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Ewan McIntosh
Edinburgh, Scotland
Creating digital media products that have the potential to change people's lives
Recent Activity
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"Put a wheel on it!" This is the phrase that has my eyes rolling back several times over when people think they are creating a 'flexible' learning or working space. Flexibility requires flexibility of thought as much as furniture, and the one piece of furniture that says "you only have one thing to do" is the hallowed desk. Offices organise... Continue reading
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Provocations lead to deep, broad learning, and students tend to learn more, faster as a result. I've been showing educators how this is so, and how to do it, for the past five years with my motley crew. New Zealand educator Rob Ferguson woke me up this morning with a tweet, about how a provocation (the video, above) led to... Continue reading
Teachers take the seemingly impossible and make it happen. Every day. Teachers are the moonshot profession. We want to work with as many of you as possible in London and Amsterdam this year, at our GTA design thinking workshops. When NoTosh took the Google Teacher Academy (GTA), we wanted to move it beyond simply exploring 'tech tools' and see if... Continue reading
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Scottish Independence is not just what I voted for today. It might not even be what we get. Whatever happens, my country is a better place for it already. I voted for a nation that has taken the notion of 'democratic debate' to the extreme that few in the Western world have ever, genuinely, seen. I voted for a dialogue... Continue reading
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At the beginning of a school year we are bombarded with messages telling us how to teach, what to teach, when to teach it. At the end of the day, there's so much anyone's head can cope with. In this term's Teaching Scotland magazine, from the General Teaching Council of Scotland, I've written a feature story on the power of... Continue reading
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Finally! You can now buy How To Come Up With Great Ideas And Actually Make Them Happen on iTunes! Continue reading
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It's the distinct lack of "why?", in fact, and the implied criticism that seems to come with those three letters, that relaxes me, helps me concentrate, helps me focus my efforts on one thing, and doing it best I can, and often a little bit better than that, in fact. No devil's advocate. No "have you thought about doing cats instead?". No "why?". Continue reading
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If you want to be creative then you’d better get creative. While all of us start with a literal blank page, none of us have a metaphorical blank page. Continue reading
When most people find out that they are in line to create a new physical or virtual environment for their school, few have really driven deep into what the research says, and how it might pan out in practice. And, with deadlines in place, and architects producing their "masterplans" based on what they have been able to squeeze out of... Continue reading
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Five year plans are the last thing I'd be creating if I wanted to see innovation happen in a school. Most creative organisations we work with have something more akin to an innovation strategy based on audacious goals, with a skillset in one's team that helps each individual find their place in making those goals happen, one small step at... Continue reading
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Sometimes I wish I just ran flashy blogging workshops for a living. The days would be easy, the money, too. I wouldn't have to think hard, and nor would the attendees. I'd have photos of smiling complacent teachers out for a jolly PD day. But the satisfaction would be zero on both sides of the fence. As our buddy John... Continue reading
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Year 9 students have made a discovery through their own problem-finding in science, and international scientists are honing in on the consequences. Wifi and 3G next to the bed? Not any more. More on problem-finding from my TEDx talk. Cross-posted on NoTosh's Facebook page. Continue reading
Look Up. Effective technology use is knowing as much when to drop it, as to use it. "Where we leave out all the bad bits, show no emotion…" A poem about real world empathy, being in the present, shutting down that screen... after you've watched it on YouTube, of course. The point made here, though, is an interesting one when... Continue reading
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Much of the time that I'm not working with educators or creatives in industry is spent working out what their creative actions are, how they do them and why they do them that way. Some of this is achieved by observing their creative work, some of it by reading what others have noticed. Every Sunday, I wake up to the creative delights of the Brainpickings weekly email, and this week, a book review on Jerome Bruner has opened up some lovely creative insight on the effectiveness of creative surprise. Continue reading
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Pixar, since it was purchased by Disney, gives off an air of resilient creative and commercial success, but the journey is rarely that smooth. In fact, the more creative the output, the more commercially successful it is, for Pixar at least, and the processes used by the teams is remarkably close to what we see in highly effective classrooms. During... Continue reading
I've been invited to participate in a rather fast-paced panel on the future of education at the Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and would appreciate your help in sense-checking my thoughts, below. There are two key challenges being raised in the debates at the Forum, the key global event exploring how all countries, especially those... Continue reading
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Another week, another education minister, another lambasting of the way history is taught. This time, it's not the feckless Gove of England (top right) who's basing his entire education policy on how teachers should teach history (funnily enough, he's actually Scottish by birth, which might explain the Minister's confused understanding of British history), but instead the Australian Christopher Pyne who... Continue reading
Originally posted on NoTosh's fabulous Facebook page. Ira Glass' words on storytelling and creativity have been doing the rounds this weekend, adapted from a Current.tv documentary from a while back. The key point in this clip is incredibly close to what we bring to educators when we talk about ideation and prototyping: You can't just do ONE or TWO drafts... Continue reading
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Originally posted on the wonderful NoTosh Facebook page. During my tour of Sweden, I worked with groups of senior education leaders - district directors, politicians, parent and union reps, principals - and sometimes it might even have been the first time that these distinct groups of leaders had sat together in the same room to talk about how their strategies... Continue reading
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Originally posted on NoTosh's fabby Facebook page. When you're writing a strategy for education, it's vital to delimit what *really* matters, and there's a simple project management tool that can help. Jamie Arnold is the most rigourous project manager I've ever had the pleasure to work with, during my time at Channel 4. He's the PM on the award-winning new... Continue reading
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In conversations with several TeachMeet organisers over the past two years, one thing is perceived as a wasted opportunity in the way the unconference operates: it's hard to be aware of what's going on in learning through TeachMeets in other countries. In many places, TeachMeet is considered "their thing", that is, TeachMeet is an Australian, American, Scottish, Danish, Dutch, Irish,... Continue reading
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In this month's Wired UK print magazine a superb insight into the working and creativity habits of London bus and Olympic flame designer, Thomas Heatherwick. In it, Wired's editors pull out his 'rules' for designing and making. They are a real validation of what Team NoTosh have been pulling out from our creative work and parsing through educational research, stimulating... Continue reading
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With the start of term in the Northern hemisphere, several of the schools we're working with have brought up the notion of offering their students "20% time", a version of what Google famously offer their employees to undertake their own, personal projects. But in schools, it often seems to fall short of our expectations of creative genius. Post-it manufacturer 3M... Continue reading
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What is the one technology I would kill off in schools, and which one would I replace it with? Are screens responsible for kids being more demanding and should adults be telling kids how to achieve balance in their lives between tech and the rest? Yesterday I was interviewed via Skype from the offices of Camilla Batmanghelidjh's kids company, by... Continue reading
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Catriona's just finished Primary 1 (Kindergarten) and was asked to give her feedback on her learning, for the benefit of the school. It's a fab school - 360 feedback is something I'd love to see in every school, more often. I just loved her comment, and hope that every teacher she ever has, from now on, pays heed: Catriona, and... Continue reading