Category Archives: Digital leader network

#BETT2014 and #TMBett14 or #TMBett2014Fri. 24/1/14 – part 2 – one end of the hall.

Part 2

Reminder: 2014 guises I was attending under

– clothed in my new @globalsolo attire to prompt conversations about the new venture and growing network (550 members as I write this post).
– an advocate of pupil Digital leaders, a topic I presented about last year and I had planned to take a group this year until myMH absence put pay to this.
– a Promethean (UK & Ireland) teacher advocate team member to see people on the company stand including a number of fellow Advocates who had signed up for the show
– as a co-organiser of TMHavering on Tue 11/2/14 to drum up more attendees and ticket sales
– as a geographer looking for lesson ideas and apps that I could include I the work I do with the Geographical Association Special Interest Group and ideas for my workshop at conference this year on apps for beginners
– as a classroom teacher who wants to know what is available to enhance the awe and wonder in lessons
– to network and meet a variety of Twitter , blog and Teachmeet / PLN. Friends face to face,some for the first time
– to be at the world’s largest Teachmeet in the evening In a passive audience role, a first since a TM in Redbridge in 2010!!

On entry to the hall I headed to the start of the numbering sequence. On the way I made the first of many visits to Promethean to see any changes to the product line and meet fellow teacher advocates. Off to explore, now that I am not collecting leaflets for one and all I get the chance to be more selective. I went to find @MrSwickPE from WES who were promoting their teacher planner app. Having read a tweet the day before I received a promo code. Then the other purpose we had discussed was an explanation of how to explain Solo taxonomy using hexagons – an example, a badminton lesson. It was great to explain the idea.

I worked my way up the hall Rising Stars was next meeting @Dawnhallybone, @AndreaCarr, @Eyebeams, @ICTmagic. A bit of a chat the off to explore more. I saw that @Gr8ict and the lady Lumley Digital leaders were speaking on the Stone stand which. They had done so well in 2013, so. I decided to return for their talk at 12.00. If I use the exhibition guide which I rarely use on the day I could cite other sites visited. I had reached the arena in time to wish @TomHenzley (?spelling) and his DLs well for their Arena presentation – I had followed their blogposts from the train before I had left that morning.

The back to Stone and Lady Lumleys, their new members, work with feeder primaries and digital badges gave rise to more ideas for my school leaders when I return.

A visit to Promethean meant I saw the promotional video our team had made for the new ActivTouch board and I had my picture taken with the video behind. I was finding that. My new beard was throwing several people who almost didn’t recognise me.

Off to Rising Stars to hear @DawnHallybone and @Ideas_factory present a range of ideas. I made it through most of the talk before again spotting friends walking past and going to greet them.

My energy levels were dipping so I headed back to the Arena area to start on the second half of the hall and some refreshment.

To be continued – if travelogue / diary ramblings are too much then do not read further postings ( I have warned you).


#BETT2014 and #TMBett14 or #TMBett2014Fri. 24/1/14 – part 1 – reasons for attending and getting to show entry.

As some of my readers have noticed my new (ad)venture @globalsolo is dominating my blogging time at present. So I am going to post about my visit to these events here and copy the post onto too.

So in my mishmash approach / role the BETT show fulfills several functions. No longer do I attend as the school leaflet packhorse carrying many bags of assorted information. If I see ideas that may help others I pass on information, more often these days in e-links or names to contact.

So 2014 what guises was I attending under?

– clothed in my new @globalsolo attire to prompt conversations about the new venture and growing network (550 members as I write this post).
– an advocate of pupil Digital leaders, a topic I presented about last year and I had planned to take a group this year until myMH absence put pay to this.
– a Promethean (UK & Ireland) teacher advocate team member to see people on the company stand including a number of fellow Advocates who had signed up for the show
– as a co-organiser of TMHavering on Tue 11/2/14 to drum up more attendees and ticket sales
– as a geographer looking for lesson ideas and apps that I could include I the work I do with the Geographical Association Special Interest Group and ideas for my workshop at conference this year on apps for beginners
– as a classroom teacher who wants to know what is available to enhance the awe and wonder in lessons
– to network and meet a variety of Twitter , blog and Teachmeet / PLN. Friends face to face,some for the first time
– to be at the world’s largest Teachmeet in the evening In a passive audience role, a first since a TM in Redbridge in 2010!!

Think that covers it – can you see why I use the name Mishmashlearning?

