Realism, Relevance, Retention in CPD.

April 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

So it’s been a very relaxing evening. I have listened to the game (England vs Ukraine) and read widely. My PLN has delivered to me a diet of learning landscapes, Moodle (skoogle) videos, shared RSS and a handful of tweets. Across a number of articles, there was a theme promoting PLNs in favour of CPD training. Is this an unbiased review? Afterall, most of those articles we written by the advocates? More importantly how do we best develop our staff? CPD training vs PLNs?

I agree that to be effective teachers we need to  learn how to develop learning frameworks that constructively align outcomes (what do we want them to learn), activities (how to be create motivating classrooms and engage learner) and assessment (how to we know they did what we wanted them to and even more perhaps?). Traditional and central to most education environments world wide, however the learning landscape for our students is evolving. « Read the rest of this entry »

2008 Beijing

July 6, 2008 § Leave a comment

Just a short post, the TES has collected some Olympic themed lesson ideas for all subjects and age ranges so delve in.


May 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

Flowcharts has real potential. I am sure that there will have been a lot of hard work bringing the site this far. There are some strong draw features, such as alignment,  gradients and line types as well as a large clip art bank to draw from. Some interesting collaboration and export options.

Its a little slow rendering at the moment and maybe one or two visio-structural improvements to be made but all in all, it was not to taxing to produce my first flowcharts, chart.

A couple of points, if the menus are unseen, look under your browser toolbars (View / toolbars). If you find it hard to find a function, simply holding down CTRL brings up the shortcut menu (a neat idea I thought). While there maybe offline tools out there, like the aforementioned SERIF Draw Plus X2 package, this site does permit the collaboration of all good web apps.


May 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

So today we took the work the students created in class and uploaded a range to AuthorStream. The motivation to get their work on the site was impression. I also learnt a few teaching points for E(ngage)-Learning and was left with one or two questions to reflect on;

  1. Although I created a short presentation about using AS, actually creating an account needed a little more structure. Perhaps a slide or screencast. Even though we had talked about online safety, this must be reinforced.
  2. The structure of the activity must be very clear, so that the work chould be completed and perhaps checked before going online, (emphase the size of the viewing audience, perhaps the ratings/feedback they receive might reinforce that point?
  3. Tags, I forgot to explain the importance of tags. As yet you can not yet create groups on AS, tags would be a very good way to search for students work and create “groups.”
  4. Q. How do you encourage students that dont want to post? We had one student who was less than positive.

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!

In an Effort to Keep Saturday Think Free

February 7, 2008 § Leave a comment

Visited the Year 8 tutor room on wednesday. Tutor was very helpful. We move forward on this issue. I want to leave the weekend for thinking. For planning and reflection. So this is my weekly wrap up. Every other thursday I get to spend some quality time do important jobs. Today start with cover, which went surprisingly well. I arrived to cover a history class looking at medieval festivals. We completed the task and took the students outside to experience shin kicking. I think it hit the mark. It certainly brought the students closer to understanding the topic. Next week cheese rolling. Wow, there is so much more we as teachers could do with practical learning – importantly it also made me think where and how I could make ICT more practical, this is not the first time I have thought that….. but it needs more thinking time. Also, I was a little disappointed, ICT limits teaching due to the PCs. We really lack the opportunity to create with our environment and surroundings. I shared the Sir Ken Robinson resources, introduced Mrs L to CPD in the car, well I loaned her my Flashdrive with a FM transmitter, of course I added the SKR clips. I also gave Mrs L a copy my favourites, more links than you can shake a stick at – surely this is a way to share resources. I connected with HIAS, spoke with Janet Roberts, joined the forum, requested a review day, and signed up for the annual conference, continued my connections with Wildern. Short listed the IT Tech candidates, sought advice on a staffing issue and I believe we made a positive step forward (I could of course be wrong on that point). Prepared an ICT Newsletter update, requested a spot on the MOTs meeting, Baracuda is in. OCR resources agreed. Added the Dance pic to the homepage. Added the Staff AUP. What still bothers me is that discipline in ICT is not improving swiftly enough for my liking. Why? Is the discipline communication good enough? Is it a more difficult challenge than I realised? I do believe we need a team of 4, not 3. One staff member for each room – but I read tonight ICT staff are in high demand!?! On which note, HCSC needs to get the ad out. Half term is for the strategy plan. Boy do I need to get the thoughts out and in type instead of swimming around up there! Just added tonight; How to encourage the uptake of an ‘Enquiring Minds’ programme. Parents evening fine, but as is often the case, saw most of the students who can be rewarded, but need to speak with others also. Did we miss an opportunity to showcase the school to the parents on parents evening? Projector was cold, nothing showing. What percentage of parents visit? Can this be improved? How to communicate with parents – email? Do we need to ask our parents? How much money would this save? Focus, next term is the term for some style projects.

Face to Face

February 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

This morning I visited Gideon Williams, Head of ICT at Perins School. During the visit I witnessed a Year 9 top set working on Windows Movie Maker, a French class practicing their vocab and most importantly I was able to sit and discuss ICT Middle Management with Gideon. Incidently, I was also reminded about the power of search engine Dogpile, as one student noted, ‘it was good for everything.’ Without doubt the most important part of the morning was exchanging ICT structures, strategies and solutions with Gideon and also seeing how he was using Moodle to support his teaching LIVE. We hope to continue these conversations and are looking to bring our schools a little closer through a collaboration and sharing our schools Sport College status.

Again, my thanks to Gideon and Perins School.

Finally, as usual, car time is spent listening to the Edu-pod. The most important thing a Middle Leader can do with positive feedback is to share it with their team. Well, I thought it was sufficiently important enough to write into this posting.

On returning to school, I was able to only follow up one or the two student issues that occurred on Friday. I strongly believe that following up all incidents is essential.

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?

Looking up a Mountain

January 26, 2008 § Leave a comment

Now in my third week, I have noticed that my mistakes or poor judgments appear more prominent in my reflections than the successes. Is this an issue of my personality or is it typical for middle leaders? Two major points, one a memo that I failed to followup for a SLT meeting and the second was consulting with a colleague before introducing a former pupil in a shared class that she was leading. The latter has really dented that relationship and I will not be able to fully recover that position. The successes, two classes in particular now reflect lessons I would expect to see in a successful ICT dept. Both the OCR Yr 9 and 10 groups responded to the front sheets. Unsurprisingly they were very keen to get their feedback, just how keen still surprised me…. this will become a key motivator in future. Year 7 students enjoyed their lesson on the water of life, thank you Alex Savage. I connected with two students, at opposite ends of the talent spectrum, one through VARK and one through mere conversation. Time framed lesson objectives very important, using the online-stopwatch to motivate students. I was introduced to two important guys, WALT (what are we learning today) and WILF (what am I looking for). Invited onto the Barcalona trip. The football numbers are growing FAST. I connected with Dan Leighton from Cottenham College and listened to a keynote from Martin Peterson. The website designer had made good progress, with clear direction, we were both pleased with her work. Old portal shut down. Meetings with both Tim Dalton and Amy from Wildern secured. Showed a member of the office staff how to create distribution lists. Points for consideration; Staff time keeping still gnawing me. Ensure the first ICT meeting is focused and slick, ask for advice? How to sell (and perhaps determin) the structure. Year 9 parents evening. Keys to Alan. More learning on VLEs and Photoshop needed. Timings for OCR in Yr 9, 10, 11 and how a Level 1 course might work. Musings ideas need wings to get them off the ground, but also landing gear to secure them. Summer meal for staff? How to best combine the trip with ICT?

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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