Monthly Archives: October 2012

Museums and teenagers

Yesterday saw me on a trip to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London along with 155 children and other staff. Four galleries visited, two with NHM booklets, two without. It was interesting to watch how engagement varied for our group and other schools we encountered to. Tasks to do focused the children but at times they needed guidance to find the relevant signage that was in front of them! Without guidance awe and wonder hooked some while others focused more on social interactions.
How do others structure such visits? I always enjoy watching the awe inspired in some of our pupils. The extra questions raised and the chance to chat during the day and an engaging drive back across Central London pointing out landmarks and playing I-spy.

Hooray for half term

Yep, half term has started and a lie in? Well not exactly. First thing and I’m exploring my new TES subscription looking at TES Pro digitally. Ok that’s for me that’s allowed, but oh no an email to SLT members about the advantages a school subscription with digital access would bring. And rest …..

TMEssex update

The idea formulated mid-September and #TMEssex,Chelmsford was born. As earlier posts show presenters were booked up quickly and ticket uptake was healthy.
Since then we’ve raised the seats available from 100 to 150. We ran out of those with five weeks to go. At our second meeting we looked at two venue options within KEGS, Chelmsford. We’d stick with 150 and go for the smaller hall.
Then the Teachmeet to aspire to – #TMClevedon on Thursday, pictures and new ticket requests appearing, we change to our larger venue with the cushioned tiered seating and now an extra 50 seats are released. In the first 24 hours of this third release 16/50 tickets are booked.
Now the discussion on Twitter mentions #TMClevedon, #TMEssex and now…#TMLondon scheduled for Tue. 11/12/12. Just under a month after us on Monday 19/11/12.

Being involved is a real privilege and has opened my eyes to many aspects of event organisation. I’ve been nicknamed “Persuader” by one leading Tweeter and do like the fact that between @ICTMagic, @headguruteacher and myself (@aknill) we have proved so successful at attracting a large field of educators.

Have you got your ticket yet?

A book?

My wife asked me a very good question this week. When did you last just read a book? After a Thursday night where I’d had an active Twitter. I paused and realised that I hadn’t just read for pleasure since a family trip to Bonsall in Derbyshire at Easter.
Waiting my attention are books bought on that trip for my birthday – Cloudspotters guide, wave watching and a book about Bonsall which we’d started reading a copy of during our stay.
Between emails, blogs, tweets, fb posts, lesson plans, pupils books … I encounter a lot of reading everyday but my reading for the sheer joy was missing.

The result I’ve started the Cloud guide as I’ve been watching some interesting combinations these last few days as I drive to and from work before the dark commutes start again.


Digital leaders, project management and delegation

Tuesday 9/10/12 the role of our digital leaders changed. Instead of one led group I decided after some discussions in school to restructure the group so that there are opportunities for individual members of the team to focus on group projects. initial foci will be;

A) E-safety – and ongoing safeguarding issue for staff, pupils and parents.We are looking to develop a team to support pupils who have issues alongside our Sharps system (online support). Guiding parents who lack confidence with keeping up with their children’s online safety. Supporting staff in the use of social media so that they do not compromise themselves.

Any one with pupil group programmes I’d love to hear from you.

B) PR and data about school ICT use – this comes out of the Open evening work from last Thursday (see previous post). Also the pupils designed and collected data on student views which now needs to be presented to the Headteacher.

C) Interactive whiteboard trainers / resource makers – I have recently given basic training to 13 of the team with the same basic skills I share with staff.I would like to develop a specialist team of in house trainers to work with less confident staff. A secondary role would be to involve them in the production of interactive learning resources.

D) Apple specialists – we have a school Mac suite and a number of iDevices users. The intention is to develop an In house Genius Bar concept with student guides.

More to follow in later posts…

Confidence online

In recent weeks it has become increasingly clear how at home I feel confident using twitter, blogging etc to network with others. Whether I’ve just chatted online or met face to face one or more times, I have always found online communication easier,especially as it allows communication over long distances very easily. This has become important to me in discussing educational ideas like SOLO or sharing thoughts in twitter chats – #ukedchat, #dlchat and #SLTchat. I feel at ease talking to most people and feel that it is okay to express one’s opinions although you do need to think how you phrase points.

This confidence has helped in being involved with #TMEssex as I have found myself actively seeking presenters and lurkers to attend. The friends and contacts I have made means I can easily turn to a large range of people for ideas and to ask for feedback.

Is this something that all of us online feel as it seems to be the risk of talking to “faceless” people that worries or scares some colleagues away from online networking.

What do you think?


Open evening 2012 – Digital Leaders Live


2012 and a new idea for Open evening – a student manned room (mainly). Nine of the Digital team (leaders and explorers) took over one of our ICT suites. They ran three main activities;

1) IWB training – during the evening they used their recent training to develop flipcharts about their role.

2) welcoming visitors and telling them about our digital leadership team and finding out if their primary schools have digital leaders and if not, whether they would like to see the idea explored. This has left us with several local schools to contact to arrange meetings or networking with.

3) ICT club demonstrated ideas using Scratch and encouraged our young visitors to explore.

Display materials also included examples of their in school survey work, blog posts, badge designs and digital applications. A set of pictures recorded the use of iPads and PuppetPals HD to make adverts for the school production in last terms’s Media week.



Finally, my section on staff using digital technology with examples of #TMEssex, #SOLO teaching resources and using Google Translate with teaching materials (several new pupils with very limited English skills currently – Romanian and Thai).