Aims of the Festival
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Thursday, 28 November 2013
Danger zones to visit including:
This session will consider the current and developing context of games in education and how education can embrace the potential for these environments. We will share highlights from the Festival where participants were encouraged to be as ‘dangerous’ as possible in considering how gaming can influence pedagogy and encourage greater engagement with learning.
Walk on the Wild Side
What happened when a mix of practitioners from education and the arts went walking along the West Highland Way? What ideas have they developed and what have the put into practice? Join participants from the walk to discover what really happened and what dangerous ideas they are working on now.
Adaptive Comparative Judgement
For too long now in education we have been excusing ourselves for not developing creativity, problem solving and collaboration skills because we have no reliable way of capturing and assessing them. Adaptive Comparative Judgement technology can do exactly this. The technology is not about driving forward change within the existing system, it is about embracing radical change in education. This session will share the findings of the Adaptive Comparative Judgement pilot conducted by TAG Assessment and College Development Network after last year’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas. We will share our dangerous plans on how we intend to revolutionise assessment in 2014.
Without Walls – play time!
The vibrant team from the three colleges that now make up Ayrshire College worked the games designer and artist Thom Scullion to host an inspiring event in Dean Park, using ipads and their imagination. Their aim was to work out-with physical and metaphorical walls and to consider the role of play in learning. Members of the team will share their experience and their plans for more dangerous ideas.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Prize: This is an outstanding opportunity for a creative communicator to make their name in the industry, with a £200 prize as well as a fantastic chance to undertake a placement with a top design/advertising agency. In addition, the winner’s name and the name of their college will appear on the final poster.
Context: The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is an innovative and exciting national education festival which has generated lots of interest, ideas, facts and figures, which we currently have available in a very unexciting, boring and not at all dangerous format!
Friday, 11 October 2013
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
College Development Network, Stirling
Further Information and Book Online
Please join us for this one-day event to reflect on how far the axis has shifted. There will be opportunities to hear from our partner organisations and individuals about how they have the used the inspiration of the festival to change policy and practice, as well as sharing highlights from the festival. There will also be opportunities to shape next year's festival happening in June 2014 all across Scotland, and beyond!
Be part of the programme!
If you were inspired by the last festival and put your dangerous idea into practice, please email Karen Lawson - we would love to give you the opportunity to share your experiences at this event.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
- Small nations, big ideas for education
- Games for learning
- Businesses doing it for themselves: If the trend is for businesses to offer their own degrees, academies and training, what does that say about state funded education?
- Enterprising, entrepreneurial or excluded: What skills do young people really need?
- Engaging learners: do lecturers and teachers have the required youth work skills?
- Research: dangerous ideas from theory to practice.
Thursday, 8 August 2013
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
So how do we change the landscape?
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
By Catriona Grant
The Festival for Dangerous Ideas allows us to think outside the box, to debate and discuss….. dangerous ideas. My career in social care and social work spans 23 years. I have had a varied career working in criminal justice with offenders, with women and their children experiencing domestic abuse, in homes with older people, in residential care with adults with learning disabilities and with children - and in various development posts. I have found touch an important part of my practice in welcoming service users, offering them comfort, consoling them, showing that I care about their distress, laughing and playing together and depending on their needs due to age or disability giving intimate personal care. I have always felt uncomfortable that I sometimes touched the people I worked with, like I had breached a taboo. How can we be in a caring profession where touch is a taboo? How can you nurture and demonstrate care without touch?
At long last I found myself involved in organising an event called “touching children shouldn’t be taboo, it should be an expectation” as part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. A plethora of practitioners and invited speakers gave their reflections: that children prefer to carry their rucksacks on their backs than put them in lockers as they are comforted by the weight; that monkeys who can’t predict where their food and shelter comes from reject their babies and become depressed more so than monkey who are fed less often and fewer amounts of food: that cuddles are scientific – there is something chemical and biological happening in our brains and bodies when we hug one another – our stress levels reduce; that in an experiment comparing a young person living with their birth family with a looked after child living in care the looked after child was touched five times in a day, the other young person more than 70!
