Author Archives: Fearghal

About Fearghal

Biology Teacher in East Lothian, Scotland and PedagooCurator. has moved!

If you’re seeing this post then you are now looking at at its lovely new home. It takes a bit of time for the internet to catch up on the move, so you might on occasion be redirected to the old version of the site over the next day or so. This post is only on the new version of the site.

Everything seems to be in order with the site, but if you see any problems please let me know. I’ve turned back on people’s ability to add new posts, and you are now free to create an account if you’re wanting to.

Thanks for your patience! is Moving! is moving to a new host this week.

To avoid any content being lost in the move, I’ve turned off users’ ability to add new posts and I would recommend that you do not create a new account at this time.

If you would like to share a post, or create an account, on please email us at and we’ll work something out.

As I’m sure you know, moving can be a stressful time for all involved. Please bear with us while we manage this move (it’s our first time!).

A new Digital Learning resource #digilearnscot

Today sees the launch of a new resource to support the development of Digital Learning in Scotland:

Supported by a new twitter account, the new Digital Learning Community website aims to support teachers to share digital practice and discuss digital learning and teaching. It’s a well designed, and open, site which has three main components: Talking Points, Sharing Zone and News & Events.

sharingzoneAs well as viewing the content, teachers are encouraged to contribute to the site and submit their own content. What’s great is that this is really easy to do. There’s no login required, no password to remember, just a really simple form with lots of spaces to include your links. Although it has been developed for Scottish teachers, the site is completely open and contributions are welcome from outwith Scotland.

So if you’ve found a great digital learning resource, or have got something to say about digital learning, get yourself over to and join in.

Involving Learners in Planning Learning

I’m a big believer in the power of engaging young people in their learning through involving them in the learning process. As Lois Harris argues, if students are going to feel that they own their learning they need to have opportunities to collaborate in the learning process:

Continuum of Learner Engagement (What) and how teachers can achieve these levels of engagement (How). Adapted from Harris (2010).

Continuum of Learner Engagement (What) and how teachers can achieve these levels of engagement (How).
Adapted from Harris (2010).

But how on earth can we as teachers involve our students in planning their learning? I’ve been working on adapting my practice to make this possible for a number of years now, so perhaps I could tell you how to go about doing this yourself?

Well, I’m not going to. My students are. I’d been working with my S1 Science class on developing approaches to involving them in planning learning last session when we were approached by Children in Scotland to participate in their Leaders of Learning project. Children in Scotland, the students and myself worked together over a number of weeks to explore and develop approaches to involve the students in planning their learning to a much greater extent. The project culminated in the students evaluating what we’d done, and producing the following video to communicate what we’d learned together.

Hope you enjoy learning from them, I know I have!

Cross-posted from

Classrooms as Learning Communities – a guide to my professional journey #FabEduBooks

My favourite edubook is Classrooms as Learning Communities: What’s In It For Schools? by Chris Watkins.

Way back in the early days of Curriculum for Excellence, when Building the Curriculum 3 was published in particular, I began working on trying to develop teaching approaches which involved my students to a much greater extent in the learning and teaching process. In the beginning, I was just muddling through and making it up with the help of my class. I loved what I was trying to achieve, but I didn’t have a theoretical underpinning for it – or even a name for it!

Imagine my delight when someone recommended Classrooms as Learning Communities to me. Not only was it perfect for the sort of pedagogy I was trying to develop, it’s amazingly well written. It’s extremely personal in tone and it brilliantly blends theory with practice. It not only gave me a name for what it is I was striving for, it provided me with a vision for where I could take it and how to go about getting there.

For various reasons (primarily being out of the classroom due to secondment and illness) I’ve not yet got as far with turning my classroom into a learning community as I would’ve hoped (although I have made some progress recently), but I will continue to use this marvellous book to help get me there eventually.


Chris, the author of my fav edubook, has just let me know that he has a new website with lots of his resources on there:

You can even download the whole book discussed in my post *FOR FREE* from his site:

#FabEduBooks is supported by Crown House Publishing

Everyone who shares a post on their favourite edubook this September on will be entered into a draw at the start of October. The lucky winner will receive a Big Bag of Books from Crown House Publishing.

To find out how to submit your post, click on the following link:


Thank you Paul!

It’s now over four years since we first launched!

Before we were Pedagoo, we were Education Futures: Scotland on a free WordPress site with a few keen founding members.

When we came up with the Pedagoo name we decided to go for a properly hosted site, but how would we host it with no money? Kirsty’s boyfriend Paul kindly offered to help out, and so was launched.

Four years later and Kirsty & Paul are now married with a young family, and all this time Paul has been hosting for us. So anyone who has ever posted on, or enjoyed reading a post on, or taken part in #PedagooFriday, or attended one of our events, owes Paul a thank you for making it possible way back in the beginning and keeping us going all this time.

Paul’s career has since moved on from hosting websites for folk and so it will soon be time for us to part company and find alternative arrangements…in the meantime however I really wanted to extend this thank you, especially as I’ve never managed to buy him that pint I promised him 4 years ago!

A Project Based Learning Opportunity for UK Teachers

Pedagoo has teamed up with Dreamdo to offer an exciting opportunity to UK teachers. We’re recruiting teachers and their classes to talk part in a project-based learning pilot using Dreamdo’s fantastic resources.

What is Dreamdo all about? I’ll let them explain:

Dreamdo Schools is a biannual program that helps school classes all over the world do great projects in one semester. Participating in the program is free and any students from 7-19 years-old can take part. Any teacher and their students, anywhere in the world can join the program and become a part of a global network of teachers and students who dream and do.

