All posts by David Gilmour

Learning Technologist East Lothian Council

We need foster carers now

fostering-urgent-webWe urgently need new foster carers in East Lothian.

Fostering with East Lothian Council means great support, great training and a good financial package.

More importantly, as part of our fostering team, you’ll be doing something fantastic, helping children and young people from East Lothian to stay in East Lothian, close to the people that are important to them – helping them to feel safe, loved and nurtured in your home.

foster-east-lothian-mono-250pxDo this for East Lothian children in need. Foster East Lothian!

To find out more phone us on 01620 827 643 or visit East Lothian Council’s fostering web site at

Why not tour Tantallon Castle today?

Historic Scotland, with Google Street View, have now captured virtual tours of a number of historic Scottish castles and other monuments – and a couple are in East Lothian. Both Dirleton and Tantallon Castles are amongst the sites you can visit.

Why not take a tour today? You’ll find you can move around even in the embedded image below – just drag the image with your mouse to get started.


The full list of sites in the collection are:

  • Dunfermline Abbey and Palace

  • Dumbarton Castle

  • Tantallon Castle

  • Linlithgow Palace

  • Lochleven Castle

  • Arbroath Abbey

  • Stirling Castle

  • Fort George

  • Urquhart Castle

  • Arthur’s Seat

  • Blackness Castle

  • Dirleton Castle

  • Craigmillar Castle

  • Glasgow Cathedral

  • Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel

Scranalogue – the Scran Blog

Montage-1102x350-copy2Scranalogue is the new home for rolling news, features, updates on Scran collections, learning and teaching materials and insights into our outreach activities.

September | this month find out about

  • The Ian Landles Archive, an oral history collection from Scottish Borders Council Archive Service, featuring fantastic material about the First World War, the old Borders railway and the suffragettes. #clickhear #IanLandlesArchive
  • Scran’s work with Skills for the Futuretrainees on The Scotsman Collections, a rich seam of social history on Scran.
  • New Pathfinders about Scotland’s historic propertiesin English and Gaelic, developed in partnership with Historic Scotland.

Visit our blog to find out more.

We hope that you enjoy your visit to Scranalogue. We welcome your feedback – you can comment on individual blog posts or contact us directly by clicking on the Scranalogue contact link. Look out for regular Scranalogue updates via Twitter | follow us

Best wishes from the Scran Team

Scran – culture, heritage, learning | web | blog | twitter @scranlife | email

Connected Learning Network (CLN) goes live at @PLHS

Now that the secondary school wireless networks have been modernised with the installation of the Connected Learning Networks over the summer, Preston Lodge has been creating some useful guidance.

East Lothian Secondary Schools now offer wireless learning for all young people. This means that young people can use school or personal devices to access a very wide range of learning materials online. This new opportunity creates important new responsibilities for young people.

the biggest purchase you’ll ever make

Buying a home is likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make and a mortgage will be your largest debt. Most people under the age of 25 would not be able to afford a mortgage of over $500,000 without having an income of at least $50,000 per year or a credit score of at least 720, according to HomeAdvisor.

There are several types of mortgage and interest rates, and their advantages and disadvantages (look here). The mortgage interest deduction has two parts the first part allows you to write off a portion of your mortgage interest when you buy a home, and the second part is an additional mortgage payment.

If you are able to qualify for a mortgage, and you have the right credit history and enough cash, you can expect to pay about 2% of your income on your mortgage. This means that if your salary is $300,000 per year you would be paying $120,000 on your mortgage. If you get a loan with a 3% interest rate, that would mean that you would pay $200,000 per year. This is a good choice, but it does come with some financial concerns. First, you will not be able to sell your home at a profit. The seller will have to put 20% down, and that will push the selling price down a bit. Secondly, the buyer will have to accept all of the mortgage principal. So, the seller will only get their profit on the property, but the buyer will pay the mortgage principal. While this may seem like a great deal, if your purchase is not at the right price, you could end up taking a loss. A home that is worth $500,000 now may be worth $500,000 when you buy it down to $300,000. So the mortgage is not so bad if the home only drops 20% from its peak value.

In either case, both parties are getting something of value. You won’t make much on your home purchase, but the seller will eventually get paid back, and you will be able to move out on time. If you do not plan on being in Florida, you will need to know the proper mortgage term and the home value. You may want to use Fannie Mae’s Home Appraisal Guide to help you find your ideal home before you buy.

