I had good intentions of posting about the latest ICT network meeting the day after it happened, but I blinked and suddenly it’s 2 weeks later! It was an enjoyable meeting with several presenters. Victoria Parsons from YHGfL demonstrated free resources available from YHGfL and the National Education Network (NEN). She showed the NEN Grid for searching the free resources by subject and key stage. Here are a few of the best freebies:
Simon Briggs and Elliott Moores from Smarter Solutions demonstrated the Fizzbook Spin working with SmartSync software. The software allows documents, web addresses and video clips to be sent straight to each child’s computer over the nerwork. It also has useful classroom management tools such as being able to send messages or freeze screens when it’s time to listen. For more details see their website.
I introduced a new CPD publication from Becta called 21st Century Teacher, which can be used to raise teacher awareness of how they could make use of ICT. It also includes a questionnaire which teachers can use to identify areas for development. The toolkit can be dowloaded from the Becta website (publications section).
The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 23rd June at the Deighton Centre.
Today I had a wonderful time. I was invited to participate in a local transition event for all the Year 6 children from feeder primary schools for Holmfirth High School.
The day was called ‘Feel Good Friday’ and was intended to meet a number of objectives:
Developing an awareness of emotional wellbeing and how this can be nurtured Fostering relationships with other Year 6 children
Getting to know the layout of Holmfirth High School
Children were organised into groups of 30-35 with representatives from each school included. They then rotated around a carousel of 35 minute activities/sessions including:
Mine was the e-safety session. I wanted the session to be pacey and interactive and I based it on some ideas gathered a few weeks ago after I put out an appeal on Twitter. Dawn Hallybone and Pete Richardson made some suggestions that I used as the basis for the session.
I produced a simple sheet headed ‘Getting to Know You’ that had 11 fields for the children to complete: First name, Middle name, Last name, Age, Birthday, Pet’s name, Favourite colour, Postcode, House number, Phone number and Email address.
Each child was given the sheet, something to write with and a little sheet of those little, circular, coloured stickers. I introduced myself and asked them if they knew everyone in the group (of course they didn’t, having just been thrown together for the day). I said that I had planned an exercise to help them get to know each other better.
Here’s what they had to do:
Fill in your own details on your own sheet.
You can only fill in a detail on your own sheet if you ask a question of someone else first and they give you an answer.
When you speak to someone else you can ‘Friend’ them by asking if they’ll be your friend. If they accept, you can stick one of the little stickers on them and they stick one on you in return.
You should try to talk to as many as possible, preferably people you haven’t met before.
I modelled this first with a willing volunteer to make sure they all understood the (slightly complicated) process.
I gave them about 10 minutes for this and they busily set about the activity, clearly enjoying it. I joined in, too. After 10 minutes, I stopped them. They (and I) had collected plenty of little ‘friend’ stickers. I then sellotaped my sheet to my chest and they did the same. It helped that I already had 30 or so strips of tape dangling off the window sills.
Now for the discussion phase. I said that I had a special plan for the best group of the day and that the plan was that I would be taking them down into Holmfirth where I was going to treat them to a meal in one of the more up-market restaurants. They were thrilled. I said that the trip into town was on the condition that they keep their sheets attached to their chests and ensure that they go out of their way to point their sheets out to strangers and share as much of the information as possible. I then asked if anyone had a problem with that and why.
The answers were as you would expect:
“That would be well embarrasing.” “It wouldn’t be safe.”
“I wouldn’t share all my information with just anyone – especially strangers.”
I then asked what bad things might happen as a result:
“Someone could just phone you up and bully you.”
“Someone you don’t know could just email you and say bad stuff to you.”
“If someone knew where you lived, they could come to your house and burgle you.”
All good so far. I then asked how many of them had social network profiles (such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo etc). Were it not that I already knew roughly what the response would be, I would have been surprised at the large numbers of 10 and 11 year olds that had Facebook accounts. I pointed out that Facebook Terms and Conditions prohibit its use by persons under 13 years of age and went on to discuss with the children the ways in which they used these tools.
They said things like:
“To chat with friends.”
“To play games.”
“To share pictures.”
“To find out what other people are doing.”
I asked about how many friends these children had in these sites and was quoted numbers ranging from 20 or so to 500-600. I also asked if they ‘knew’ or had met all those friends and I got some cagey replies.
Now I was running short on time with only 10 minutes or so left. I drew all the points together (hopefully) emphasising the points that these sites are great and can be useful in so many ways, but that they also have dangers associated. I also pointed out that just as you wouldn’t share your personal information in the real world by posting it to your chest, so you wouldn’t and shouldn’t on the internet. Also, I made the point that ‘friend’ competitions were potentially dangerous as they might make you want to befriend others you didn’t necessarily know.
There was just time to show the excellent CEOP film ‘Jigsaw’, round things off with a final ‘So what have we learned?’ plenary before allowing them to rip their sheets up and deposit them in the bin as they left.