Dreamdo Schools is aimed at inspired teachers who want to connect with other teachers and classes around the world to share their projects and learn from each other. Student projects can be used as part of a normal curriculum or as a complementary extracurriculum activity. There is no restriction on the theme of the project, as long as it is something students themselves decide to do.

Imagine how much your students would benefit from taking part in this online, international, project-based learning experience with growth mindsets underpinning the entire approach…for free!

What’s the catch? There isn’t one. Dreamdo is run by a not-for-profit in Finland and they already have schools taking part across Europe. They just want to increase participation internationally. All that they ask in return is that you give them feedback and, if you like it, to help spread the word amongst UK teachers.

How does it actually work? Check out this fantastic video guide to the site:

If this sounds as if this would be beneficial for you and your learners, please get in touch to by completing the form below.

#PedagooLocal TakeOver

What are you doing on Saturday 26th September? Not got any plans? Why not organise a #PedagooLocal for your area?

Earlier this year Ciara approached us with the idea of organising a Pedagoo-style event for her local area of Perth & Kinross. This isn’t something we’ve done for a long time so we’ve resurrected the name #PedagooLocal to make it happen. The idea is that teachers can organise a small-scale Pedagoo style-event for their local area with whatever support from Pedagoo that we can muster up. So, #PedagooPerth is on, and a few others have expressed an interest in organising their own #PedagooLocal event…such as #PedagooFife.

Ciara and her colleagues in Perth have opted to hold their event on Saturday 26th September, but here’s an idea. How about we try and have lots of #PedagooLocal events all over the country on the same date? I’ve floated this idea with the #PedagooFife team and they’re up for it – so the big question is, are you?

How do you organise a #PedagooLocal event?

First of all, you need to check out the small list of conditions we’ve come with for using the name and ensure that you’re happy that your event will work within these. This just involves ensuring that your event:

  • is free to the teachers attending.
  • takes a longer format approach to sharing (i.e. primarily 30/40 minute Learning Conversations/Workshops as opposed to all 7/2 minute presentations – we’ve got nothing against TeachMeets, we’re just trying to add a bit of diversity to the mix).
  • is open to teachers from anywhere, even if primarily aimed at one particular area/local authority.

But what will organising the event actually involve? Firstly, we’re more than happy to sort out stuff like a logo, a webpage and the signup forms as on the #PedagooPerth page.  You can do this stuff yourself if you want, but we’re happy to help with this. You will obviously also need to:

  • Find a venue in your local area that you can have for free. It’ll need to have enough spaces for folk to break up into smaller groups for the learning conversations. Don’t worry too much about A/V facilities, in my opinion some of the best learning conversations occur when there are no A/V facilities and folk are forced to just sit round in a circle and talk to each other. Good places are community centres, libraries or even schools. If you can’t have the space for free you could approach a sponsor (which could even be your Local Authority) to pay for the venue and we’ll pop their logo onto the logo for the event.
  • It’s great if you can have some sort of catering, but you don’t have to have it. As you can see from the Perth event they’re going for a half-day format so they don’t even need to think about lunch.
  • You’ll need to promote the event in your local area. We’ll do shout outs from the Pedagoo social media accounts, but nothing is more effective than directly contacting folk. You’ll need to encourage some teachers you know to lead learning conversations and you’ll need email all the teachers in your local area to let them know about the event. Your Local Authority might be able to help out with this.
  • Once everyone is signed up, you’ll need to prepare the learning conversations. This is the tricky bit, but it’s normally fine for teachers who tend to enjoy organising stuff like this.
  • You’ll need to email everyone in advance of the day to let them know the plans for the day. You’ll also need some way to let folk know which learning conversations they’re in and when.
  • On the day itself, you’ll need to welcome everyone, explain the format, get it going, then relax and enjoy.

See, it’s not so hard. How cool would it be if we had #PedagooLocal events all over the place on the same day…we’d break the internet! If you’re up for #PedagooLocal TakeOver please get in touch using the form on this page:


There’s been a fantastic response to this idea already! I’ve started tracking the possible events on this page:


Scotland’s National Digital Learning Community is running a Digital Learning Week from the 2nd to the 6th March. The aim of the National Digital Learning Week is to:

  • share the innovative and exciting ways in which learners are using digital technologies in school
  • develop a National Digital Learning Community comprising teachers/educators across Scotland
  • encourage pledges from educators about what they are going to do next to change their practice

There are events taking place across the country during this week including the following two TeachMeets:

digilearnscotplteachmeet logon

What will you do for #DigiLearnScot week?

Everyone has something to share

Happy New Year Pedagooers!

Pedagoo is now in it’s fourth year of existence and growing all the time. For all our new members, readers and enthusiasts I thought I’d try to capitalise on that New Year feeling and remind everyone that you’re all very welcome to contribute to our lovely collaborative blog. You don’t need an invite, but if you really feel as though you would rather be invited…then consider this your invite!

I’m convinced that everyone has an aspect of their teaching practice which is worth sharing with others, and the great thing is not only do others benefit from hearing about what you’ve been doing, you also benefit from the feedback also. Please don’t be shy…if it worked for you and your learners, then it’s worth sharing. Trust me.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 09.57.18But how do you go about writing a post I hear you ask? It’s dead easy…you just create an account then click on the little blog button at the top of the page. After that, it’s just like sending an email. Or, if you’d really rather share by actual email send your post to and one of the fabby curator team will sort it for you.

Still not sure you’re ready? No probs. Why not start by sharing the highlight of your week as a tweet on a #PedagooFriday or signing up to attend one of our events.

Whatever way you choose to go about it, I would strongly encourage as many teachers as possible to consider making 2015 the year of sharing. By sharing our classroom practice with each other we all benefit and therefore our learners benefit also. Pedagoo is here to make that sharing easier so get stuck in!