A panel of experts spoke about their experience of touching kids and their reflections. Steven Kelly, a Head Teacher in a busy high school reflected that schools are emotionally sterile environments – that a gym teacher would rather fill in an accident form than teach a teenage girl a gymnastics move. At a prize giving he found himself hugging the head boy, proud of achievements but then immediately in a position of an embarrassment embracing the head girl. Children need love especially when they don't deserve it. He reminded us that teenagers are ‘jaggy’ but they need love. How do you touch a young man who sees touch as a provocation? Or girls with sexualised behaviour? A young man coming to terms with his sexuality? Children and young people who have never been loved and hate themselves? We don’t need guidelines, Stephen argued, we need a culture of emotionally intelligent teachers and staff who know when to offer comfort and support to the children in their care. We are on a journey.
Lesley McDowall, a Quality Improvement Officer, whilst visiting a nursery was reading a story to a little girl who wanted to “sit on her legs”. She welcomed the child on to her knee. She then wanted a cuddle...Lesley became aware of the staff watching her. Some children, some very young children are in nurseries for up to ten hours, they need support with personal care, to be safe when they throw a tantrum, to be comforted when they hurt themselves and encouraged when learning new things, touch is important to their health and wellbeing. Would guidelines help? We need to develop emotional intelligence, use our judgement, and to have a stimulating and nurturing environment, all encouraging touch; we need to be able to talk about it in an open and healthy way.
Mark Smith, Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh University quoted Steve Biddulph from Bringing up Boys, stating that boys enjoy rough play. In residential child care how do we play, nurture and care for children? How do you show a child or young person you care for them and like them? By hugging and nudging them?
Should touching children be compulsory? “Heavens no!” says Smith. Some research has shown that guidelines create problems rather than assist. Football coaches and PE teachers need to be able to support younger children to put their boots and socks on. He challenged that even some of the education children get about adults touching them is not helpful; we need to challenge the fear of being touched.
Laura Steckley, from Strathclyde University reflected on research by Tiffany Fields who travelled the world watching people in coffee shops catching up with a friend. In Puerto Rico they touched one another 140 times…. in London it was zero (a comment from the audience was in Scotland it would be minus two!!!) Fields theorises that cultures where there is more positive touch have lower levels of aggression. Research in a hospital, where in the first three days of life skin to skin touch was extended found that three years later there were more touching interactions and the children had higher IQ than those who remained in incubators and cots. There had been a cascade of touch throughout the child’s life - infants touched more as new borns were touched more throughout their lives and they thrived better.
Our media and novels overly focus on the sexually abused child. The abused and abuser has replaced angels and demons, it has become evil versus good. We need to talk about touching children, Helen Piper’s research showed that policies and guidelines only made workers more anxious and “hyper sensitive”. We need to talk about touch within relationships not just touch itself, what our anxieties are, how we protect children from adults intent on harming them and how we support children and young people who are in crisis to move along the road to recovery, how we become more attuned to their needs to be touched and not to be touched. It’s a big, long conversation!!
Tam Baillie, the Children and Young Person’s Commissioner in Scotland reflected that as a West of Scotland male, he doesn’t do touch very well and is often exposed when meeting his European counterparts – he doesn’t know what cheek to kiss, whether to embrace, how many kisses to give or indeed if he should just shake hands. We need to live in the moment and be able to adapt, but something in our head stops us living in the moment. We need to think about looked after children who don’t get cuddles and kisses. Some children are Looked After earlier in their development - not just ten hours in a nursery but maybe 10 years in care. Imagine never being touched when being looked after by professionals, never getting kisses and cuddles or being tickled? We know that kangaroo care – a technique used with preterm babies who are hugged by their parents and given skin-to-skin care out of plastic incubators thrive and do better than those in incubators. There has been positive media interest in this topic. The time and place to have a sensible conversation might just be now – this debate might just be happening at the right time. We know we are not in a place where we want to be, so we need to talk about it, touch is part of children's nurturing needs.
