Tag Archives: IT

Why I teach…

2042 Saturday night, and I’m checking my twitter feed to see if my letter to the ECB has got a response yet and I come across…

which has also been favorited by Sam’s Mum.

I’m pretty certain I never showed this program to Sam, but I know I shared it with his older brother’s class.

I love Sam’s creativity with it and the fact that his parents are sharing with me and the world.

Like it says…why I teach!

3.2.4 and all that.

In this post, I will share the course notes from session 1, discuss my coaching session 1 and my second piece of homework.

Here are the notes from session 1 of the course.

Having had my first coaching meeting as part of my middle leadership course, I identified my target from the middle leadership standards and practices.

The area I decided to focus on was 3.2.4 which says:

Middle leaders evaluate the impact of professional learning on teachers‟ practice and understanding, in relation to outcomes for learners

 work with the team to critically reflect on individual and collective professional learning;
 plan and evaluate professional learning provision directly on its intended impact on learning, within their areas of responsibility.

 

What I took this to mean for my project area of developing digital leaders throughout the school was getting people across the school to ‘buy into’ the digital leaders more. i.e the ‘Professional Learning’ is the digital leaders project, which I learned of from Naace Conference 2012, and I would use this to reflect with other staff members on how learning and teaching could be developed using Digital Leaders.

I decided that this should be the area I focused on, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I have become used to working with ‘the convinced’. Teachers at Teachmeet events, teachers on twitter etc. Working with a group who were already believers in the power of digital leadership wasn’t really moving beyond my comfort zone.

Secondly for the digital leaders project to move towards maximum impact in school, I felt I had to share the potential of digital leaders throughout the school.  Involving other staff, pupil support workers, parents and other children along the way would make the digital leaders a key asset to our learning environment in school, not just something Mr Drummond does.

 

Having identified my area to work on, my coach and I discussed a plan of action.  With my coach’s help I decided the next steps were:

To read articles about developing teams and getting people to buy into a leader’s vision.

Select a group of staff at school whom digital leaders can work with.

Audit the group of staff to see how they currently view the digital leaders and how they feel the Digital Leaders could support them.

Have a clear vision to present to this first group of staff at school.

Share the vision, linking to the staff’s views from the audit (and beyond…) with the staff.

Make sure the digital leaders understand their responsibilities when working with other staff and children around school.

Allow time for the magic to happen.

Audit staff and digital leaders to see if their work is becoming embedded across all school areas.

 

NB Where I use the word staff in the above statements, I mean teaching staff and pupil support workers.

Many thanks to my coach for her time. I’m off to do some reading.

By The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Started with Digital Leaders?

There seems to be quite a few people who are interested in getting Digital Leader groups set up and asking for ideas/help. Hope this helps, please feel free to get in contact, especially if you are based in Scotland, as my digital leaders are desperate to meet other DL-ers.

 

My Journey to the Scottish Digital Leaders Network.

On Wednesday 25th September, I presented at the SLF teachmeet on the topic of the Scottish Digital Leaders Network. Here is that presentation

 

2 years ago I taught ICT across the school as RCCT cover…it nearly killed me. Not the ICT bit, I loved it for enabling children to do fantastic creative work, and powerpoints, the way they could discover things, share things and be enthused and curious about learning. Parts of it were like an advert for the teacher training agency.

What nearly killed me was the day to day problems which got in the way. Flash updates, word templates not working, no access to colour printers, flash updates, using IE 6, aspects of filtering, flash updates, java…you get the picture. It really got in the way of me extending the children’s learning in ICT. As part of my ICT role I spent two days at a NAACE conference in Crewe where I met some amazing people and was introduced to the idea of Digital Leaders.

 

Rather than me try to define a digital leader, I thought I’d share with you a child’s own view of the role, taken from an Edmodo post…on a Sunday afternoon.

Slide2

And then rather than get you to read loads more, made a quick wordle which highlights helping, technology, responsible, and for some reason curtain.

Slide3

Digital leaders are a group of children in school which help with ICT in loads of different ways. They have expertise in ICT, are responsible and are given positions with real influence and real responsibility in your school. They exist in every school.

Last year I decided to turn our ICT group at Uphall into a Digital Leaders group. Something I felt would go beyond an after school group and something where I wanted the children to have more of a leading role.

