March 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Now we termed the phrase edugame when trying to decided which ‘games’ were appropriate for the DMGC students. First person shooters (FPS), tend to mean guns, blood and gore are for good reason, sensitive subjects within education. However, discount the guns and add a pinch of sexual tension, we get Shakespeare and Chaucer.

Seriously now, we gave the issue of FPS real consideration. We decided to ignore all modern / realistic FPS but did accept paintball and period shooters with historical context. This was supported by a letter to parents outlining that some games did have a ‘mature’ rating. More recently we have introduced the students to Real Time Strategy games in which the action is played out continuously without breaks, games such as Savage and Swine.

The spin off is we have used more flashbased edugames as lesson starters and as entire lessons. Flash edugames such as Lighbot, The Impossible Quiz and Fantastic Contraption. Today, my colleague Andy created a very quick and simple start menu, linked to our classroom management system. Two clicks and I change reward students with edugaming fun. Staying with the theme, I added some curriculum edugames from a article I read today to my Delicious account (and I know have 40 tagged edugame recommendations), stop disasters game simsweatshop and a referral robomind. Enjoy your learning. Enjoy watching the students learn!


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.

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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February 24, 2008 § Leave a comment

This is not a typical post. I am not writing about work but why I work in education. Half term was great til Tuesday…. wednesday through Saturday I was struggling with a cold, today was the first day I felt a little better and its back to the grind stone tomorrow. Still, too much to do…

Refocus –

I received an email from Dean today reminding me about his blog. I changed the name of the wiki, more of that later. I introduced Dean to blogging, well, updating a wiki page some 7/8 months ago (its all I knew back then) and eveytime I read one of his posts it makes me proud. Not just the ‘proud’ cos hes one of my students, but proper proud becuase I know wirting and sharing his experiences has made a real difference to his growing maturity, to him showing appreciatation to his family here in England and his adopted family and friends in the States, but also I am proud of the choices he is making and that he even wants to share them with, well with everyone.So now its about time he sets up either a blog or a tumblr, whichever is most appropriate.

Just in case you want to read his work, first prepare yourself its an emotional rollercoaster, and click….

To Dean, how I wish I had my memories written down like you have. One day, when today seems like a life time ago, you will be able to flick through the posts and re-live them first hand, how jealous am I! Why work in education? Read Dean’s blog, read and listen closely and you hear the answer.

Teaching and Learning

February 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

I thought that by making an initial post midway through the week that the weekend post would be more straight forward. Sadly, I am not sure that this is the case. This job is currently impacted by so many different aspects of school life, it is impossible to manage all of them. I think the key here is to prioritise.

Teaching and Learning remains my focus; a rather simple title but it includes many different components. I have spent some time trying to organise and refine the KS4 curriculum. There are undoubtedly some rather significant pot holes in front of the department. They are clearly visible but we have to work out a way to avoid them. There are some training demands and perhaps more importantly, not all the staff feel comfortable delivering the specification. To support staff I am visiting Perins school and also trying to source exemplar materials from ICT colleagues. With the head agreeing to streamline the qualification I believe it is more manageable and I hope to include a Level 1 qualification for 10-15% of students where appropriate. This pulls in both Learning Support and other curriculum learning initiatives such as Work Experience and functional skills.

We are still in need of a strategy for tracking student discipline, a formal expectation of both staff and students for Out Class or Extended Learning (not homework).

The first seeds of curriculum ICT are being sown. This is an important aspect of the post, although the sharing of tools and knowledge must be delivered more efficiently than ‘Just in Time’ – but I do sincerely believe that there are a number of staff keen to use teachnology. Voicethread gets its first showing this coming week in a Year 10 English class.

The departmental meeting went relatively smoothly and I am looking forward to working more closely with a colleague from Science.

IT Management and Network Development; the team are looking at our VLE but this is considered secondary to the development of teaching and learning. There is also a thought on how ICT can improve the school communications and management.

I have now included my feed into my blog (thank you Edtech talk) and I will soon be attempting to streamline / categorise my reflections. Over half term I hope to write an ICT Strategy (thoughts of Jerry Maguire), so that I can focus my time and efforts efficiently.

Quick thoughts

  • How do we recruit the best ICT teacher (or staff) possible for Sept.
  • How do we create an unforgetable welcome?
  • Access form to replace Yellows?
  • Discipline tracking? Traffic Lights?

Mid Week

January 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

Up until now, I had been waiting until the weekend to write… This week I was determined to hit a half-way marker.  Although its not halfway, there is little to report in just two days.

The Middle Leaders meeting reinforced the need to tidy user areas, noted the use of the IT tech reporting form and general to do. I think this is a good forum for this information but the IT Newsletter is also important.

I have put up some posters telling the students to use F1. Learnt that you need to know more about students then just trying to connect with them. More students are using the ICT resources, but its hardly mass knowledge consumption.

I continue to research how best to develop our ICT curriculum and also how to best serve the school curriculum. The Horizon Report 2008 is out, some ideas in there I hope.

After school football, the students needed a real ‘boot’ up the back side. Not sure I am happy to continue to give up my time for that level of commitment? What are the students expectations? I need to ask them.

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