I count myself very lucky that Martin Burrett (aka @ICTMagic) has become a good friend and we have travelled to, spoke at, organised with and encouraged each other at events since first meeting in Feb. 2012 at TMEssex organised by Danny Nicholson in 2012. Martin offered me a lift to and from the show door to door andI accepted.

Our day out starts just before 9am when Martin pulls into my road. Our journey to the show guided by Google seems to be optimistic in its estimate of travel time. However, a virtually traffic free run sees us travel from Essex to the Excel centre before 10am. We chatted on route about a range of shared interests and projects.

He knows where we go having parked here on Wednesday. We make our way upstairs. I encourage Martin to use his press pass (@UKEdChatmag) to go ahead and avoid the queue. Just after 10 we are going in…

To be continued – if travelogue / diary ramblings are too much then do not read further postings ( I have warned you).

What did you do at the weekend?

Well… Do you get asked that question and / or ask it often on a Monday?

I am having the privilege of spending my weekend taking part in a face 2 face weekend with fellow teachers who work alongside Promethean either as teacher advocates or European iTec project. The chance to meet with fellow teachers who work in early years, primary, secondary and Higher Education from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Spain is such a great experience.

I cannot tell more as much of our time together is subject to NDAs. But thanks to Anne for supporting me in having this time out to be geeky and using a range of gadgets.

Thanks to Promethean for the the role.

The holidays are here …

So the summer holidays began for me on Friday afternoon. It used to take me several days to unwind at the end of the school year, but no longer. The brain is still thinking thoughts linked to work based topics, not least because more tweeting means lots of colleagues are still working this week. The last few months have been “eventful” and I have not had the capacity to go out and exercise, the spell has been broken. Saturday saw a tentative bike ride for the first time in months – how would I stand up to it? Would the bike work?? Well it was gentle,the bike liked that I had lost weight and 10 miles later I arrived home in a great mood. Sunday, I thought I would try a run cross country that became a walk/ jog that in reality was a walk, but quite fast. Four miles out in the local fields hot but again great to be exercising. Monday predicted the hottest day – a earlier bike ride was considered. Out by 08:15 and off to a local country park. I have no idea how far I went and tbh I do not mind. Out for two hours of country lanes,parks, tree tunnels, downhills, up hills and lots of fresh warm air. Yes I slept soundly after showering!!

Tuesday has started with the UK wake up thunderstorm but already planned as an easier day with a relaxing walk with my wife later. As awake early to admire the rain lots of tweeting, and chat online with sister in New Zealand.

In last few days made new contacts re spreading the Solo taxonomy message, made links with a Japanese exchange student from Sendai,reviewed recent events in my head and considering lots of ideas for a hobby that is not school related where I might make some friends for time out moments.

More thoughts but will share those across the holidays as I plot ideas, reflect back on the year and attend a reunion for some ex pupils aged 36.

See you around …

Teachmeet East 22/6/13

On Saturday I was due to expound on two topics in front of an audience of fellow professionals, unfortunately circumstances cut across this opportunity (see precious two posts). I was in contact via Twitter with colleagues who originally I was to chauffeur to Norwich. In the afternoon a live feed was run so that others could follow the Teachmeet session. The feed faltered at times, heh welcome to technology. A range of topics and opinions were shared – I couldn’t attend in person but following respected colleagues and other presenters meant that I felt part of the proceedings especially as the twitter feed allowed participation.

I got to request waves from the audience for myself and other online audience members which we duly received and no calories as we could only read and hear about the cakes and curlywurly bars.

If you read my post and you do not know what a Teachmeet is, this is your opportunity to find out. Google (other search engines may be used) it, find one near you, attend if a teacher especially. This is CPD in the best sense of professional development. Yes in your free time! Cover costs for most events are zero. Benefits are a range of topics and ideas that are from classroom teachers that you may decide to try in your own classroom. Who presents? Other teachers, they aren’t trained, they make errors sometimes but they are there because they believe at what they are saying is worth sharing. Some people suggest to me I find it easy and have been doing this for ages- I first spoke at Teachmeet Essex organised by Danny Nicholson in February 2012. Since then I have presented more than 10 times and been involved now in helping to run two of the most recent Teachmeet Essex events with Martin Burrett and Tom Sherrington. I heartily recommend them – try it, you might even like it. On Twitter there is a new campaign @BATTTM bring a teacher to Teachmeet – we think it’s worthwhile.