There were so many conversations in the room; our European pedagogues in the room were slightly alarmed by the reserved nature and even anxiety around touching children in Scotland. Some of us remembered the horror of the Edinburgh Enquiry to find out trusted members of staff had abused children in our care and foster carers in the room shared that they “broke the rules” regarding touch. Some of us were just relieved the discussion was being had. We know that some adults harm children and we must always be vigilant to adults intent on harm but we also need to continue our conversation about how we care and nurture Scotland’s children and young people and whether or not touch should be an expectation in that nurture?
Employee Development Officer (Child Protection)
Some references from the day
Mark and Laura both mentioned Heather Piper....
Piper, H and Stronach, I (2008), Don’t Touch! The Educational Story of a Panic, London, Routledge
Laura also mentioned Tiffany Field, an academic from Miami who is the founder of the Touch Therapy Institute. Here is a link to the website: http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research
Follow this link to a research paper by Field on ‘relational touch’ http://www.esri.mmu.ac.uk/respapers/Summerhill.php
Field has also has written a book called ‘Touch’. Some of the research Laura was quoting is in this book.
Field, T (2003), Touch, Bradford Books.
You can also listen to a podcast of Laura Steckley talking about touch (and containment theory) at the Scottish Attachment In Action 2011 Conference
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
David Cameron introduced the event and reminded participants that this was an opportunity to challenge ourselves, and our way of regarding education.
Karen Lawson gave an overview of the festival achievements so far 30 events, almost half delivered by partner orgnaisations. over 1000 people attending from Thurso to Ayr and 3 college regions deliver events as part of their merger strategy. Karen also gave an overview of some of the major themes arising from festival events so far:
1. Without Walls: both metaphorical and physical walls that constrain how we provide learning opportunities. This could be outdoor learning, gaming and also the walls we create that restrict our thinking and ability to be creative in practice.
2. The focus on employability and essential skills - should we now be focussing on the skills young people need to be employers, to be able to create, innovate and manage their lives.
3. The need for youth work skills training for all teachers and lecturers - how to engage with young people and keep the passion for young people's potential alive.
4. What success and failure mean, and an assessment system and assessment criteria that limit learning.
5. Our own personal and professional power to take risks, try out new ideas - not waiting for permission, but also the type of leadership that builds on peoples capacity to innovate.
Gillian Hunt from City of Edinburgh Council and Diarmuid McAuliffe for UWS gave overviews of their events and why they had become involved in the festival. Gillian talked openly about the taboo subject of touching children and the interest that the event had created, while Diarnuid discussed the intervention of walking, drawing and extending sites of learning as necessary to counteract learning in isolation and in silos.
We had two rounds of dynamic trading from a very mixed group of merchants (see Merchant's Guide) and photos who persuaded and exchanged ideas for dangerous dollars.
The winners from the Merchants were Sense over Sectarinism, Rownbank Environment Education
and Angus College.
One of the highlights of this year's festival was A Walk On the Wildside and Creative leaders for the walk, Paul Gorman gave a challenging account of what was dangerous about the walk and challenged us as participants to think differently and creatively., while Matthew Sowerby shared his first attempts at making a film about the walk - See Walk On the Wildside blog for further Information.
The finale to the day at the Emporium came with the auction of dangerous ideas:
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
This morning, Kilmarnock College hosted an outdoor experience for staff from Kilmarnock, James Watt and Ayr colleges, as a way to bring staff together ahead of the upcoming merger into the new Ayrshire College.
We worked with Thom Scullion, a game designer from Glasgow, to create a playful experience to take place in the scenic Dean Country Park. We created 6 teams, each with a mix of staff from the three colleges. The teams were racing to creatively document the park using iPads, receiving instructions by text message from Thom.