Following the success of last year’s event you are invited to visit the ICT Showcase where pupils from Kirklees Schools, ranging from KS1 to KS3, are presenting an exhibition of innovative ICT activity.
The pupils will demonstrate and talk about some of the exciting and innovative work they have been undertaking using a range of ICT tools. These are just some of the uses of ICT that will be demonstrated :
Using a learning platform
Video conferencing with a book author
Multimedia work, with sound and animation
Digital video creation
Using Lego robots
Creating a virtual school guide
Creating video documentaries
Using voting pads for quizzes and self assessment
Using animations software
Using Nintendo DS Lite and brain trainers
Pivot Stick Figure Animator
Last years pupil participants really enjoyed the day as the following comments made by them on the day show:
“I think it was brilliant and interesting. I liked finding out what other schools are doing.”
“I thought that overall it was really interesting and informative. I really enjoyed it, and it was very well organised.”
“I really enjoyed all the hi-tech equipment and cool software. Thoroughly enjoyable.”
Staff and Governors from other schools who attended enjoyed seeing pupils demonstrating their work :
“A wonderful opportunity to see something of the vast range of ways in which ICT is being used – and enjoyed by pupils across Kirklees. It was fantastic to see the confidence and enthusiasm of pupils as they explained and demonstrated the work they have been doing.”
“Fantastic, thank you. The children were so enthusiastic. We saw some fantastic uses of software.”
“Lots of new technology we now want in our school. What fantastic confident children to explain and demonstrate it all!”
“Very impressive with great enthusiasm from the pupils.”
Please make a note of the date and be sure to save an hour in the day to visit.
We welcome anyone from school and also your governors.
To give us an indication of attendance figures we request that you make a booking through INSET online: Course number ET20001
Friday 26th March, 6.00 – 9.30 pm Doncaster South CLC
I’ve mentioned Teachmeet in this blog before (here, here and here). So what is it? Well, boiled to its bones, it is good quality, free CPD.
I first encountered a Teachmeet at the BETT show in January 2009 and was an instant fan. Teachers (and others with a direct involvement in education) took to the stage and spoke enthusiastically about things they were doing in classrooms. They were short, punchy, informative presentations of ideas and resources that you were left feeling you could probably use in your classroom the following day.
Hearing first hand from practitioners about things they have tried, things that have worked and problems encountered and solved is very powerful.
One of the nice things about Teachmeets is that although they are increasingly happening all over the place, technology allows anyone to attend via the internet. This ‘virtual’ attendance can be entirely passive or might involve a degree of participation from ‘afar’. These distance contributions might be actual presentations (via web-conferencing) or may be texted questions or comments.
I have now attended a number of Teachmeets in person and virtually and I have also given presentations in situ and virtually. In the spirit of Teachmeet, I have shared examples of my own practice in the classrooms of Kirklees.
Last year, I went to Manchester for a Teachmeet with some Kirklees teachers (one of whom spoke enthusiastically about the use of the DBPrimary Learning Platform with her Foundation Stage children). We shared a lift and on the return journey we were buzzing with the ideas that had been shared. We also decided that there was a need for something like this to happen closer to home. This was a seed sown.
Since then, plans have taken shape, cogs have slotted together and wheels have turned and Teachmeet Yorkshire & Humberside will be taking place later this month (26th March).
One of the considerations for this event was to make the venue as accessible as possible for people to attend from a wide area – this is why we decided upon Doncaster – with its access to A1/M62 and other major roads. Doncaster South CLC is a fantastic, modern, flexible venue where attendees can come and know that they can attend in comfort, borrow a laptop or connect their own (if they wish). Credit must also be given to Damian Ward (Curriculum Manager at the CLC) for his work in helping this to get off the ground and for his excellent publicity materials. (Poster) (Flier).
So here’s where you come in.
Please head over to Website and read a bit more about the event.
Please consider whether you might be able to come along for some or all of the evening.
If you can’t come, please consider checking in via the internet (a link with details will appear on the Teachmeet Y&H page closer to the date).
Print off the poster and display it in the staff room, notice board(s), corridor(s) etc
Print off the flier(s) and distribute accordingly.
I know that you are doing or have done something with your pupils worth sharing with others – please consider sharing your practice with others on the night by signing up for a presentation.
I have long been a fan of Radiowaves, an excellent site for school radio stations and podcasts. The good news is there is now a free basic version, which any school can use to broadcast to a wider audience.
The new basic version of Radiowaves enables schools to have their own website to showcase pupils’ work. Each pupil receives their own customisable profile page where they can post multimedia video and audio stories, get feedback from their peers, teachers and parents and join in with a variety of exciting projects. Teachers can moderate all their pupils’ content and safely control what is seen by the public.
To try it , go to the Radiowaves website and register for a free school account.