… and for recent readers of my blogs this is the other sort of topic I post on in my mishmash. Oops my two topics – Using Solo taxonomy in the classroom and this April’s Sologlobalchat that brought together educators from the UK, Australia and New Zealand in our own time on a Saturday!!

Thoughts?? Recommendations from those already involved??


So, Friday 5 April. The personal treat in the family holiday a visit to The Geographical Association’s annual conference (#gaconf13). My 25th year as a geographer yet my first conference – shhh almost sacrilegious but true. I’ve joined the ICT Special Interest group last year so have a role to drop off the revised Apps list that I updated in February and printed off 150 copies.

A family holiday near a conference, very suspicious but a cottage that we liked last year and an area with plenty still to visit and do. Today was my earliest rise to be on a cold single track station for the 07.40 train.


A good ride in, as a geographer it was interesting to see where the number of passengers increased the most (Belper and Duffield). Off at Derby and then locate the shuttle buses (coach) to the University venue. Some fellow badge wearers pointed its the green coach we’d walked past. On in time and we were off. Arriving and meeting old friends in the queue to collect the conference handbooks. Then off to the balcony and deposit the apps sheets I had stored at the side of the cottage all week.

Then a chance to slow, look around, get my bearings and the meetings begin – hi to friends and colleagues met previously. Then oh look over there is … As fellow tweeters were pointed out or spotted or my t- shirt ploy worked to show who I was. I gave the first round of talks a miss to stay at the stand and talk to visitors interested in apps or GIS who I would direct to more relevant members of our little team.

A conference is a new experience for me, I’m used to Teachmeets these days where presentation are far more rapid fire.The chance of overload was very probable.

In round 2 I attend the IT workshop I’d agreed to attend as a member of the IT group. Dr Ian Cook, Mary Biddulph and a gathering of PGCE students who introduced/ reviewed/ explained the site the session was advertised as Teaching trade. I liked the site but was initially scared by the depth of information. Not KS3 or 4 friendly for many but then I discovered links to Mission Explore and the blog with examples of use.


Now here there were clear possibilities including the lego movies. I chatted with Ian about using the materials in co-construction lessons as explained by @headguruteacher on Twitter and through his blog, who I have the pleasure of hosting Teachmeet Essex with. Also where student leaders are encouraged to take learning responsibility in the classroom, as being developed at my current school. I also promoted the idea of. More geographers participating and sharing their practice at Teachmeets.

#TeachTweet #ukedchat wow

I have just been privileged to have taken part in the inaugural #TeachTweet. Ably co-ordinated by @ICTMagic and @ukedchat on Twitter. A great CPD event with many ideas to share, reflect on and return to watch several times as a clear case of information overload.

Archived at;

My own effort at:

Share these videos with. Colleagues and extend good practice further.

BETT 2013

Well, 4 days later and time to post as I’ve now had time to reflect. I attended BETT on Friday 1/2/13 missing my school’s first day as an Academy. This year I’d applied for leave of absence back in October so that I could attend on the Friday and attend the Teachmeet if one took place.

After a while notice was posted about the TMtakeovers. I have now done a number of TM presentations so I was tempted by the idea. Dawn Hallybone and I had discussed getting a geography presentation together after my apps one at TMiPad in Nov. 2012. She already had a title ready “Geografree”.

DIgital leaders was another topic crying out for more BETT attention and after the RaspberryJamTM in July in Cambridge, Sheli Blackburn and I had agreed we should do a presentation together. I spoke with both ladies and book us in. There was a minor panic when Sheli was then booked up for the Stone stand. But we worked out that we could start together before she moved on to her next talk.

In 2012 I had met up with Penny Patterson and David goers via Twitter before the event and saw a couple of other people I had chatted to previously including Juliette Heppell. Would 2013 be the same?

Time dragged and I kept checking that yes I was still ok to go which was a relief as by now Pearson and Classroom Monitor had signed up to give us stand space. Luckily as both TMtakeovers would run one after the other the two stands were adjacent to each other.

Presentation ideas were stopped online and I promised to put the final slides together in keynote on my iPad. In the end not completed until Thursday – the night before. Meanwhile I had got a TMBett13 ticket in the first batch and signed up to help somehow. Digitalmaverick contacted me and asked if I’d take on the job of investigating how we could donate to Sandy Hook Elementary.

