CommunICTy

December 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

The UK government has pledged to get another one million people online by 2012 as it pushes ahead with moving the majority of its services onto the web. (www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8401196.stm)

Also in the article, ‘some two million people are estimated to currently use UK online centres, which were set up in 2000 to tackle the digital divide.’ Having posted the notion of opening up school ICT suites and wifis, surely school are in a position to support this agenda? Weekends, evening, it would be interesting to know when these centres are most used.

At the same time the BBC is reporting that lessons in using the internet safely are set to become a compulsory part of the curriculum for primary schoolchildren in England from 2011, unveilling the ‘Click Clever, Click Safe,’ strategy.

Xtranormal Inspiration

March 4, 2009 § 4 Comments

I have been wanting to get the Digital Leaders onto xtranormal for a while and Red Nose Day’s ‘do something funny for money,’ was a perfect opportunity. The students were given the outline of the comedy sketch and a very brief introduction to xtranormal. They then signed up, self-taught and colloborated, it was fantastic to watch. Xtranormal is still in BETA but has more than enough to capture their attention. With storyboarding, writing and then directoring, it posed some real challenging decisions.

With a direct publishing link with Youtube, I was over joyed only to fall at the last hurdle. As most of you know, schools are over protective and are our students grow up in a filtered web world. Even though they can step into the play ground and search an unfilitered internet on their mobiles. So their home work was to connect their xtranormal accounts to their Youtube/google accounts and publish.

ICT

March 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Two quotes to impact upon my thinking tonight;

ICT needs to be given high status, both by the government and in individual schools, in line with its importance to young people’s future economic well-being – Chief inspector of schools Christine Gilbert

In the weakest providers, links between ICT and other subjects were not made, but in the best, ICT resources were spread across the teaching of all subjects – and not merely available in a computer room.

ICT has a future, there is a bold statement. Second, ICT is best when delivered as ICTAC. How long will it take the government to realised that subject based education is ‘Education 1.0.’ I do not know on many employers who actively seek unidimensional staff. I will continue to promote probject based learning and PLTS and ICT as a contributor to every curriculum area (in varying degrees). This at a time ‘Fewer English children are taking qualifications in information technology,’ Ofsted says.

I am not preaching here, ICT is not a prerequisite of a good lesson. Today we introduced students to interview techniques – through speed datings. The stimulus was that well known saying ‘first impressions count.’ WIth Year 7s first taught how to introduce themselves and then apply for a student voice position, as outlined in a school position advertisement. Student were interviewed 5 times, at random and the only ICT in this lesson was www.e.ggtimer.com/45 and the Worksheet created in word. When asked to score the lesson, students averaged the 7.7/10 with only one student giving the lesson less than 5 (satisfactory) and she was able to substantiate her view.

AUP, Network (ISA), Intranet, AB Tutor and Full-Cirlce

January 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

In September, one of my first requests was the implementation of an AUP. This was posted on every PC in College. It was an automated service, staff and students only able to proceed after they accepted the guidelines? Did any of the students read it in full, I doubt it but it has certainly proven a valuable exercise? (The AUP will also go up in print as soon as I get the time!)

We continue to improve our Network, security is a growing concern and the not so distant future we will be displaying and sharing more data than schools have ever done before in the past. As you may know, as I am form a PE teacher I dont have a computer science background or knowledge base. I therefore primarily relying the advice and guidance from our Network Support consultants (CTS) and their employee in situ, our Network Manager. Since their involvement we have improved our infrastructure, included  an ISA server, tighten our security, opened the students user areas for remote access and remote email. To supplement my personal knowledge,  reading and the Microsoft UK School Network blog and LIVE meetings have proven a very good starting point.

We have start to make much better use of our intranet page. Nathan throw up a very clean, basic page which has organically grown. The staff pages shares staff links the students pages sharing predominantly learning links. Its a positive way to speed up the start of lessons and share information.

AB Tutor (now on V6) has transformed our student output and focus. Our students need that level of directed learning. Just a few ways we use AB Tutor;

to quickly launch a webpage (probably the most common)

to get the students attention by locking their screen

demoing a skill so that the students can follow along (a huge plus for OCR Nationals which is competency, not mastery based)

Scanning the class ICT activity, which we do less and less with the introduction of a range of preset policies.