Home Inspection

When purchasing a home in Florida, it is important to be certain that you are buying a home that has met all standards, has been inspected, and passed a state inspection that verifies the home is in good condition. While most Floridians are extremely wary of home inspections, the Florida Department of Financial Services (FDFS) requires home inspections before a real estate transaction for luxury homes can be finalized. The FDFS recommends that all homeowners, regardless of income level, must have their home inspected by a licensed real estate inspector within 30 days of completing their transaction. To ensure your home inspection is thorough, it is best to first visit the home to determine if it is in fair condition. If the home is in poor condition, the FDLS will determine if the owner has been complying with the requirements of a real estate inspection in your county. The FDLS has been in charge of inspecting every home sold in Florida since 1985. The FDFS inspects about 150,000 homes a year and has issued over 50,000 inspection reports to homeowners. This annual inspection process is not limited to homes being sold, as it also includes all real estate transactions that have been completed in Florida.

Safer Internet Day Resources

image_galleryEdinburgh’s Digital Learning Team have posted some links to useful Safer Internet Day resources from the Safer Internet Centre UK.

Safer Internet Day Resources | Digital Learning Team

The Safer Internet Centre UK have created some useful teaching packs for primary and secondary pupils as well as information for parents. These include lesson plans and resources for whole school assemblies. For a whole school, longer term approach to digital safety please see our curriculum planner which covers a progression and links to resources from 3-18.

Blogging Bootcamp

John Johnston of the Glow team is offering a “Blogging Bootcamp” for staff interested in blogging with their classes.  John was one of the first Primary teachers to really explore the potential of class blogging during his time at Sandaig Primary, see here and here, so has a lot of experience to pass on.

Get started with a class blog or boost an existing one. Join in online from the 16th February, 10 weeks, or so of blogging fun and learning.

Sign up:
You can sign up in several ways, choose what is easiest for you, it doesn’t matter how you sign up.

The bootcamp will take you through creating a blog, adding features and a range of blogging activities. Classes will have the opportunity to link up with other glow blogs and the world wide blogging community.

Each week there will be ‘technical’ tips, blogging challenges and discussion points that can be carried out in your classroom and on your blog.

What you need: A Class, somewhere to blog (glow for example). No technical knowledge needed.

While most of the technical support will be aimed at glow users the bootcamp is open to any classroom.

News Update from National Museums Scotland

downloadChristmas is nearly upon us so I thought it was time for another update from National Museums Scotland!

1. Discounted books for Teachers

We have a special discount for teachers on our children’s books from the Scotties range, perfect for topics like Romans, Mary Queen of Scots, Jacobites and many more. Find the full list of titles attached. When buying online, you will receive these books for £2.99 (for those usually £5.99) or £3.99 (for those usually £6.99).  Some are discounted at the moment anyway, but the code will give you discounts beyond Christmas and on some of those that aren’t currently discounted.

The code is available to ELC teachers from and you can find them here:

Download Scotties Book List (PDF, 5 pages,  0.15MB)


  1. Victorian Photography Exhibition announced

Our next big exhibition is Photography: A Victorian Sensation. We’ll be offering free school visits to this exhibition which runs from 19 June- 22 November 2015. Keep us in mind if you’ll be covering Victorians in the summer term, or in the new school year. More information will be available shortly, and bookings will open after the Easter holidays.

  1. Glow Meets

Our next round of Glow Meets start in January, with the Romans on 14th, followed by Dinosaurs on 21st and Mary Queen of Scots on 3rd February. Our Glow sessions are easy to sign up to and take part in and run from 1.30-2.15pm each time. Find out about our next Glow Meets here, plus other online resources:

You can sign up to get a weekly bulletin about what’s on Glow TV here


  1. Ancient Egypt

We’re looking for teachers to help us develop our new Ancient Egypt galleries in early 2015. In return for spending a day discussing the new developments with us on a Saturday in January/February, we’d provide you with lunch, refreshments, plus CPD & resources for your class. If you’d be interested, I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Visiting Us

If you’re thinking about visiting us in the spring/summer terms, do get your booking in soon. We’re now fully booked for January, but have plenty of availability for late February onwards. Find out full list of workshops, by age range, here:


If you have any other questions, get in touch.


Have a lovely festive holiday!





Sarah Cowie

Learning Officer (Schools)

Telephone: 0131 247 4046


National Museums Scotland

Chambers Street

Edinburgh EH1 1JF


You can now book for our school programmes in 2014-15. Download your programme now!


Featuring 100+ playable games, take on gaming’s greatest icons at the National Museum of Scotland.
Game Masters, 5 December 2014-20 April 2015,