This was an interesting challenge, very conscious of not knowing if the school would accept contact after the events they had experienced. I searched online to find there is a fund being run through a bank in Newtown, Connecticut. One evening I rang the bank and had a good chat. I explained how we would like to donate the money directly for an educators award. They emailed me back the next day with the email of the PTA board’s VP. I emailed her and we established that the board would like to use the money to give grants to classroom teachers for additional projects. We agreed this would be a good use of the manner in the spirit in which we were offering our support. Digital Maverick made contact after me when the details of setting up this fund was discussed in more depth.

Now to prepare myself. Each year I have considered a t-shirt with twitter tag etc to make it easier for people to recognise me. The Sunday before I went to my local Staples store and ordered some personal business cards so I could make it easier to contact means attract more blog readers. That was easy to do. While they were organised I went into the local mall where I ordered two t shirts with some of my tags on ( these were not eventually ready in time). So no t-shirt. I know I could wear my A4 DIgital Leader badge – already on my profile pic and known to many from TM appearances.

Ok the day itself, an early start train then a local bus to see more of the area of London around the Excel centre I was there by 9 ( I never got to Olympia that early). A coffee and first twitter contact spotted – Edintheclouds. Mark was in a hurry and didn’t hear me. Then is potted Mary (EBD.) , Bev Evans, Bill Lord and someone I didn’t recognise – grumbledock without face paint.

An encouraging start. I’d planned my day so into the hall alongside Anthony Evans. I went off to explore stands at the far end of the hall. I made my way from side to side of the exhibition.a couple of time stopped by stands – the badge eliciting the comment ahh Andy Knill I follow you. This was very pleasant. I worked down until I passed Learnlive theatre E where Penny Patterson was setting up. A quick hello and on towards the Stone stand. Some of the people I sought were it at their stands a return visit or more would be needed later.

I watched Chris Sharples and the LLS Digital leaders presentation, meeting Johnnycake Ball and a number of other tweeters some of whom I did not recognise ( Daniel Harvey especially). It was good to congratulate the DLs and meet Chris at last. Sheli appeared and there was a DLN get together. Then off to Promethean to meet my advocate contacts. I agreed to be filmed for a company piece and also to discuss the new tablets on show.

I located the two afternoon stands for takeovers and got my bearings. Off again, more stands and arrive at Learn Live D for the DL piece inc ICT Evangelist Mark Anderson, another first face to face meeting plus Mike Lane, Tracey and other DLN members. The audience numbered about 120 and after met other familiar faces – Simon Warburton, Kev Bartle, Rachel Jones … This post is becoming a who’s who of tweeters – what a difference a year makes.

The afternoon – tmtakeover with Dawn on the Pearson stand inc an ex pupil fromMark Hall,Harlow (my last school) on the stand. The presentation was a hit and some follow up chat afterwards.
Off to Classroom Monitor and meeting Sheli to set up for second takeover. I bellowed, heckled- Sheli later referred to it as market stall approach. I was in my element and greasy enjoyed both talks. More I the afternoon watching friends present, meeting more people I know in the aisles or on stands. A DLN coffee meet up was nice when I demonstrated how an A4 laminated badge can save you when you spill your very hot coffee.

A drink with friends in the Fox nearby then back for Teachmeet Bett – how good would it be? Would my 2 min nano be selected? A good day became even more memorable – a fantastic range of presentations, more twitter mets, an Action Jackson mug, no my nano wasn’t selected. But. For me a new name – Raffle Guy. Mainly alone I sold raffle tickets in a energetic manner – best to ask for others of their impressions of this. Did I sell many? Hoped to at least match £250 from TMiPad. But eventually took £650. A great amount to pass on to Sandy Hook. Teacheat followed with a range of spicy Caribbean morsels then back on the train with Danny Nicholson to Essex.

WOW a truly great experience .

On reflection – I’ve already offered to sell raffle tickets for 2014 Teachmeet, do another takeover presentation with Dawn, take my school DLs up for a day and to make presentations. More twitter followers and people who have since realised that andy @aknill is also “raffle guy”.


TMTakeover Geografree


DLN meet up at Learn Live Theatre D

A modified A4 badge with bees


Watching the DLs from LLS at Stone computers – spot Johnny Ball on the right hand side, when I’d arrived he was chatting to the group.


If you know these two (lol) this was taken on my iPad while I was off selling raffle tickets – your moment of fame!

