Arn’we impressed

March 11, 2009 § 1 Comment

Today, with one of our governors, network manager and vle coordinator I visited Arnewood School to learn about their Laptops for Learning scheme. I would sincerely like to thank David Conford for his welcome and openess and the to staff and students we met during the day. So lets put things in context;

The Arnewood School is a popular 11-18 mixed comprehensive school of about 1200 students. It is situated in New Milton, an attractive small town, south west of the picturesque New Forest and a few minutes drive from Lymington and the south coast.

Arnewood School are in their 3rd year of their ‘laptops for learning’ scheme and here is a summary of what our reconnaise team summised on our return in preparing for a move towards a 1-2-1 mobile (delete as appropriate to your school) learning tools or laptop or netbook or notebook.

A review:

A police presence in the front of school at the start of term to reassure the parents, dissolving away.
Price point – donation vs purchase scheme. Do you have a wholeschool equitable school policy or deal with parents yourselves directly.
The network must be stable and more than cope with the new load – future planning would require further investigation as the propgram develops. Failure of the network, even minimally will impact on learning and disengage students and staff – quickly.
‘Lapland’ or ‘servicing area.’ Size, central location, security, work space / staffing. Student ID system in place for  loans – swipe bar code? Two entrance / exit.
Battery life – short life versus extended life (cost) vs 2 battery system. 18 months batteries require replacing.
Screensize – 12” Samsung with Misco £250 – decision in May/June
Manufacture training –  eg Toshiba Trained – 3 days training – permits in house
Arnewood: Network Manger, 2 techinicians, 1 customers services / laptop.
Hamble College: Network Manger, 2 techinicians, 1 customers services / laptop. Deals with claims and warranty.
Consumerables – hard drives, memory, power cables.
Lockers – unnesscessary – only for PE.
Monthly inspections and termly health checks (technicians)
Police present outside school at the start of term.
Sticking to XP move Office 2007
Exchange units – potential spare NB100s – to use low value units.
Admin rights – for students to printer and wireless.Work with Year 5/6 in primary school.
Impact on Learning
Integration of the vle and teaching in a blended format
Students reported homework

So take what you can from this visit.


Framing the Impact of the ICT at Hamble Community Sports College

March 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

A long title, but it was important to get it right.

Why ‘framing?’ Well, because in just one half term I dont really know fully what the situation truly is. This coming term I aim to find out! In reading and preparing this document I felt I discovered the starting point for progress, informed decisions. Now I have to go get the information. I suppose management is making sure that the information is collected in a timely fashion and leadership, well leadership will be what we as a school do with that information. I my only concern is that so much happens on a daily basis in the department, that I must make efficient use of my non-teaching time.

I have identified a four apects to incorporate / review,

  • adopting BECTA’s self-review framework
  • conducting ICT Infrastructure Matrix Report and set out an ICT Investment Plan
  • adopting Becta’s Framework for ICT Technical Support
  • providing staff with the opportunity to communicate their ICT expectations, skills and reservations.

Perhaps the last one I will try and use blist or sharepoint.

Interviewing for a New Post

March 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

Only this time I was assessing the candidates. I learnt alot yesterday, and here are perhaps some of the more poignant reflections.


Outside of our control the Head brought forward the interview date. This posed significant organisational and logistic problems, most of which were overcome. Second, I would have felt much more comfortable having set questions agreed well in advance, but I also learnt that there are key questions required for good practice such as ‘Is there anything further you wish to offer in support of your application, that you have not been given the opportunity to do so, during your interview today?’ Second, I had created an ICT skills audit form in advance but in the morning rush, I did not ask the applicants to fill it in! I will be passing this form onto the Head for future subject interviews thats for sure as well as stressing the need for ICT literate staff.

The Interview Day

The feedback received from a 30 minute micro teach was sufficient for senior staff to gauge the applicants teaching confidence. I wonder if others agree or disagree. As an applicant I might disagree, but as a middle leader, I was comfortable with the outcomes attained.

So to the point of the post, from experiencing the viewpoint of the interviewer, I am now significantly more aware of the impact a positive interview can have, (since the interviews, I have reflected of my own interview techniques, and was very self critical). I would implore all ITT training courses to permit students the opportunity to not only be interviewed, but to be the interviewer! The ability to contrast multiply candidates on the same questions, significantly impacted on my understanding of the components of a “positive interview.” This may then be a lengthy process but high recommended. A thoughtfully designed “interview technique” morning would be viable? Wouldnt it? I was  so surprised at the significant contrasts portrayed and how each question revealed!

So the best question asked?

“Tell me about a new technology that you have leanrt recently and how you learnt it.”

Part b

“How would you share this learning / knowledge with your team!

To see which candidates eyes lit up when given the opportunity to share their learning experience was the first learning point. To then listen to see who could, and how, they then shared this knowledge was revealing. As noted the contrasts were significant.

To end, are you still a firm candidate for this blog?

Its only Tuesday and…

February 26, 2008 § Leave a comment

snowplough.jpgThe snow plough is already being revved up. I have already noted three key roles for my position this term;

1. Complete a Self Review Framework

2. Discipline Policy

3. Yr 11 Emergency Policy

The first proposal is one being presented tomorrow, this itself will add to the work load. After I the document is presented to our Head, it must be implimented and managed. The results will connect to staff training, local meetings and strategic review dates and of course future change policy.

Discipline, this can not continue to engulf the working day. A discipline policy features next at the top of my to do list. Importantly, I need to explain to staff that students are not to be sent to ICT for coursework, at the same time, I need to offer small group ICT option for English. Would the eeepc work?

I am unsure that Yr 11 will complete their course as planned. What can we do to support those nearing the completion criteria?

Finally, planning teaching and engaging with students is important to me personally. This must not be set aside or even displaced…. and its only Tuesday!

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.

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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