We had a brilliant sunny day for our game, and it was great seeing everyone having fun and getting to know new people. The teams responded very creatively to their mission, and bravely experimented with what the iPads could do, creating images, sounds and videos, with some bolder players creating combinations of all three!
After the game was complete, we headed back to the college and used peer marking to determine our winners. In the spirit of the event, we even used our iPads for our evaluation, and are looking forward to going through the players' feedback, however they chose to record it.
Our main aim for today was to explore how we can work without walls, both physically and metaphorically. We are really happy with how the day went, and what was even better was to hear staff members' own ideas of how they could implement similar models for their colleagues and students.
So at the end of it, maybe our dangerous idea is that we can work and learn by allowing ourselves to be playful - and if it's a sunny day in Scotland, even better!
Lesley, Greg, Kenny and Thom
An early morning breakfast of free and local foods was a great way for myself and sixty others to start their day at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. I began my breakfast with a coffee and a sausage sandwich (thanks to Pepper Pig previously of Gorgie City Farm) before being introduced to some of their chickens (not on the menu) who were making their debut the following day at the Highland Show . I then moved onto the buckwheat blinis with creme fraiche, chrysanthemum petals and chive flowers and washed it down with nettle tea.
Sandy MacLean, College Development Network
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
The event focused on the following themes :
- Engaging and fun ways to teach reading, writing, listening and talking
- Digital teaching - what's fun and accessible
- What differentiates teaching approaches/methodology in Commuication Units at Core Skills and HN levels
- Integrating Communication Units with ICT Units
- Going paperless with assessment and feedback evidence
Practitoners were energetic,enthusiastic and highly motivated . The College Development Network will collate all ideas and the resources generated and disseminate to both those who attended the event and the wider Network.
- personalisation and choice
- Poor leadership in schools
- No career progression for teachers - young, creative teachers are not heard
- Class sizes are too big, resources are limited
- Need more diversity to give real choice - free schools
- Stifled by exams
- What are the outcomes of our education system?
- Need an alternative to SQA
- Teachers should have more autonomy
- Academies in the state system
Monday, 17 June 2013
We had a thought provoking cinematic experience on Friday. The GTC Scotland HQ in Edinburgh was transformed into multi-screen cinema for the afternoon, complete with popcorn!
The event was run by the GTC Scotland in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Lansdowne Productions with the aim of exploring a new teaching resource called ‘Learning Through Film’. The resource is based on 10 short documentary films that make up The New 10 Commandments, a feature length film that looks at the meaning of Human Rights in Scotland. Created by artists and filmmakers such as Tilda Swinton, Irvine Welsh and Douglas Gordon, these films use powerful images to explore hard hitting Human Rights issues including:
- Right not to be tortured
- Right to liberty
- Right to privacy
- Right not to be enslaved
- Right to freedom of thought
- Right to life
- Right to freedom of assembly
- Right to asylum
- Right to freedom of expression
- Right to a fair trial.
We were split into four groups and given one of the short films to watch and then discuss, before coming together for a panel discussion with the facilitators and Human Rights organisations. We were delighted that a group of 5th year pupils from the local high school were able to join us for the afternoon.
For more information about this new resource, visit www.learningthroughfilm.co.uk.
Hugh thank you to GTC Scotland for organising such a dangerous event!
- I have enjoyed the day
- The ideas we have been dealing with today stimulated me
- Always good to have a good forum for the discussion on change
- Love the MAKLAB
- The circular economy supports the concept of radical change being possible
- We need this fundamental rethinking of manufacturing
- So excited about using ideas in the classroom
- Q: What would I change? A: Nothing, absolutely nothing. Brilliant
- I've been given a lot to think about, thanks
- I'd like to have longer to explore further
- Perfect venue - alive with innovation and creativity!
- Really interesting event