We’d like to know about Digital Leaders

A busy week started with a rescheduled visit to Brentwood County High School to discuss what digital leaders are / do / setting up. It was an informal collaboration which I hope will grow into a strong link between our students. The initial contact came out of my nano (2 minute) presentation on Digital leaders at TMEssex back in November. I’d hoped to be selected o use the same presentation at TMBett13, but it was not to be.

I’d like to see this as the first step in recruiting SDLs (secondary digital leaders) in Essex and East London. If you read this and are intrigued, please take a look at the collaborative blog: which includes secondary examples from Mark Anderson (Clevedon, Somerset) and Chris Sharples (Pickering, Yorkshire).

Come on schools – join us – it’s free, we celebrate the skills that our students have and we also get to share ideas across many schools and primary / secondary phases.

A busy week …

Saturday 17/11 to Sunday 25/11 – a week in the second half of the Autumn term, bound to be impacted on by germs (it’s the time of year!). Somehow, over the last few months my online networking has brought a wealth of opportunities, they seem to focus on the month of November and this week has been a good example.

Saturday 17
Meeting for the first time in London for the ICT group of my subject association – the Geographical Association. It’s taken me 25 years to become an active member of the GA. I’ve contributed online resources before but after applying earlier in the year I was awarded with a place on this group. Daunted at whether I’d have enough to offer and nervous for the first offline meeting I arrived early. Once the meeting started I felt welcomed and soon found lots of ways to participate, while in awe of some of my fellow group members achievements. The highlight for me was where we brought ideas to the group. Suddenly my twitter networking and wide use of apps came to the fore, and I felt I had a lot to contribute. More details to follow on this in future posts.

Home after a diversion to Shoreditch to visit my cousin who is providing a Japanese pub food menu for Brewdog. A pub where beers are respected and what a range on offer. Chatted to my cousin, some lovely JFC and a walk back to Liverpool Street station through Brick Lane and Spitalfields – what a great atmosphere and so much going on – clearly an area to explore more.

Sunday 18
Last minute tweets and emails with co-host of #TMEssex Martin Burrett (@ICTMagic) so that Monday’s event would go as smoothly as possible.The anticipation was rising. Ooh a slight fly in the ointment a bursitis forming on left elbow that would have to be treated respectfully.

Monday 19
Teaching first with a suppressed (just) excitement about the event ahead. Three year groups and four lessons where SOLO lesson 5 took place (see separate post) to come. We reviewed the learning and impact of SOLO so far in 2 weeks – lots of positivity from the groups. In my non contact time rest had a part to play because pace was going to be vital today. End of the school day, some marking and preparation.
Then off to the city of Chelmsford, I arrived too early really but this allowed a chance to stand reflect in reception before all three hosts met to review our setting and tech. checks. At this point my role felt slightly superfluous but I helped where I could.


What a great setting – comfy seats and tech with great support and of course Martin had the toy camel. About 5 audience members started to arrive, I chatted to people and found out if they were Teachmeet first timers; introduced speakers I know to Martin for tech setups. People I have met online were greeted for the first time offline and soon there were many people enjoying and tweeting about the great food provided by Tom Sherrington (@headguruteacher) our host and his school KEGS.

6 o’clock approached – time to start. Tom introduced the evening and he and Martin took the lead. First on the fruit machine ….. Me- 7 minutes on SOLO through the topic of Digital Leaders. I ad hoc-ed slightly and involved my audience and I’d like to publicly thank; my Head of Department Phill Crossley (@pcrossers); James Abela, fellow teachmeeter and Digital Leader fan (@ealweb) and finally Vic Goddard (@vicgoddard) a well known Headteacher who was on the telly! They volunteered answers, then found themselves stood at the front with me and demonstrated the art of linking facts by holding hands in public – thanks for being good sports. Pictures were taken by audience members – search #TMEssex on twitter if interested. Later I got to do my short 2 minute Digital Leader talk – again the audience had to stand, the related tweets were entertaining, but the key thing is that I believe the point about Digital Leaders being applicable in most schools was made through action not rhetoric.

Other speakers? Oh yes, we had many, the quality was fantastic and the best Teachmeet I have attended yet (biased? Yes, but even so…) many new ideas to follow up on,a chance to meet many who have inspired me online before or I will be looking to more in the future.

By the end – physically and emotionally wrung out and that elbow(remember) was throbbing but, we had done it. We put on an excellent CPD event, the only question now,when shall we do it again?


Tuesday…. Will have to wait as I need more sleep – a busy week indeed …