Digital Leaders

November 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

We only two ICT staff last year, a Digital Leaders programme was almost impossible. We opened the facilities as much as possible but it was exhausting. Now with three staff, fewer discipline issues, we have a structured support programme. At least one ICT room is open every break and lunch time for all students, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons were originally set aside for Yr 11 Workshops, although this has been extended to include Yr 10s aswell.

Wednesdays are now officially the Digital Media and Gaming Club sessions. It combines teaching the students simple ICT skills, set out in a small curriculum (to be designed), and networked gaming opportunities in the second half of the session. My colleague Andrew Sangster is doing a great job here, sourcing and testing the games.

‘The Digital Media and Gaming Club (DMGC) blasted off on Wednesday after College and it was fantastic!! There were about thirty students there but Mr Sangster wants to make it sixty, class room vs class room! Virtually of  course! We all gave in our small donation, a few silver coins, and got cracking. First we learnt how to access our users areas and email remotely and then we played Urban Terror, a great first person shooter.’

Incorporated into these extra curricular session are the Digital Leaders, positions of responsibility within IT that we hope will have a significant role in promoting ICT at Hamble College. We have sent in our proposals to HIAS to see if we can get some much needed financial support.

ICT Digital Leaders, Digital Media and Gaming Club (DMGC) and Generation Y projects

ICTAC Netbooks Project – Proposal

We are currently in the progress of developing a Digital Leader project which also encompasses the (DMGC) and Gen Y projects and a second project that investigates the feasibility of Netbooks at Hamble Community College. Although separate projects each draws on the benefits derived from the other.

Our aim is to address four key areas of ICT at Hamble Community College which we expect to impact ICT attainment in KS 3 and KS OCR Nationals

  1. Student Behaviour in ICT (focusing on low achieving boys)
  2. ICTAC, specifically showcasing, trailing and advertising new software for cross curricular use
  3. ICT CPD through the subsidiary GEN Y training programme
  4. ICT for Gifted and Talented

Senior Digital Leaders and Digital Leaders posts are currently being advertised. The advert is available here.

Digital Leader posts are attached to the Attitude to Learning assessment. Students are expected to work towards an ATL grade 1 or 2. Students who are not achieving this benchmark will be able to attend the workshops not will have restrict Gaming time / roles during gaming (eg non captain roles, reduced playing time).

A number of the workshop activities are planned, focusing on IT access, use of software for academic learning, (Microsoft Office, Outlook and Internet, specially linked to Assessment Outcomes in Unit 1) Digital Art (linked to Unit 4 Design and Use Multi-Media Products and branding aspects of in Unit 1), collaboration (google docs and social-book marking), new technologies (netbooks and busbies) but also PC and printer maintenance (Gen Y). These workshops will also be used to showcase, trial and advertise new software, for example Comic Life, preparing students to support staff in using ICTAC. These workshops will also provide an opportunity to extend learn for the gifted and talented students, an addition to extension activities in class.

Gen Y used the outline and inspiration from the genyes programme, especially the GenYES (students helping teachers with classroom technology) and TechYES (student technology literacy certification and peer mentoring). We aim to develop a students training programme, introducing the Digital Leaders to the College VLE in an effort to facilitate staff CPD.

1. Headsets




2. Inter Community Gaming Cup




3. Inter School Challenge




4. College Digital Leaders Badges




6. College Digital Artwork budget A0




7. College Digital Artwork budget A3




Report for sharing with Schools






All FLOSS software will be shared with HIAS staff TRAINING iSC


Practicing What We Teach

April 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

The NEW curriculum states

‘explore the ways that ICT can be used to communicate, collaborate and share ideas on a global scale, allowing people to work together in new ways and changing the way in which knowledge is created.’

I am lucky to be able to work with an experienced ICT colleague and we have started to collaborate on the NEW curriculum. We have decided to try and collaborate as middle managers, as teachers and to encourage our students to collaborate also, using the publishing power of authorSTREAM and in the process taking some calculated risks. 

Gideon Williams (Perins School) and I first discussed and attempted to frame what the NEW curriculum could look like for our students in ICT. Gideon brought with him a wealth of experience and together we applied and emphasised the NEW curriculum ‘Key Concepts and Processes.’ We attempted to revise a range of ‘tried and tested’ lessons using a range teaching approaches, innovative webare tools as well as exploiting cross curriular opportunities. 

For Year 7 students, we highlighted personal ICT organisation, digital citzenship and online saftey, finishing with a ‘Personal Presentation Task’ (ppt) based on the infamous Slideshare Competition entry, ‘Meet Henry.’ We are hoping that webware company authorSTREAM will support our ‘collaborative-competition’ as students from Hamble and Perins go head to head, yet also offering one another online feedback.

The process on mapping out the rest of curriculum is far from finished, we need to bring in a final task that requires students to evaluate and developing models and to fully develop the Year 8 program of study. Gideon and I are using the online mind mapping tool to continue our planning conversations, should you want to throw your ideas onto the map, then let me know.

Finally to note that the choices being made for Year 7 and 8 learners, underpin the skills required for the OCR National Units identified in Years 9, 10 and 11. All of which I hope will marry to the Hambles Specialist Sports College Status.

26.5 Hours a Day

April 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

I have squeeze a lot into today; reading my RSS feeds and sharing the best with my most immediate colleagues, tagging for those a few clicks away, browsing one or two selected websites. Listening to, (watching) and syncing my podcasts (most positioned for later listening). I emailed a little, talked or rather ‘Skyped,’ I caught up on my tweets and twiends (twitter friends, it seems if you throw a “tw” in front of a familiar word it is immediately modernised?!?), as I latterly listen to a Prof Michael Wesch presentation. The point most referential to Hamble College, and I would have to regrettably agree with Michael Wesch, is that many of our students ‘are struggling to find meaning and significance in their education.’ Without meaning and significance in lessons, the motivation for our students to engage is significantly reduced, if not lost. This is particular pertinent as many teachers nationallt embark on the task of interpreting a new National Curriculum and designing a ‘refreshed’ learner experience.