So, having decided to give digital leaders a go, we asked them to apply online and we interviewed them and selected our first 13 digital leaders.This interview and application process is an important part of the digital leaders ethos in my opinion. It helps create a standard and expectation for the children, parents and staff and it is a process our children took very seriously and were brilliant at. I was fortunate enough to have my headteacher involved in the process which added loads to the process.

 

Over the year they made videos, created a resource website to help replace education city’s maths games,  taught numerous children how to do many things, helped install firefox, used webmaker tools and finally the P7’s wrote the interview questions for this year’s cohort. Much of this work we shared on our blog space.

Slide4

This was great, but what they desperately wanted was to meet other digital leaders, online and in real life for meetups and beyond…and I had some ideas I thought they could develop too!

Slide5Many of these ideas also involve taking digital leaders beyond our school and meeting up with similar groups.

So I thought I would try and set up the Scottish Digital Leaders Network. The network exists currently on Google + and we have an edmodo group. I am happy for the resources and network to reside anywhere where we can easily do the things we want to do, so we’re not tied to any medium. These are the things you’ll find there.

Slide6

One of the really exciting things going on this year is the badges for DL-ers from digital me. Digital me help young people gain skills and confidence through new technology and work alongside groups such as Nesta and Mozilla to develop young people’s skills. The badges look brilliant, and there you can view the prototype designs in the G+ group.

Slide7

What I would like you to do, is, having seen this, consider whether Digital Leaders is something you could start at your school. If it is please drop me an e-mail and I’ll organise you joining the network and hopefully we can support you and share ideas and solutions.

If it’s something you’re already doing under a different name, it would be great if you’d consider joining the network and making connections with people, I really think your children would enjoy the opportunities of working with other people.

Obviously, any questions please get in touch via e-mail, twitter or the comments below.

That was my presentation and slides and I’ve been really pleased with the feedback so far. There are a few hoops to go through to get into a google + group. You need a google account and you need to have activated your G+ account. I went for G+ as it offers webmeet capacity across the UK and beyond, which sadly Glow doesn’t yet and Skype calling seems unavailable in many schools.

The Edmodo group for Scottish Digital Leaders is here. You need to drop me an e-mail or DM for the code.

Thoughts on using Technology in schools.

I came across this via zite which I use to find and share a load of good reading, infographics and ideas. This pretty much sums up my thoughts about using Technology in schools, and is what we should be aiming for when embedding ICT across the curriculum.

As it says at the bottom, it’s a tool not an outcome.

technology

The Apps I use.

Since beginning to use my iPad nearly 10 months ago I have added loads of Apps to it, some I have bought, others have been free. I thought I should share the ones I use a lot and share how I use them too.

Evernote: The App I use for notetaking, link keeping, article archiving and paper based note storage is Evernote. It can be downloaded onto phone, tablet, kindle and PC or Mac and it allows you to share things on one account between each device. I’m not the best at keeping bits of paper, so now I take a photo graph of them and Evernote them. By carefully tabbing them I can easily find stuff.

Hootsuite: This is my chosen twitter device, again available across multi-formats and once you have created your account your setup follows wherever you login. Hootsuite allows you to create lists for your twitter account and separate them into columns on a page and different pages too (I have a page for education, one for leisure).

Zite: Zite brings you content it thinks you will find interesting based on your twitter feed, google reader feed and articles you ‘like’ in Zite. Most of my reading for education is now done through Zite and the articles you read are easily shared via twitter and facebook. Zite also allows you to copy article directly across to Evernote (and allows you to tag then in Evernote)

IThoughts: I never really used mind map style planning before getting the iPad, but using this app allows you to change what’s in bubbles, move them around and delete the bubble altogether very easily. I find it’s a good way for me to put down ideas for topic planning, presentation planning etc.

Haiku Deck: Can’t get enough powerpoint!! Haiku Deck is presentational software which gives a full picture slide background (you choose the picture or they suggest) and then you put a limited amount of text on the page. I feel the end results are visually great, and move you away from a powerpoint comfort zone of putting too much text on each slide.

IMG_0567

It’s not about the tool?

It’s not about the tool is a phrase which seems to crop up a lot in education currently. It’s usually connected to ICT with someone telling us it’s not about a piece of software, hardware, operating system etc. It’s about how it’s used and the learning that takes place.

I’m not convinced.

Tools which don’t work as well as they should.

