By 2008, I’d started working full time for Learning and Teaching Scotland, and was given the opportunity to focus on the building of communities of practice through Glow, the Scottish Schools Digital Network.
This was a radical departure from models used in the past, as until this point the focus of the National Glow team was in training Glow Mentors around the country. I believe the Mentor model was flawed, of small value, and had limited success. It was great therefore that LTS were keen to try different things.
The Building Glow Communities model was simple – get 40 – 50 people from across Scotland who have a common bond together for two days, and see what they produce and share. Over the three years that these events ran, we held 12 events, covering areas of interest such as early years, P4-7, literacy, numeracy, technologies, social studies, expressive arts and additional support needs. All in all, we had around 400 practitioners from around the country involved.
The events were quite successful, with a high level of sharing and development of new resources and content. Many people made friends for life with people they met at Building Glow Communities. A great number of inter-class/school/authority links grew from these events. With hindsight, these were incorrectly measured. The measure of success was the volume of resource shared, but perhaps should have been the ongoing strength of community over time.
What did people think about it?
This was an exceptionally innovative approach to engaging teachers and others in the development of our national schools intranet. Andrew grasped that it was not digital content but community and collaboration that would make Glow a success. He invested time in people rather than systems and the result was energised, scalable and sustainable communities of practice across Scotland that made Glow the envy of the world. – Laurie O’Donnell