I am determined to emphasise both meaning and significance (M&S) in the ICT curriculum. This may require impressing the importance of M&S with our staff but also listening to our students current reservations and applying some of their own ideas on how to make learning more integral to planet teen.

If you were still wondering about the title, I felt that I gained alot for my (multi tasking) time today, as research confirms, so do many young people everyday. A point emphasised by this Prof Wesch viral Youtube contribution.

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Coming up for Air

February 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

I didn’t blog or reflect this weekend, I needed to come up for air. I also wanted to spend some quality time with my wife, we deserved it, and she deserved it more than anyone.

The Last Week of Term

I was not very impressed with my achievements this week, perhaps too much to manage and perhaps my expectations were too high. What did we achieve? What could we have done better?

A new temporary IT Technician appointment. I was not 100% confident in our advertising and interview process, I think we need to do better for future appointments, (still need to confirm ICT advert is ready to go out). On which point, I also hope to meet with Jo Palmer to look at the information sent to prospective employees – as a school we need to sell ourselves. In saying that I think we managed the late departure effectively and I think our appointment will make a significant contribution.

Wednesday / Thursday I was reminded of some tough teaching realities. You can only offer support, you can not ensure it will be received. I need to show my appreciation of the work of the pastoral staff.

I presented both Yr8 groups with a simple practical ICT exam. Scores were expectedly low. I think this had an impact of the students – how it will impact on the students future expectations for class I am unsure? I am hoping it will bring a little more focus. Some students have already muted their wish for a better learning experience.

Thursday – meeting. Prepare the agenda before the start of the working week. Time races past.

Friday – real achievements made with introducing Databases through the Bow Street Runner. More work required on this SOW.

Student discipline seems to be a continuing issue. The students definitely need to be made aware of the AUP. Unacceptable behaviour needs to be picked up and actioned upon and through Censornet. More short term work for a long term gain.

Some positive developments on the intranet page. Delicious, calendars, AUP, Baracuda, now I need to share this conscientiously with Middle Leaders. I may even ask Ian for a regular spot in the MOTs meetings. Still looking at teacher ICT control in classes. Website WordPress?

In preparation for next term, I need to look at both Unit 7 and 21. Check SOW of Yr 7 and 8.

The focus for half term is to write a Strategic Plan.

For what it is worth, I recognise aspects of the post I can not immediately impact upon; the lack of previous leadership within the dept, fractured staffing, the learning expectations of the groups, the current physical and ICT environment, students frustrations with multiple courses.

Others that I need to work through; my inexperience of middle leadership and 11-16 teaching (learning everyday), the establishment of the NEW curriculum (OCR), professional working standards in and around the use of IT (with just 2 FT staff). The focus remains clearly on the department and it may be prudent to continue with this focus for one more half term (with small scale opportunties taken with individual teaching staff) otherwise the scope of the role may become over whelming.

How to Assess Progress

January 19, 2008 § Leave a comment

So a summary of the week is required, but how do you assess progress and in which areas? I have had a large white board put up in my office, on it I record the key jobs for the week and monitor my daily duties in three areas. Teaching, Administration and Network. I am not sure if these are the most appropriate titles but its a start.


Classes more stable, still issue of discipline arising. Relationships are building with the students. More are accessing the ICT support. Both on the stated days but also adhoc. Year 7 and 8 – we need to develop one or two strategies to support students that find it difficult to use technology, however this appears more to do with their literacy skills than their technology skills? Video tutorials? Definitely a job for JING. Central grading document still required. Alex Savage’s resources a significant help.

Years 9, 10 and 11 require small structured time frames in completing OCR Assessment Outcomes. Frequent submissions and regular feedback. Feedback sheet / AFL learning still required. As such, the majority of students are not informed about their course, its structure or their own attainments – grade track being constructed. Recommend an introduction to the course in Year 9 – an introductory unit that is in fact AO1 from Unit 1.

Also offer a Level 1 course. Hence reducing the differentiation in the groups. Feedback would suggest up to 15-20% of the class.


  • Classroom security improved, but still not secure, waiting on additional keys.
  • Mirrors have improved conduct. Next task heating.
  • Staff meeting set for Jan 31st – agenda items moderation, verification and house style.
  • Used Outlook to invite team.
  • Investigate Level 1 course – can this be ready for meeting?
  • Met with Web desginer – Old site shut down.
  • Email audit – low response.
  • Electronic postcards investigate.
  • Screen saver operational.


Year 7 need a structures ‘User Area ’ on entry. Student agreements are being written.

Classrooms require a visual display highlighting how this agreement also impacts on classroom conduct. ICT Charter?

TV recording investigated. IT Manager preparing bid for Head.

Final Point

A member of the PE staff gave a stellar performance during the Year 11 assembly. Having confessed to be partial to dog food, he requested a student help him in opening a fresh tin of dog food. For all to see, he devoured a few chunky morsels much to the students audible distress.

‘First impressions count,’ he told them sternly. Pausing for effect, he went on to explain. ‘Last night I painful removed the label from this can replacing it with the one you see now. It is in fact, steak and kidney stew but Remember…. first impressions count. You are about to embark on a series of interviews, for college, work or apprenticeships and how you present yourself counts.

I was proud of this masterful performance.

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