We are now looking to use AB Tutor to promote interactive learn, sharing students screen, student demos, backchanneling, messaging, surveying and to potentially monitor a college wide Netbook policy. We are still looking into the new features of V6 but I hope to use the polling features in staff CPD.

So with all this security, technology in place you would like to think the AUP was obsolete. So did we, but this week a spate of SPAM emails, poorly directed student learning meant that we had to impose a range of sanctions. With the improvements to the network we were able to adapt the INTRANET homepage of individual students concerned to notify them (and their teachers) of the restrictions imposed; restricted or blocked internet access and/or disabled email accounts and. These sanctions were shared with all staff as a document via the staff intranet as a list. Finally parents were informed via a letter with a copy of the AUP. Unlike last year, we have not yet received a single complaint from staff or parents. I truly believe that the AUP unwrites any our the actions we have taken as an IT and ICT team.

Staff CPD – Out on a Limb

January 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

This afternoon I delivered my first whole college ICT inset. I was anxious, I was cutely aware that a ‘technology failure’ would have a significant negative impact on my integrity and on staff confidence. To lead 60 of my colleagues on an ICT CPD session via (relatively new) wireless network on their staff issued laptops, left me buoyed but also relieved.

Q What ICT topic would you have delivered for wholeschool CPD on the first day back after the break?

Having thought quite hard about this issue I decided on the title ‘Working with Files and Folders.’ It was a simple topic but one with scope, but more importantly it was a topic that all staff encompass (as long as they use their network).

Next questions, ‘typically, why is wholeschool CPDs dull?’

Well its hard to personalise wholeschool CPD, I knew that I could not help everyone but I could get everyone to help one another…..? and that was my hook. Second I wanted to take a few calculated risks, I wanted to use teachnology, to showcase some of the tools we have been experimenting with. So here is my CPD session, help yourself.

Email links just before attending the session to the Online poll (polleverywhere)and Google Form. Create shortcuts on the staff shared area for safety.

No verbal introduction – French and Saunders – The Computer Whisperer.

The video set a light hearted mood. The staff where then asked to poll their ICT competencies before moving on to the small team quiz hosted via a Google self-marking form. The results were collected via a form, and although I thought having access to instants results was pretty impressive, I am not sure that it was such a hit with the staff?

We went through the answers and I side tracked on one or two additional College innovations that were highlighted by this task. I wish that I had planned and scripted this aspect more carefully rather than racing through the new College website, events calendar, document storage and remote access, helpdesk and shared resource on the Intranet. I finished with the results of our Everywhere Poll that strongly indicated that our staff have a positive outlook.

ICT confident and exploit ICT opportunities 10
ICT confident and use ICT opportunities 63
ICT competent but rarely use ICT opportunities 20
ICT less than confident but curious 0
ICT bruised and less than enthused 7%

Was it a success? On the whole, I hope that the staff found the task practical and engaging. I’ll see what feedback I can gather over the next couple of days. I don’t think the staff were blown away – it was hardly the most exciting topic. In reflection I think that this activity may have been more powerful with 4/5 teams in a classroom run by three staff rather than 20 teams in the main hall. It missed the banter between groups and it was hard to manage so many teams.  In the meantime, help yourself to any of the resources.

The results are here.

Digital Media and Games Club Proposal

November 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

The 3rd week, and the 3rd week of growth. Thats great news. This is a credit to Andrew Sangster, my colleague for all the hard work he has put into the project so far. More good news, on Monday we received positive feedback on the DMGC Leader proposal. While there is still work to do on the final pitch, it has been very well received ticking a number of key funding foci. We are addressing inclusion, attendance, leadership, encouraging low aspirational white working class males to get involved in extra-curricular studies albeit with the caveat of gaming at the end of the session and ICT for girls. Of course we get to write our own curriculum for the workshops, now thats fun teaching. No specification to restrict you, no fear of failure for the staff or the students, we can go where the learning takes us and there is no deadline. When the students exhaust the software, we will change or rather they will tell us that they have had enough. Watch this space.

Now a reminder to self – in GIMP we are trying to create the posters for ICT at Hamble College. What if we created the artwork for the next SSAT conference and sent it in??

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