It seems this is new thinking for education authorities, and it could be argued this is an attempt to hide their incorrect decisions of the past. An example – Interactive White Boards – Why buy so many of them, at such a huge cost? Where was the debate about the most effective use of the money? And why not make them at the correct height for pupils in the classroom?

If your school has elderly laptops/PC’s then the chances are that some fabulous pieces of free, Web 2.0 type software won’t run on them due to a missing upgrade.

Many schools don’t have free choice of web browser, they’re tied to IE (which can’t always upgrade to the newest version) which means that many tools are not on the ‘menu’ to be chosen from.

High Quality Tools

Moving away from ICT and education, when I take my bike out I love the fact that it’s responsive, comfortable and it enhances the pleasure I get from being out, making me more likely to go out on it.

The creatives in our house enjoy using the best art tools they can, and they help to expand their creativity. They don’t produce a lot of art on slates – I’m sure they could but they’d soon become disillusioned as they see other artists using finer, more appropriate, more enhancing tools.

Aspiration.

If we want to develop our children’s learning, if we want to provide aspiration, if we want to develop self-esteem, if we’re really serious about it then we need to have the BEST tools available for the job. Of course we need to debate what they are, of course we need to ensure that teachers are using them as best they can (they usually are by the way).

‘Wow’ factor.

Benjamin Franklin wrote when he was 16 about Temples of Learning. For me part a Temple conjures up images of beauty, craftsmanship and inspires feelings of awe – or as my P4/5 class might put it ‘wow’.

Schools need to, and can, provide the ‘wow’ factor in so many young lives and a large part of that is in the materials available in school. Schools are already providing the ‘wow’ factor in many young lives through the quality of staff they employ, their attitudes and their commitment to the children they teach. It’s time to provide some of the tools to match.

It’s not JUST about the tool, but Government and Local Authorities, the tool is a large part of it. Do you do all that you can?

 

Weeknotes – 2013, week 3.

Here’s what’s been going on this week.

  • I’ve developed the learning log my class are using. It now has four sections – content, skills, how skills could be applied elsewhere and targets. At the moment we are writing our thoughts in these areas, mainly as a whole class, but we will develop this over time. I feel highlighting the areas makes the learning more easily explained by the children, thus allowing them to set more specific targets and develop areas of need and interest.
  • I’ve written most of my forward plan for term 3. Quite a bit of work to do here as we have created a new topic area of Dr Who. I have also added some objectives to the school maths planner in measurement and shape, as part of my forward plan.
  • I’ve been using evernote more. The more I use it the more useful I find it. Photographing ‘notes’ on my phone and evernoting them means I can’t lose them and I can easily find them using the tags I create when required. I wonder how this can develop for moderating work? 🙂
  • I’ve downloaded ‘Mr Reader‘ onto my iPad and use it to read and share content from the totally awesome google reader. As well as using this I use Zite to read a wide range of content based on google reader, twitter and previously ‘liked’ blogs.
  • I’ve begun encouraging children to highlight examples of where they have fulfilled the success criteria with a note in the margin of their work. I can see how this works well in written tasks, but am still struggling over how to develop this in maths and ICT tasks. This is a task I am developing as part of the Raising Attainment Group.
  • I attended the Raising Attainment Group meeting. I’m really enjoying this and finding having a specified amount of time to focus solely on using feedback to raise attainment very useful. It’s also introduced me to the work of John Hattie, whose work Ewan McIntosh mentioned in a few tweets this week. There are great people in the group and I’m picking up loads of great things to raise attainment in class.
  • I added some resources to www.commentsbykids.com and many people expressed an interest in adding examples of great comments to the site via the google form interface.
  • Digital leaders continued to work on podcasting/vodcasting, and our school podcast channel is up on iTunes and ready to receive their work.
  • The digital leaders and I are going to comment on the 5 sentence challenge blog and help raise attainment in writing across the globe.
  • I’ve listened to 6Music’s greatest hits on spotify, read two great articles on Lance and cycling, on the live blog is some brilliant journalism from Matt Seaton and Dr. Hutch and a great farewell interview from Nicole Cooke loved watching Borgen again, enjoyed Silent Witness and despaired at England’s ODI cricket team. I’ve picked up the spin class after a 2 month break due to illness…great to know it’s still so painful, yet enjoyable.

 

css.php