anything you think I should keep in the presentation or do you think I should start from the beginning again? What is it you wanted to hear? What would have been useful to you?

I love that you finish up your comment with a personal dig from my yearly reflections. I also find it interesting that you have obviously taken time to read some of my other posts.

I look forward to future debates Anon! I try to be as transparent as possible – but you are more than welcome to contact me by email if you don’t want to respond here. I normally block anonymous comments by the way but this is far to interesting.

I know I have asked you a lot of questions but I am already looking forward to your response.



Anon, I can’t comment on what happened at this particular lecture however I would say that whatever your opinion of Ollie may be you can’t argue that he didn’t get to the position he has in his career if he didn’t know what he was talking about. As someone new to the profession I’m surprised that you would be so blatant as to criticise someone with far more experience than yourself in the manner that you have. There are ways and means of giving positive criticism/feedback – I’m sure you’re familiar with ‘two stars and a wish’; this might be something you want to try in future.
Also I suggest having a chat with the course co-ordinator or whoever organised the lecture to convey your disappointment this would ensure that future lectures are more useful.

I wish you every luck in successfully completing your PGDE.

Ollie Bray

Thanks for your support and kind words Annie. OB


Hello Ollie

I share your disappointment that the person leaving the comment did not identify him/herself and would echo annie's encouragement for them to speak to me about their concerns. As the person who co-ordinates the ICT input to the course, I am disappointed by the low attendance and would love to know why the students stay away. I don't believe it's because they know it all already. I am genuinely keen to know what the students didn't like about the lectures they attended and why they felt they didn't need to attend them all

Some of this student's criticism may be valid but some is daft - rude even. To give a link to a source of memory sticks is a best cheeky and at worst arrogant and nasty. I thought the change over went very smoothly with the minimum of fuss - perhaps taking slightly longer than closing down one presentation and launching another on the same machine but not by much. In my opinion, the advantages of having two speakers sharing their expertise far outweighs any minor problems caused by swapping laptops half way through.

You have dealt appropriately with this student's factual inaccuracies about Glow so I will move onto her/his final point. At the risk of further increasing the size of your "heid", the feedback I have had on your input has been universally positive. You have been praised for: your down to earth approach; for facing up to problems and difficulties caused by technology honestly; for giving many useful, practical and simple ideas that can be easily incorporated into lessons; and for being interesting and relevant. I was even grabbed in the coffee queue by a student who wanted to tell me how much she'd enjoyed your input - something that has never happened before.

In conclusion, if the student who left the comment genuinely learned nothing from the lecture, they were either not paying attention or are exceptionally gifted. I suspect the former but acknowledge that we are failing as a course if we are not providing useful input for the later.

Sarah Williamson

I would like to add to the comments above if I may. I was present at the lecture in question and I'm not sure where 'anon' was but it doesn't sound like he or she was in the same room as me!
I would consider myself to be fairly savvy in the ways of ICT and the internet - I'm a blogger, an avid Twitter user (some might say a bit too avid!) and have a fair bit of experience in using a variety of software packages. I would go so far as to say that my previous knowledge and experience was certainly more than the average student on this PGDE course...however, I have attended all the ICT Lectures and have come away from each one with more ideas, resources and information than I had before, and more importantly more than I could have ever found on my own!

I believe that Ollie (and Ronnie)gave a lot of invaluable information and I for one would like to thank them both for giving up their time to do so. Having had a quick browse through this site there is a whole world of info, links and resources...and yes as 'anon' so kindly pointed out, it's all out there on the internet and I could probably find some of it myself using Google - but thanks to Ollie I don't have to, he's already done the hard work for me!!

To mention Glow - yes I agree it does look a bit bloated and I think it's maybe trying to be too much to too many people...but it's what we've got so you might as well find out about it, make it work for you and only by everyone doing this will improvements be made.

Just a general point in terms of the attendance at the ICT lectures - I think that students not attending fall into perhaps three categories - those who don't attend but will watch the lecture videostream later (a very handy feature provided by Strathclyde Uni, but not one that encourages physical attendance at lectures unfortunately), those who think they already know everything there is to know so there's no point, and those who think that ICT just isn't important (and unfortunately those people are the ones who would probably benefit most).

I hope this has been useful in some way and I'll certainly be keeping an eye on the website in the future.

Elaine Murphy

Too many words!!! Just wanted to say that I was at your ICT lecture and got a lot out of it. Tips, short-cuts and links to useful resources are very welcome to me. I find your blogs etc.. very informative as you can keep us updated on recent developments in ICT in education, and by travelling around the country you must be gauging opinions and have a good idea what is working and what is not. I think that the difficulty with the ICT lectures is that they are lectures! More hands-on activities would be best, backed-up by some exposition..get us active!!

Interested in the Follow the Flame link on Winter Olympics..we saw it being exchanged three times when we were visiting family near Toronto over Christmas.

Ollie Bray

@Sarah - thanks very much for your feedback. Really glad you managed to take something from the talk and also pleased that you find this site useful. I tray to post up as much as I can – I’m in a privileged position at the moment where I get to see a lot of good practice and I think it is only fair that I share the ides that I see.

I know what you mean about Glow – I hope (as soon as you get your log in?) you will join the discussion about the future of Glow. We need this to come from the Scottish teaching community and not from politicians and policy makers. There are always people willing to listen and I encourage you to always contribute to the conversation.

@Elaine – thank you for you feedback as well Elaine. It is really difficult to know how to pitch these lectures. Particularly when you guys are expected to sit there for an hour and a half! I agree with you about more active learning activities – I’ll try to think about how to incorporate more of these into whole course presentations.

Glad you like the Winter Olympics Posts – real potential for classroom use there and isn’t Canada a fantastic place!


I made it to the first three ICT lectures and got plenty out of them. The one on the advanced tools in google showed me lots of things I did not know.

I have entered the world of twitter and delicious and have gleaned an [b]enormous[/b] amount of information and excellent resources. I used one of them in my Task B submission.

As for attendance... I am sure if you took a measure of people who didn't go to the other lectures, but then turned up at the tutorials, you would find a slight discrepancy in the numbers. The sign-in is a wonderful motivator. (This actually really annoys me as I just love trying to discuss the tasks with people who have made no attempt to read or understand what the topic was)

Personally, I took the decision to miss the lecture so that I could meet with another student to prepare work for our C&P. I knew the lecture would be videoed and I can always contact the presenters by the wonder of email and the internet. Isn't it a great idea to connect people in this way? We should try to do this for every teacher in Scotland. That would be a great idea... Oh wait, we already have....

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